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Chapter 3 The Early Years 1970-75

1970 saw the Ragdoll made it's first appearance onto the cat world
stage. Almost from the beginning it was involved in myths,
controversy & conflicts, that continues to this day. The Los
Angeles times had a short article about a new breed of cats called
Ragdolls which the Dayton's had seen. As they read the article
their interest grew, and while Denny was reluctant to see them as
"he hated cats." However when they saw the Ragdolls they knew that
they were destined to buy a breeding pair. Ann Baker the developer
of the breed convinced them that they were the cats of the future.
In 1969 Ann Baker sold her first breeding pair of Ragdolls to Laura
& Denny Dayton.

Upon accepting the responsibility of becoming breeders they
realized that they needed to chose a cattery name, and registered
it with all the cat associations. They chose the name Blossom Time
for their cattery, and it was Laura's wish that the future Ragdolls
would be named after plants, flowers, etc following a theme of
things that would flourish and grow. They applied for a business
license in order to do business in a residential district. They
soon learned that detailed record keeping was an absolute must. A
full time study of the individual habits of the cats was a
situation that turned into a never ending study. There full
cattery of 18 Ragdolls kept them both busy, especially at
mealtime. Witnessing the birth of their first born kitten made it
all worth while. A large amount of money went for advertising,
show fees, spay fees and general Vet fees.

Denny was soon bitten with the show bug. Show Time was a word that
his Ragdolls would soon learn. "The height of excitement is when
your first Ragdoll is shown." This was the beginning of years of
showing, and always trying to move forward to gain recognition and
on to Championship status in all associations. The mountains of
cat associations have all been climbed, except for CFA where our
Mitted & Colorpoints are only in AOV. (Any Other Variety).

During their 13 years of breeding Ragdolls they created the Ragdoll
Genetic Chart, formed the RFC/RFCI Club and served as it's first
President, started the first Ragdoll newsletter, and played a hugh
role in getting our Ragdolls registered in all cat associations
except CFA.

In 1982 after 13 years of breeding Ragdolls, and enjoying a very
educational and wonderful journey they retired from breeding with
the rewards of satisfaction of knowing that they had helped
establish the legitimacy of the Ragdolls in the cat fancy.

In 1972 a lady from Indiana named Blanche Herman became interested
in the Ragdolls and contacted Ann Baker about buying a breeding
pair from her. In 1973 Blanche flew out to California to see Ann's
Ragdolls. She agreed to buy a franchise and a breeding pair from
Ann, for which she paid $2500, $1000 for the 2 Ragdolls and $1500
for the franchise. Blanche's state of Indiana would be the only
State other than California where a franchise would be set up.
Blanche bought Bam Bam a blue mitted male and Pebbles a seal mitted
female. Not long after Blanche would buy 4 more Ragdolls from Ann
including Susie, and the Ragtime cattery was on it's way

Blanche and Ann seemed to hit it off together at the beginning, as
Ann immediately appointed her the Vice President of the East for
IRCA. Blanche soon learned as many before had learned, that
working with Ann was no easy task. Blanche continued trying to
work with Ann up until about 1978 when she finally gave up, and and
began devoting her full energy to the RFC/RFCI full time.

As early as 1974 Blanche established contact with the Dayton's and
flew out to California in 1975 and spent some time with them. She
soon saw that the future of the Ragdolls as a breed lay with the
Daytons and the RFC/RFCI rather than with Ann. She completely
broke away from Ann and joined the RFC/RFCI and became very active
in it serving as Secretary-Treasure for 4 years, Ragdoll Breed
Chairperson ACFA for 4 years. She loved to show her Ragdolls
showing them in CFF, TICA, ACFA, as well as exhibiting them in
CFA. She worked hard with RFC/RFCI to get the Ragdolls accepted in
ACA, ACFA, & TICA. She was voted in as a Lifetime member of RFCI.

The Ragtime cattery produced a number of well known Ragdolls who
appear in many of todays pedigrees and were well known in the show
halls. Perrywinkle soon became a favorite in the show halls, he
was a favorite of Tom Herbst a ACFA judge. On the RFCI site under
winners he is listed as one of the winning Alters from 1982-1985
show season, Finishing 3rd, 2nd, & 2nd during those years. In 1986
Perry was the ACFA Best Ragdoll of the Year. Dixie was another
favorite in the show halls and appears in many pedigrees. In the
1982-83 season she was the 3rd Best Ragdoll in Championship. By
far the most famous Ragtime Ragdolls was Bartholomew who is the
ONLY Ragdoll to ever appear in Guiness Book of World Records. He
appeared in the 1986 book as one of the largest domestic cats. All
3 of these Ragdolls appear on the RFCI web site under Ragdoll
pictorial History.

During these early years the Daytons & Blanche would be the
dominant breeders of the Ragdolls, others who joined in with them
to expose & advance the Ragdoll breed were Ruby Spagnol who would
serve as the first Sec'y-Treasure of the Ragdoll Society in 1975,
Nancy Delano, Pat Garner, Kit & John Pope, Lauri Riegleman who
would sponsor a 20 trophy for the Ragdolls, you can find the
winners of this trophy on the RFCI web site.

From the beginning the Daytons tried to work with Ann Baker to
promote the Ragdolls nationwide, unfortunately they were like oil
and water. They had two different visions for promoting and
marketing the Ragdolls. Ann sought to promote the Ragdolls using
hype, claiming outrageous things such as they were a phenomena of
nature, they felt no pain, non fighting instincts, non-shedding &
that they all go limp when picked up and handled. This help her,
but did little for other breeders who were buying her Ragdolls and
starting catteries of their own. From the start the Daytons and
other breeders saw that they needed to get their Ragdolls out where
people could see them and they could market them in a manner that
would help their sales. The Daytons and the other breeders saw
that Cat Shows would be the place where their Ragdolls could obtain
the greatest exposure to the public.

In a letter dated August 19, 1973 Ann Baker wrote to Ruby Spagnol "
I cannot work with Mr. Dayton who fights me every step of the way
as our minds don't seem to run in the same channel. I must have
someone to work with who will further the breed for national
recognition on a high level and not the cat show level."

This was to be the major conflict between Ann and those who were
buying her Ragdolls, and who were looking for different ways to
market their Ragdolls. Ann had written the original standard for
the Ragdoll, but it was only for the Mitted Ragdoll. This was the
standard that Ann submitted to NCFA for the Ragdolls. This created
a situation much like CFA today in that they could only show their
Mitted Ragdolls while the vast majority wanted to show all three
patterns. In CFA we can only show the Bicolor in Championship while
the vast majority of breeders would like to show all three patterns.

Ann was content to only have the Ragdolls registered in NCFA, while
the other breeders wanted to be able to register them in all
associations including CFA. As most of you know each cat
association has it's own terminology which requires a slightly
different standard for each association. Ann claimed that there
was only ONE standard for the Ragdolls, and that was hers, and she
was not going to change it for any one, least of all for some cat

Ann claimed that in 7 generations all Ragdolls would all be mitted,
and therefore there was no need for a standard that included the
Bicolor & Colorpoints. The problem with this was that the Ragdolls
were already in their 8th generation, and there was no sign that
the Bicolors & Colorpoints were going to just disappear.

Another disagreement was over what to call the 3 patterns. Ann had
been calling them the black legs, white legs & mitted and was happy
with those names. The other breeders wanted something that would
be more acceptable to the different cat associations they were
trying to get accepted in. They came up with the names we now use
Bicolors, Mitted & Colorpoints.

Ann wanted to have TOTAL control over the Ragdoll breed, and her
greatest fear was that if she allowed other breeders to have a say
in her operations, that she would lose that control. She wanted to
have the authority to always make all final decisions regarding the
Ragdolls, no matter what others might suggest or want. Things only
got worse as more and more Ragdoll breeders began to support the
Daytons and the approach they were advocating to market and advance
the Ragdolls by getting them into all the show halls where the
public could see them.

By 1974 the Daytons realized that they and the others were never
going to be able to achieve the goals that they felt were necessary
to advance the Ragdolls within the Cat Fancies where they felt
their market was. The final blow came from Ann Baker, when she
called the City Council of Thousand Oaks and turn the Daytons in
for having a cattery in their home without a license. For many like
Denny & Blanche showing was the supreme joy in breeding. If they
couldn't show the Ragdolls that they were producing, what was the
point in breeding? It was during this time that the Daytons and
the other breeders felt that they needed to organize themselves,
and work together to achieve their goals. They began to put their
ideas together and out these ideas would come the First Ragdoll
Society in 1975.

Pictures and text copyright © 2006 Wain Pearce, General Historian / RFCI
May not be reprinted/published without authors express written permission.
All rights reserved.

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