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Brief History of the Ragdoll

  Raggedy Ann Cattery
(Raggedy Ann Cattery)

Brief History of the Ragdoll

The Beginning....

The 'History' of our beloved Ragdoll is shrouded in mystery, myths & a little confusion but one thing we can be sure of is that once you have been owned by one of these beautiful cats life will never be the same again.

It all began in Riverside, California, USA in the 1960's by the late Mrs. Ann Baker who was a Persian breeder.

Mrs. Baker had on occasions borrowed a cat that belonged to her neighbour a Mrs. Pennels. This cat had the appearance of a white Angora type cat & was named Josephine. As the story goes Mrs. Baker states that Josephine & her offspring were wild in their behaviour, that is until Josephine was involved in a road traffic accident. Josephine had suffered head injuries & had lost an eye in this accident & was taken to the local University Hospital by a neighbour who had found Josephine lying by the kerbside. Ann believes & states that it was during her recovery at the University Hospital that Josephine 'underwent' some kind of 'genetic alteration' (though this is in direct conflict to Ann's account in her publication of the IRCA booklet in which Ann states that Ragdolls were the result of a 'phenomenon' 'an act of God'). Ann noticed that subsequent litters from Josephine were now different from those born prior to the accident; instead of being wild they were very playful, loving & relaxed; they seemed to crave human attention; the kittens became limp when handled like a child's rag doll toy & it was this that gave Ann the inspiration to call her 'new breed' the 'RAGDOLL.'

(stand in for Josephine)
Once Josephine had recovered & had been returned home Ann took up to borrowing her again. Ann used a son of Josephine to sire progeny in her Black Persian breeding programme. This son had the appearance of a Black/Brown Persian cat & Ann named him Blackie. It was on one of these occasions when borrowing Blackie that Ann saw & was quite taken with his half brother. In Ann's own words this cat had the appearance of the 'Sacred Cat of Burma' the Birman. This cat possessed white mitts to the front paws, white boots to the back legs, blue eyes, dark seal colour to the face, ears & tail but with a white blaze to his nose & a white tip to his tail. As Ann had already gained the trust of the owner, her neighbour, Mrs. Pennels, she was also permitted to use this cat with her females. Ann named this cat Raggedy Ann Daddy Warbucks. What Ann clearly states is that both Blackie & Daddy Warbucks are sons of Josephine but have different sires. In the IRCA booklet it would appear to indicate that Blackie's father was a 'black cat from the East' that appeared 'more Persian than Burmese. Ann confirmed that no-one had ever seen the sire of Daddy Warbucks & that he was the only kitten in the litter.

Raggedy Ann DaddyWarbucks
(Raggedy Ann Daddy Warbucks)

There was another lady that lived up in the mountains that had acquired an earlier litter from Josephine. This lady was the widow of a preacher & on her return to live back in the neighbourhood Ann managed to obtain this litter also. At this time Ann now owned a daughter of Blackie & Josephine, a black self female called Buckwheat. Ann describes Buckwheat as appearing similar to a Burmese cat, but had thicker fur, & it is pointed out that she was not part Siamese in breeding. Ann was also given another daughter from Josephine though her sire was Daddy Warbucks. Ann called this daughter Raggedy Ann Fugianna. Fugianna's appearance was in essence a badly marked Bicolour, she possessed a wide inverted 'V' on her face, a large amount of white on her body & could be further recognised by the fact that her ears were both dark & white (today in the UK Fugianna would be termed as a seal Mid High White). Now that Ann had acquired both Buckwheat & Fugianna & with the continued stud services of Daddy Warbucks, the foundation of the breed had been laid, as it was from these three offspring of Josephine that Ragdolls are descended.

Buckwheat      Fugianna
       (Buckwheat with Kyoto & Tiki)                            (Ann holding Fugianna)         
Josephine was very protective of her litter (as any mother would be of her babies) & often fought with the family dog if it came too close to the babies. It was on one of these occasions not long after Ann acquired Fugianna that Josephine & the dog fought again. The owners husband was not happy & gathered up Josephine & her babies & had them destroyed; the founding Queen of the Ragdoll dynasty was gone.

"The Dark Side" & "The Light Side"

Following the tragic loss of Josephine, Ann was left with the three essential cats; Daddy Warbucks, Buckwheat & Fugianna. In time Ann mated DaddyWarbucks to his half sisters, Buckwheat & Fugianna, Ann decided that she would split the resulting kittens from each female. Those kittens from Buckwheat were termed "the Dark Side" whilst the kittens from Fugianna were termed from "the Light Side."

The first litter from Daddy Warbucks & Buckwheat produced four kittens, two were colourpointed & two were black self kittens. These kittens were born in the summer of 1965. One of the self kittens had white mitts & resembled its father whilst the other resembled its mother. These two kittens were named Gueber & Mitts & once matured became parents of kittens that would be registered as 'Experimental Persians,' later Ann was to call these cats 'Ragdolls Tu.' The two colourpointed kittens were a male seal mitted named Raggedy Ann Kyoto & a female chocolate colourpointed named Raggedy Ann Tiki & Ann registered both Kyoto & Tika as 'Ragdolls.' The birth of Kyoto & Tiki was the beginning of what Ann was to term the 'Dark Side.' Once Kyoto & Tiki had matured they were also line bred together. Among their kittens were Raggedy Ann Kookie (seal colourpointed male), Raggedy Ann Kookie Tu (seal mitted male), Raggedy Ann Bambi & Raggedy Ann Toy Sue (both seal mitted females) & finally Raggedy Ann Toy Ling (seal colourpointed female). In turn these offspring of Kyoto & Tika were incorporated into the breeding programme once they had matured. Two of the females from the 'Dark Side' that had been bred were to be part of the 'Blossom-Time' line (Orphan Annie of Blossom-Time & Melonie of Blossom-Time). 

Ann Baker & Kyoto     Ann Baker holding Kookie, Toy Sue & Kookie Tu 1966     Ann Baker holding Kyoto & Kookie Tu
                       (Ann holding Kyoto)            (Ann holding Kookie,Toy Sue        (Ann with Kyoto & his son Kookie Tu)
& Kookie Tu)

The only other cat termed from the 'Light Side' apart from Daddy Warbucks & Fugianna was Raggedy Ann B'wana (seal point bi-colour female). Raggedy Ann B'wana was the offspring of Daddy Warbucks & Fugianna. Fugianna was mated to various other Ragdoll males which included Raggedy Ann Kookie Tu which produced Raggedy Ann Joshua (seal mid high white bi-colour male), Raggedy Ann Kyoto producing Raggedy Ann Woo Wong (seal mid high white bi-colour male), Kookie which produced Raggedy Ann Pancho Villa (seal mitted male) & a seal mitted male who was the offspring of Raggedy Ann Kookie & Raggedy Ann Toy Sue, Raggedy Ann Robin, which produced Raggedy Ann Rosie (a seal mitted female). It would seem that matings from both the 'Dark Side' & the 'Light Side' were much favoured, with Ann much preferring the look of Daddy Warbucks. Ann always said that Daddy Warbucks was the 'father of the Ragdoll look.'

Raggedy Ann Joshua       Raggedy Ann B'wana & WooWong
           (Raggedy Ann Joshua)                            (Raggedy Ann Bwana & WooWong)

Blossom-Time Ragdolls

It was in 1969 that Laura & Denny Dayton became enchanted by these huge, lovable cats after seeing a newspaper advertisement. This advertisement led them to the home of Ann Baker. After seeing these cats Laura & Denny agreed to buy a pair, a male & a female. The female would not settle & so it was agreed that she was to be returned to Ann for a replacement. Raggedy Ann Buddy (a seal colourpointed male) & Raggedy Ann Rosie (a seal mitted female) were the Daytons first breeding pair of Ragdolls. It was due to the names Bud & Rose that the Daytons chose their cattery name as 'Blossom-Time' & it was Laura's wish that future Ragdolls that they bred would be named after flowers or plants.

Raggedy Ann Buddy       Raggedy Ann Rosie
(Raggedy Ann Buddy)                               (Raggedy Ann Rosie)

Laura & Denny's Ragdolls 1970's
(Blossom-Time Ragdolls 1970's)

When Laura & Denny purchased Bud & Rose they never signed any agreement with Ann & so when the time came for them to sell a pair of their own Blossom-Time Ragdolls they duly informed Ann out of courtesy. It came as a surprise to them when Ann demanded more money from them & tried to implement a franchise agreement. The relationship between the two parties continued to deteriorate with attorneys being involved & also court appearances, though Ann never did manage to bring a law suit against the Daytons. Other breeders also endured the same behaviour from Ann & were unable to continue to enjoy their hobby. It was then by chance that Laura & Denny bought their cats, adding Joshua, Pecos Bill, Lolita, Miss Chef & Little Orphan Annie to the Blossom-Time cattery. The Daytons 'little' Ragdoll family began to grow & they even moved homes to a purpose built cattery to accommodate their growing feline family. Sadly by the early 1980's Laura & Denny were exhausted & felt it was time to pass their legacy on.

Laura & Denny with Floppy & Lovable
(Denny & Laura with Floppy & Loveable)

Ragdolls Arrive In The UK

Pat Brownsell (Patriarca Cattery) had become aware of the 'Ragdoll' & was quite interested in the breed. She discussed this 'new' breed of cat over coffee with her friend Lulu Rowley (Petil-lu Cattery) one day & showed her an American cat magazine that contained details about the Ragdoll. Together Pat & Lulu decided that they would try to obtain some of these cats. Their initial telephone enquiries proved to be fruitless until they received correspondence from Laura & Denny Dayton. Laura & Denny forwarded details on the care & management of the Ragdoll, a comprehensive genetic chart & a booklet written by Laura Dayton entitled 'The Loveable Ragdoll.' Pat & Lulu were soon putting their plans into motion to buy their own pair of Ragdolls.

In the Spring of 1981 the Ragdoll arrived in the UK.

Lulu eagerly awaited her two six month old kittens, Lad & Lass (66 & 66w respectively) whilst Pat eagerly awaited her two younger kittens, Prim & Proper (66 & 66 31b respectively) to land in the UK but it would be another six months before the two friends could enjoy their cats to the fullest as they had to undergo the obligatory six months in quarantine. Whilst in quarantine Lass gave birth to three female kittens, all seal colourpointeds. Lulu & Pat's place in the history of the ragdoll was assured.

It wasn't long before Lulu was making plans to expand her breeding stock. Within the year Lulu had broadened her foundation cats by importing a further six Ragdolls into the UK from the Blossom-Time Cattery (Romeo, Juliet, Pistil, Camellia, Bananas & Myrtle). The following January 1982, Lulu imported her final two Ragdolls from the Blossom-Time Cattery (Spring & Summer). These two ladies now had the potential to produce the 3 patterns of colourpoint, mitted & bi-colour in the colours of seal, blue, chocolate & lilac.

Blossom Time Ragdolls 
(Blossom-Time Camellia, Pistil, Romeo, Myrtle, Bananas & Juliet)

Blossom-Time Prim & Proper
(Blossom-Time Prim & Proper)

These lines direct from the Blossom-Time Cattery are known in Britain today as the 'Traditional' or 'Old English' lines. The early 1990's saw the later American imports (known to us as the 'Old American' lines) from Hemlock Trails, Catastrophe/Lonerock, Villaroyal, Ragnarock, Mounthope & Rockwood Catteries. The first tabby (lynx) Ragdoll was imported into the UK from Meadowpurrs Cattery, USA in 1995 followed by the first Red (flame) Ragdolls from Maralas Cattery, USA two years later both by Louise Murrie (Happytyme Cattery) & Jackie Cook (Trendipuss Cattery).

On the 15th August, 2008, Louise Murrie (Happytyme Cattery) imported the first 'Solid' Ragdolls into the UK. They are a black mitted Ragdoll & a black self smoke Ragdoll. The 15th August, 2008, marked the first birthday of Louise's beautiful son Joshua & so Louise decided that any kittens born from the solid Ragdoll line will have her prefix 'Happytyme' & also with the initials 'JAD' in the kittens name after her son. March, 2009 marked the birth of the first solid Ragdolls in the UK, born at the Happytyme cattery.

Definitive Guide to Ragdolls

Information collected on this page has been gathered from individuals that were involved with the Ragdoll from the early days, from individuals that were in correspondence with Ann Baker, my own research & also from the Definitive Guide to Ragdolls. The Definitive Guide to Ragdolls is a book for all Ragdoll enthusiasts & was written by Lorna Wallace, Robin Pickering & David Pollard. Unfortunately this book is now out of print but some occasionally appear on an online auction site.  I do hope that in the near future other Ragdoll enthusiasts will take on the challenge of writing another up-to-date edition of 'The Definitive Guide to Ragdolls.'

divider gold 
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