The Ragdoll is so named for its preference to just go limp when held. It is said that this is the most relaxed, mild-mannered cat in the world.
Ragdolls are a large, muscular breed with males sometimes obtaining weights of over 20 pounds. They have broad chests, large hindquarters and beautiful, medium long coats. The fur is soft like a rabbit's and can come in four colors: seal, chocolate, blue, and lilac (frost) and three patterns: mitted, bicolor, and colorpoint. Full color is not achieved until the cat is around age two. Matting and shedding is not a problem and an occasional combing or brushing is all that is required. The head is flattish and softly triangular with small, broad-based ears that tilt forward. Wide-set eyes are vivid blue ovals. A curved profile adds to their sweet, expressive face.
Standardized Ragdolls were created by breeders who bought a pair of the original cats and selectively bred them. They formed the Ragdoll Fanciers' Club International (RFCI), setting specific guidelines for other breeders of Ragdolls. All cat-registering associations now accept RFCI Ragdolls. Championship status exists in all associations except the Cat Fanciers Association, which assigns registration to the miscellaneous class and does not allow them to be shown.
No specific medical problems have been noted with the Ragdoll. Their long fur can be combed regularly to give it fluff and beauty. These striking cats are generally not prone to matting so they do not need the often rigorous grooming of other long haired breeds like the Persian, instead grooming once or twice a week should do the job. The average lifespan of the Ragdoll is the same as ordinary cats, 12-15 years is average but some are known to live as long as 20 years.
Intelligent and so good-natured, they fit into diverse households. But be careful of aggressive children or other pets. The Ragdoll is non-aggressive to the point of not even defending themselves when attacked. This makes them definite indoor animals. They can, however, be easily leash trained; taking a jaunt down the street is a way they can enjoy the outside world. They are very sociable, playful, soft-voiced and people oriented. Puppy-like in their adoration of their owners, they make wonderful companions. Because the Ragdoll is so tolerant and good-natured it has been rumored that they are either not able to feel pain or have a decreased ability to do so. This claim has not been substantiated.
The first Ragdoll was created in the early 1960s in California by a woman who had an alley cat who had been in an automobile accident. Her claim was that this produced the telltale limpness in the offspring. It is more likely that this mutation was a naturally occurring, recessive gene in the parent cat. Persians and Burmese were bred into the mix, resulting in the Ragdoll cat. In 1971, she formed the private IRCA organization, laying down rules for owners of this cat. The IRCA Ragdolls are not accepted in any major association.
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