History of the Ragdoll

Ann Baker’s Creation

The first Ragdoll cat was born in the 1960s in Riverside, California, not long ago compared to most breeds! And also unlike most cat breeds, the Ragdoll was genetically engineered by a woman named Ann Baker, meaning that she specifically bred cats together in an attempt to create the perfect cat.

This strange and interesting history of the Ragdoll breed is even preserved in an online archive, which you can visit here and view and read recent images and photos of the Ragdoll’s first appearance until now.

As legend has it, Josaphine, Ann’s neighbor cat, was hit by a car and immediately taken to the nearby university for treatment. In order to save the cat’s life the veterinarian’s used some sort of cutting edge “genetic engineering”, which Ann would not elaborate on and still remains a mystery to us cat lovers.

Up until that point Josephine was a wild cat; she spent most of her time outdoors and had the attitude and personality to match. However, after the procedure by the veterinarians at the university, she suddenly became benevolent and relaxed, and would flop over when you picked her up. Her new incredible temperament combined with her beautiful coat and blue eyes made her the perfect mate for a litter of amazing kittens. This is how the personality and characteristics of the Ragdoll were born! 

Josaphine would go on to become the mother of the first Ragdoll cat named Daddy Warbucks. They would later mate to produce more Ragdoll kittens, and the rest is history! Ann’s cattery, the “Raggedly Ann”, would be the first to breed Ragdoll cats.

Registering the Ragdoll

What Ann Baker did next was quite unusual; in 1971 she set up her own cat registry, called the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA), and trademarked the name Ragdoll. She imposed strict standards for the Ragdoll breed according to what she felt was true to the original Ragdoll.

However, Denny and Laura Dayton, who had previous purchased a pair of Ragdolls from Baker to breed (and eventually set up their own Ragdoll cattery), broke away from the IRCA and attempted to get the Ragdoll officially recognized by one of the major cat registries. They finally succeeded in getting the Ragdoll recognized by the Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA) and Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe).


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