Ragdoll kittens are a popular cat breed, partly due to their distinctive blue eyes and their silky fur. A number of our cat transport jobs have been to collect Ragdoll kittens so we have got to know some of the UK breeders and done some research about the breed.
Ragdoll Kittens – History of the breed
The Ragdoll is thought to date back to the 1960’s, originally from California. First bred by American breeder Ann Baker, it’s believed they are the result of a mating between a female white Persian and a male Birman cat. A few years later they were officially registered with the National Cat Fanciers Association.
In 1971 Ann Baker founded the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA) in an effort to try and control and dictate how Ragdolls could be bred. A family called the Daytons who had previously purchased cats from Ann Baker refused to accept these regulations. As a result they decided to start their own organisation called the Ragdoll Fanciers Club International (RFCI). Even though Ann Baker deserves the credit for starting the breed, some say it may not have survived without the work and breeding program of the Dayton family. They have since become a popular breed, especially in the USA and the UK.
They get the name Ragdoll because they become very relaxed and floppy when handled. Ragdoll cats are considered to be house cats. This is mostly because of their personality which is mostly trusting of humans. They aren’t considered to be ‘street smart’ enough to fend for themselves outside. They are thought to be one of, if not the most docile cat breed in the world. This makes them a good choice for families as they are more tolerant of young children playing with them than most cat breeds.
Ragdolls usually have a strong affinity to humans, particularly their owners but often towards strangers too. The bond they have with their owner has led many to remark that they are actually more like dogs in their devotion to humans. They are also considered one of the most ‘dog like’ cats because it’s not unusual for them to enjoy playing fetch. They also seem to enjoy the company of dogs in the home which can make them a good choice for those who like to own both cats and dogs. It’s not unusual for a Ragdoll to follow their human around the house from room to room. Having said that they are devoted to humans, they aren’t actually too ‘needy’. They are often happy to spend time in our company but won’t always insist that you stroke and fuss them. Indeed many Ragdoll owners report that their cats aren’t lap cats and don’t enjoy too much stroking or cuddles. They love our company but don’t want too much fussing. The exception to this is at night when a Ragdoll is much more likely to want to sleep with you, either close to your head or next to your legs.
They differ from most cat breeds in one other noticeable way. Unlike most cat breeds, Ragdoll kittens don’t seem to be natural climbers. There is no physical reason why they can’t climb or explore high areas. However you are unlikely to see a Ragdoll walking on top of kitchen cupboards or work surfaces. Jumping on to the sofa to be close to their owner is about as high as a Ragdoll seems bothered to explore.
Downsides of Owning A Ragdoll
There aren’t really any downsides if you have done your research before buying a Ragdoll. They have very thick fur and they do shed. They generally tolerate grooming quite well though. They will require grooming on a weekly basis. They crave company more than most cat breeds. If you are looking for an independent cat that will only bother you at meal times, a Ragdoll is not for you. Their desire for company means that if you are away from home for long periods, like full time working, it might be a good idea to have more than one cat. It doesn’t have to be another Ragdoll or indeed another cat as they do get on well with dogs. Being house cats they are more likely to get bored being completely alone and that can lead to destructive behaviour. If this respect they are much more like dogs than most cat breeds.
In terms of health there are a couple of conditions that Ragdoll cats seem to be prone to getting. One is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy where they volume of blood pumped by the heart is reduced which can lead to fainting and tiredness. The other condition to be aware of is Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). Cysts in the kidney present at birth grow impacting kidney function. A genetic test is available for this condition so ask your breeder.
We have had dealings with a couple of UK Ragdoll breeders. One is called Caramel Dreams, based in Essex. You can visit their website by clicking the following link:
Another Ragdoll breeder we have worked with is called Keb-Belle Ragdolls. You can visit their website at the following link:
If you have experience of owning Ragdolls and want to comment on your experiences please do. Maybe you can confirm the personality traits we mentioned or have additional useful information to share with potential or existing Ragdoll owners.