History of the Ragdoll

Ann Baker and the Daytons


Before the advent of the Ragdoll cat, Ann Baker bred Persian cats in Riverside, California. It's interesting that Ann Baker was breeding cats per se before becoming interested in the stray cats that she found roaming in her neighbourhood. She began experimenting with breeding what she ultimately called the Ragdoll cat some time in 1963.

The first litter that Ann paid much attention to was one that a female cat called Josephine had. Josephine was white and described by her as angora-like. She described Josephine's kittens as some sort of miracle and as floppy and laid back.

There were many unknown foundation sires, but we know for sure there was a solid black Burmese-like cat, and a Birman-like cat. There are some conflicting stories of how events unfolded, but it is a fact that three cats called Daddy Warbucks, Fugianna and Buckwheat are the names of the foundation stock of Ragdolls.

Around that time, Ann was also experimenting with creating other cat breeds, like the "Honey Bear", which did not go anywhere as recognized breeds.

Ann advertised widely promoting her "new-found" Ragdoll cat, so the news spread and the breed became quite controversial. She carried on a breeding programme by contracting cats to people under her and she was paid a royalty fee for every kitten sold.

Ann attributed many far-fetched ideas to the Ragdolls which were so unrealistic that people lost their loyalty to her and several breeders broke off with her, but continued breeding the highly affectionate lovable Ragdolls on their own.

A person named Denny Dayton was a key figure in the history and development of the Ragdoll Cat after he broke away from Ann Baker. He struggled to make the breed legitimate and acceptable by cat fanciers' standards. In 1967, the Ragdoll breed was recognized in the United States. He was the originator of Ragdoll Fanciers Club International, RFCI, the most reputable, respected Ragdoll cat registry in the world.

Ann, on the other hand, made pathetic attempts to have the Ragdoll as her very own, like patenting the name "Ragdoll", which ran out in 2005, She formed her own cat registry and association known as IRCA, International Ragdoll Cat Association. The purpose of the patent was to only allow members of the only IRCA breeders to use the name "Ragdoll". Dayton and others ignored this restriction because they had purchased their cats prior to the time of the patent.

Since then, Ann had bitter arguments with people who were breeding the Ragdoll because she wanted to convince them that she was the only person qualified to be recognized as a breeder of genuine Ragdoll cats.

Sadly, Ann became a pathetic figure because she suffered from far-fetched ideas, bitterness and she wanted to stop others from being legitimately able to breed the Ragdoll cat, so she could have an income from breeding the Ragdoll cat.

However, we need to feel grateful to her for her perseverance in promoting the breed and, indeed, for founding the gentle and loving Ragdoll breed of cats that we now enjoy.


Champion Ragahimsa Portrait in Blue