Oh, those baby blues! The sapphirine eyes of a Ragdoll are truly meowgical and spell-binding. This incredibly plush kitty is known for its gentle and affectionate personality and the reputation of being the ultimate 'lap' cat. Their patient and playful spirit resulted in their nickname of being the "puppy cats".
Alongside the Maine coon, the Ragdoll is considered one of the world’s largest cat breeds. The average weight ranges from 10 to 15 pounds for females and 15 to 20 pounds for males. They are well-balanced and have a sturdy body, large frame and proportionate legs. The Ragdoll’s coat is medium-long, plush and silky. The kittens are born white and they slowly develop their full color and pattern by the age of 4 years. There are 6 colors permitted: seal, chocolate red, lilac, cream and blue. The colored patches can be solid, lynx, tortie or torbie (lynx and tortie). These colors are present in 4 possible patterns:
a) Color-point: The points of the body (nose, paws, tip of the tail) are darker in color than the rest of the body. There is no white present anywhere in the coat.
b) Mitted: The coat is also color-point, but the tips of the paws and abdomen are white. There is always a white “belly stripe”, and sometimes “blaze” can be present too (white line or spot on the face).
c) Bicolor: The legs are white, there is an inverted white ‘V’ on the face and the abdomen is white too. Sometimes there can be white patched on the back as well.
c) Van: Bicolor variant with excessive amounts of white is marked as the van pattern.
The Ragdoll breed was developed in the 1960s by a breeder called Ann Baker in California. Ann bred Josephine, a domestic longhaired, light gray cat to other cats she had or found, including Burmese-like cats and color-pointed cats. Josephine produced docile, affectionate kittens and Ann selected those with ‘acceptable’ temperament and appearance for further breeding. From then on, the breed was carefully selected over many years for the typical ‘Ragdoll’ traits, such as large size, gentle demeanor, pointed coloration, and a tendency to go ‘limp’ when picked up.
The elegant Ragdoll is one easy-going kitty! This cat is calm, quiet and gentle and they truly love their cuddles. Because of their playful and silly nature, they are sometimes referred to as the “puppy cats”. They get along very well with hoomans, but also with other pets. Your Ragdoll will run to you at the door, follow your every step, come when called and play fetch. One of the most prominent features of a Ragdoll is relaxing and going limp like a ‘rag’ when being picked up. Although big in size, this won’t stop your docile Ragdoll to sneak in for a snuggle season. Because of their very docile persona, they will make for the most purrfect pet for families with children or other pets.
Health and care
The Ragdoll is a strong, healthy breed that can live a healthy long life if nurtured properly. There are a few things to keep in mind. These cats are at a higher risks from feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM can be caused by several genetic mutations that have been identified in about 20% of Ragdolls (Longer M et al, 2013 & Borgeat K et al, 2014). Ragdoll’s medium-long, plush coat will require weekly grooming, and to o maintain your Ragdoll’s oral hygiene make sure to brush their teeth regularily.
Plush facts about the cuddly cats
1. Ragdolls love being picked up and cuddled. While many cats may enjoy an occasional cuddle, it is very uncommon for cats to love being held. A Ragdoll, however, is as relaxed and floppy as a real rag doll when being picked up. This is how they got their well-suited name anyway!
2. Ragdolls’ eyes are always piercing blue. Although the cat comes in a range of colors and patterns, the eyes are always blue. This is influenced by the same gene encoding the color-pointed coat coloration.
3. They are one of the largest domestic cats. According to the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), Ragdolls, together with Maine Coons are two largest cat breeds registered. The next in line is the beautiful Norwegian Forest Cat.
4. They are known as both the ‘lap cats’ and the ‘puppy cats’. Because of their cuddly personality and unusual friendliness, they are often referred to as the ideal lap cats many of us dream about. But because of their docile, calm, playful and silly personality, they are also often called the puppy cats. Yes, they are that purrfect.
5. The world’s longest-living Janus cat was a Ragdoll. A Janus cat is a cat with two faces. The world’s longest living Janus cat was a Ragdoll called Frank and Louie (aka Frankenlouie). He had two functioning eyes, one blind eye, two noses, and two mouths. His deformity was caused by disprosopia and he was rescued from being put down by Marty Stevens. Thanks to Marty, he ended up living for 15 years before he passed away in 2014.
A Ragdoll will strive in a home where they will get lots of attention, cuddles and playtime. These little companions will watch your every move and follow you everywhere you go. If you sit down, they’ll come for a cuddle. If you’re taking a shower, they’ll be waiting right outside. Do you have a ball or a stuffed animal? They’ll happily fetch it for you! Ragdolls are beautiful, plush and affectionate. We couldn’t possibly expect more from one single pet!
1. Longeri M, Ferrari P, Knafelz P, et al. Myosin- binding protein C DNA variants in domestic cats (A31P, A74T, R820W) and their association with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. J Vet Intern Med. 2013;27(2):275-285.
2. Borgeat K, Casamian-Sorrosal D, Helps C, et al. Association of the myosin binding protein C3 mutation (MYBPC3 R820W) with cardiac death in a survey of 236 ragdoll cats. J Vet Cardiol. 2014;16(2): 73-80.