Ragdoll

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Ragdoll
Ragdoll from Gatil Ragbelas.jpg
OriginUnited States
Breed standards
FIFestandard
CFAstandard
TICAstandard
AACEstandard
ACFA/CAAstandard
ACFstandard
CCAstandard
Domestic cat (Felis catus)
 
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Ragdoll
Ragdoll from Gatil Ragbelas.jpg
OriginUnited States
Breed standards
FIFestandard
CFAstandard
TICAstandard
AACEstandard
ACFA/CAAstandard
ACFstandard
CCAstandard
Domestic cat (Felis catus)

The Ragdoll is a cat breed with blue eyes and a distinct colorpoint coat. It is a large and muscular semi-longhair cat with a soft and silky coat.[1] Developed by controversial American breeder Ann Baker, it is best known for its docile and placid temperament and affectionate nature. The name "Ragdoll" is derived from the tendency of individuals from the original breeding stock to go limp and relaxed when picked up.

Contents

History

In the 1960s a regular non-pedigreed white domestic longhaired cat named Josephine, who had produced several litters of typical cats, was injured in an accident involving a car and taken to the veterinary hospital at the University of California. Josephine was of a Persian/Angora type and had litters sired by several unknown male Birman or Burmese-like cats, one of which had the Siamese point coloration. Baker believed that Josephine was subject to a secret government genetic experiment during treatment at the lab, and claimed that it made Josephine docile, relaxed when picked up, and immune to pain. After Josephine recovered, her next litter produced kittens with similar temperament. When the subsequent litter produced more of the same, Ann Baker (an established cat breeder) purchased several kittens from the owner, who lived behind her, and believing she had something special, set out to create what is now known as the Ragdoll. The breed was selectively bred over many years for desirable traits, such as large size, gentle demeanor, and a tendency to go limp when picked up, as well as the striking pointed coloration.[2]

Out of those early litters came Blackie, an all black Burmese-like male and Daddy Warbucks, a seal point with white feet. Daddy Warbucks sired the founding bi-color female Fugianna, and Blackie sired Buckwheat, a dark brown/black Burmese-like female. Both Fugianna and Buckwheat were daughters of Josephine. All Ragdolls are descended from Baker's cats through matings of Daddy Warbucks to Fugianna and Buckwheat.

Baker, in an unusual move, spurned traditional cat breeding associations. She trademarked the name "Ragdoll," set up her own registry—International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA)—and enforced stringent standards on anyone who wanted to breed or sell cats under that name.[2] The Ragdolls were also not allowed to be registered in other breed associations. In 1975, a group led by Denny Dayton broke rank with IRCA with the aim of gaining mainstream recognition for the Ragdoll. This group eventually developed the Ragdoll standard currently accepted by major cat registries.

Since the spread of the Ragdoll breed in America during the early 1960s, a breeding pair of Ragdolls was exported to the UK. This was followed by eight more cats to fully establish the breed in the UK, where it is recognised by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy[3]

In 1994, a second group decided to leave the IRCA and form their own group due to increasingly strict breeding restrictions. This group later established the Ragamuffin breed. Because Baker owned the rights to the name "Ragdoll", no offshoot groups could call their cats Ragdolls until the trademark on "Ragdoll" was not renewed in 2005.[4]

Breed description

Temperament

A Flame point cat

The docile and floppy nature of the Ragdoll is a characteristic thought to be passed down from the Persian and Birman breed. There are contrary statements on whether this trait might be the result of genetic mutation.[5][6] The extreme docility of some individuals has led to the myth that Ragdolls are pain-resistant. Some breeders in Britain have tried to breed away from the limpness due to concerns that extreme docility "might not be in the best interests of the cat".[5][7] There have been multiple reports of ragdolls nonchalantly approaching moving cars and vicious dogs and getting hurt.[citation needed] Breed standards describe the Ragdoll as affectionate, intelligent, relaxed in temperament, gentle and easy to handle.[8][9]

Physical characteristics

The Ragdoll is one of the largest domesticated cat breeds with a sturdy body, large frame and proportionate legs. A fully-grown female weighs from 8 to 15 pounds (3.6 to 6.8 kg). Males are substantially larger, ranging from 12 to 20 pounds (5.4 to 9.1 kg)[2] or more. The genes for point coloration are also responsible for the blue eyes of the Ragdoll. More intense shades of blue are favored in cat shows. Though the breed has a plush coat, it consists mainly of long guard hairs, while the lack of a dense undercoat results in, according to the Cat Fanciers' Association, "reduced shedding and matting".[10] Mitted Ragdolls, which weren't allowed titling in CFA until the '08-'09 show season, will often be confused for Birmans. The easiest way to tell the difference is by size (the Ragdoll being obviously larger) and chin color (Ragdolls have white chins, while Birmans have colored chins), although breeders recognize the two by head shape and boning.

Ragdolls come in 6 different colors - seal, chocolate, flame, and the corresponding "dilutes" such as blue, lilac and cream. This also includes the tortoiseshell pattern in all colors and the three patterns. All Ragdoll kittens are born white. They have good color at 8 – 10 weeks and full color and coat at 3 – 4 years. There are four different patterns:

Health

One study utilizing Swedish insurance data showed that of the common cat breeds, the Ragdoll and Siamese have the lowest survival rate, with 63% living to 10 years or more for the Ragdoll and 68% for the Siamese, although the same study concluded that the overall age standardized total mortality rate for the Siamese and Persian groups was higher than for other breed groups.[12] This study indicates the Ragdoll may have a significantly higher number of cats that die of urinary problems, mainly from kidney/ureter issues and partly from lower urinary issues. Whether this is an issue outside of Finland, Sweden or Denmark, or whether this is due to the use of Persian stock by some breeders (with the possible introduction of Polycystic Kidney Disease into the breed), remains unclear at this time.[13] Some breeders are beginning to test Ragdolls for this condition to see if it's an issue.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a common heart disease in all cats, and is most commonly genetic in cause. The disease causes thickening of the heart wall, which makes the heart pump less efficiently. It can in some instances lead to sudden death. In Ragdolls homozygous positive for the disease (having two copies of the HCM gene), the condition may present early (as young as six months) and tends to be severe, with most cats dying by age 3. Heterozygous (one copy of HCM gene) cats tend to have later onset and slower progression of the disease with less severe impact. A DNA test was developed in 2007 to identify the gene that causes HCM in Ragdolls. Breeding only from Ragdolls that are free from this gene (homozygous negative) will ensure that they will not develop the form of HCM associated with it.[14][15]

References

  1. ^ Ragdoll Standard FIFe
  2. ^ a b c Ragdoll J. Anne Helgren (2006). Telemark Productions.
  3. ^ "Welcome to the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy". http://www.gccfcats.org/breeds.html. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  4. ^ see U.S. trademark number 1,026,916
  5. ^ a b Understanding Cat Behavior: The Complete Feline Problem Solver Roger Tabor (2003). P 33.
  6. ^ Do cats always land on their feet Gina Spadafori, Marty Becker
  7. ^ The Cat: Its Behavior, Nutrition & Health Linda P. Case, Kerry Helms, Bruce Macallister (2003). P 31.
  8. ^ Ragdoll Breed standard Governing Council of Cat Fancy
  9. ^ Ragdoll Breed standard Cat Fanciers' Association
  10. ^ Breed Profile Cat Fanciers' Association
  11. ^ "Ragdoll International Patterns and Colors". http://www.ragdollinternational.org/patscolors.shtml. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  12. ^ Egenvall, A.; Nødtvedt, A.; Häggström, J.; Ström Holst, B.; Möller, L.; Bonnett, B. N. (2009). "Mortality of Life-Insured Swedish Cats during 1999—2006: Age, Breed, Sex, and Diagnosis". Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 23 (6): 1175–1183. doi:10.1111/j.1939-1676.2009.0396.x. PMID 19780926.  edit
  13. ^ "PKD". felipedia.org. http://www.felipedia.org/~felipedi/wiki/index.php?title=PKD. 
  14. ^ "Minutes of Executive Council Meeting No: 28 (doc)". New Zealand Cat Fancy. 24th - 25th Sep 2011. http://www.nzcf.com/downloads/EC%20Meeting%20Sept%202011.doc. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  15. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions about the HCM Genetic Mutation Predominantly Found in Ragdoll Cats". NC State College of Veterinary Medicine. http://www.cvm.ncsu.edu/vhc/csds/vcgl/ragdoll-faq.html. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 

External links