History of the breed:
The Ragdoll is a relatively new breed of cat. Developed in the 1960's by a breeder named Ann Baker in Riverside CA, her kitty, Josephine and Josephine's sons, Daddy Warbucks and Blackie, are the origin of this special breed of cat.
If you research the history of the Ragdoll, you will soon discover that there was a lot of controversy and drama around the creation and popularization of this breed of cat. Ann Baker's dream was to franchise Ragdoll catteries and she got paid a royalty fee for every kitten sold. She was very keen on promoting this new breed of cat. As time went on, however, her claims about the breed became outlandish. She promoted the Ragdoll as being immune to pain, having a human gene in them, and even went so far as to say that they represent a link between humans and space aliens.
Another set of breeders, Denny and Laura Dayton, came on the scene several years after the inception of the breed. Their goal was to legitimize the breed and promote them for what they are, exceptionally docile and friendly companions.
The fact that Ragdolls have acheived world wide popularity is a testament to the fabulousness of this cat. Had this breed not been so exceptional in their nature and beauty, it likely would not have survived the controversy of it's origins.
The Ragdoll is a large cat, the males can grow up to 20lbs. They are slow to mature, reaching full coat color at two years, and full size and weight at four years of age. They are considered semi-long haired cats which means that their plush coat consists mainly of long guard hairs, but lacks a dense undercoat. This coat quality means that they tend to shed and mat less then other breeds. They are also a "pointed breed" meaning that their body is lighter colored, and the points (face, legs, tail and ears) are darker in color. This coat pattern is genetically linked to their beautiful blue eyes, which is considered by many to be the Ragdoll's most striking feature.
Ragdolls make great family pets and get along well with other cats, dogs and children.
Preventative Care for your Ragdoll:
Although Ragdolls don't mat up as much as other breeds, they should still be brushed regularily, at least once a week. A wide-tooth metal comb works best. If you find a mat, you can trim it out with scissors, but place a narrow-toothed comb in between the skin and scissors to act as a barrier so you don't accidently cut the skin.
Monitor your Ragdoll's litterbox habits. If you see that he or she is straining in the litterbox or has bloody urine, seek veterinary care immediatley. If your cat seems overly uncomfortable and is not producing any urine, this is an emergency situation. Cats can develop small bladder stones that can get stuck in the urethra preventing urination. This is most commonly a problem in male cats as the tip of their urethra is quite small. Cats can die if the urethral blockage is not resolved quickly.
It is also important to note if your Ragdoll is producing large amounts of urine. If you notice that the litterbox is getting very heavy with urine, this can be a sign that your cat is not concentrating his or her urine properly. Your veterinarian will likely want to check a urine sample and blood samples to evaluate the kidneys.