Ragdoll


Introduction

Ragdolls are relative newcomers to the cat world, but already they are finding their way into the hearts and homes of many people all over the world thanks to their charming looks and sweet, kind natures. They are medium size cats that boast having semi-long hair and gorgeous blue eyes. These lovely cats are known to be laid back, easy going which in short, means that Ragdolls tend to get on with everyone which includes children and other animals.


History

The history of this breed makes a bizarre story, but is well documented and can be pinpointed to a Californian breeder of Persian cats, Ann Baker, and her Raggedy Ann breeding prefix. Ann Baker used to borrow an entire male cat called Blackie from her neighbour for breeding purposes as he looked very much like a Black Persian, even though he had no registered pedigree, and his mother, Josephine, was an unregistered white longhair. Josephine used to produce kittens of very unsound temperament until she had a road accident. Following treatment at a local animal hospital, the kittens she now produced had a completely different personality and were suddenly good-natured and very relaxed. Ann was very interested in this personality change, and using other inter-related cats belonging to her neighbour (including one looking rather like a Birman), together with her own Persian cats, she then bred the first Ragdolls in 1963 with the laid-back temperament that she was seeking.

However, the development of this new breed took an interesting turn as Ann Baker trademarked the name 'Ragdoll' and anyone else wishing to breed them could only do so on a franchise basis through her own International Ragdoll Cat Association (if they wished to call their kittens 'Ragdolls'), and by adhering to her own very strict breeding policy. Although other breeders did join the franchise, Ann Baker charged money for registering kittens, and finally, following a series of court cases, the franchise situation was finally broken. The trade marking of the 'Ragdoll' name in America was finally dropped in 2005 when it was not renewed.

A couple of experienced British cat breeders had become very interested in this breed, and in 1981, the first Ragdolls were imported to the UK. These two breeders imported a number of different coloured Ragdolls, which became the foundation for the breed we see in this country today. With an enthusiastic group of breeders interested in developing this new breed, a Ragdoll Breed Club was founded in 1987, and the breed was formally recognised by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in 1990. The breed has rapidly gained popularity in the UK and at their specialist 2012 show more than 100 Ragdoll cats were entered.

Today, more Ragdolls are being registered every year with the GCCF as their popularity continues to rise. These lovely looking cats are renowned for their sweet, placid temperaments which is just one of the reasons why they are fast becoming a popular companion and family pet because they get on with everyone and thrive on being in a family environment.


Appearance

Ragdolls are very attractive cats with their medium length super silky coats. They have exceptionally beautiful, large blue eyes and their coat colours can be any of three different patterns being colourpoint, bi-colour and mitted. Colourpoint Ragdolls have the same markings as a Siamese with traces of white on their bodies. Mitted Ragdolls have delightful white feet and white markings on their back legs that reaches up to their hocks, some cats have a white blaze and a white tip to their tails too. Bi-Colour Ragdolls have more white in their coats which can extend up their legs and they often have a splash of white on their backs, undersides. They also have an inverted white “V” on their faces as well as white tip to their tails.

They are impressive, large cats that boast having powerful bodies and distinctive markings. Females tend to be noticeably smaller than their male counterparts. They have broad heads that are quite flat between a cat's ears and which have a good width between them. They have nicely developed cheeks and lovely rounded muzzles with firm chins and level bites. Noses are moderately long with a slight dip in them with the tips being slightly turned up.

Their ears are medium in size and they tilt slightly forward being nicely furnished and having rounded tips. Eyes are large and set a little obliquely and well apart on a cat's face. They are a beautiful blue with a deeper blue being the preferred colour. They have long, muscular bodies and short, heavy set necks. Chests are broad and a cat's legs are moderately long showing a good amount of bone. Cats have large, round, tufted paws and their tails are long, bushy, tapering slightly to a tip.

When it comes to their coat, the Ragdoll boasts having a dense medium length coat that's super silky to the touch. The hair on their necks form a ruff and cats have knickerbockers on their legs. Coats tend to be quite a bit shorter during the warmer summer months. The accepted colours are as follows:

  • Seal
  • Blue
  • Chocolate
  • Lilac
  • Red
  • Cream
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Tabby

Temperament

Like a lot of other breeds, the Ragdoll likes a routine and doesn't particularly like it when this changes for any reason. They like to be fed at the same time of the day and don't appreciate it when any furniture gets moved around the home. Ragdolls mature very slowly which can take up to 5 years. As such they retain their kitten-like personality for longer than a lot of other breeds. The founding breeder, Anne Baker did her best to produce calm, affectionate and gentle cats and the end result is exactly that. Ragdolls boast being a great choice both as companions and family pets thanks to their kind, easy going natures. They thrive in a home environment and enjoy being involved in everything that goes on around them.

They are laid-back characters that like to keep their paws on the ground. They are exceptionally tolerant around children and will put up with quite a lot which includes being dressed up in clothes and push around in a pram. However, the thing they enjoy the most is following their owners around wherever they go in the house and to be given as much attention as possible. As such, the Ragdoll is best suited to families where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out.

Ragdolls love exploring their environment, but should only be allowed to roam around in the great outdoors if it is safe from them to do so. The good news is that they adapt well to being kept as indoor pets providing they are given lots of mental stimulation, things to do and cosy places to cuddle up for a cat nap when they want to.


Intelligence

Ragdolls are smart cats, but their laid back natures means they do not respond as quickly as other breeds. They like to play, but at their own pace and will observe things before deciding if it is worth expending any energy and getting involved in a game. They get their biggest pleasure from being with the people they love and will follow them from room to room just to be with them. Hence their nickname "Puppy cat".


Children and Other Pets

Ragdolls with their laid-back, affectionate personalities are the perfect choice for families with children and this includes toddlers. They are known to be extremely tolerant of kids and will put up with a lot. A Ragdoll would prefer to get out of the way rather than scratch or bite which is why they make such lovely family pets. However, care has to be taken when very young children are around cats and any interaction should always be supervised by an adult to make sure things stay nice and calm. With this said, children need to be taught how to behave around cats and when it's time to leave them alone.

They also get on well with dogs especially if they have grown up together in the same household. However, care has to be taken when introducing a Ragdoll to dogs they don't already know just in case the dog does not get on with their feline counterparts. Because Ragdolls are incredibly social and easy going by nature and have been known to get on with pet birds and small animals. However, it's always wiser to keep a close eye on any cat when they are around smaller pets particularly when they first meet each other, just to be on the safe side.


Ragdoll Health

The average life expectancy of a Ragdoll is between 15 and 20 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate, good quality diet to suit their ages.

The Ragdoll is known to be quite a healthy breed, but there is one hereditary health issue that affects the breed which is worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these laid-back cats. The condition that seems to affect the breed is as follows:


Caring for a Ragdoll

Ragdolls need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. On top of this, cats need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives which is especially true of kittens and older cats.


Grooming

Ragdolls boast having medium length, luxurious coats that are extremely soft to the touch. As such they are quite high maintenance on the grooming front. Their coats need to be brushed on a daily basis to prevent any knots and tangles from forming, the good news is that Ragdolls adore the attention they get when they are being groomed and it helps strengthen the bond between cat and owner. Like other breeds, they tend to shed the most in the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent brushing is usually necessary to keep on top of things.

It's also important to check a cat's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections. Cats often suffer from ear mites which can be a real problem which is why it's so important to check their ears on a regular basis.


Energy Levels/Playfulness

Ragdolls are not high energy cats, preferring to lead a quiet and peaceful life following their owners around the house. With this said, they do enjoy playing a game or two when they mood takes them, but they usually do so at their own pace and in their own time. With this said, cats kept as indoor pets need to be given lots of things to do and places to hide when they want to. They also need to have lots of places they can snuggle up for a snooze when the mood takes them because if there is one thing Ragdolls enjoy it's cat napping during the day.


Feeding

If you get a Ragdoll kitten from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same kitten food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a kitten's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.

Older cats are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature cat several times a day making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements which is especially important as cats get older. It's also essential to keep an eye on a cat's weight because if they start to put on too much, it can have a serious impact on their overall health and wellbeing. Like all other breeds, Ragdolls need access to fresh, clean water at all times.


Average Cost to keep/care for a Ragdoll

If you are looking to buy a Ragdoll, you would need to pay anything from £400 to well over £700 for a well-bred pedigree kitten. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Ragdoll in northern England would be £12.18 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £22.15 a month (quote as of October 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a cat's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.

When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a cat’s life. This would set you back between £20 - £25 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Ragdoll and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a cat when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £600 a year.

As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Ragdoll would be between £40 to £60 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your cat, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred kitten.


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