Ragdolls are large, laid-back, semi longhaired cats with captivating blue eyes. The Ragdoll is a pointed breed, which means that the body is lighter in color than the points (the face, legs, tail and ears).
The Ragdoll cat is carefully bred to produce large affectionate animals in three patterns, two with white (mitted and bi-color) and one with no white (colorpoint). The ideal Ragdoll is a well balanced cat, with no extreme features. Altered males will usually top the scale at 15-20 pounds; females are proportionately smaller and usually weigh between 10-15 pounds at maturity. Ragdolls are slow-maturing, reaching full coat color at two years, and full size and weight at four.
Ragdolls were developed in the 1960’s by Ann Baker; a breeder in Riverside California. The origin of the Ragdoll breed consisted almost entirely of free-roaming cats. Ann bred Josephine, a domestic longhaired white female that was found running loose in her neighborhood, to other cats she owned or found. The offspring of this female had unique temperament traits that were very endearing. By selecting individuals with the look, temperament and criteria she wanted for her breeding program, she created the Ragdoll breed.
Unlike many cats, Ragdolls are notable for collapsing into the arms of anyone who holds them, even if they are cradled on their back. They love their people, greeting them at the door, following them around the house, and leaping into a lap or snuggling in bed whenever given the chance. They often learn to come when called or to retrieve toys that are thrown for them.
The word most often used to describe them is docile, but that doesn’t mean they are inactive. They like to play with toys and enter into any family activities. With positive reinforcement in the form of praise and food rewards when they do something you like, Ragdolls learn quickly and can pick up tricks as well as good behaviors such as using a scratching post. In a small, sweet voice, they remind you of mealtime or ask for petting but are not excessively vocal.
Ragdolls have nice manners and are easy to live with. You will find a Ragdoll on your sofa or bed, but generally not much higher than that. He prefers to stay on the same level with his people rather than the highest point in a room.
The laidback Ragdoll is perfectly suited to family life. He rarely extends his claws when playing, and he usually doesn’t mind playing dress-up, riding in a baby buggy or being a guest at a tea party. Because of their large size, males are an especially good choice for families with children.
Of course, you should always supervise young children to make sure they don’t torment the cat. And with a cat this size, it’s essential to teach children how to support the cat, with one arm beneath the front legs and one beneath the hind legs. Never hold a Ragdoll with the hind end hanging down.
He is happy to live with other cats and cat-friendly dogs, too, thanks to his amiable disposition. Introduce pets slowly and in controlled circumstances to ensure that they learn to get along together.