Ragdolls truly deserve their name. The name implies to Ragdolls´ tendency to relax all their muscles and go limp in one´s arms like big beanie babies, but they have other characteristics that could be connected to a rag doll: they are friendly, sweet, loving, docile, gentle and serene. Although they have many good qualities, it is the personality which has made people call Ragdolls addictive!
Ragdolls are "people-oriented" cats who love to be with humans and attach strongly to their owners. Many Ragdoll owners tell how their cats wait for them at the door when they come home and follow them everywhere like shadows! Ragdoll owners are rarely alone; Ragdolls want to take part of everything that happens in the house and "help" their owners on whatever they do. Because Ragdolls want to be close to their humans, they are always on danger to be stepped on! Luckily they also forgive easily. Because Ragdolls are very social, you should get at least two cats if you are a lot of time away from home.
Ragdolls are calm, yet moderately active and like to play. With their easy-going attitude, they get along well with other animals and children and rarely use their claws while playing with someone. Ragdolls can also adapt to live in a small apartment and they are happy living indoors, as long as you play with them and provide them cat toys and a climbing tree. In fact Ragdolls should never be let go outside alone, because they are very trusting and tend to think of everyone as a friend. Their trusting nature also shows in the way they let people handle them: you can put Ragdolls on their backs and carry them like babies, and unlike most cats, they actually often enjoy tummy rubs!
Ragdolls are usually not very "talkative" and they have a quiet voice. Yet they have a large vocabulary and often Ragdoll owners tell how they cats "chirp", "squeak" and "growl"!
Ragdolls are less stubborn than most cats tend to be and they can be easily trained. They usually learn the same tricks as dogs, like retriving toys, rolling and begging. They are also easy to teach how to walk on a leash and how to use a scratching post. Ragdolls are generally not destructive at home, because they are calm and usually prefer the floor-level to climbing. Due their lack of undercoat, Ragdolls shed relatively little.
Don´t forget that these are only common qualities in Ragdolls and just like in any other breed, they don´t apply to all of them. Every Ragdoll is an individual!
The first thing you may notice when you see a Ragdoll is its size --female Ragdolls generally weight about 4-6 kg (8-15 pounds) and males about 7-10 kg (12-20 pounds), making them about three times bigger than "regular" cats! Ragdoll is the largest cat breed in the world and it´s even mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records. Ragdolls grow slowly and it takes approximately 3-4 years to reach full maturity.
Expect for the size, Ragdoll has no physical extremes. Ragdolls are heavy-boned, muscular cats with broad chests and large hindquarters. The eyes are large and oval and always blue --darker color is preferred. The ears are large and rounded and set with a slight forward tilt. The curve profile looks like a "ski slope" and the tail is long and bushy.
Ragdolls have a very soft, medium-long hair. They usually have longer hair around the neck ("ruff") and on the back of the hindquarters ("britches").
All Ragdolls are "pointed" cats, meaning that their faces, ears, legs and tails are darker than the body. The kittens are born white and their colors and patterns start to show when they are about 10 days old. Ragdolls get darker with age and young cats usually have the biggest contrast between the points and the body color. At the moment there are three standard patterns and four colors, listed below. There are also new, "non-traditional" colors and patterns and more are being developed by crossbreeding with other breeds and old original Ragdoll lines. These include tortie points, lynx points, shaded silvers, cream points, red/flame points, solid colors (no points) and other eye colors. They are still very rare and experimental, lynx point, red point and tortie point being the most common at the moment. Only a few cat associations accept them, but they probably will eventually be recognised more widely.
The Ragdoll is a breed whose origins are surrounded by controversy and tall tales. According to various stories, the foundation cat, Josephine, produced unremarkable kittens until she was struck by a car in the early 1960s. After her recovery, all of her subsequent litters produced kittens that displayed Ragdoll characteristics: large size, non-matting fur, the tendency to relax in a person’s arms like a child’s rag doll (hence the name), and serene dispositions. Also rumored was the kittens’ insensitivity to pain (which, according to breeders, is not true). Another story holds that Josephine was taken to a laboratory after her car accident, where she was genetically altered as part of a secret government experiment, resulting in genetic changes. While these are amusing stories, no scientific evidence exists to support any of these claims, and, in fact, geneticists say that this type of genetic alteration did not exist in the 1960s.
Other breeders claim that Josephine was bred to a seal Birman male who in turn was bred to a sable Burmese female. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of this, either. The Ragdoll’s white spotting gene is definitely not the same as in the Birman breed, according to TICA’s genetics committee chairperson, Dr. Solveig Pflueger, M.D., Ph.D.