While ragdoll cats might have some of the color points as the Siamese, whether they're actually related is lost in the mists of not-such-a-long-time ago. The ragdoll is a true American breed, created by a California woman who crossed cats for temperament along with appearance.
The late Ann Baker began the breed in Riverside, Calif., back in the 1960s. According to the Cat Fanciers Association, "The origin of the ragdoll breed consisted almost entirely of free-roaming cats." Baker bred the foundation queen, Josephine, a long-haired white cat who may have had Siamese ancestors, to various cats over the years. Josephine's offspring had lovely temperaments, more dog-like than feline in personality. Baker looked for personality, long hair and attractive coloring in the cats she bred.
The ragdoll's blue eyes almost certainly attest to Siamese forebears, as do his color points. His fur is soft and bunny-like. He's a big cat, not reaching maturity until age 4. Males might weigh up to 20 pounds, while females top the scales at about 15 pounds. He may have color points like the Siamese, or be mitted. That's Siamese-like color points with white mittens and a white blaze on the face. If he's bi-colored, he's white with another shade. Color-pointed and mitted ragdolls include blue, seal, lilac, chocolate, fawn, cream, red and cinnamon. There are also tabby and tortoiseshell variants in the coat.
The ragdoll got its name because that's how he behaves when you pick him up: he just sinks into your arms like a ragdoll. This is a super-affectionate, loving cat. He gets along well with kids, dogs and other cats. In fact, he's too friendly. You might have to protect him from dogs or cats who might do him harm, because he may not realize they have ill intent. He must live indoors -- this is not a cat with much in the way of feline instincts.
The ragdoll isn't much of a shedder. He should be combed regularly to prevent knots and tangles. Maybe, somehow, a little canine also got into the ragdoll mix. Not only does he shower his owner with dog-like devotion, he's also known to come when called and play fetch.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.