Cat breeds: Ragdoll

Ragdolls are one of the largest domestic cat breeds in the world, where the males can often tip the scales at a whopping 25 pounds. Imagine that landing directly on your lap. They are a distinctly American breed, developed in the early 1960’s, in Riverside, California. The breed was developed by one woman, Ann Baker, who even copyrighted the name Ragdoll. This is now one of the most sought after breeds of cat in America by serious cat breeders, showers and lovers of beautiful, pedigreed pet cats.

Appearance

Normally, Ragdolls are only about fifteen to twenty pounds, which is still almost twice as heavy as the average alley cat. They have a very serene expression with baby blue eyes. They look like a cross between a Maine Coon and a Siamese, although the original Ragdolls were crosses between Persians, longhaired alley cats and Birmans (another longhaired breed similar to a Himalayan).

Despite the presence of Persians in the original breeding stock, Ragdolls have straight noses very much like that of a Maine Coon. This means they are not prone to the many breathing disorders that Pug-faced cats are susceptible to. These are big, solid cats with tufts of fur coming out of their ears. Their paws are often large for a cat.

One of the big draws of the Ragdoll is that it has Siamese colorations with a light colored body and dark face, legs and tail. There are also bi-colored Ragdolls with a darker color of a mosty white body. Some Ragdolls are called “mitted” because they will have dark legs but bright white feet.

Ragdolls do not have the incredibly rebellious coats of Persians or Himalayans, but the coat is long and required daily grooming. Their coats are not as thick as a Maine Coon’s, but not as short as a Siamese. The feel of the coat should be, according to the breed standard, “plush and silky”.

Temperament

Ragdolls are more than just a pretty face. Although no two cats are alike, for the most part, Ragdolls are placid and largely unflappable. They are also friendly and like people. They often follow their people around like a puppy would. Professional photographers love Ragdolls as they are not only beautiful, but cooperative.

Many Ragdolls love to please and play with their people and are quite capable of learning tricks, certain behaviors (like sitting still for grooming or a vet check up) and fetch. Many owners of Ragdolls report that they often play with people with their claws sheathed instead of extended.

Ragdolls are affectionate and bold, which means they can get beat up very quickly by the local alley cats, stray dogs or wildlife. Ragdolls should not be allowed outside unless they can be closely supervised.

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