The Ragdoll is one of the world’s most popular breeds of cat, but it is also one of the relatively newer breeds.
Ragdolls are born completely white and their face, ears and tail darken as they age. There are four patterns available: bi-colour, van, mitted and colourpoint, and six colours: seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red and cream. Their large, wide-set eyes are a striking blue colour. Their coat is quite long and silky, and lies smoothly on the body. They are one of the larger cat breeds, with a muscular body, well-developed cheeks and medium-sized ears.
Ragdolls weigh between 4.5 and 9 kg and live up to around 15 years old.
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Despite Josephine’s owner’s claim that Ragdolls feel no pain, this is unfortunately not true. However, they are extremely laidback and placid and may simply be better at hiding their pain. Ragdolls were named after their tendency to go limp when picked up due to their relaxed nature.
Ragdolls love the company of humans and never stray too far from their family; however they are strictly indoor cats and should only be allowed outside if on a leash or in an enclosed area. They have been known to be almost dog-like in their sociability, and get along great with other people, children, and pets.
They are playful and quite easy to train, and will greet you when you arrive home and follow you around the house.
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The Ragdoll breed originated in the 1960s when a white Person/Angora-type cat named Josephine was hit by a car. She was taken to a vet in California where her owner claims she was subjected to government testing. These tests supposedly resulted in Josephine feeling no more pain and being relaxed when picked up. The next litter of kittens inherited the same relaxed temperament that Josephine had after her accident.
Her two male offspring, Blackie and Daddy Warbucks, are credited as the fathers of the Ragdoll breed. Daddy Warbucks and his kittens were registered as the first Ragdoll cats in 1966.
The Ragdoll Fanciers Club International was formed in 1975 to establish a breed standard, and in 1981 the Ragdoll was first introduced into the UK. As of 2012, the Ragdoll is the 4th most popular cat breed in the US.