Ragdoll History-Chapter 5

Chapter 5-History of the Ragdolls in CFA

1977 would turn out to be a bad year for Ann Baker. She had been forced to change the name of her cattery from “Raggedy Ann” to “Ann Baker exclusive”, but when she requested the National Cat Fanciers Association (NCFA) to change all her previous Ragdoll registrations, they refused. At this point the NCFA decided that they had had enough of Ann Baker, and notified her that they were dropping all registrations from her cattery.

Ann baker had been registering her Persians with CFA for several years. She had also been registering her Honey Bears with CFA as Persians. However in a letter to CFA in early 1977 she had written to the CFA Board that her Honey Bears were registered in CFA as Persians and they still were, but they had been DNA genetically modified and were in fact part skunk.

CFA Executive Director Jean B. Rose replied to Ann Bakers letter on May 9, 1977 stating that the material that Ann had sent stating that the Honey Bear Cats were in fact part skunk was discussed by the CFA Board and to quote from the Minutes of their meeting: ” CFA has registered her cats as Persians since that was the ancestry indicated; however if they are not purebred Persians, the registrations are invalid. While the Board does not necessarily believe that such breedings can have taken place, it does not feel obligated to prove or disprove the possibility. Dr. Rosemonds Peltz moved that Mrs Rose be directed to 1. verify the authenticity of the material, 2. check all past registrations, and void such as are appropriate, and 3. accept no further registrations from Ann Baker on the basis of the fraud admitted by her correspondence.” This motion carried.

In 1980 the RFC would make it’s first attempt to get the Ragdolls accepted in CFA.

However the history of the Ragdoll in CFA really begins in 1973 with a lady by the name of Blanche Herman, who had recently returned from California where she has bought a breeding pair of Radolls from Ann Baker. Blanche lived in Hammond Indiana not far from Chicago. Her concerns with her Ragdolls was how she was going to market this new breed of cat.

Early in 1974 while reading an issue of Cat Magazine she came across an advertisement for the CFA Jolly Roger Feline Fanciers cat show at McCormick Place in Chicago, Aug 31-Sept 1. She preceded to call the entry clerk for the show Mr Jack Wells to see if she could enter a Ragdoll for exhibition. He was very enthused and suggested she bring a male and a female which would be great promotion for the Ragdolls. He had recently seen them in San Francisco, and asked her to bring the complete story and literature on them, and to be prepared to give a talk about them.

Mr Wells asked Blanche if she could bring the Ragdolls up for a press conference a week before the show. He said that there were no Ragdolls in the Chicago area and this show which was the largest show in this area would do a lot to help promote the Ragdolls. Mr Wells later called Blanche and told her that the press conference would be held Aug 27th, and asked again if she could bring her Ragdolls as he felt that the Ragdolls would be a great draw not only for the Ragdolls but also the show.
The show was 4 All-Breed rings, the first in the Midwest. The judges for the show were Wayne Park, Adam Frecowski, Stan Barnaby, & Boris Teron. Blanche entered her first breeding pair Pepples & Bam Bam into the show in exhibition and the crowd loved them.

In 1975 Blanche didn’t have to call about entering the Jolly Roger cat show, the entry clerk Joan Pocica called her, and asked if Blanche would again bring her Ragdolls to the show for exhibition. Joan said that she has had a lot of inquires about the Ragdolls. Joan also asked if Blanche could again bring them for the press review as she had last year.

In 1975 the show was to be held in a new show location, the luxurious new Holiday Inn O’Hare Kennedy Convention Complex. The judges for the show were Matil Rotter, Kim Everett, Lynn Beck, & Ben Ehrhardt. Blanche decided to again take Bam Bam because of his wonderful disposition, and two of her kittens Millicent, & Babe.
Blanche did not exhibit in CFA in 1976, but was invited in 1977 by the Lincoln State Cat Club to exhibit her Ragdolls in their Showcase of Breeds. She decided to take 3 mitted and 1 colorpoint. Those chosen to go were Kennedy, Bam Bam, Millicent, & Babe. This show was advertised as the Midwest First & Finest 6 Ring CFA Show. Boris Teron, Barbara St. Georges, Earl Sandefur, Donna Davis, William Eisenman, & Ruth Parker were the judges for this show.

In 1978 the Lincoln State Cat Club held it’s show in Feb at the Arlington Park Race Track, they again invited Blanche to bring her Ragdolls for the Show Case of Breeds. The show was only 4 rings this year and Diane Doernberg who some you might know was one of the judges in the show. Evelyn Prather and Bill Lee who several of you know were judging the Household pets. Blanche took Raggedy Ann Susie and Hoosier Little Boy to the show.

During the 70’s Blanche Herman and her Ragdolls had been well received in the Chicago area, and in 1979 Denny Dayton felt that it was time for the Ragdoll Fancier Club (RFC) to petition the CFA to accept the Ragdolls as a new breed. He contacted CFA and requested the information as to what the requirements were for a new breed to be accepted by CFA.

On January 5, 1980 a RFC Board of Directors Meeting was held and Chairman Denny Dayton discussed the requirements for acceptance by CFA and the steps that the Ragdoll breeders must take to achieve acceptance. All present voted to begin the process. RFC at this time had 90 members, and they immediately began to register their cattery and litters with CFA. All the information had to be in to CFA by 1 August 1980. However things were not to be in 1980, and it would be 1981 before the Ragdoll breeders would make their petition to CFA.

On April 20, 1981 Denny Dayton sent a letter to Tom Dent Executive Director of CFA requesting an opportunity to present their petition to the CFA Board at their October Meeting in Philadelphia for acceptance of the Ragdoll as a new breed in CFA. A letter was also sent to CFA President Walter Friend Jr. asking to be placed on the agenda for the October meeting. At a meeting of the RFC Board of Directors it was voted to send a representative and 3 Ragdolls to the CFA Board meeting, and each cattery would contribute a minimum of $20.00 to cover the cost.

Word came back from CFA that the standards would have to be rewritten to conform with CFA requirements. Denny began immediately to rewrite the standards. Hal Meadows who had just gone through the process with his Singapuras offered helpful hints to Denny as to how to proceed.

The original standard for the Ragdoll in CFA called for :

Head (including size and shape of eyes, ear shape and set)—————————–30
Type (including shape, size, bone, and length of tail)————————————30
Color and Pattern———————————————————————-20
Legs and feet—————————————————————————-5

General: The ideal Ragdoll grows exceptionally large and heavy. Full maturity of color is not achieved until two years old and full weight and size is not expected for at least four years. The cat is firm and muscular with no fat except on the lower abdomen. The non matting hair is medium long. The breed is broad in the chest and large in the hind quarters with sturdy medium long legs. Hind legs are slightly higher than the front, the overall cat giving and impression of subdued power.

By September a number of Ragdoll breeders had decided to go to Philadelphia for the October 10-11 CFA Board meeting to support Denny and the Ragdolls. Denny Dayton & Doris Michaux flew out from California as did Georgann Chambers, Cindy & Charles Smith with their Ragdoll Ru traveled from Texas. Dorothy Metcalf & her mother with their Ragdoll Dusty Miller drove. Meg Miller joined up with Blanche Herman, and they flew in together bringing Megs Mr Bojangles with them. Glena Spaulding was there, as were Linda Williams and her husband. Pat Health flew in from Portland Oregon.

Denny Dayton made the presentation to the CFA Board on Sunday morning. Denny made a good presentation, but there was so much anti-Baker feelings in the room weighing upon the CFA Board members that Denny was fighting an uphill battle right from the start. The most damaging thing however was the report from the Carnivore Genetics Research Center and their Geneticist Andrew T. Lloyd who the CFA had requested to review the information that had been provided by RFC. He was very negative towards the information that was provided, and ask CFA to reject the Ragdolls. Denny had tried to point out the differences between what Ann Baker was promoting and what the Ragdoll breeders in RFC were breeding. Mr Lloyd stated “that the information was utterly irrelevant to the purpose of the communication, and self-defeating in that we are all begged to forget the ancient history of Ragdoll breeders.”

The CFA Board totally rejected the Ragdolls, and it would be another 12 years before the Ragdoll breeders would try again.

In 1979 the RFC had again sought to be accepted by ACFA for Championship, but had been rejected. The Secretary of ACFA had published two lying letters exhorting ACFA members not to accept the Ragdolls right along with the ballot without giving the RFC any chance to publish a rebuttal, even though ACFA rules called for such.

ACFA had come into being several years prior to this by breaking away from CFA the oldest and largest cat association. ACFA had grown to become the second largest cat association over the preceding years. However a storm was brewing within the ACFA that would nearly destroy them. It was found that this same secretary had also perpetrated numerous other irregularities, not the least of them involving ACFA funds. Her resignation was called for, but she refused to resign, and ACFA refused to fire her, so she continued on in her job.

This resulted in 80% of the judges and members of ACFA breaking away from ACFA and forming a new more progressive club named the The International Cat Fanciers Club (TICA) which is now the second largest cat association in the United States.

TICA reached out with open arms to the Ragdolls, accepting them immediately for Championship competition. Their Secretary Bob Mullen sent a letter to RFC saying that TICA was sorry that the Ragdoll people had been so poorly treated by ACFA, he had been amazed at the lengths that ACFA would go to prevent the Ragdoll being accepted within ACFA. TICA also announced that any cat that had previously attained the title of Champion or higher in another association would be accepted as such in TICA.

On August 18, 1979 RFC arranged for the first Genetic Seminar on the Ragdoll, by
Solveig Pflueger PhD, a specialist in genetics and biology and a TICA judge in Harbor City, CA. Those who attend the Genetic Seminar were most enthusiastic and favorably impressed by Dr. Pflueger’s presentation.

Dr Pflueger’s comments on the Ragdoll forever lay to rest any lingering slander that might be attempted against the Ragdoll breed. The Ragdoll is an established breed, it does breed true. A superb speaker and meticulous scholar, Dr. Pflueger included a large number of illustrative slides and handouts. She also held a lengthly question and answer session. Dr pflueger also made some pertinent comments in regards to the Ragdoll standard which proved to be very helpful.

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