About Ragdolls

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EARLY BEGINNINGS

The late Ann Baker of Riverside, California (USA) is the founder of the Ragdoll breed.
Ann Baker recounted the history of the Ragdoll as follows:
Ann's neighbour, Mrs Pennels, owned a white Angora-type female, called Josephine.
Josephine often had kittens, but they were all wild like their mother.


Stand in for Josephine with the first Ragdoll kittens, Summer 1965,  
Left to right :  Gueber, Mitts, Tiki and Kyoto

Josephine was run over by a car and left lying
by the side of the road for a couple of days.
  Eventually she was taken to the local university for treatment.
  Ann firmly believed that during her time at the university,
Josephine was "genetically manipulated", resulting in future
kittens being loving, relaxed, "floppy" and unable to feel pain.
  Today, this belief in Josephine's genetic manipulation is
rejected as a fallacy as the Ragdoll experiences pain in the same
way as any other breed of cat.
  As far as the "floppiness" is concerned, kittens and cats
from any breed could present this trait - it is not caused
by any genetic characteristic, but rather
by the way in which the kitten is raised and socialised.


Raggedy Ann Daddy Warbucks
The first Mitted Ragdoll, and the father of the "Ragdoll look"


Buckwheat with her kittens, Kyoto and Tiki

Ann acquired three of Josephine's half-related kittens from
her neighbour – Pretty Boy, "a cat with the appearance
 of the Sacred Cat of Burma" (The Birman breed) which
Ann later called Daddy Warbucks; Buckwheat
(a black non-pointed female);
and Fugianna (a badly marked Bicolour female).
These three cats became the founding Ragdolls,
producing the first Ragdoll kittens. In the summer of 1965,
a litter of four kittens were born
- two pointed and two non-pointed kittens.
  Ann ruled the Ragdoll breeding programme with
a strict hand, registering and patenting the name
Ragdoll and franchising out future breeding stock under strict contracts. 


Ann Baker with Kyoto and Kookie Tu


Ann holding Fugianna 

Remaining protective over her kittens, Josephine fought
with the family dog. It is alleged that Mr Baker, who had
had enough of Josephine's protectiveness, had Josephine
and her kittens destroyed, thereby ending the life of the
founding queen of the Ragdoll breed.
Ann Baker passed away in 1997.

During mid-1997 the first Ragdolls were imported to South Africa,
and in November 1999 the Ragdoll breed achieved full
championship status in the South African show halls.
Early 2000 the non-pointed Ragdoll was granted full
championship status in South Africa. 
Raglin Ragdolls produced the first Ragdoll to qualify for,
and compete in, the prestigious annual Cat of The Year competition.
Read more about SP PM Raglin's Mille Miglia on the Gallery :
Colourpoint web pages.

(Some information and all pictures above from "The Definitive Guide
to Ragdolls" by Lorna Wallace, Robin Pickering & David Pollard)



CHARACTERISTICS OF THE RAGDOLL

Temperament

Ragdolls have amiable temperaments.  Although they differ individually,
they are gentle and quiet cats. They enjoy human companionship although
some individuals might enjoy sitting next to you, rather than in your lap.  

They also enjoy the company of other pets, including dogs.
  Due to Ragdolls being trusting, they should never ever be allowed
to roam the neighbourhood where they could get into harm's way.

Gentle Giants

The ideal Ragdoll is a large, imposing, strongly built cat with an elongated body,
moderately long legs and plumed tail in proportion to the body.
They may also have a fat pad (Greater Omentum) on the lower abdomen.

   

  Neutered males could grow into gentle giants weighing more than 10 kg
but the norm seems to be around 7 kg. Spayed females could weigh up to
about 7kg but in general they are around 5 kg. Ragdolls mature slowly and
do not reach maturity until they are approximately four years old.
  

Point colouring could take up to three years to develop.


Ragdolls are born without colour.  They are not white, they are not beige.
  The term "whiter shade of pale" is most applicable for newborn pointed kittens.
  Within about 12 hours, the first sign of colour is visible on the ears. 
By day three colour is visible on nose leather.

Newborn Ragdoll kittens showing colour and pattern are Mink or Sepia
and not accepted in South Africa.  Those kittens may not be registered nor shown.

Note :  The purple markings you see on the kittens above are our way of identifying
newborn kittens for weight record keeping purposes. We use Gentian Violet
in order to tell kittens apart at this age

Patterns

Pointed Ragdolls come in three different patterns:

  • Colourpoint – Dark mask, ears, legs & tail; no white whatsoever allowed
  • Mitted – Dark mask, ears and tail; white mittens on front feet and white hind legs
  • Bicolour – Dark ears & tail; white legs; inverted "V" on the face
     

    From L to R :  BoomBoom, Lori & Bailey


    Seal Tabby Colourpoint

    Seal Mitted

    Blue Bicolour

Colours

Pointed Ragdolls come in six different colours:

  • Seal – Points are deep seal brown
  • Blue – Points are slate blue
  • Chocolate – Points are milk chocolate in colour (not available in South Africa)
  • Lilac – Points are frosty grey (not available in South Africa)
  • Flame - Points are deep orange flame to deep red
  • Cream - Points are buff cream to apricot in colour

Blue
Colourpoint

Blue Tabby
Bicolour

Cream
Mitted

Seal Tortie 
Mitted

Non-Pointed Ragdolls

Non-pointed Ragdolls come in the Bicolour and Mitted patterns, as well
as the solid (self-coloured) cat. These cats are purebred and registered Ragdolls,
descending from the foundation cats. At present there are no purebred,
registered non-pointed Ragdolls being bred with in South Africa.
  

The Ragdoll Coat

Ragdolls have a soft, medium length coat which sheds just like any other cat breed. 
Regular grooming assists in removing loose, dead hair and prevents
hairballs and mats. Grooming is a wonderful one-on-one communication
and bonding experience for both owner and pet.

Taking Care of your Ragdoll

When looking at overseas Ragdoll websites, one is reminded that the Ragdoll
is a strictly indoor breed.  That is because they are kept indoors
(all windows and doors shut) ... not because they have a gene that
will prevent them from going outside the house.


If you choose to have a strictly indoor Ragdoll pet,
they can be taught to walk on a body harness.
Here's 8 month old Carlos taking his mom for a brisk walk! 
 

All cats love to be outdoors and there is no harm
in letting them do so - on condition that they are confined
to a cat escape-proof and extremely safe outdoor area.

Johannesburg based company "D's Fencing & Security" specialises
in electrified pet fencing and one of my kitten owners found them
to be very reliable and fairly priced. You can view their website for
contact details and more information at http://www.dsfencing.co.za/ 
Disclaimer : Raglin Ragdolls is not associated with this company; we do not
earn commission on referrals; and if you decide to appoint them
for a contract we are not to be held responsible in case of any disputes.

Alf and Diana made this very beautiful, safe and interesting
safety enclosure for their new kitten, Darwin.
This is not where their kitten lives - this enclosure is only there for his
playtime in the garden during the day, and probably during hot Summer evenings



Look under the solid roof - there Darwin has a safe enclosed "house"
where he can go hide and sleep, if he wants to.
This enclosure has a beautiful water feature, shelves, tree branches ...
a lot of fun for any cat ... Darwin is one very lucky boy!
Below : an interesting wooden walk-way for an energetic Ragdoll

 

Raglin Ragdoll kitten owners Mike & Gail built this beautiful
"cat house" themselves. Below are photographs which will
inspire you to make a safe enclosure for your own kitten/cat
















Geoff & Annie Hall in George had a special outdoor cage built for their Ragdolls. 
This cage is attached to the outside wall and can be dismantled and removed,
should they so wish. The cage also has an outdoor gate which makes gardening easy


Outdoor scratch posts, wooden logs, lovely lawn and cat-safe plants
and shrubs make this a very safe and aesthetically pleasing place for the cats to play

To prevent their Ragdolls from jumping over walls,
they constructed this easy-to-make cat-fence


To prevent their Ragdolls from climbing this tree,
they attached an "umbrella" of mesh around the trunk


My sincerest thanks to Geoff & Annie for the above photographs

A friend's Maine Coon went missing and that spurred him on to investigate
some kind of tracking device for pets.  Such a product is being launched in
South Africa and you can read more about at http://www.ptrack.co.za
Weight and size can be found on the FAQ page.  This device is also suitable to track children.
Disclaimer :  Please note that I am not associated with this company or
product and do not earn commission on any sales.  Please do not contact me for sales or enquiries.

Ragdolls don’t need any special treatment. High-quality premium foods and healthy treats,
fresh water, a secure and loving home, de-worming, annual booster vaccinations
and an annual vet check are all that are needed to maintain their health.

Ragdolls are easily trained and can be taught to come on command, fetch and do tricks.


Michelle taught 15 week old Jessie to "beg" in only one day!

A Ragdoll should never be dangled like a toy rag doll. 
Always pick up a kitten or lift a cat by supporting it with
one hand under the armpits and the other hand under the buttocks.  
Never
pick up a kitten or cat by the scruff ... only queens
know how to do it without hurting their kittens.


Here's Robert holding ChiChi in a safe and comfortable cradle position

On a Personal Note:
I am often asked exactly what attracted me to the Ragdoll breed.
  It is quite easy ... There is nothing extreme about the Ragdoll.
  The "overall package" of the Ragdoll is pleasing to the eye. 
The ideal Ragdoll should be large, friendly, soft-spoken,
inquisitive (yet not adventurous) cat -  always ready to "lend a helping hand". 
They will greet visitors, head-butt for massages, walk around showing
off their plumed tails and flop down at your feet.


Some lines produce kittens that are very relaxed when held, like ChiChi above in a
"Ragdoll Flop". However, there isn't a "flop gene" in the Ragdoll that makes them go limp


At Raglin Ragdolls, our aim is to only breed with lines that produce kittens
with the above personality traits; as well as only work with healthy
lines that produce kittens with strong immunities and healthy systems.

 

Here's what Ragdoll owners have to say about this special breed :

We have been owned by Ragdolls since end 2001 ~ was there life before
Ragdoll cats we often ask ourselves?

Monty and Kashka (aka Chicken, Baby, Button and a host of other
kitchee-coo names) are half brothers sharing the same dad and they
arrived with us on a Christmas morning aged just over 3 months.
One Blue Mitted Lynx and one Seal Mitted bundle of soft,
creamy fur with enormous blue eyes. Our hearts were theirs from
the first instance. And our bed, morning newspaper, couch, chairs as
well as any empty box or plastic packet!

Slowly but surely they re-arranged the entire house to suit themselves
and their agenda. Monty slept in the guest room until noon while Kashka
found that alternating between my in-tray and my t-shirt shelf suited him better.
Their favourite time of day is late afternoon when Da returns from
work and Mom is home and thinking about supper. Then they go
for walks in and around the garden with us, chase leaves or bugs
and play hide-and-seek with each other in the bushes.
Suddenly they remember they are adults and cats after all and preen and wash,
look aloof and think about sleeping off their supper.

They sleep. Goodness how they sleep! After a good night’s rest they are
exhausted and so move to their ‘flavour of the month’ day time place and
sleep some more. In winter they will sleep like real cats, all curled up
neatly with paws tucked under and noses covered by tail.
But in summer they fly the Ragdoll colours! Whether on the floor, the couch or
a chair they sleep either on their backs with legs akimbo or drape
themselves over the back of a sofa like a floppy soft toy.

We always thought our previous feline owners were large cats
until the Raggies arrived and grew . . . . and grew . . . . . and grew.
I think they have stopped now and fluctuations are only between winter coats with
heavy ruffs and slinkier summer attire. They don’t so much run as lope across
the lawn, their lion-like bellies swaying. But they would rather walk than run any time.

They are placid, predictable, affectionate (on their terms), cuddlers
and not fighters, homebodies and not wanderers.
Their voices, like their coats, are rabbit soft. They are vocal at suppertime,
sometimes when spoken to and when they want the water fountain turned on.
They prrrrrrrrt greetings when we return home and first thing in the morning
but are never loud and never yowl.

Last week we had four new visitors from overseas to our home.
They spent more time on the carpet scratching offered tummies, stroking floppy,
draped backs and taking photographs than eating their braai.

Our hearts and homes would be empty without them.

Penni Warncke, February 2006

I, like other "cat people" consider myself born a "cat person".
  I have been so enriched by all the whiskered friends I have met on my
life journey. I have truly felt every moment of time spent with
"my furry children" to have been so precious.  

Last year, to my great joy and delight I "found" the Ragdoll breed.
In the words of my vet "they are the most phenomenal animals".
  I have encountered some of the characteristics I list here in all of
my "kitty kids" but my two Ragdoll's have displayed
ALL of these characteristics.   Large, muscular, talkative, relaxed,
intelligent, gentle, exceptionally affectionate, responsive, healthy,
bright eyed and bushy tailed, playful, companionable, friendly,
beautiful, luxurious, inquisitive, always ready for a game.  

They truly are the most magnificent friends one could ever wish for.

Annie Hall, February 2006

Cats have owned me my entire life, and in 2000 two Ragdoll brothers
came into my life, Pie a Seal Mitted and Skye a Blue solid. 

Like many potential owners, prior to deciding on Ragdolls
I researched the breed and found they were commonly described
as large cats with medium length fur and gentle temperaments.
  What a bland description for an amazing breed.  Don’t be misled,
Ragdolls have all those lovable mischievous qualities that make
us admire and adore cats and then that intangible something extra. 

Although there are certain breed specifications with which they should
conform, each is a unique character.  Pie is outgoing and adventuresome
and somehow always seems to land up in trouble.
  If it rains he will be caught in it, coming in with his fur standing on end,
his tree climbing activities tend to result in him getting stuck and needing
rescuing and he is always on the wrong side of a closed door.
  Skye however prefers his home comforts and even when venturing
outside prefers to stay close to the door and his humans.
  He is happiest lying on a chair or table next to his humans.
  Pie too loves to know his humans are close but doesn’t believe in being
as demonstrative about it.  When you are busy in a room he will be
found sleeping on the windowsill, move to a new room and you soon
find he has followed you and dozing where he can keep an eye on you.
Doors must be left open so he can patrol his territory,
checking on the humans (even during the night). 

Ragdolls are very intelligent and are experienced human trainers.
  Pie informs us long before he gets to the door that he wants to
come in and has trained us to wait with the door open whilst
he comes ambling up the steps. It is quite likely at this point that he will
tell you he needs a rest from all that exertion and flops over onto his
back exposing his tummy for a rub.  Tummy rubs are one of his
favourite activities and he will find every opportunity to lie in your
way so you have to bend over and give him attention.
Ragdolls like to talk, but don’t see the need to raise their voices unless
all other means of communication have failed.  Both boys greet us with
soft chirrups, when they come into a room.  Skye extends this
courtesy to his doggy friends and can often be found rubbing up
against the dogs’ faces in greeting (much to the dogs’ embarrassment)
and sneaking out of the house through a dog’s legs.   

Despite their bulk Ragdolls are incredibly gentle, and are more likely
to restrain your hand with a large fluffy paw rather than first resorting
to using claws.  Their large paws are a wonderful feature of the breed, when
you feel like you need a bit of comfort; just holding a huge paw
makes you feel much better. My Ragdolls love their cuddles;
Skye loves to be picked up, folding himself to fit snugly into your arms.
  Pie finds the feet off ground thing a bit off-putting, preferring you to be seated
for a Rag cuddle.   If you get too preoccupied to do the cuddle thing,
a quick furry head but is used to get your attention. 

Ragdolls are the gentle giants of the cat world and are loving,
companions who thrive on human attention.
  If you are looking for the stereotypical cat, the one you only see
at mealtimes then don’t even consider a Ragdoll.
  A Ragdoll is a partner, a friend, a family member, a very human soul
wrapped in a large furry cat form and yes I am their very willing slave.

Ruth Hine, February 2006

Word of caution … Ragdolls are addictive!

 

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