The beginnings of the Ragdoll are somewhat sketchy. In the 1960's, Ann Baker, a cat enthusiast and Persian breeder, was able to purchase a litter of kittens from the neighbor's cat, Josephine. Josephine was a white, Angora or Persian - type cat. Josephine was said to have been struck by a car while pregnant, which Ann Baker was convinced made these particular kittens more laid back and docile than regular cats. (Today we know that correct socialization with people and other animals is what really helps shape the proper Ragdoll character). The sire of these kittens was rumored to have been a Sacred Cat of Burma. However, no one had ever seen him. Josephine became the mother and foundation of all Ragdolls. Of this litter, the one survived kitten was a Birman- looking male she named Daddy Warbucks. Ann Baker purchased Josephine from her neighbor. She bred Daddy Warbucks to a Black Longhair, probably a Persian, and from this litter, kept back a black female named Buckwheat. Ann Baker continued breeding this line and used amongst other breeds Balinese, and probably doll face Persians. Ann created the International Ragdoll Cat Association in order to control the growing number of breeders, she also patented and franchised the fledgling breed . After a few years, a breeder couple - the Dayton's, and some of their friends broke away from Ann Baker's strict protocol and rigid rules and started breeding the pointed Ragdolls only. It's due to their hard work and efforts the Ragdoll breed was getting recognition in the cat associations. However, let's not forget that the Ragdoll as a breed needed solid cats, as well. Both Josephine and the unknown sire of the first litter must have carried the point gene or Daddy Warbucks would not have been possible. Ann Baker bred several other lines that were also descendants of Josephine, Daddy Warbucks, Buckwheat etc. She called those lines Miracles, Honeybears and Cherubims. Early registration slips have shown solid and mink Ragdolls. These registration slips can be found on the internet, if one does a little search. A small handful of breeders continued breeding these old Ragdoll lines to this day, and they can be traced back to Josephine, Buckwheat, Blackie and the other foundation cats of the breed.
The Ragdoll has always existed in the pointed, mink/sepia, and solid varieties. Currently, only the pointed variety is permitted to be shown for championship classes in TICA, but mink/sepias may be shown in the "New Traits Category". A growing number of breeders is working diligently to get the other variants the recognition they deserve in the show halls, and eventually to force Ragdoll standards to be revised. In the 1990's a very small group of breeders created the BEW (Blue-Eyed White). Also, under the blessing and watchful eye of the Ragdoll clubs, the cream, flame, tortie and lynx colors/patterns were also added to the Ragdoll standard. A couple of years ago, the cinnamon and fawn point was also added to the colors allowed in the show standard.
The Ragdoll with its docile, people loving nature has earned the moniker "puppy cat" amongst many Ragdoll enthusiast. Regardless of what their "paint job" is, it's important that the typical traits, such as character, size, body, and coat types be preserved.