The seal point Ragdoll isn’t a distinct breed but a color variation of the Ragdoll. Seal point refers to the deep brown color of one variety of Ragdoll’s legs, mask, ears, and tail. Seal point is a variation on a basic black coat. A seal point Ragdoll’s body is an even, warm, pale cream to fawn, fading to a lighter color towards the stomach and chest. Points are a deep seal brown, nearly black, as are his nose and paw pads. His eyes are blue.
The Ragdoll has a relatively short breed history, dating only to the 1960’s. The founding mother of the breed was a cat named Josephine. Josephine likely had Angora-style Persian in her lineage and was a longhaired white cat with points. Her owner found her temperament to be uniquely calm. As the story goes, Josephine was so quiet that when her owner, Ann Baker, picked her up, Josephine would go limp like a rag doll. Ms. Baker found her so endearing that she chose to breed her.
Baker used males that were Birman and Persian in type to create her first-generation kittens. She continued selecting for large size, long hair, colorpoint coat, and the remarkable temperament she had found in Josephine. Thus, the Ragdoll breed came into being. Baker created one of the most sought-after feline breeds – the Ragdoll – a large, affectionate cat with standard pointed colors and blue eyes with a luxurious but manageable coat.
Build And Size
Like all Ragdolls, the seal point can be a giant cat. Neutered male Ragdolls can be as heavy as twenty pounds, and females could top out at fifteen. The only thing extreme about Ragdolls, though, is their size. They are balanced cats, smoothly built, and athletic. His almond blue eyes are wide set and moderately slanted, following the balanced wedge of his face. His slightly curved profile ends in a long, straight nose. His well-developed chin flows into a heavy, strongly built neck. Heavily boned and rectangular in shape, his body is supported by equally strong legs. His longer hind legs sport fluffy britches. His large, round paws are tufted as well, and his tail is a full plume.
The colorpoint trait makes a cat like a cup that changes color according to the temperature of the liquid in it. Although we generally associate the pattern when a cat has a lighter body with darker points with the Siamese breed, the mutation that causes it is Himalayan. The Himalayan mutation alters tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for melanin (pigment) production. Melanin controls hair color. In warmer temperatures, the Himalayan mutation deactivates the enzyme. The warmer the area of the body, the less melanin is produced to color the coat. This partial albinism allows the base coat color to be still seen but at different concentrations.
Coat And Color
Ragdolls come in four color varieties, bi-color, van, colorpoint, and mitted. Both bi-color and van are versions of colorpoint. Bi-color Ragdolls have points restricted to ears, tail, mask, and saddle area. Chin, chest, and underside are white. Legs and feet should be white, but large dark patches on the legs are unacceptable. Van is very close to bi-color, but the points are only ears, tail, and mask. The body, feet, and legs are “pure, glistening white.”
In a regular colorpoint pattern, similar to the Siamese and Himalayans, the ears, mask, tail, and feet are dark. Any spot of white on a colorpoint cat is grounds for disqualification. The mitted pattern has the strictest rules of all. The ears, mask, and tail are dark, as are the legs except for the feet. A white star or blaze on the face extends to the chin and chest. The white mittens on the front feet must be evenly matched and preferably go up around the wrist joint. On the hind legs, the white should go up and over the hocks, extending no higher than mid-thigh. A Ragdoll’s points can be seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, and cream. The points can be solid, lynx (including tortie-lynx), or parti-colored (tortie).
What makes the Ragdoll not just beautiful but also such an excellent companion is the temperament that earned the breed its name. Docile and relaxed, the Ragdoll can be leashed trained, but be careful to keep him indoors. The peaceful nature of this breed makes being outdoors on his own dangerous. Ragdolls do well with children and other pets.
Ragdoll coats mat with less frequency than many other longhaired breeds. You’ll likely only need to brush them twice a week. He’ll need the occasional bath to keep from being greasy. Grooming with a slicker brush should do the trick to keep their coat healthy and mat-free. A wide-toothed comb will handle mats. These essential tools should help you address their grooming needs.
Like any cat, Ragdolls need regular dental care. Although it’s a task that takes patience and time, you should accustom your Ragdoll to having his teeth gently brushed from the time he’s a kitten. Be sure to use veterinary toothpaste only.
When your new best friend is a kitten, feed him food specially designed for his life stage. This breed is particularly slow to mature, so consult your veterinarian to see if he recommends a kitten formula for more than one year. Ragdolls are not physically mature until they are three years old, so be sure you feed them for slow, steady growth. Ragdolls can become overweight. If your cat is heavy, it’s best not to feed free-choice dry kibble.
Choose an AAFCO-certified food as a complete and balanced diet for your feline. Animal meat is the most significant part of the feline diet in the wild. Cats consumed high amounts of protein, moderate amounts of fat, and a minimal amount of carbohydrates. Their prey provided adequate vitamins and minerals. Regardless of which type of food you choose, read the label. Meat, meat by-products, or seafood should be among the first few ingredients. This suggests the food probably contains enough animal-source ingredients to supply essential amino acids and fatty acids without additional supplements. For cats prone to urinary tract issues, a low magnesium wet food that provides additional hydration may be worth the extra expense.
Ragdolls have few health issues, but you’ll need to watch for obesity, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and urinary tract issues.
Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) decreases the heart’s efficiency by causing the heart’s walls to thicken. Although the cause of HCM remains inconclusive, there may be a genetic component, and Ragdolls have been identified with this disease. The prognosis for this disease varies, but proper diagnosis and treatment can help.
Some cats with HCM show no symptoms, but others exhibit labored breathing and lethargy from congestive heart failure. Asymptomatic cats may live for many years, but the disease is progressive. Your vet may use an echocardiogram or genetic testing to see if your cat suffers from this condition and prescribe medication to help your cat live more comfortably.
Urinary Tract Disorders
The top reason cats visit veterinary practices is Lower Urinary Tract Disease (LUTD). LUTDs can be triggered by infection, inflammation, diet, and stress. Stressors such as a change in routine may also increase the risk. LUTD most frequently affects middle-aged, overweight cats that don’t get enough exercise, use an indoor litter box, stay indoors only, and don’t drink enough water.
Ragdolls do best as indoor-only cats, which may be why they are more susceptible to LUTDs. Watch your Ragdoll for signs of urinary irregularity such as straining to urinate, urinating around the home, or having blood in the urine. If your cat cries out during urination, see your vet. Increasing distress suggests he may have an obstruction of the urethra, a life-threatening emergency. If you suspect an obstruction, immediately call your vet or emergency vet clinic.
Your seal point Ragdoll will be easier to train than many breeds. He’s so agreeable that you can probably teach him to walk on a leash. If you do, be careful he doesn’t learn to sneak outside. He may enjoy learning to play fetch with you, too. Be patient and sparingly use treats to reward him when he gets it right.
Common Training For Cats
- Use the scratching post or cat tree only.
- Keep claws retracted when playing with people.
- Eliminate only in the litter box.
- Biting is for toys only.
- Games and tricks.
- Standard commands like sit, stay, roll over, jump, high-five, play a game, time to eat, come here, etc.
- Familiarity with the grooming process.
- Familiarity with being bathed.
- Riding calmly in the car.
Finding A Kitten
They command a premium. You can expect to pay from about $800 to $2500 for a kitten. Depending on the breeder or seller, the price may be more. Be sure your breeder offers a health guarantee, and they should be able to answer your questions and show you your kitten’s parents. Be wary of anyone selling kittens who is evasive or seems to produce too many litters yearly.
Before picking up your kitten, prepare your home for his arrival. Have his litter box waiting and prepare the area where you plan to feed him. You’ll need a bed for him, a crate for transport, some toys, and the essential grooming tools. Establish a relationship with a local veterinarian for your kitten’s first vaccinations and a general wellness check. Expect to spend about $100 to $300 for supplies if you’re starting from scratch.
Rescues And Shelters
A purebred seal point Ragdoll would be an unlikely gem to find in your local shelter, so you’ll need to check often. You’ll likely be able to find kittens or cats with long hair, blue eyes, and the colorpoint pattern. Arrange to meet your potential new buddy, and if he melts into your arms, he may be a Ragdoll. Even if he’s not, he could be precisely the individual for you. The market is strong for purebred Ragdolls, so breeders will try to limit accidental litters. The Humane Society of the United States, your local shelter, and your veterinarian are reliable resources for finding reputable shelters and rescue groups. You can expect to pay an adoption fee of between $60 and $120 to get a seal point resembling a Ragdoll at a shelter.
There are few felines as cuddly as a Ragdoll and few as beautiful as the seal point. If you want a smoky-hued feline companion that spends more time snuggling next to you than climbing your curtains, the seal point Ragdoll may be your perfect match. You’ll need to monitor his weight and be vigilant for signs of urinary trouble. Be careful to keep him safely indoors.
Play with your cat to provide exercise and strengthen your bond. This slow-maturing indoor-only cat may live as long as seventeen years. Remember that each cat is a unique individual. Ragdolls won’t be fully mature until they’re around three to four years old, and the color in their points deepens yearly. His rich, dark points will continue to develop and be more beautiful as he ages.