Ragdoll is a relatively new breed of cat in South Africa and one that is fast
growing in popularity. As stunning as they are, they do have specific needs and
are not always suited to the average open-door South African lifestyle.
by Ann Baker in the 1960’s, this beautiful blue-eyed “chocolate box kitty” is a
human-made breed, specifically bred to be trusting and people orientated. The
name Ragdoll was chosen because of the cat’s tendency to lie limp in the
owner’s arms. Many of them still do this but it is not a guaranteed
characteristic in all Ragdolls and it is definitely not a gene.
is an INDOOR breed unless their home offers a completely secure garden or
enclosure. The Ragdoll has no survival instincts whatsoever. They will go under
the wheels of a car without a second thought. They also cannot defend
themselves against dogs or other cats entering their territory. They tend to be
clumsy and will slip and fall from walls or balconies. Contrary to what many
books say, they do jump and climb like any other cat - they just don’t always
do it with as much grace!
Single cats are not suitable for homes where the
owners are out for most of the day as they will pine. They adapt well to
apartment living or travelling with their owners in a carrier or on a leash. Completely
reliant on protection from, and interaction with their owners, Ragdolls are not
cats that will cope on their own.
are excellent with children as they are gentle cats. However, they need to be
handled with care by children in return. Although some books claim that
Ragdolls have a high pain threshold, this is not proven and too much rough
handling will cause the cats to stress unnecessarily. The same applies to other
household pets. Due to their size, not all Ragdolls enjoy being carried around
and they may not be lap cats – but they do want to be around their humans as
much as possible. They are considered almost dog-like in the way that they
follow their owners around the house. As kittens they can sometimes be rambunctious.
They do settle down with maturity, although they tend to remain playful for
are pointed cats – the kittens are born white and they colour up as they
mature. They continue to darken in colour all their lives. All true Ragdolls
have blue eyes and they are found in a variety of patterns and colours. The
most common colours are seal, blue and red with mitted, bi-colour or tabby
is slow in a Ragdoll. These cats are one of the larger breeds and a mature male
can weigh anything from 6 kg – 11 kg. Females are smaller. They continue to
grow until they are about four years old. They have a tendency to be quite a
heavy cat although they are not necessarily big eaters. Their fur is medium
haired, sometimes almost rabbit-like in texture. Depending on the density of
the undercoat, they may require grooming a couple of times a week. It is not
advisable to clip or shave a Ragdoll. They keep cool in Summer by lying on the
cold tiles and sleeping through the heat of the day
Ragdolls in South Africa are generally a hardy breed. At one point they were
affected by HCM and PKD, but recently imported lines have been genetically
tested for, and guaranteed clear of, these life threatening conditions. Regular
vaccinations, sterilisation and their indoor, protected lifestyle contribute
greatly to these cats spending many happy years with their owners.