The Ragdoll Cat Breed. Ragdoll Cats Are Floppy Cats!

Here we take a look at the Ragdoll cat breed, investigating its history, health and looks. There's information, too, about the three different kinds of Ragdoll cats (Mitted, Bicolor and Colorpoint) that make up the breed, which are all shown below in the Ragdoll cat pictures on this page.

Ragdoll Cat History

The Ragdoll cat breed name comes from the way cats of this breed have of collapsing in their owner's arms when they're picked up. All floppy, just like a rag doll!

First heard of in 1965, there's a lot of mythology surrounding Ragdoll cats, as well as a certain amount of controversy. So just where did all this intrigue come from?

It's said that the 'mother of the breed' was a long-haired white cat called Josephine, who was injured in a car accident and received a fractured pelvis.

Josephine (probably as a result of an accidental mating, which according to some sources may have been with a Burmese, Birman, or both) subsequently gave birth to a litter of three kittens, all possessing this 'floppy' characteristic.

Ragdoll cat breed - Mitted varietyMitted Ragdoll. White mittens and chin, thin white stripe on nose
Image © iStockphoto | Linn Currie

The rest, as they say, is history – or perhaps mythology. It's claimed that the kittens' 'floppiness' is a result of their mother's injury, but this would be genetically unlikely.

It's more probable that this, as well as some of the Ragdoll breed's other characteristics (their placid and docile nature and lack of survival instinct) were received through selective breeding from cats who already possessed these traits.

One of Josephine's kittens was mated to a Birman-like cat (with the splendid name of Daddy Warbucks!) who became the Ragdoll founding father.

Ragdoll Cat Health and Care

Modern Ragdolls look quite similar to Birmans, or perhaps Himalayans. They're large, stocky, healthy cats, with the males typically weighing between 15-20lb, females slightly less.

They have thick coats which are easy to care for as their fur does not mat. As with all long-haired cats, regular brushing and combing is necessary to keep the coats in good condition.

Because of their non-aggressive and placid nature, Ragdoll cats should be kept indoors or in a safe enclosure; they're not good at defending themselves.

Ragdoll Varieties and Colors

All Ragdolls have large blue eyes, medium-size rounded ears, a long bushy tail, and large round paws, which have tufts of fur between the toes.

There are three variations of the Ragdoll cat breed. All are found in the seal, chocolate, blue and lilac point colors. The kittens are born completely white and it can take up to three years before their true colors are known.

The Mitted Ragdoll

Many Ragdoll cat breeders consider that the Mitted Ragdoll (seen in the photo above) is the only true version of the breed.

These cats have white chins, bibs and chests with a stripe running all the way from the bib along the stomach to the tail. Mitted Ragdolls are also allowed a narrow stripe on the nose.

Their name comes from the white 'mittens' that should be seen on the front paws; the back legs have longer 'boots'.

The Bicolor Ragdoll

The Bicolor Ragdoll is similar to the Mitted, except that the legs, chest and stomach are all white. There should be no white markings on the ears or tail. It does, however, have a white inverted 'V' extending down between the eyes over the nose, muzzle and chin.

Ragdoll cat breed - Bicolor varietyThe Bicolor. Long white gloves and chest, ruff and inverted 'V' over nose
Image © iStockphoto | Linn Currie

The Colorpoint Ragdoll

The Colorpoint Ragdoll, as its name suggests, has a pale body with points (ears, face, paws and tail) in one of the four main point colors.

The Colorpoint does not have the white facial markings of the other varieties and in fact there should be no white markings at all on the points.

The Colorpoint looks very like a cross between a Siamese and a Persian, which is perhaps why the Ragdoll cat breed is sometimes mistaken for a long-haired Siamese.

Ragdoll cat breed - Colorpoint varietySeal Colorpoint. No white on points. Note the tufted paws!
Image © iStockphoto | Daniel Käfer

Further Reading

For further information about Ragdolls and how to look after them, the following books, available from Amazon, are popular and well-rated books about the breed.

Other Siamese Relatives

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