Ragdoll cat breed: some people believed that aliens have contributed to its development

László Enikő, 2023. January 27 - Source: Photos by Getty Images Hungary

The ragdoll, known as the ragdoll cat, is not named for nothing. Its special feature is that when it is picked up, it lets go and relaxes like a rag doll.


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Unlike many cats, the speciality of a Ragdoll is that it almost collapses in your arms, completely relaxing its limbs. She has a special bond with her owner, greeting him at the door, following him around the house and cuddling or snuggling him whenever she can. She often learns to come and fetch toys when her name is called, but she is also happy to walk on a leash.


The breed was bred in Riverside, California, bred by Ann Baker in the 1960s. Josephine, a non-pedigree, white, long-haired cat, has given birth to several litters. Josephine was of Persian/Angora-type and had kittens born to several unknown male Birman cats, one of which had a Siamese pattern. Josephine was hit by a car once and her behaviour changed completely after that. He became calmer, kinder, more reserved. Later on, she gave birth to cats with a docile, calm temperament, affectionate and easy-going nature. Hence the name Ragdoll: when a cat of this breed is picked up, it relaxes its limbs and relaxes its body. Many believed that Josephine’s kindness was the result of the accident and that she passed it on to her offspring. While it is possible that the mother cat did become more kind after the trauma, it is unlikely that her kittens inherited this.

In fact, at one time its breeder told others that because these kittens are so relaxed, they feel no pain or fear. But there have also been stories that the CIA and the aliens are involved in the breed’s development and that human genes have been inserted into these cats. Fortunately, soon afterwards, the situation was resolved and all the theories were dismissed. Among other things, Baker’s oddities were a reason for lovers of the breed to distance themselves from her.

In an unusual move, Baker rejected the traditional cat breeders’ associations. Around 1971, she trademarked the name Ragdoll, set up his own registry – the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA) – around 1971, and imposed strict standards on anyone who wanted to breed or sell cats under that name. The Ragdolls could not be registered by other breed associations. IRCA still exists today, but it has quite few members, especially since Baker’s death in 1997.

In 1975, a group led by Denny and Laura Dayton severed their ties with IRCA in an attempt to gain general recognition for the Ragdoll. A breed standard has been developed and is currently accepted by the CFA and FIFE.

In the early 1960s, when the breed spread to America, a breeding pair was exported to the UK. This pair was followed by eight more cats to fully establish the breed in the UK.

Breed standard

The ragdoll is a large, powerfully built cat. The head is slightly wedge-shaped, medium in size. The ears are moderately large and spaced apart. Its eyes are large and oval, blue in colour. The neck is long and muscular, the body is strong. The tail is medium long, covered with thick fur and tapering towards the end.

Its limbs are strong, its paws large, round and stocky. The hind legs are slightly longer than the front legs. The semi-long coat is silky and close to the body, longer on the neck and tail. Puppies are born white and reach their final colour at 2 years of age. They can have a colourpoint, bicolor or sock pattern. Their colour can be seal, blue, purple, chocolate, but sometimes red and cream are also found. Body weight is usually 5-9 kg. It reaches its full size at the age of 4. Expected lifetime 15 years.


The Ragdoll is a very affectionate, calm and balanced cat, who gets on well with children and other pets. He greets his owner at the door when he arrives home and looks forward to spending time with him. Not particularly athletic, more of a relaxing kind, but nevertheless very social and not just a decoration for the sofa.

He is a wise observer, watchful of his family and not looking for trouble, a truly peaceful creature, but of course he can’t resist the game. The breed is often compared to dogs, as the Ragdoll is as friendly and affectionate as a dog.

Ideal environment

Being sociable, he is also comfortable in families with children or pets. It is important for him to be looked after by his owner, as he is very attached. He loves to be stroked, to play together, but also to be quiet. He is peaceful, not a bad boy. It rarely climbs high, usually contenting itself with a lounge chair or sofa.


Although many people might not think so at first glance, the Ragdoll’s fur is very easy to care for. As it has little undercoat, it does not shed much and it is more difficult to form tangles. Once a week, however, it is always a good idea to comb through his coat. In winter, the fur becomes denser, so breeders often provide heated runs for their pets, as they believe the fur of these animals is much more beautiful than that of indoor-only animals.

Common health problems

The breed may have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease that is an inherited problem. A DNA-based test is now available to identify cats carrying one of the mutations that cause the disease. They are at increased risk of developing kidney and urinary stones.

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