Ragdoll cats are a relatively new breed when compared to other heavyweight kitty giants like the Maine Coons and the Norwegian Forest cats. Their breeder, Ann Baker, started formally breeding these cuties in the 1960’s by mating a stray long-haired white female cat with another long-haired male white cat.
After tons of experimenting (no one really knows what sorts of breeds Baker used to come up with the final litter, but they have lots of guesses), the ragdoll cat came to be. Soft-haired, docile, and warm, the ragdolls are the perfect companion for timid and shy individuals and families. Their cool temperaments made them the fourth most popular cat breed in the US.
Despite their popularity, though, not everyone seems to know much about these cats except that they are fluffy and they sleep most of the day. If you are one of them or if you are deciding whether to get a ragdoll or not, let these fun facts convince you to adopt one!
1. What’s with the name?
You are probably asking: why call them a ragdoll? They may look like lovely dolls, but “rag”? They actually look more like a feather duster than a floor mat.
Kidding aside, ragdolls were named such because of a specific behavior they exhibit. When picked up or carried, ragdolls collapse and go limp like a lifeless, uh, ragdoll.
You need not worry about this though; your cat is not dead. In fact, going all limp is one sign that it is docile and all too happy to be stroked and cuddled.
When carrying this fluffy feline, make sure to support both front and hind legs. Never carry it with the latter hanging freely. If you have kids, teach them how to carry the ragdoll properly. Why? You will find out later.
2. Ragdolls aka “Puppy Cats”
It’s a messy contradiction, but bear with us as we explain why.
Ragdolls are considered to be cats on the biological level. But, when it comes to their behavior, ragdolls are more like sweet, little pups than kittens (or even full-grown cats).
They are known to wait for you near the door, follow you around as soon as you step into the house, play Fetch with anything you throw from a paper ball to a toy, and they can even be put on a harness and be walked around the neighborhood like a real doggo!
So if you want the loyalty of a dog and the finesse of a cat in one being, try adopting a ragdoll.
3. Cuddlers than Climbers
Their dog-like clinginess is the reason why they are, as cat enthusiasts call them, the “floor cats.” Instead of jumping on high places and destroying your furniture and any other breakable thing in your household, ragdolls would rather curl up on the sofa, bed, or on your lap.
Generally speaking, they prefer being at the level of their humans than do an indoor parkour using your cabinets.
4. Late bloomers
Ragdolls reach full maturity at 4 years old. By this time, their weight is relatively stable (females are usually 10 to 15 pounds while males go from 15 to 20, sometimes even more), their coat colors more pronounced (non-white colors only show up starting at 12 weeks old), and their temperament is more subdued than when they were kittens.
If you plan to spay or neuter your ragdolls (and you should if you don’t plan to breed them), wait until they are at least six months old. Around this time, your felines are considered “teenagers” in human years and hormonal fluctuations are more common than ever.
5. Free Weights
Speaking of their weight, did you know that ragdolls are included in the top 5 heaviest and largest domestic cat breeds in the world? Lists tend to change over time so we cannot give an exact rank, but being ranked in the first 5 out of the 44 recognized breeds is quite a feat!
Their 10-to-20-pound body is the primary reason why carrying them carefully, with no legs dangling limply, is essential to prevent injury. On a positive note, their massive build can be an accessory to tone those arms and legs. They just might be the reminder you need to finally get some workout done.
6. Who needs morphine?
Let’s go back to Ann Baker. The famous ragdoll breeder was accused of peddling lies and myths to increase the popularity of her creation (as if it needs more popularity boost). Few of them include myths that ragdolls are fearless to anything and they do not feel pain at all.
While these myths are highly unlikely (who doesn’t feel pain?), the latter statement holds a bit of truth in it. Ragdolls do feel and experience pain, but they rarely exhibit or show it, making them consistent feline patients of veterinarians.
Their natural propensity to hide the pain could be the reason why Baker claimed that they are oblivious to the feeling.
7. Alien descendants?
Another myth that Baker peddled to the media about her ragdolls is that they are genetically modified to have alien DNA attached to them by CIA secret agents. This, she claimed, was the reason why ragdolls have limp, docile attitudes.
This theory was immediately dismissed (and laughed at) because genetic modification was not yet practiced during the 1960’s.
8. A Lethal Combination
We all know that cats generally hate water, especially if it comes from a loud faucet or shower head. But strangely, ragdolls don’t. For some reason, seeing water running down the faucet amuses them.
Some of their human companions claimed that their Raggies come running to the bathroom whenever they go for a shower. They also tend to make the sink a comfortable resting place.
Finally! A cat breed that does not thrash and scratch during bath times!
9. Chinese status symbols
It might be the fluffy coat, or the docile personality; it can be that piercing blue eyes that made them a testament of wealth among the Chinese. According to Topic, blue bi-color ragdolls are being shipped by breeders and college students to the mainland in order to sell them at $780 each.
That price ain’t cheap. No wonder they are status symbols back there.
Despite their sketchy history, the world is extra lucky to have Ragdolls available to be enjoyed by the general public. Their quiet nature and gentle temperament make them a natural favorite among human ailurophiles.
However, like other beings, Ragdolls may or may not exhibit the traits that they are known for. Regardless, we hope you accept and love these lovely cats as an individual and not just as a breed.