THE RAGDOLL CAT

The Ragdoll originated in the US during the 1960’s when a woman named Ann Baker bred a cat called Josephine, a domestic, white long haired female with a black and white male cat. The offspring from Josephine had fantastic people-oriented temperaments. The Ragdoll gets its name from its tendency to become limp like a ragdoll when picked up. It is a favorite among families around the world.

Brief History

Ann Baker, an American cat breeder chose certain cats with the temperament, appearance, and criteria that she was looking for, and bred them together. These kittens resulted in the wonderful Ragdoll cat breed. The International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA) was set up in 1971.

Due to Baker’s trademark, Ragdolls were not allowed to be registered elsewhere for many years. By 2005, the Ragdoll trademark expired and other offshoot groups were able to name their cats “Ragdolls.” Today the Ragdoll cat breed is recognized by the Cat Fancier’s Association, the American Cat Association, and the International Cat Association. It is one of the most popular cat breeds worldwide.

Physical Features

The Ragdoll is one of the largest domestic cat breeds with sturdy and strong bodies. Their coats are plush and soft with no thick undercoat. This is a pointed breed, meaning that the body is lighter in color than the feet, tail, legs, and ears. Ragdolls’ famous eyes are oval-shaped and piercingly blue. Most ragdoll kittens are born white and their proper color at around 3 to 4 years. This cat breed matures slowly, gaining its full weight by age 4. Their coat colors are:

  • Red
  • Chocolate
  • Seal
  • Blue dilutes
  • Lilac dilutes
  • Cream dilutes
  • Lynx variations
  • Tortoiseshell variations

Their patterns are:

  • Mitted
  • Colorpoint
  • Bicolor

Average Height:

9-11 inches

Average Weight:

10-20 pounds

Life Expectancy:

12-15 years

Temperament

Ragdolls have relaxed and gentle personalities and love being around people. This breed does best indoors and does well with apartment living. Ragdoll prefer a quiet environment that is environmentally stimulating. Cat toys are a must! This wonderfully gentle breed does well with adoring cat parents, and should not be around aggressive dogs or rambunctious children, since they value a peaceful environment. This breed can be taught to bring back cat toys when called. Leash walking is also popular with the Ragdoll.

Special Needs

Eye tearing may be a problem with this cat breed. Sedentary Ragdolls tend to pick up weight quickly, so make sure to exercise frequently with lots of toys.

Possible Health Concerns

The Ragdoll is a healthy and moderately active cat breed that may be susceptible to the following health conditions:

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This is a heart muscle disorder where the heart walls of the left ventricle thicken and become stiff. Most cats will be middle-aged when this disorder occurs. This disorder tends to affect males more than females, and it is an inherited genetic defect. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, weakness or paralysis of the hind limbs. Fluid may also accumulate in the lungs, and in the space between the lungs and chest wall. Veterinary treatment will aim at improving cardiac function, and reducing blood clots. There is a good long term outlook for mildly affected cats. Consult with your veterinarian for advice.
  • Calcium Oxalate Bladder Stones: Small amounts of calcium oxalate is always present in a cat’s urine. When presented in high amounts, this will pose a problem. Oxalate bladder stones will generally affect one out of two cats in the same household, though both will be eating the same feed. Genetic predisposition may partially contribute to cats being prone to getting bladder stones, although diet and environmental conditions have been considered important contributing factors as well. Consult with your veterinarian for advice.
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis: This is caused by a virus in cats. Infection results in an infection of the stomach, the liver, and inflammation of the blood vessels(vasculitis). Some symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, abdominal effusion, and fever. Consult with your veterinarian for advice.

Exercise

The Ragdoll cat breed needs daily exercise combined with plenty of mental stimulation through active play and interaction with people. Cat harnesses and leashes also allow for daily walks.

Nutrition

All cat breeds need high- quality fat and protein in their diets. They also need amino acids, including taurine that cannot be found in human food. There are also numerous specialty diets for your cat that are formulated specifically for certain medical problems like urinary tract disorder, obesity, or kidney disease. During kittenhood, kittens will need to be fed every few hours. Growing kittens need more calories, nutrients, vitamins, protein, and calories. Your Ragdoll should be able to enjoy a peaceful meal in a quiet corner of the house. Some cat parents prefer to leave cat kibble out 24/7. When looking for a high-quality cat food, here’s what to look out for:

  • No low-quality fillers
  • No artificial additives
  • Low grade ingredients or toxic ingredients
  • All cat food has to be meat-based because all cats are carnivores.
  • No garlic
  • Plant-based ingredients should be listed after the protein-based ingredients

Consult with your veterinarian for the best dietary advice for your Ragdoll.

Grooming

The Ragdoll needs daily grooming to remove dead hair and to prevent the coat from matting. Because this breed has moderately long fur, extra grooming care is required. Stainless steel combs help to remove sheddng hair. Care must be taken when grooming leg hair and body hair to avoid missing spots that could tangle or mat easily. Curry brushes help with grooming, and will remove dead hair and debris from your Ragdoll’s coat. All cat breeds will groom themselves several times throughout the day. Daily grooming is necessary because it limits the amount of hair that your cat will consume. This helps limit the development of hairballs. Luckily, Ragdolls typically enjoy being groomed.

Daily cleaning with pet wipes beneath the tail is recommended. Ears should be checked weekly for cleanliness and sensitivity. If there is a buildup of wax and dirt, organisms can lead to an ear infection. Consult with your veterinarian about safe and gentle ear cleaning techniques. Nail trimming is necessary every few weeks. Eyes should also be cleaned gently every morning with cotton wool or a soft wipe. Each eye should be cleaned with different wipes or cotton balls to avoid eye infection contamination in both eyes.

Healthy Ragdolls need minimal bathing with a gentle cat shampoo. Yearly dental checkups are also a must.  

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