15 Interesting Facts about Ragdoll Cats

Ragdolls are popular cats known for their “puppy” like temperance. Docile and affectionate, the Cat Fanciers’ Association has named the Ragdoll the most popular cat breed three years in a row since 2019.

Read on to learn more about the ragdoll cat.

1: Ragdolls are a newer breed

 The beginning of the Ragdoll breed surprisingly only dates back to the 1960s. A breeder named Ann Baker out of California created the founding cats from the offspring of a nearly feral cat. This cat was a white, long-haired beauty named Josephine that belonged to her neighbors, the Pennels [1]

Josephine had been struck by a car while pregnant, but fortunately she survived and was able to give birth to her kittens safely. She was fascinated and enthralled by Josephine and these kittens and began a breeding program to try to maintain the look and temperaments she found so desirable in them. 

2: Ann Baker had some pretty outlandish ideas about her Ragdolls

Ann Baker believed quite a few conspiracy theories about rag dolls [2]. Baker believed that Josephine and her kittens were forever changed by the car accident that hurt Josephine. Ann believed that the accident changed their DNA or their chemical makeup.

Later on, she claimed that Ragdolls were the final link between humans and aliens. She also claimed her cats couldn’t feel pain and had no fear. If all that wasn’t enough, Ann firmly believed that the cats had skunk genes.

3: Ragdolls are usually incredibly friendly and laid back.

 Ragdolls continue to grow in popularity because they are one of the friendliest and most outgoing breeds of cats. Many people describe their temperament as being like that of a dog. Maybe Ann was so surprised by this friendly breed that the only explanation she could think of was that they were related to aliens!

Ragdolls are known to love playing fetch and running to greet their humans at the door when they come home. They are definitely “people-cats.”

White and cream ragdoll kitten on a  pink leash looking to the cat's right while standing in the grass.
Ragdolls are very people oriented and are easily trained to walk on a leash. Photo: © cat / stock.adobe.com.

4: Ragdolls can come in an array of colors and patterns. 

The four patterns Ragdolls come in are as follows:

  • Bi-color
  • Van
  • Mitted
  • Colorpoint 

All the patterns can exist in six colors which are:

  • Seal
  • Blue
  • Chocolate
  • Lilac
  • Red
  • Cream

A ragdoll’s color points can be solid, lynx, tortie, or torbie. The Cat Fanciers’ Association officially recognizes all of these various patterns and colors as a part of the breed standard for Ragdolls [3].

Seal Bicolour Ragdoll Cat sitting on a white scratching post.
Seal Bicolour Ragdoll Cat. Photo: © furryfritz / stock.adobe.com.

5: Ragdolls always have blue eyes.

A Ragdoll’s eyes can be different shapes and have different sizes as well as different shades of blue, but purebred Ragdolls always have blue eyes. Their big, sparkling blue eyes are often a favorite characteristic for fans of the breed!   

6: Ragdolls are large cats

Ragdolls are one of the larger breeds of cats. And they aren’t just all fluff like you might think! Even underneath their long beautiful coat, females weigh anywhere from 10 to 15 pounds, and males can weigh up to 20 pounds or more.

English Bulldog and Ragdoll Cat Sitting Together against a white background.
Ragdoll cats are large cats (bulldog for scale and cute factor). Photo: © adogslifephoto / stock.adobe.com.

7: Ragdolls were so named because they act just like a rag doll

This breed of cat was named ragdoll because the original kittens and cats liked to go limp and completely relaxed when they were picked up. Just like a ragdoll! They wouldn’t tense up at all and were perfectly content to let humans hold them. This characteristic still holds true today for most Ragdoll cats.

8: Ragdolls are quiet kitties

They don’t vocalize as loudly or as often as other domestic cats do. Some think this may be the reason why Baker thought her cats couldn’t feel pain.

Cats, by nature, tend to hide their pain and their ill health. But ragdolls are even quieter than regular cats, so they are even less likely to let their owners know if they are in pain. 

9: A ragdoll went down in history as the longest living Janus cat 

A Janus cat is a rare oddity that occurs when a cat is born with two faces, like the god Janus. Frankenlouie, or Frank and Louie, was a Ragdoll who lived to be fifteen years old before he passed away in 2014. Frankenlouie’s advanced age gave him a special place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-living Janus cat. [4]

He had two eyes that worked, an eye in the middle of his face(s) that was blind, two noses, and two mouths. He had a rare congenital condition called diprosopia.

10: Ragdolls have long hair but their coat is easy to maintain

They have very little or just a light layer of undercoat, which is the part of the coat that can most easily get matted and tangled for most cats. Thanks to this thin layer, grooming requirements for these cats are pretty lax. They just need a good brush-out a couple of times a week instead of every day like some other long-haired breeds. A stainless-steel comb is usually most often recommended for ragdoll cats.

11: Ragdolls take a long time to fully mature

Often referred to as “late bloomers,” Ragdolls take a long time to reach official adulthood. It takes three to four years before they reach their full size and their coat is fully established in its final colors. 

12: They are one of the most popular breeds of cat

Ragdolls are quite popular because of their amiable, friendly disposition and because of their good looks. Because of this, they can also be very expensive.

Some breeders ask as much as 2,500 dollars for one kitten. For a kitten from a reputable breeder who does the minimum health testing for the betterment of the breed, most can be expected to pay at least $1,000 or more. 

13: Ragdoll cats are born completely white

Their colors don’t start to show until they are about one to two weeks old! Ragdolls are one of several breeds of cats known as colorpoint breeds.

A colorpoint cat is unique because the gene responsible for its color has a mutation that makes it sensitive to temperature. So, the warmer areas of their body, like their torso, will have a lighter color than the cooler locations of their body, like their ears, tail, parts of their face, and feet, which have more pigmentation. These areas are called points. 

14: Ragdolls have an above average lifespan 

As mentioned with Frankenlouie, the longest living Janus cat who lived to the ripe age of 15 years old, Ragdolls as a breed have an above-average lifespan expectancy. An indoor Ragdoll can be expected to live anywhere from 15 to 20 years of age. Related: How Long Do Domestic Cats Live?

15: Ragdolls love water

Ok, maybe love is a strong word to use for all Ragdoll cats when it comes to water. But they do seem to at least like water more than the average cat. Owners often report that their ragdoll cat likes to run into the kitchen anytime they hear the faucet turn on or want to be close by when their human is in the shower! 

References

[1] Ragdoll History. (n.d.). Ragdoll Fanciers Club International . rfci.org/ragdoll-history/

[2] Nunn, L. (n.d.). Ragdoll cat – History and myths. Cat Breeds World. https://www.catbreedsjunction.com/ragdoll-cat.html

[3] Ragdoll. (n.d.). The Cat Fanciers’ Association. https://cfa.org/ragdoll/

[4] Two-faced cats: How do they get that way? (2014, December 6). National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/141205-janus-cat-two-faced-frank-louie-animals-science

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