EARLY HISTORY OF THE RAGDOLL
History, it is said, is written by the victor, and that is true of the Ragdoll. But that doesn't mean its originator's accounts should be overlooked. However rambling, inconsistent, self-contradictory and sometimes downright deluded the IRCA side of the story is, it is still worth reading. It is contained in a series of publications by Ann Baker. Her views on genetics were highly idiosyncratic and often very much at odds with science. Much of it reads like an unedited stream of consciousness. I've tried to make a coherent account, though it probably also contains inconsistencies, because of contradictions in the source material.
ANN BAKER - A POTTED BIOGRAPHY
"This is published to tell the true story, and as a guide for attorneys and a protection for the authentic breeders of Ragdolls and Honey Bears . . . Copies to all involved, so they know where they stand in regard to the whole. Every accusation is documented. This is not copyrighted and any authentic Ragdoll breeder associated with IRCA may make as many copies as he likes and use it for his or her benefit. - Ann Baker" (Let's Do It God's Way - Ann Baker, D.F.H. (Director of Feline Health))
Ann Baker wrote her autobiography in the third person in "Let's Do It God's Way." Writing in the third person is typically associated with egocentrics and eccentrics and to present personal bias as objectivity. She was born in Athens, Ohio, in 1918 and she was raised as a church-goer. At age 7, she suffered a back injury but was not taken to a doctor. She claims this accident had caused lasting damage. She moved to California in 1944 and worked at a checkout where she aggravated the injury; her chiropractor (rather than an ophthalmologist) told her she had a blood clot in her eye.
After this she worked as an aircraft tool engineer until 1959, during which time she apparently suffered several head traumas. After moving to Riverside she started getting heart pains but would not go to hospital or see a doctor. Supposedly unable to eat meals because they "would overtax the heart" she lived on pills from a health food store. She suffered a stabbing pain one morning and believed that a blood clot had passed through her heart. She finally went to a doctor who apparently just bandaged her chest. A few years later she was attacked in her front yard - another head injury - causing swelling inside her head. Some believe that this succession of head injuries resulted in her later eccentric, paranoid and delusional behaviour.
She only saw a doctor if there was no alternative and had not been treated by a doctor for several decades, partly because she had gone for a brain scan and investigation a brain specialist who had told her she should not be alive as three of her head injuries should have killed her instantly. He apparently told her he would not touch her unless she went blind or unconscious, and advised her to never take aspirin, consume alcohol beverages or have an anaesthetic. She decided God had a reason for her being here, and it was beyond medical knowledge. "So, she began to understand being a phenomenon herself." When she went for a blood test for insurance purposes, she was told that her blood "tested higher than any he had tested in his fifteen years on the job, and he wanted to meet her in person." Apparently if there was ever an epidemic in Riverside, she would beimmune to it." She doesn't mention what her blood tested higher for, but with her avoidance of doctors and apparently miraculous survival of head injuries, she seemed convinced that she was a phenomena (she always uses the plural) and God had some purpose for her. This was to be the Ragdoll cat which she alone was able to recognise as a phenomena, and also her (unlicenced) "research." She became increasingly eccentric, making bizarre claims, until her death from lung cancer in 1997 (79 years old).
THE LONG HAIRED BURMESE
"IRCA and The Ragdoll Documentary" tells us that before the Ragdoll, Baker bred "experimental Persians" that she called "Long-haired Burmese" though they were more Persian than Burmese in looks. A CFA judge apparently told Baker she should breed more of the Brown-Black ones and name them Long Haired Burmese, but CFA could not register them because CFA did not register mutations. Baker insisted her Ragdolls were an act of God or phenomenon, not a mutations. Her Honey Bears were descended from CFA registered Persians, but the CFA would not register them after they were injected with genes (DNA or NIH method or whatever) as they were then considered a mutation.
Baker had been using the Black-Brown male (whom she called Pretty Boy, and later Blackie) until she saw the Birman-looking one (named Beauty/Pretty Boy by the Pennels and Daddy Warbucks by Baker). She bred her Black-Brown Persians for a year before spotting the Birman-looking cat and deciding to change the look of her cats. At first, the Pennels would not lend, give or sell the cat, but eventually allowed her to borrow the Beauty because she took such good care of their Black-Brown (which she kept 90% of the time because she got lonely without him!). They had kept the Beauty hidden out of fear of cat thieves. Baker bred Beauty to her other cat. When Josephine next had kittens, the neighbour gave her Fugianna. She had wanted the whole litter but didn't want to be greedy, so waited a few days before asking for the rest. The day after she got Fugianna, Josephine and the kittens were taken to the pound and put to sleep. Mrs Pennels had given the previous litter to a friend some distance away, but when the friend was widowed she moved to Riverside and Baker got those kittens too.
She called her black Ragdolls "experimental Persians" and registered them with the National Cat Fanciers Association (NCFA). They were really Ragdolls too, except for their colour and the gold eyes, and she used them in her Ragdoll programme. The blue-eyed ones with Birman look later became the Ragdoll, the Black-Brown ones became Ragdolls Tu, and the half-breeds were to become Ragdoll Hobby Cats. She did all of her experimenting around those cats, except for Thumper (her experimental Lilac programme) and the cats that were sent to the lab for investigation. As soon as a regular cat, other than a pure Ragdoll was bred to these experimental Persians, the offspring lost much of the unique disposition, gained cat instincts that couldn't be removed by inbreeding, and were therefore not Ragdolls. They were half-breeds and sold at reduced prices. Later on, such half breeds would be known as Hobby Cats.
JOSEPHINE, THE MOTHER OF ALL RAGDOLLS
Josephine, a free-roaming white Angora (a generic term for a longhair) belonged to Baker's neighbours, Mr and Mrs Pennels and had a rather uncertain temperament, which she passed on to her kittens. Baker bred unregistered Persians and liked to borrow Blackie from Mrs Pennels. She wanted to produce the perfect house cat for the American family. Blackie resembled a Black or Burmese-coloured Persian and was Josephine's son. As previously mentioned, Baker noticed Blackie's Birman-like half-brother, whom she named Daddy Warbucks, and mated both half-brothers to their mother.
Josephine was treated at the local university (School of Veterinary Science). According to Baker, to save Josephine's life, the vets used state-of-the-art "genetical engineering," that involved an infusion of skunk DNA, or even human DNA. Josephine had become very placid when picked up, no doubt due to head trauma and close confinement, when returned to Mrs Pennels. Contradicting this, in "The Ragdoll Documentary" (1978) Baker had said "All her kittens were huge and had non-matting fur, as well as this new disposition, which she never inherited." Josephine later mated with her own sons producing equally relaxed kittens, most likely because their mother did not teach them to distrust humans. The supply of kittens dried up when Mr Pennels had Josephine and her kittens destroyed after she attacked his dog while protecting her latest litter.
A Different Breed of Cat, Press Telegram, Long Beach, California, 14th March 1973: "Laura Dayton, a registered nurse who has transferred her Florence Nightingale instincts to raising Rag-Dolls . . . said the Rag-Doll strain happened as something of a fluke back in the 60s. It all started when Josephine, a Persian beauty living in Southern California, was hit by a car. Part of her head and one eye were torn away in the accident. ' She was pregnant at the-time and when the kittens were born they were very large and more docile than any cat before.' Mrs. Dayton said. 'No one knows if the accident caused it, whether it was a freak of nature or a mutation.' Research is currently going on at Loma Linda University in an attempt to determine what caused the new cat's unique traits.' "
According to "IRCA and The Ragdoll Documentary" her Ragdolls had the following tests, among others, to try to determine the disposition: Chromosomes, X-rays of the skull and spine and gross autopsy exams, EEG, EMG recording, ECG. No abnormal behavioural or electromyographic hypotonus (state of low muscle tone) was found. No abnormalities in the central nervous system. Apparently the tests were needed to get government clearance (for trademarking?). Neurosurgeons, including foreign ones, saw the cats. "There is not much the Ragdoll have not been tested for. Their theories proved true on January 28, 1976, when a Ragdoll was operated on, which ended the research on the Ragdolls. Now, we have the okay to go ahead on our Ragdolls and Honey Bears for the first time."
Baker says "The original Josephine, who was hit by a car, was not my cat, but belonged to a friend of mine. It was an angora (white). She was not pregnant at the time, but lived to give birth to a number of litters, both male and female. All her kittens were huge and had non-matting fur, as well as this new disposition, which she never inherited. Regardless of what cat she mated to (alley to the best), all were the same. This is the phenomenon. You cut off your arms and legs or have a head injury, you babies will still be normal. Neurosurgeons from all over, including foreign countries, have been here. There is not much the Ragdoll have not been tested for. Their theories proved true on January 28, 1976, when a Ragdoll was operated on, which ended the research on the Ragdolls. Now, we have the okay to go ahead on our Ragdolls and Honey Bears for the first time." (The True Ragdoll Story)
In "Let's Do It God's Way" she wrote "We have had 22 years of controversy regarding the Ragdolls, and I will bare all. . . . There was an alley cat that had kittens that only came to eat, and you could not catch them (they were very wild). Then the mother was run over by a car, and after being left by the curb for a night and day she was found to still be alive, and so she was taken care of by someone. After this, she had litters that were born without the self-preservation instinct. They were right on the doorstep, so you could not even step down, and they went into the doghouse with the dog, and the mother tore up these people's dog three times trying to get her kittens out. This is where I come into the picture. I contacted many universities to try to find out how to make a breed of these kittens, but they said I could not - it defied medical science. To mate cats, one would put in cat instinct, and mating brother and sister would create overbreeds. I wrote the universities that I had an idea, and explained. They replied that it might work, but that one would have to do it by actually breeding for seven generations, and then see. If it worked, it would only be a breed for as long as the breeding program was adhered to. "
Baker had a black-brown female, Buckwheat (Blackie x Josephine), and a bicolour, Fugianna (Daddy Warbucks x Josephine). Most of Josephine's kittens were black or black-brown, except for a male (Daddy Warbucks) sired by a Birman. Baker registered the offspring with the NCFA as experimental Persians. It took six years to prove they would breed true. This was where her 7 generation programme came in. With a rare breed of livestock, it may become necessary to outcross to another breed due to low numbers. The hybrid offspring are backcrossed to the rare breed (but not necessarily to the same animal) for several generations to increase the proportion of rare breed genes in each succeeding generation. After 3 - 4 generation, the offspring resemble the rare breed. After 7 generation, the percentage of outcross blood is negligible and the animals are 98% pure rare breed. By backcrossing to a foundation male for 7 generations Baker's Ragdolls would almost be clones of the foundation cats.
She believed Ragdolls would remain an endangered species as her breeding program had to be followed to avoid half-breeds with normal cat dispositions, or deformed, short-lived overbred cats. Baker selected the initial Ragdoll breeding pairs in 1963, having chosen the Birman pattern for her breed. Her breeding programme involved breeding from the "dark side" (Buckwheat's line) and the "light side" (Fugianna's line) these "sides" being based on colour, pattern and conformation. 1n 1966, the founding Ragdolls were officially registered with the NCFA.
Fugianna was long and lanky like her mother. Buckwheat was thick-furred, heavy-bodied, ears out to the side, had a short, medium nose and a higher rump. They had the same mother, but different fathers. "Buckwheat was called Burmese, but not what cat show people specify as Burmese and she was not part Siamese. The original male was from the East where they have a lot of these cats. At one time the CFA wanted me to gather up these cats and give them a name. They were like black Persians with a brown undercoat, heavy in the rear area, high jumpers, walked downhill etc., therefore they were called Burmese, for want of a better name. I have only seen one other on the West Coast. They are more Persian than Burmese." (The True Ragdoll Story) (Regarding the "walking downhill" she said that a full grown Ragdoll looked as though it walked similarly to a baboon due to the long torso and heavy hindquarters. )
It took one cat from the light side, and one from the dark side to start a linebreeding programme to get the mitted cats. While all were Ragdolls due their disposition, only the mitted cats had the desired look and she expected the non-mitted and the white-legged forms to die out. The Ragdoll was featured in the Los Angeles Times' weekly "Pet Parade" column on November 24, 1968 which said it was created by crossing "Sable Burmese" and "Blue-eyed White Longhairs."
"Now since these were all related, one can take the children of Tiki and Fugianna and cross mate to start a cattery (line breeding). When the two mothers are unable to reproduce that is the end of the reproduction line of the start. To mate her great grandsons to start a cattery results in only deformed cats. If you do not get deformed cats, then you have half breeds. If you disagree, do not argue the point with me, but with God Almighty and Mother Nature. Let no one tell you differently. We had to go back and get another son of Josephine (the injured cat) and breed down his offspring (in order to keep the qualities of the Ragdolls) as all ragdolls have to be descendants of Josephine... (no other breed bred in after her). This will make some changes in the look of the Ragdolls... (Ragdolls are not the look) but, the disposition and all the other qualities above mentioned; will remain the same." (The True Ragdoll Story)
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THE FRANCHISE AND THE TRADEMARK
Ragdolls were initially sold to breeders under a franchise contract and had to report potential buyers to Ann Baker, who held the male portion of each pair. Contractually, no breeder was allowed to sell a breeding pair of their own because all Ragdolls were brother, sister and cousin. Baker insisted on strict line-breeding: wife to male, daughter to father, granddaughter to grandfather. If the male died, he had to be replaced, but not by one of the breeder's own males.
In 1969, the Daytons (Blossom-Time) purchased a breeding pair named Rosie and Buddy. They had to pay $5 for every kitten sold, but Baker wanted more and became harder to work with. The Daytons eventually refused to accept Baker's regulations and later founded their own Ragdoll Fanciers Club International (RFCI). In 1971, Baker franchised her Ragdolls and set up the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA) to enforce her standards and methods on anyone who wanted to breed them. She did not allow her cats to be registered with any of the cat associations.
When several breeders broke their contracts and became independent, Baker found that the law had changed and she needed a trademark as well as registering the franchise in the various states. That way, if a non-franchised breeder set up in a state, she could sue them. She had to include the fact that there were already other people claiming to raise Ragdolls. The Department of Corporations would allow those other breeders to call their cats "Hobby Cats" but not "Ragdolls' (page two of the Prospectus Security Risks). As franchisor, Baker, was legally liable for the actions of her franchisees, but suing a rogue franchisee in Federal Court would cost her upwards of $50,000. Franchising had become too costly, so she decided she only needed the trademark. The trademark would be its own security and better than the unnecessary franchise requirements. By then there were already two breeds of Ragdolls on the market, two sets of literature and two sets of show standards. "Ann Baker owns the trademark on her Ragdolls through the U.S. Patent Office and all breeders must pay a royalty fee to use the name Ragdoll on cats that are bred according to her breeding program. Ann Baker's standards cannot be changed due to the laws of God almighty. " (The True Ragdoll Story)
Baker fought a long, losing battle against breakaway breeders. She complained of hearing of Ragdolls being sold by breeders she had never heard of and had never sold cats to. She complained that cat associations would register any cat as a Ragdoll as long as the breeder previously registered Ragdolls with them - a person could buy and register two neutered Ragdolls, then register Himalayan kittens as their progeny! She claimed her cats averaged 3 to a litter, but cat associations were registering as many as 11 to a litter. Her Ragdolls were supposedly born two or three times larger than other kittens (goodness knows how they got through the birth canal!) which meant people must be registering all sorts of extra kittens as Ragdolls. Hence the "crest" on IRCA pedigrees. If a cat didn't have a crested pedigree it was none of Baker's responsibility. One cat owner applied for a crest on a cat sired by so-and-so, but the claimed sire had been sold neutered and had died. "I guess we have here another phenomenon, they mate and multiply even after death. Ann Baker makes no claim to such in her literature. When her cats are altered, they stay altered, and when dead, they stay dead." (The True Ragdoll Story)
Baker gave regular tours of her cattery, including a long and rambling "lecture" on how she bred her cats. The lecture, a monologue with nonsensical digressions, was full of myths, with a few scattered facts. One lecture was filmed in 1993 and at one point, 74 year-old Baker mentioned spending 7 generations putting different breeds and temperaments of cats together. It sounds as though she had finally lost the plot as her books insisted Ragdolls could not be made by putting different breeds together, while the 7 generations of line breeding ensured 98% purity. "It's not what mother is, it's not what daddy is, it's what they have programmed her to produce." Programmed?
The stories of the two types of Ragdoll ran parallel for many years. Baker's trademarked umbrella term for IRCA varieties was Cherubim Cat ("Angels non-fighting cat") and she demanded cat associations create a separate category for them, which they didn't. Upon Baker's death, a number of IRCA breeders registered their Miracle Ragdolls, Honey Bears and others as RagaMuffins. As well as different patterns, these have a different conformation. IRCA ragdolls could not be transferred to the other registries as "Ragdolls."
THE MUTINY AND THE NATIONWIDE SWINDLE
In "Crook's Paradise" she explained that the United States Department of Commerce, Commission of Patents and Trademarks fixes things so one is legal; in court the holder of the patent or trademark can prove they legally own the rights to the name and its licencing. That way the courts can readily tell the genuine from the fake. But when the "fraud" and "swindle" become widespread, and if you can't afford a private suit, then you must "wait until the swindle is nationwide and many people involved before the government will act." She adds that if your animal are not trademarked you will not run into this situation, then goes on to say that it's not a crime to tell people lies unless you lie under oath in a courtroom and get caught.
In "Crook's Paradise" she wrote "First off, I want to say that I am the originator of the breeds of cats known as the Ragdolls and the Honey Bears . .. Now, in time, the Honey Bears will be able to breed as other cats but the Ragdolls... Never... And the reason they were trademarked is Ragdolls are a phenomena or a freak of nature... And only the one cat could produce this kind of cat... So that all kittens were her children to start . .. Now one Cannot mix all up and make a world wide breed keeping the line purebred as all are brother and sister etc. .. . To breed in any other breed would make the animal have cat instincts (pure self-preservation etc.). Then you would not longer have a Ragdoll... I have worked 15 years and with research labs and no one can keep the breed going and maintain the breed except one way and that takes a long time and still when the general public gets ahold of it, it can be lost at any time... So a Ragdoll is the only known animal in the world that cannot be done as other animals and still have a Ragdoll . . . People have taken the Ragdoll and ruined it and are capitalizing on the name to swindle the public . .. When they do not breed properly (and only one way to preserve the breed) then they should change the name of their cats so as not to cheat the public... Why would they want to change the name... Then they could not sell any. . . They have to capitalize on the reputation of the Ragdolls to maintain their business. Nationwide fraud and swindle are getting big enough for the government to take steps... So do not buy a Ragdoll or Honey Bear until you have read the documentary and the breeding program and you can get your Ragdoll... IRCA Registered . . . This is all we have to say on this subject ... And we will leave the Ragdolls and Honey Bears out and tell you all about animals in general and how to really get into business . . . When you become hard and professional and defy law and order, etc. and can laugh at suckers and make threats roll off your back like duck soup." (Crook's Paradise) - I assume she means "like water off a duck's back." It certainly was not all she had to say on the subject of Ragdolls and Honey Bears!
Originally, Baker and the Daytons worked together to promote Ragdolls, but the Daytons wanted to exhibit their cats which meant registering them with a cat association. Baker wanted to build a brand and make money from selling and franchising the cats and she set up her International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA) registry in 1971; the catteries that obtained Ragdolls from her were franchises. In 1973 the Daytons began showing their Ragdolls with the Cat Fanciers' Association.
In December 1975, Baker trademarked "Ragdoll" in relation to the sale of "live cats." As the holder of the trademark, she forbade anyone from selling a cat under the brand and breed name "Ragdoll." Her move was pre-empted by the Daytons and other Ragdoll breeders who founded the Ragdoll Society in February 1975 to further legitimate breed recognition. Baker had been invited, but refused to attend. She maintained that only she/IRCA had the right to decide what was - and wasn't - a Ragdoll. The breakaway breeders believed they had a right to call their non-IRCA cats Ragdolls since they were purchased as Ragdolls prior to the trademark being granted. In 1977, Baker announced that her Ragdoll was trademarked with the US Patent Office and that Ragdoll owners could obtain an official pedigree crest from the IRCA. From then on, she viewed only the crested Ragdolls as the genuine article.
In another pre-emptive move, the Daytons and RFC sued Baker. For years, Baker had threatened to sue over their unauthorized use of the name "Ragdoll." In 1974, she had called the City Council of Thousand Oaks to report the Daytons for running a cattery in their home without a business license. The Daytons filed a preliminary injunction. On September 12, 1977, Baker failed to show up in her own defence or send legal representation - it being her habit to ignore the courts - so the Daytons won their injunction. The court ruled that Baker must not claim that her cats were the original Ragdoll cats, or that the Daytons' cats, and the descendants with other breeders, were not Ragdolls. When the Daytons presented the breed to TICA for recognition in 1979 it was on the basis that Ann Baker could not trademark or limit the breed further and that future Ragdolls from her would not be accepted by TICA. Baker had legally lost control of the Ragdoll name and brand, but she continued to refer to her cats as "authentic" and the others as "half-bred" or "over-bred" in her missives to cat publications.
In 1978 she said there was an ongoing court session over the fact that others claimed she had changed her breed. She said her breed, breeding programme, registering, and show standards (NCFA) had all remained exactly the same, but she was not allowed to use the term "crests" or advertise the trademark, etc. until it was settled in court. "It still does not alter the fact that Ann Baker originated the breed, named the breed and owns all the original Ragdolls and the breeding program and the Ann Baker standard." For the time being, the IRCA registrations were not crests and she was not emphasising the trademark as proof of ownership of an authentic Ragdoll. "We still own all until someone thinks of the idea that if you do not want someone in business, it is easier to buy them out than to run them out and involve others and mislead the public." (IRCA and The Ragdoll Documentary)
In "Crook's Paradise" she emphasised she was in no way anything to do with the Ragdoll Fanciers Club, TICA, or "Rag" (a Ragdoll newsletter). "This is an organization set up to use people to help run Ann Baker out of business and has nothing to do with Ann Baker's Ragdolls or her breeding program . .. Breed program not the same... Literature not the same . . . etc. Ann Baker did not sign the papers for all these to be shown at cat shows or that her cat was the father to all, etc." She stated that she controlled her breed by owning all the stud cats (("the male line"), which were not housed at her address and which were not stolen because they were kept elsewhere. She had set up a new programme since the theft, to provide her Ragdolls to the public to breed. None of her authentic Ragdolls were given papers for a Cat Association that allowed the non-authentic Ragdolls to be shown. Because her Ragdolls were not the same as other cats, they could not perpetuated except by her breeding method.
"I have had women come in pretending to be customers and then leave with one of the kittens in their handbags." (PURR SNATCHERS WORRY 'CATHOUSE' OWNER, The Sacramento Bee, January 17, 1978)
She was convinced that other breeders were stealing cats from her home, but this appears to be delusional (some hoarders, having lost track of their belongings, also believe unknown people are stealing their stuff). She didn't even know how many cats she had until she did stock-taking. "We have bad many stolen but all stolen were from this address and the [male] line is not at this address. I sold no one or gave no one this line . . . so all breeders could only breed but no way can anyone else in the world sell breed stock... Also if they steal the entire line of the female line... They have all direct brother and sister related and besides I own the trademark for another 15 years yet . . . This trademark is good for 20 years..."
Having said the entire male line were kept elsewhere and none had been stolen, her rambling account contradicts itself by saying the guard dog at that place had mysteriously died two weeks ago, and Ragdolls, both male and female lines, were being put on the market for all to breed the country over, with one pair is going to a foreign country. By the time these other breeders got going with Ragdolls and Honey Bears, they would no longer get high prices as they cats were no longer exclusive due to rarity. "But as long as four families can get theirs off the top, what do they care what happens to the breed" She only had a few authentic Ragdolls to keep the authentic breed going and was selling these as fast as possible across the USA and under her breeding program."
The trademark name "Ragdoll" expired in 2006, Ann Baker having died. The IRCA trademark lapsed in 2009.
RAGDOLLS, RAGDOLL HOBBY CATS & RAGDOLLS TU
According to Baker "Ragdolls are the only breed in the world that cannot be bred with anything else and keep going and still be a Ragdoll. The new DNA breeds will be able to produce their characteristics when mated to other breeds... but the Ragdoll...no way...to mate Ragdoll to another breed loses all that a Ragdoll is in time. Our new Ragdoll look will be in our next book. However, we cannot tell you what the name for the book will be as yet as we are still working on a good name for it." (The True Ragdoll)
When breeders broke their contracts they mixed together offspring of the different combinations, breeding as per cat associations instead of following Baker's light-side/dark-side line-breeding rule. She said they might mix in a Birman and the kittens would look like Ragdolls but have different fur, different heads and a regular cat disposition that no amount of line-breeding could eliminate. Hence, after they had turned her breed into a crossbreed, Baker sold cats to the public to breed legal crossbreeds called "Ragdoll Hobby Cats." (IRCA and the Ragdoll Documentary)
That was Ann Baker's stance in 1979 after the breakaway breeders won the right to call non-IRCA cats Ragdolls and register them elsewhere. She was not so much opposed to crossing Ragdolls with something else, as to calling the descendants of any crosses "Ragdolls." So she devised a way to allow and control crossbreeds - "Ragdoll Hobby Cats." The breeder could create their own breed, but had to pay for using the term "Ragdoll." If a breeder went the Ragdoll Hobby Cats route this would mean they had crossbreed cats. If they did not register them with IRCA then they had to drop the word "Ragdoll" and were on their own. She would revoke their permit and notify the state of their discontinued use of the Ragdoll name.
She wrote "A breeder can buy an authentic male and female from Ann Baker, Herman or Chambers. International Ragdoll Cat Association will set up your Ragdoll Hobby Cats as your special breed, name and owner of that specific breed of Ragdoll Hobby Cats. Say one wants to mate to a Rex, one wants to mate to a Manx, and one to a Scottish Fold. They would mate one time to their favorite and then they can breed back to the Ragdoll male and they have Ragdoll Hobby Cats. If you want them to look like the Ragdolls then mate to a Sacred Cat of Burma. There is no fee, no contract, no anything except all must be registered with the International Ragdoll Cat Association to capitalize on the name Ragdoll." (The True Ragdoll Story)
IRCA would only register Ragdoll Hobby Cats If all the cats bred were registered so that Baker had the background records. She needed to know when and where the outcross, which need not be a registered breed, occurred. "We are interested in the cats and the breeding program and the truth. You design your own breed and we will help you register and protect if as your own alone. This does not mean you cannot let others breed. But to sell breed stock to others one must be registered with the USDA. If you cannot get your cat IRCA registered than you can turn the person who sold to you into the Consumers Fraud Department for false advertising and the cat is not of Ann Baker's Ragdoll breed." (The True Ragdoll Story)
Breeding "Authentic Ragdolls" was an entirely different matter. Breeders paid more for their first cats, and their male cost $500. They paid a royalty fee of $10 per kitten in order to use the Ragdoll name. They had a revokable license and a state set up after which they would be sold an existing pair of purebred Ragdolls (Sacred Cat of Burma strain and another male) descended from Josephine but sired by a different male. There were to be seven generations of line-breeding and all records would be kept by the IRCA. After seven generations, the kittens from each breeder could be mixed "and we can have a Ragdoll breed for all. "
"It is the same breed program we had in the first place until it was ruined and we had to start over.," wrote Baker, alluding to the breakaway breeders who did not use her breeding formula. She had only two other breeders of "authentic Ragdolls" sticking to her original breeding program. The new breeding males for breeding would be ready to mate by Spring 1980 and each breeder would have to use the males for line breeding. If the male died the breeder could obtain another, but not one from the original male's lineage. They could sell either a male or a female for breeding, but not sell pairs. "In seven years if all goes well these authentic breeders will be able to produce the authentic Ragdolls for all . . . 1985."
"Authentic breeders are under contract to Ann Baker the same as the originals were until the breed was ruined and we had to start all over in order to keep the Ragdoll breed from dying out. In the meantime we have set up the Ragdoll Hobby Cats, but no cat is a Ragdoll Hobby Cat or Ragdoll unless registered by the IRCA. As Ann Baker owns the name and original cats. The name she alone gave her breed. . . patented, trademarked them and registers them. She is declared with the Department of Agriculture as a registrar of a breed that is different than all others and a phenomena." (The True Ragdoll Story)
"If you want to leave Ann Baker's breed program and set up your own thing then you have the right to do so. . . . You must call them by a different name. That is your swindling the public if you go your own route and still call them by Ann Baker's name and breeding program. You cannot make Ann Baker liable for your own private business. Ann Baker has not done a thing to you except she will no longer register your kittens with the IRCA. You have done it to yourself. Ann Baker is not responsible for any cats except those she knows and registers the background of. When you leave the program and do your own thing you are on your own and cannot capitalize on Ann Baker's name and breed. In other words Ann Baker is no way responsible for what you do or what you misrepresent. . . . must change the name of [your] breed. [You] may have started out with authentic Ragdolls but if [your] breeding program is different then [you] cannot use Ann Baker's name and that of her cats. If the literature and show standards are different how can the cats be the same?" (The True Ragdoll Story)
She seemed to think that any deviation from her 7 generations of backcrossing would somehow cause defects, and that if a breeder mated siblings or cousins without the offspring being defective it was evidence that the cats had been crossed to something else. "The IRCA will not register Ragdolls that are bred brother, sister, cousin back breeding etc. We do not believe in bringing into the world cats that have short lives and or deformities. If this does not happen then you are not breeding pure Ragdolls but a cross which you are working with. Mother Nature cannot be deceived - and someone is calling God Almighty a liar." (The True Ragdoll Story)
"Ragdolls are the purebred that had no other breed bred in after Josephine (the injured cat who threw the Ragdolls). One cannot mate brother, sister, cousins and mother and son (breeding different than all other cats). Ragdoll Hobby Cats are those that were outbred to something else after Josephine. One can out breed one time and then in breed, but, the disposition of the true Ragdoll is lost. Ragdolls Tu are our new Ragdolls. By new we mean there are only three males left in the world that can be used for breed stock to make purebred Ragdolls. Josephine had other sons and daughters, but their eye coloring and fur coloring was different (we had chosen the Sacred Cat of Burma look). We now had to go back and get her other males and experiment with them. This has taken five years (ever since the original Ragdoll males were poisoned). We are now at the place where we are discussing with the other two breeders of authentic Ragdolls whether we should breed them so that they will throw only blue eyes and sealpoint fur or whether to leave them different as they are." (The True Ragdoll Story)
"After we lost almost all our breeding males due to being poisoned, we felt we would not be able to continue the look. Now with two breeders to help, we will be able to get them on the market for all. It has taken Ann Baker 5 years to come back after damage was done to her." (IRCA and The Ragdoll Documentary) One wonders if the alleged poisoning was due to her "research," perhaps on feeding.
Ragdolls Tu were her new Ragdolls (1978), by which she meant there were only three males left in the world that could be used to breed purebred Ragdolls. Josephine had other sons and daughters, but they had different colouring and eye colour, so Baker had to go back and get her other males and experiment with them. That took five years "ever since the original Ragdoll males were poisoned," but by 1978 Baker had reached the point of discussing with the remaining two breeders of "authentic Ragdolls" whether to breed for blue eyes and sealpoint only, or whether to leave them different as they were. The only cats or kittens that could be called "Ragdolls" were those fathered by certain named males.
HONEY BEARS, SHU SCHOOS AND CHERUBIM CATS.
The story of Honey Bears resembles that of the Ragdoll (evidently it was a winning formula!. A female cat, a university and some sort of hush-hush research. According to "Let's Do It God's Way," when she inherited the Honey Bears, she relied on Dr. Centerwall of Loma Linda University in California, who had done research on the Ragdolls. (Later she would give her dead cats (frozen) to Davis University for research.) "At that time no one had ever heard of DNA, not even Dr. Centerwall. It was two years after receiving the Honey Bears that the news was released to the public." (Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA in 1953; DNA itself was discovered in 1869 by Swiss chemist Friedrich Miescher, who named it "nuclein.")
She claims this was why the university gave her a pregnant cat to breed as she liked, on condition she did not contact them or mention them in any way regarding the cat and kittens. It was given to her to keep her Ragdoll breed going, but she claims this wouldn't work because of big difference between her Ragdolls and the university cat (which founded the Honey Bears), although there were some similarities. Honey Bears had different instincts and traits: they would bite but not fight, and they did not eat the same things, but preferred people food. The Honey Bears born to that university cat were also built differently in the hindquarters, allowing the tail to go up over the back and the back legs to spraddle, some have retractable claws. "So we have completely different lines - as all are related." (??) The Honey Bear males born to the cat given her were bred to CFA-registered Persians and after three generations, the kittens took on the characteristics of the original Honey Bear father and resembled the original kittens born to the pregnant university cat.
Elsewhere in the same book she claimed that she was given the pregnant cat because the universities had killed so many of her Ragdolls "in research or whatever" and she describes the Honey Bears as having two more holes in the head than normal cats.
According to "Let's Do It God's Way," it was a terrible experience trying to do research into the reason for the cats' limpness and supposed immunity to pain when cats were being harmed and stolen. At first, Baker sent cats to different places for research, but after sending 10 Honey Bears (which were to be returned) to Phoenix, Arizona, they were returned with bowed legs. She alleged researchers had pulled the legs out of the sockets trying to find out what made them so limp and why the cats spraddled. Later on, those cats were stolen from her when the Ragdolls were stolen. A year after the cats were stolen, Baker says she got a phone call from someone asking why Honey Bears had bowed legs, and she immediately knew she was talking to the person that had her stolen Honey Bears. The Honey Bears would no doubt be crossed to other breeds, and not be authentic Honey Bears though they would no doubt use the same name. "We did not register them with any association, so they could not get their start and use me as others had. I understand they are now calling them Persians and mixing the Honey Bears in," says Baker. This did not happen - Honey Bears did not meet the standard for Persians.
Baker's trademarked umbrella term for her IRCA varieties was Cherubim Cat meaning "Angels non-fighting cat" (as a religious person, she should have known that the Cherubim were warrior angels, not cute cherubs). Her Cherubim Cats included Ragdolls, Miracle Ragdolls ("a highly upgraded Ragdoll" formerly known as the "Ragdoll Tu", "experimental Persian" or simply "Miracle"), Ragdoll Hobby Cat, Honey Bears, Doll Babies, Baby Dolls, Shu Schoos, Symoneese/Symonees, Manxees, Fuzz, Catenoids and Little Americans. The named IRCA Ragdoll/Miracle breeding lines included Maximillions (silver tabbies), Minks, Bears (thicker fur, shorter ears, rounder eyes, flatter face, cobbier body) and Catenoids (blue-eyed solids surrounded by claims they could be bred to any cat to produce an IRCA-type Ragdoll!). Many of these never existed outside of Baker's cattery which apparently held as many as 500 cats, both caged and free-roaming indoors. After her death, many of these were absorbed into the RagaMuffin and some were apparently re-registered as TICA Ragdolls as they traced to the same foundation cats with no outcrossing. Having lost control of the Ragdoll name, and with most breeders wanting registrable Ragdolls that could be exhibited, she had needed new band names for her business's products.
Mink Ragdolls have become more acceptable because they are traceable to Ann Baker's foundation cats. Helen Fitton, a Ragdoll breeder, has traced back the ancestry of an odd-eye mink bicolour Ragdoll male and found the common ancestor is KatsKradle Linnea of GemsDolls, which is a mink pattern cat that traces back to Miss Abracadabra, a foundation sepia. Miss Abracadabra is shown in databases as a RagaMuffin, but her offspring are registered as Ragdolls. The RagaMuffin registration would have been retrospective considering the controversy with Ann Baker and the Ragamuffins bred by those who broke her franchise and trademark.
In "Let's Do It God's Way" she urged readers to write for information on the licensed IRCA breeders of her Ragdolls (Cherubims). Updated breeder lists were published every two months) because of breeders having licences revoked. "Learn why all original Raggedy Ann cattery registrations were legally revoked by a 1975 law" she said (i.e. losing control of the Ragdoll name in the trademark case). While authentic Ragdolls were sold with registration papers, buyers would not get pedigree papers until the cat associations put the authentic Ragdolls in a separate Cherubim classification instead of mixing them up with the so-called Ragdolls which had nothing to do with the she created. "A halfbreed or overbreed is not considered an authentic Ragdoll. Unless bred as required, the authentic Ragdoll is an endangered species. Ragdolls are a phenomenon and not a domestic cat." She was told, legally, to stop claiming only her Ragdolls were authentic, but continued to post quarter page adverts in Cat magazines.
ON REGISTRIES AND SHOWING
Baker had set out with the intention of breeding the perfect house cat for the American family, which meant she did not envisage it being exhibited. Her emphasis was on "purebred" rather than pedigree. The International Ragdoll Cat Association was founded in 1971 and registered as a business in September 1973. It was declared with the USDA as a registrar of breeds "that are different than all other breeds and cannot be bred as other cats and maintain the breed." In 1979, it registered her Ragdolls, Honey Bears and Ragdolls Tu and would later include her other "Cherubim" breeds. It would only register cats if the complete background was also documented with IRCA. She would not allow her Ragdolls to be registered elsewhere or shown "due to all the trouble over the past registrations." Her Ragdolls were, she claimed, different in disposition, immune to pain, had small "different shaped heads," were very heavy in the behind area, huge in size, had thick non-matting fur that could be rubbed the wrong way as it grew "outward."
Having made a conscious decision to breed cats with the Birman look, in 1979 (The True Ragdoll Story) she complained that too many people thought Himalayan and Birmans were Ragdolls and vice-versa. She contemplated changing the look of her cats to be different to all other cats in the world. She wanted to make something different so people could tell if they had the real Ragdoll. "How would the public react to pink cats or green cats?" She claimed to be anticipating several things. She also knew that novelty would sell, and sales = money.
Her own registry, IRCA, registered what she called "phenomenas." Registrations were called crests due to the coat of arms emblem and to distinguish between the phenomenas and the cross breeds. NCFA (National Cat Fanciers Association), was to register all Baker's cats so that one association would have all complete registration of the breed. NCFA was mainly a registry and held few shows. Baker's Honey Bears were registered with NCFA as "experimental Persians." The registered Ragdolls were linebred according to Ann Baker's rules, with the original literature and show standard and with 20 points for Disposition in show standards (was 10 points before 1972).
Baker complained that her breed had only one show standard, but cat associations recognised all three looks. Yet she also wrote that there were three prices for Ragdoll cats. One for those with white legs, another for the black legs, a third price for mitted feet. Cats with a slight blaze down the nose and a white tail tip were the most valuable as they resembled the original father, which was should happen in the 7th generation of a proper linebred programme. The first two types would die out as the foundation stock died out, leaving only those with mitted feet (and the non-matting fur, large size, limpness when handled, non-fighting disposition and a high tolerance for pain). (IRCA and The Ragdoll Documentary)
"There is no such thing as pet quality Ragdolls. . . You either have a Ragdoll or you don't, it's that simple. Ragdolls are born without the normal cat instincts. They have to be taught everything. They are actually a different animal entirely in a cat's body." (IRCA and The Ragdoll Documentary)
She complained that there were now two breeds. One was 14 years old from a line-breeding program, the other was 7 years old, and mixed up, and was going the crossbreed route. "Who in the hell really cares who bred what? We cannot have two breeds by the same name since Ann Baker started the breed and named the breed, and was breeding seven years longer than anyone." She felt others were out to capitalise on her work and her "brand." "What about all the people who thought they were buying Ann Baker's breed and expected the same thing as she was selling? Perhaps Ann Baker could make hers prettier, but, at the cost of losing the disposition, there are lots of beautiful cats in the world. . . . Ragdolls are not looks, but disposition most of all. (IRCA and The Ragdoll Documentary)
All other Cat Associations except CFA, registered what Baker considered fraudulent Ragdolls that were not IRCA and NFCA registered. Some were originally NCFA registered but their registrations were discontinued. These association registered, showed and furthered the "so-called" Ragdolls. Baker considered it fraudulent for them to say they were progressing the breed because "Ragdolls are already a breed different than all others in the world." These associations did not use her breeding programme and had different literature and standards (no points for disposition), but were using the Ragdoll name. So she stated that as of November 1, 1975 any cat association registering or showing any Ragdoll or Honey Bear without a Crest could be sued (though she had already legally lost control of the Ragdoll), and that this would continue until there were new rules created for regulating new types of breeds to protect the originators, breeders, and "last but not least the public who buys the cats."
She was correct that registering cats with cat associations did not mean it was purebred. Registries register pedigree cats, which is different from purebred cats, but she said they were open to fraud (IRCA was just as susceptible). "Anyone with a number can register any cat. The cat associations are a business like any other to get their three dollars a paper, etc. . . . You have to have ten breeders through CFA (maybe more now) before you can get your animals registered, and CFA does not register mutation. No association can police their registrations. So after they do accept your animals for registration then anyone who has a number can register. Say a man has two of a breed - both altered - if he gets two other cats that look alike or whatever and have kittens he can write in the numbers of the altered cats and get his litter registered, as the breed he had papers on with the association using those numbers." (The True Ragdoll Story)
She went on to say that people who had special breeds that were considered "phenomenas" and mutations and which were truly different from all others, must protect themselves by special registrations, because cat associations only recognised new breeds made by mixing existing breeds. Getting a new breed recognised by an association was, in her view, quick and easy if you were the only person showing it and there was competition! "The people who have a phenomena or they have an animal changed under this new DNA or NIH program or whatever one chooses to name it, have animals changed by the genes and bacteria method, have a huge expense involved with the cost of the change, transportation, line breeding for seven years of hard work to perfect their product and then getting the unknown on the market. Now have a new way to go and do not have to give to the world same as a crossbreed but can protect themselves and their breed." It's clear she saw the cat a marketable product. (Her frequent claims that Josephine had been genetically altered with skunk or human DNA in a genetic experiment are at odds with her claims elsewhere that Ragdolls were a phenomenon caused by God Almighty.)
People with "special breeds" who spent time and money should be protected even before they could get their product on the market "for the world to ruin before they can get started." Trademarking with papers issued by the U. S. Government Patent Office, and a special registry was the way to go. Papers with the cat associations were worthless, except for showing. "Of course there are people who cheat at everything, but I think a breeder who controls his own breed when it is new and from the start can keep it 98% pure." The 98% pure refers to 7 generations of back-crossing after any outcross.
SALES AND AGREEMENT RAGDOLLS
THIS AGREEMENT is entered into by and between ANN BAKER, hereinafter called 'Seller,' and --- hereinafter called "Buyer."
FOR VALUABLE CONSIDERATION, hereinafter stated, the parties agree as follows:
1. That Seller hereby sells to Buyer, two (2) unaltered (one older, one young) female RAGDOLL cats, for the consideration of $1,000.00 cash, receipt of which is acknowledged by Seller. This includes contract for right to breed and sell registered and crested RAGDOLLS so long as RAGDOLLS are pure and line bred. Violations on part of breeder cancels his contract and his RAGDOLLS become HOBBY CATS.
2. Seller guarantees to Buyer that for a period of one (1) year after the date of this Agreement that the cat will not die of natural causes and, in the event the cat should die and such death is proven to be from natural causes as determined by an autopsy, Seller will give to Buyer, free of charge, an unaltered female RAGDOLL cat.
3. That buyer is hereby given the right to purchase the one and only type male RAGDOLL cat for the sum of $500.00 cash within two (2) years from the date of this Agreement, if Seller has such cat available, provided, however, that if Seller does not have an available male at the time of Buyer's request within the two year period, then the two year period shall automatically extend until such time as Seller is able to a have one available.
4. Buyer is hereby given the right to breed with Seller's male RAGDOLL for a $100.00 stud fee and, in the event Buyer should buy a male RAGDOLL under the above terms then all stud fees Buyer has paid to Seller will apply on the purchase price.
5. Seller has caused the RAGDOLL Crest to be copyrighted by the International Ragdoll Cat Association. Buyer must purchase from Seller a Crest for each RAGDOLL kitten
Buyer produces for the sum of $10.00. This is a Royalty fee for r use of U.S. PATENT OFFICE TRADEMARK NAME "RAGDOLL." This right is limited to a kitten born as a result of the mating of the Buyer's female cat purchased and Seller's male cat. or of the mating between the authentic female RAGDOLL and an authentic original bred male approved by ANN BAKER.
6. RAGDOLLS not mated to proper original males and cattery not to strict line breeding ... are a do it yourself or a "RAGDOLL HOBBY CAT".
7. Seller hereby guarantees to Buyer that all her RAGDOLLS are registered by COAT OF ARMS CRESTS to prove authenticity. RAGDOLL crossed one time to another and then to a RAGDOLL is a RAGDOLL HOBBY CAT and IRCA registered - no one else can legally use the name.
THE EARLY LILAC RAGDOLLS
For 7 years, she raised only Seal-Points, which bred true, then she discovered that by a "reversal process with the original mother" - i.e. backcrossing son to mother - she produced an "over linebred cat" which in turn produced a beautiful true lilac color. The same process was tried on the dark side and a black velvet point was developed... all off-spring were sterile both lilac and black velvet, but even so all are altered before selling so there can be no claim on the market of lilacs. (IRCA and The Ragdoll Documentary)
In her "True Ragdoll Story" Baker documented her experiments in breeding lilacs.
Fugianna (Original) x Woo Wong (Son) = Thumper who was over bred. All good and bad from background of the cats will show up here.
Thumper x Ming Toi = Thumper Jr, who was a beautiful lilac cat but had a kinked tail. Thumper sired offspring with badly kinked tails, sterile males and cats that died prematurely.
Thumper x Tiki = Pecos Bill, another beautiful lilac cat. Thumper sired very light cats that had short lives: tans, grays, spotted and albinos. This Thumper's offspring could not be used for studs.
Thumper was described as albino, with tan and grey spots; seeing as an albino is completely white, he must have been a pointed cat with bicolour. He had sore looking eyes and a growth in each corner of his mouth. He was so immune to pain that he was operated on without anaesthetic! Baker wrote that it was possible to breed good disposition half breed cats from these, but the purebred were short-lived with deformities a few generations down the line. Her experiment was to see what the bad points in the cats background were and the limitations were in breeding. In other words, what recessives showed up through over-zealous inbreeding in the name of purity. She claimed this was why Ragdolls couldn't make other colours, only sealpoint, maybe a few lilac females in time. All of her experimental lilacs were neutered and none were sold for breeding.
VETS STEALING RAGDOLLS FROM THEIR OWNERS
"When you buy a purebred crested Ragdoll or Honey Bear, you also have a one-year guarantee that if the cat dies within a year from anything that could have been the matter with it when we sold it to you and not from an accident, I will give you another cat. If anything happens to the cat (excluding accidents) within two weeks, you may bring it back and I will take care of it free of charge. If something should happen and you live too far away, call us before taking it to the vet. If you take the cat to a vet who has it put to sleep for any reason whatsoever before you call us, you have no guarantee . . . If you do what we tell you, you have a one year guarantee. If you keep your cat in good health as we tell you, you will not need the vet, but those people who go looking for trouble will find it." (The True Ragdoll Story)
Her attitude towards vets bordered on paranoid. In "The True Ragdoll Story" Baker told readers and buyers that vets were stealing Ragdolls from owners or experimenting on the cats. She seemed to want to keep the cats away from vets. Her other papers show she was opposed to conventional medicine and believed that health foods and natural remedies (and quack remedies) could resolve all illnesses. Was she worried that vets might find sedatives in the cats' blood from their special diet? Or was it because she truly believed Ragdolls contained foreign DNA? Some of her literature seems to claim that Cherubims were not cats, but were something else. She can't have been so worried about "experiments" because she herself had sent cats to university laboratories. Being convinced the Ragdoll's floppiness was due to some change (either act of God or "genetical engineering") she sent several of her Ragdolls to California research universities, including Stanford and Loma Linda. In 1974, a geneticist at Loma Linda wrote back that they had found no significant abnormalities. Stanford University used electrodes to monitor brain activity and found no physiological abnormalities.
"You may not believe this, but we know of incidents where vets have told people their cats had to be put to sleep so they could get the cats themselves. For example, we sent two Ragdolls to one area. The vet told one owner her cat needed to be put to sleep. She said, 'No way. My cat is fine. I only want a shot. It has never been sick and plays, etc., etc.' The vet got very angry, charged her a big fee and told her to never come back. The other owner fell for it and lost her cat. She too, said her cat was fine and was never sick. This vet finally got himself a cat. We know of this same thing happening when an owner went to get a cat altered and the vet said it died, only to find out later the whereabouts of the cat.
Also, when we sold one cat, the lady took it to a vet the next day for a check-up. The vet told her that these special cats need their blood changed and charged her $50 to change it. Another lady had her cat sneeze a couple of times and rushed it to a vet. The vet said he had to keep it. She wanted to know why. He just kept it. She went daily to get her cat and was put off each time. She finally had to pull a deal to get it back and the cat had been experimented on. The stories I could tell you would fill a bigger book than this.
Not all vets, of course, are like those mentioned, but many who have never seen a Ragdoll and have heard about them for years, cannot wait to investigate yours. Some vets have had experiences with people (we have had many Ragdolls stolen) that were mating brother, sister or cousin and the kittens were dying within six months. The vets assumed all Ragdolls were overbred. This is not the case with the true linebred Ragdolls. I believe Ragdolls live longer than other cats. My 13 year old mothers are still breeding twice a year and act like kittens themselves. It takes a Ragdoll three years to reach full growth." (The True Ragdoll Story -Ann Baker)
ANN BAKER'S "RESEARCH" INTO DISEASE
She describes her "research" in "Let's Do It God's Way." When she bought her property for raising cats, she decided to do research on her own cures for things that vets put cats to sleep for. This was because the cats were costing her over a thousand dollars a month in vet bills. She was involved in this "research" for over 22 years, during which time she took no wages, but funded the research through the sale of her cats. "If you are using Ann Baker's name and the name of her cats to defame her research for your greed, may Almighty God take over and you reap your reward."
She claimed to have found cures for many things by her "pure food method." She said that cats were the only animal vets had no medicine for, and giving dogs' medicine on cats always has bad after-effects four to six months later. That was why some children's medicine was given to cats instead. How many of her "cures" were just dietary supplements quack remedies? Baker subscribed to "laetrile" as a biological medicine for treating cancer. Laetrile has no therapeutic value, it's another name for amygdalin and makes hydrogen cyanide which becomes cyanide when taken into the body. She referred to other people's cures (mainsteam medicine) as poisons. She believed in the wholly fictitious microbe called "progenitor cryptocide" as the "cancer parasite" and said that all diseases had only 2 causes: dead, devitalized food, and poison.
She continually refers to her "research cats" but was not licensed to carry out scientific research. Her "research cats" apparently came from vets who had no diagnosis. They arrived "almost dead," but she claimed that if she could keep them alive for two days, she could usually find out the cause. I then put out a paper (not peer-reviewed) like one she wrote about giving live vaccination shots to cats. If the cat responded very rapidly to her "treatment" it was usually due the owners not giving proper information to the vet. Some had reactions to conventional medicines, but the most impossible to cure were those that had eaten roaches poisoned by boric acid, which would kill a cat within days. If the cat recovered (she gave no guarantees), it was sent back to them. The vets paid her nothing for her research, only the cost of transporting the cats. I doubt vets would give her dying cats - it would be both unethical and cruel.
She apparently spent $25,000 - $30,000 each year to maintain her "research program." In 1985, Baker was updating her $25 book "You've Been Had - Me Too,"' which was cures for cats, other animals and people, including cures and preventive medicine for things that vets put cats to sleep for. "We have, through our research, found a cure for anemia, FIP and leukemia, for which other research labs and many vets are now testing, which has led to research on people being started . . Big breakthroughs are on the way, as many people have been cured and helped of many things, including kidney stones, skin diseases, etc." Among the things she falsely claimed to have worked on and "discovered" were:
Lead is the cause of leukaemia. She claimed to have cured cats, but where did they get the lead? (The effects of lead poisoning had already been known for a long time; leukaemia is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.)
Aluminium (too much in the brain) causes Alzheimer's disease. (She neither worked on, nor discovered this, and a link between aluminium and Alzheimer has been abandoned. The real studies were done by the following who found that rabbits injected with extremely high levels of aluminium salts developed plaques in the brain:
Klatzo I, Wisniewski HM, Streicher E. Experimental production of neurofibrillary degeneration. J Neuropath Exp Neurol. 1965;24:187-199
Wisniewski HM, Terry RD, Peña C, Streicher E, Klatzo I. Experimental production of neurofibrillary degeneration. J Neuropath Exp Neurol. 1965;24:139
Terry RD, Peña C. Experimental production of neurofibrillary degeneration. J Neuropath Exp Neurol. 1965;24:200-210)
Her "discoveries" seem to have been fantasies.
BAKER'S SIDE OF THE MUTINY STORY
Once she had core breeding stock, Baker purchased a piece of property okayed by the Planning Department of Riverside, California, as a cattery. At first she offered these cats for breeding (as pets only), but gave no-one else the right to sell pairs. All were sold under contract and Baker alone controlled the supply of males. All other males were sold as pets, as they were brother to the females sold for breeding. She sold 6 breeding cats. "There are only three breeders in the world who are breeding for males as studs for catteries. Two breeders for males have been trained in the facts of breeding authentic Ragdolls and have been working about three years to perfect their lines; someone must know in order to take over for [me]." The first man to purchase a pair of 4-month olds supposedly sold over 100 kittens in the following 18 months, more than Baker's 50 breeding females had produced. He registered them all with the Cat Association, claiming them to be the authentic Ragdolls, and he took over the other breeders. After producing so many overbred cats, he apparently claimed you could not breed Ragdoll-to-Ragdoll, and then bred them to other cats.
"Let's Do It God's Way" gives Baker's account of the Daytons and the mutiny. According to her, the man (who had produced 100 kittens i.e. Dayton) had tried to put her out of business through the cat associations and cat magazines, as well as through a lawsuit. She says the lawsuit was dropped due to being based entirely on false premises and that the State of California put him out of business, but the people he had sold to carried on his breed of Ragdolls, which were in no way the same as Baker's authentic Ragdolls. "When the cat associations put the name of the cattery before the name of the cat on the registrations, it made Ann Baker's trade name into a trademark, and all the registrations had to be voided and could not be used legally. (Attorneys for the Bobbs Merrill Corporation, which owns the Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, were also in on this.) I then named my place Ann Baker Exclusive, and started re-registering the cats." Then, according to her account, all the registrations (cats) under "Raggedy Ann" and "Ann Baker Exclusive" were stolen (i.e. registered before her trademark came into effect!), so she formed a corporation called "International Ragdoll Cat Association," because Ragdolls were her breed and no one else's.
"We could have sold the Ragdolls for a thousand dollars each and had more customers than we could supply had the first man not tried to grab it all for himself and cause all this trouble and controversy." (Let's Do It God's Way)
Something that apparently set Ragdolls apart from ordinary cats, according to "IRCA and The Ragdoll Documentary" was their "high immunity to pain. Ragdolls have been known to survive things that one would put another cat to sleep for, as they show no pain" and "It is a proven fact that many Ragdoll cats have been known to survive accidents for which other cats have had to be put to sleep." These claims set back breed recognition until the cats were proved to have a normal pain response, but were just quieter and didn't protest as much as many others. Thankfully, she added that if a Ragdoll did get injured it should go to the vet and be treated not according to how it acted, but according to what happened to it as their high pain threshold made it difficult to detect any sore areas.
According to Kay Hanvey, who was involved at the time, when the Daytons bought their Ragdolls, they also had to buy special food from her. Denny, a scientist, had this special food tested by a laboratory found phenobarbitol in it. This was why the cats were so limp and relaxed and had a high pain threshold. When the Daytons broke away from Ann Baker and switched the cats to a normal diet it turned out that the cats were not so laid back and they had a lot of work to do to breed cats with a really nice personality. Denny presented the findings of the food analysis in court. However blood tests n other cats by vets apparently did not detect any signs of sedation.
Blanche Herman took over for Dayton after he stopped breeding, and had her breed, but Herman was denied an IRCA license due to using her own male as a stud, and then a male from Dayton. Chambers, another mutineer, had his breed of Ragdolls. Baker claimed Chambers' unhappy customers told her that Chambers had mentioned at cat shows that he was breeding out the limpness. She claimed he was selling halfbreeds for up to $275.00, and 'purebreds' (overbreeds) for $275.00 upwards. In fact, the breakaway breeders were reassuring cat associations that the cats were relaxed, not limp, and had a normal pain response, otherwise the associations would not accept them.
"The Chambers on Ptolemy, in Mira Loma, California . . . have $25,000.00 worth of Ragdolls which I was going to sell them, but the cats disappeared and I didn't get one cent. They advertized in 'Cats Magazine' that they had forty breed stocks. They do not breed in accordance with my breeding program, and they do not get stud service. I end up with their unhappy customers and all the crap that should be theirs. They have nothing to do with me or my breed. They sell halfbreeds and overbred cats, and go to cat shows, causing trouble galore . . . These people who are selling cats in my name are constantly writing and turning in complaints about me (and many have never met me). Nor have they ever purchased any cats from me. What they do is continue Dayton's lies, and add to that. I do not allow any of my breeders to do such a thing; they have to sell their cats and mind their own business. Any and all problems, inquiries and news they hear are to be sent to the IRCA office. IRCA is a corporation, and the battle can continue after I am no longer on the scene. " (Let's Do It God's Way)
"Only licensed IRCA breeders have the authentic Ragdolls, and anyone not breeding to the program is legally liable to get his license revoked." When I own the breed and the rights (all legally), I should have no competition. These are not the regular domestic variety.
Baker could not get over the fact that she did not have sole ownership of the Ragdoll name. There was to be a lawsuit regarding an article published in Cat Fancy in March 1980. It was written by Denny Dayton and signed by Robert Bruce, and has nothing to do with Ann Baker or her authentic Ragdolls. "I have never put anything in any book or magazine, and this magazine has not asked me for any information. I have spent over $20,000.00 to protect myself and my breed against all that such people do and publish ($350.00 to Atty. Haeflinger, $250.00 in fees to the Department of Corporations, plus $500.00 and $17,044.38 to Atty. Winder, not to mention smaller amounts). Everything in the article in question is a collection of lies, and I cannot be sued for what the writers or the owners of the magazine do, sell or publish. However, I can sue." (Let's Do It God's Way)
She said she was waiting for the right time to start her own lawsuits. "All belongs to me legally, and I have the say as to the breed and breeding program, which must be followed. Anyone doing otherwise is defrauding the public. Anyone can breed all different kinds of cats together, but they cannot get them trademarked, as anyone could do that. Patents mean that others cannot do the same. Even Ann Baker cannot make the start of either breed, but only the breeding program can make and keep it a breed. It has to take a dedicated breeders to keep them from becoming an endangered species." (Let's Do It God's Way)
In "IRCA and The Ragdoll Documentary" she said she had tried several times to find a way out for everyone (by introducing the "Hobby Cats" for those not following her breeding rules), but no-one would follow that route. She could sue all 38 people and Associations involved with ruining her breed, unless there was an immediate settlement now. "Once and for all, there cannot be two breeds of cats by the same name ...a Phenomena and a Crossbreed...with an impossible breeding program...such a mixed-up mess can never work out." And she added that there would soon be lots of new breeds on the market "what with the DNA etc." which, by setting a precedent (trademarking) she would protect.
She was only willing to register her cats with mainstream cat associations if they were registered under their own cherubim classification to avoid confusion with the "so-called" Ragdolls bred outside her control. Authentic Ragdolls had to be registered with IRCA first, and proof must be given to the cat associations. All cats not bred to her breeding program established would have their IRCA licenses and registrations cancelled, and the cat associations must abide by the decision of IRCA Corporation, Inc. (Let's Do It God's Way - Ann Baker) Although the cat associations were not going to indulger her, the cat magazines did have a separate classification for IRCA breeds in their classified advert sections.
MISSIVES TO THE MAGAZINES
In her view, everything published in books, magazines, etc. was the literature of others andspread such stories as Ragdolls and Sacred Cats of Burma coming in chocolate points, and that Ann Baker mated three or four breeds together to produce the Ragdolls. All kinds of stories exist. The real start of the Ragdolls was all of 25 years ago, or more, depending on whether you started counting from the experimental Persians or from the perfected Ragdoll breeding line came about. "All books and magazines will be taken to task, as well as breeders, associations, etc. ." (Let's Do It God's Way)
The following letter was sent to all breeders of the "so-called" Ragdolls, to 'Cats Magazine,' all cat associations, all publishers of The 'Encyclopedia of American Cat Breeds,' Meredith D. Wilson, 'Simon and Shuster's Guide to Cats' and Gino Pugnetti and Mordecai Siegal (U.S. editor), 'Cat Catalog' (Ragdoll Society), and to other publications as soon as she found them.
My name is Ann Baker, and I am the owner of the trademark, franchise, and registry of the authentic Ragdolls. I am writing because we have had so much trouble over the article you have in your book. The first man we sold a franchise to broke the franchise and tried to take over the Ragdolls. We had all our registers stolen (all NCFA, since they were not registered with any other association), and we had to form a corporation and register our own Ragdolls. No one has ever contacted me for the real story, but instead everyone took Mr. Dayton's writings as the truth. Mr. Dayton used my name and the name of my cats. We were going to court, but it was thrown out as all his stories to his attorney were shown to be false. Then the State of California put him out of business, but others he had sold to picked up where he had left off. Someone in New York is suing in regard to the huge article that was published in 'Cat Fancy' in March of 1980. Many people buy the magazine thinking that what they read is true. But if you were going to publish something, I would think you would talk to the owner first.
Ragdolls are not cats, but cherubims, which means angels. They cannot be raised like cats. It is true that they cannot be let out of doors; this is because they are not born with the cat instinct, but are more like humans and have to be taught that way. They are lots of love. But, say you are an orphan and you go to a home that mistreats you or you feel you are not wanted. You sure would rebel. Regular cats can go out and have a fight and get over it, and then be their old selves once again and repeat the same thing now and again. Not so with Ragdolls: To be mistreated - I will compare them again with human beings - they act as a human would who had been raped, or a child who had been or is a battered child. They never come out of it. If one wants a cat, one should buy a cat. But if one wants a child to love, then is the time one should buy a Ragdoll. Many buy them instead of having children, due to the times. They are no way the same as other cats. We only have about one in a hundred that ends up like this, and we really grieve for that cat. It will never come out of it, which is really a shame. And what grief Mr. Dayton caused many people, and what lies have been published. The cat associations and 'Cats Magazine' have been knowingly carrying on this fraud on the public, and for all time the hurt can never be undone.
We intend to try with our upcoming fight. The only way it can be done is through a national fight and news, which will not only include the books, newspapers, cat magazines and associations, and phoney breeders, but all who are involved. We have to wait on two things first, and then the New York deal, we hope, will open up the can of worms. Mr. Dayton was told by the District Attorney's Office, his own attorney and the Department of Corporations to change the name of his cats, but he wouldn't. Instead, we had to steal all of our registrations (except Mr. Dayton's, however) which were no good and were voided by law.
Yours truly, Ann Baker
Having registrations only means you can show; it doesn't mean the cats are purebred. IRCA registrations alone mean authentic cherubim cats ("phenomena"), which are trademarked and owned by Ann Baker. All IRCA breeders are licensed."
ALL ATTORNEYS ARE CORRUPT!!
In "Let's Do It God's Way" Baker wrote that when Dayton first broke his franchise, she went to Atty. Winder to put a stop to it. Winder told her she needed to bring the franchise up to date first, although it had nothing to do with Dayton. She paid Winder $500.00 cash plus $250.00 for filing fees direct to the Department of Corporations. According to her, Winder kept stringing her along, saying he could not go ahead without a further $10,000.00 cash, which Baker did not have. So he wanted a lien on her property, plus interest, which she gave to him and was then told "something that amounted to 'Get lost.'" She says that Winder never prepared a single piece of paper on her lawsuit or on Dayton's counter-suit against her. She reported Winder to the Bar Association, but the Bar Association close out their cases after one year, and after 12 months she gave up, having lost her money. Then, 2 - 3 years later, she says she was contacted by the Bar Association- the file hadn't been closed, but had been hidden in the woodwork during remodelling. "It turned out that Atty. Winder's father was at that time the head of or connected with the Bar Association."
She had allegedly paid Winder $17,044.38 for doing absolutely nothing except talking to Atty. Garcia twice. When Mr. Winder did nothing, she hired Atty. Pavlick of Burbank, California. Every few weeks when a date was set for trial, he asked for an additional $200.00, and then postponed the trial date. She wanted to get it over with, but was told if it was postponed long enough the Daytons (counter-suit) would give up. $800.00 later, she fired Pavlick, reported him to the Bar Association, and took her papers to Ventura where it was settled in one afternoon. Three times in succession, Atty. Garcia brought up something, but Baker claims to have produced a paper to prove it was not true. After the third time, he halted proceedings and took the Daytons into another room. They said they would drop the against Baker BUT the Daytons refused to change the name of their cats. "All was based on falsehoods. It was my breed, and he signed a franchise with me and not his breed, and not my hurting him. All I had to do was present the legal (which was all any of the attorneys would have had to do). " The attorneys must have known that Baker's case would not succeed because franchising laws had changed and Ragdolls had been registered with cat associations before she got her trademark. Baker's account says the State of California putting Dayton out of business; this isn't true, though the Daytons did retire from breeding, having done their part to get the Ragdoll recognised.
"Now let us talk about this court business... This is a real shocker. .. Know your people... And do not always pay... Even if you lose in court... Lesser of two evils. . . I will give you some of my experiences .. Four months after I sold a kitten, the little girl got ring worm... So they came to me and I told them if they got ring worm it had to be within three days to a week after I sold them the cat... They took me to small claims court... She went into a great spiel. . . How she had to have the house fumigated, etc.... And she wanted $120.00 instead of the $50.00 . . . Back for the cat... She did not want to give the cat back, she only wanted $120.00... I lost... So I took her to Superior Court... To prove that one cannot fumigate for ringworm as it is a fungus... And has to be treated differently... In the meantime, she found out the difference also and when we went to court they let her talk first... She told how all her friends had touched the cat and got ringworm and she had a slip from the medical center where she and five girl friends worked. They were in court with her, all got it and It cost $20.00 each for the doctor. When I got up to talk... I explained the Situation... She denied the whole story about the fumigating which she had not had done and in the story she told in court the first time . But since the small claims court has no tape record of what was said, I could not prove she said it the first time... So I lost the second time... Well, I didn't pay it... She had me to an attorney or tried. They called and wrote me and I told them the story... They would drop it and she would get someone else. If I had paid, her five friends would try the same thing. Don't let anyone get your number that you are a softy like I did and get ripped off time and again. . . I had paid off to a relative of hers, not on ringworm but to someone who was trying to train their kitten to go from three flights up to the basement to go to the box. They scared him wild, due to their stomping on the floor at the cat. So if I paid off again I would have the other five girls on my neck." (Crook's Paradise)
"Find a friend or attorney who is known politically and make friends with them by giving them an animal (your best). It will pay off over and over again... It is doubtful that he will find out that he was used and had his position in the world, etc. jeopardized by you... Woe be unto you when he does find out .. . The best place to start is with the District Attorney's office. In my case, the District Attorney came to see me after I publicized the matter... But he figured my being an old woman he had it made... I found him all the time he was in office . . . (Not Riverside County). Stay away from attorneys... I had several and they all got bought off. " (Crook's Paradise)
I'm a woman fighting the cat associations, Cats Magazine, and all the people using my name and name of my breed and frauding the public by illegally using my voided paperwork.
"I don't even know how many I have at the moment," she said. 'I won't know until I take inventory on March 1 . . . The cattery sprawls across three-quarters of an acre and includes a hospital, dietary kitchen, nursery and area that Mrs. Baker has labelled 'Stud Alley. . . . It's tiring to do it all myself, for a while I had a young man assisting me, but he once used the wrong solution to clean the cages and I lost 17 cats.'" (PURR SNATCHERS WORRY 'CATHOUSE' OWNER, The Sacramento Bee, January 17, 1978)
Baker claimed that since the breakaway breeders couldn't put her out of business through the court, they started raising a campaign of letter-writing, spreading gossip among the cat associations and magazines, placing articles in magazines, contacting the ASPC, the Humane Society, Animal Control etc. "Well, the minute a certain man was put in the Health Department over Animal Control, the first thing he did was revoke my license, and I had to go before the County Board of Supervisors to get it back." Because of all the moving around (she had to relocate) and the added stress, she believed she started having heart trouble and stress-related health issues. After every visit from Animal Control she briefly went ice-cold and turned white before returning to normal. She believed it was due to a heart valve, though she didn't see a doctor. "Naturally, I would undergo no operation. I cannot take an anaesthetic. If I die due to the stress caused by Animal Control, they are going to be charged with murder. It happens every time they visit here. Legal papers are set up to this effect." (Let's Do It God's Way)
"The Chambers on Ptolemy, in Mira Loma, California, have as many cats as I do. They both work and show by appointment for money only. They also have a business license. They keep their cats in the house and have built their breezeway between the house and garage (under the same roof). Why make me do all differently and keep changing??? Why is there this discrimination???" (Let's Do It God's Way)
"To Whom It May Concern:
In asking for my government grant, it is now an emergency. To explain. . .
I have had political troubles - I guess you could call them that. The Riverside Animal Control is on my back. I was forced to close my lab (in which I used only health foods). Then I was told that if they caught a cat in my hospital area, I would be put out of business. Well, during rainy days I had no choice but to put my kittens in the cages in the hospital area, and here they came taking my license and making me go before the County Board of Supervisors, during which time I lost three months of selling, during the height of my regular selling season, and which I had depended on to make enough money to carry me through the summer months.
I have supported my research solely through the selling of my cats (Ragdolls and Honey Bears), and have never taken wages for myself from that money. (I am on Social Security at $263.00 a month.) All earnings have always gone right back into the animals and the research. I first lived in a house and had the cats in a 25' by 50' Army barracks. Several years ago, they made me take the cats out (I had forced air, heat and air conditioning in the building), so I rented out the house and moved into the barracks. I then enclosed an area so that the cats could have a roof over them, by permission of the Building Department, as nothing was being built to the Building Code. It was 2" off the blacktop, so it could be hosed out from under. I was also made to take the cats out and put the cages outside, and I then enclosed an area next to the barracks on the shaded side of the building, and put a roof over the loading doc. All I did was known and okayed by the Building Department (which stated provisions such as that it could not be attached to the building, etc, etc.). Animal Control came and said that if they caught a cat in there, I would be put out of business. Well, one time it rained for a week or so, and I had to move my kittens in that area. Here they came, and now I only have one building enclosed for the mothers and their babies, which I call the "maternity ward," but which cannot be used during the winter, due to the rain. This half acre is blacktopped, except under the building (which is on blocks), and the standing water makes the building too damp. I have no cages now in the hospital area to put the cats in. We took out all the cages (which would be of no use if I couldn't put any animals in them), but I've had to make use of them again now that the rain has started up again, and have had to put others to sleep as I have no place for them (they couldn't stand the cold and rain in the cages). Also my babies, which are my means of making money, cannot be put out into the rain in the cages. I have twenty-two years of research to finish and this next year and a half are the most important. I have put my property in jeopardy and used up my savings with their antics. I cannot stay here, and need to move immediately.
The kind of property I need, with the correct zoning, will cost me $200,000.00. I need to save my project. We have had to put ten to sleep since the first rain, and now that it has rained again, I need to go check them as soon as it is daylight. I am 67, and working in the rain does me no good either.
I am on Social Security at $263.00 a month. I have taken no wages for myself in 22 years. I need no place to live now, since I am on the job constantly ("workaholic"). The research is supported by the sale of my own two breeds of cats, Ragdolls and Honey Bears. I am in business, but Animal Control has me to the place. I can no longer house cats here for their health and my research. I must move out of Riverside County.
Have you ever held a flashlight in one hand and a cat in the other and try to give it a pill or shot, or whatever, outside in the dark, rain and cloud??? This is called 'animal control,' but not 'cruelty to animals' or to human beings. At 67, it sure helps arthritis.
This is commercial property and some time ago I was told by the Planning Department that I had ten years to phase out as far as cats were concerned. (That was done when Animal Control first said, "Move right now," the first time.) I have about four years left to go, but Animal Control keeps harassing. For now, it makes it impossible for me to continue at this address. According to my financing, I have two years to go, but they are keeping me tied up with their troubling, and time is running out. If it is the property they want, my brother would get it, not them. (He owns the mortgage.) They say it is not the cats they want, so, as I see it, I need a grant to move, or I must sue Animal Control for $5 million for all they have done to me so far and not allowing me to finish my work, or they can buy the property. I want $150,000.00 for the property, minus the furniture and cats. Whatever I do I must do immediately. My agreement with the realtors has run out, and I can sell it myself. My mortgage is $53,000.00 plus 10% interest for 1 1/2 years. The rest would be my money to relocate. -
Income tax reports show that $25,000.00 to $30,000.00 has been spent each year to maintain the research program.
When I move, I do need new metal cages. The ones I have are wooden, and each year I have to put new linoleum in them and cover them with new wire. This last year I did not get it done, due to the time involved fighting Animal Control, and the fact that there was no place to put the cages, many of them ruined by sitting in the rain and bad weather.
I have lost a year already in my research, and at my age time is short to finish up all I am involved in.
I must move to new quarters or sue Animal Control, along with all the other suits coming up, as I mentioned in all parts of this book. This being a corporation, now the fight against the cat associations, magazines and so-called Ragdolls can continue, even if something happens to me.
Where are the people's rights??? What is legal??? What is law??? They say no one ever makes until after he is dead. - Ann Baker" (Let's Do It God's Way)
Had she been conducting her "research" in this day and age (2020s) she would have been shut down a lot sooner for being unlicenced. She was breeding her cats for her "research." Veterinarians were no doubt exasperated at her denial of "chemical medicine" and her claims that she could cure things they could not, falsely claiming to have found cures for anaemia, FIP and leukaemia. Her research used only alternative medicines as she did not believe in mainstream medicine. In "The True Ragdoll Story" she also claimed to have operated on one of her cats without needing anaesthetic because her Ragdolls were immune to pain. It's worrying that she was breeding cats for her own "research" into curing diseases with quack remedies.
THE 1979 MEMORIAL WEEKEND MASSACRE.
Baker periodically sent threatening mail to breeders non-IRCA Ragdolls, including a mailshot containing photos of a hundred dead kittens laid out side-by-side along with a claim that someone- rival breeders - had broken in and killed her cats. Disturbed cat fanciers were certain she had killed them as part of a publicity bid and tried to figure how to get other cats safely away from her. Baker seemed increasingly unstable. Some believe she had killed her own cats and might not have known what she was doing due to a claimed history of head trauma. Her version is written in the third person.
"For ten years, Ann Baker has fought the attempt by others to run her out of business and take over the name and breed of Ragdolls . . . During 1978 and thru February 1979, a total of $39,000.00 worth of Ragdoll female breed stock was stolen (several a Week until the big ripoff...) Then on the Memorial weekend Ann Baker was taken away from home by Bill and Elaine Petro and kept tor 2 and 1/2's hours, and when returned was let out in the middle of the street. When Ann Baker walked in her place of business and her home, it was a bedlam All doors were wide open... All cages open and all buildings opened Up... Other cats had been put on the premises (half breed Ragdolls, Siamese, Himalayans, etc,), a mixture... Mothers were carrying the babies in their mouths... Others were fighting to protect their babies from being killed .. Some babies fell out of the cages five feet high and were killed or died a day or two later... Expectant mothers had their babies prematurely ... Lots of babies were swapped for others as some turned out to be not Ragdolls . . . Four mothers were killed or died as a result of their injuries. Four had lost an eye but one of the four lived ... Two males lost an eye and had injured legs and developed abscessed jaws, etc. in a few days. Inventory had been taken in March and Ann had two lilac Ragdolls left and after the Memorial she had seven such looking and colored cats in exchange for her older Ragdolls. After the February 1979 total was taken, Ann Baker had almost a Ragdoll cattery of 6 to 13 year old Ragdolls . .. After the Memorial Day ripoff they are gone and she has mostly the white face & legs Ragdolls . . . So the female line is now to be as rare as the male line and both authentic lines must be protected. Of the 100 Ragdolls, only 20 (so called) Ragdolls left at the 156 lowa address, test proved that only a few are authentic Ragdolls and the others are being sold for $50.00 each or destroyed (Half breeds?) A complete rendition was done on her cattery in 2and 1/2 hours. JUST ANOTHER MEANS OF DESTROYING ANN BAKER. A total of at least $4,000.00 worth of baby Ragdolls and Honey Bears were stolen (all just ready to take from their mother and to deliver to those who had deposits on them... ) The dead ones were all too small... We tried to save by hand feeding but failed. . . . Four half eaten kittens. Pictures are of 99 dead kittens - both Ragdolls and Honey Bears. The six males and dead are not shown. (Grown cats). " (Crook's Paradise - Ann Baker, also mailshots to non-IRCA breeders.)
The claim of that Ragdolls were stolen and replaced by half-breeds, Siamese and Himalayan, on top of her semi-coherent accounts and evident paranoia, suggests she was unable to recognise or remember her cats. Some fanciers believe Baker had killed her own cats and might not have known what she was doing due to a claimed history of head trauma. She rarely consented to see doctors so any neurological conditions would have gone undiagnosed, any degenerative issues would have been seen as increasing eccentricity.
ANN BAKER'S GUIDE TO BACK-YARD BREEDING
A later publication, "Crook's Paradise," claimed to explain that the animal breeding business was made for crooks, and described herself as "Business and Consumers Advocate." She dedicated it all her "so called friends and others in the animal business who taught me all this the hard way." It was a barely disguised an attack on everyone she believed had ripped her off in relation to Ragdoll cats, particularly the breakaway breeders.
"Crook's Paradise" portrayed the breakaway breeders, with their cat association papers, as backyard breeders. All they had to do was buy an unrelated breeding pair. If they were not mature enough to breed, but were old enough to satisfy the association, an impatient breeder could register a litter anyway. They could bulk up the litter with animals from the Humane Society and the association wouldn't know. They could even fake the birth dates to make it seem their cats were breeding more often than they really were. Within a year they would have a cattery of many cats, all registered. Then she gave an example (one of the breakaway breeders); she had sold a pair of 4-month old Ragdolls. They would not be mature until 3 years old and "they lose their first litter" (really?). Within 18 months, the breeder had sold over 100 Ragdoll kittens. She had "heard from a cat association" that the person was registering 9 - 11 kittens per litter. Baker had previously claimed that Ragdoll kittens were 2 - 3 times the size of other kittens. A female carrying 5 kittens would look like she was having 24 and couldn't even walk during the last week of pregnancy. She claimed the person had sold 20 kittens without giving Baker her percentage from the sales (she was primarily focused on the money aspect) or signing any IRCA registration papers for the cats sold, so she implied the breeder was passing off halfbreeds as Ragdolls.
She then refers to backyard dealers who sold supposedly papered animals for $50, and the papers, never available at the time of sale, were $100 extra. 99 times out of 100, she said, they did not have any papers. "Many of the breeders listed in your animal magazines are so called back yard breeders . .. Many have only one to five animals they are breeding" and they registered for $15 with the animal association. "They are not authentic businesses... By this I mean they do not have a local business license from their city or county, and do not collect sales tax, etc. . . Should you try to write to these people, six months to a year later, have moved . . . A business person with lots of animals cannot afford to move around . . . And so has to be more honest in his business dealings… I have found that these people are very active in the shows and either attend or judge. They cannot stay home and must take their animals with them, so therefore they cannot have too many." In her trademark battle, she had reported the Daytons to the authorities for running an unlicensed cat breeding business from their home. As for the grudge against exhibitors and judges,one reason for the breakaway (apart from her own unreasonableness) was to register Ragdolls for exhibition.
Baker herself was a backyard breeder of unregistered Samoyed dogs and had sold to someone who planned to registered a dog fraudulently. "I have four Samoyed dogs and breed at least once a year. I do not have papers … But... I get a good price and I tell people who call that I will put my dog up against any papered Samoyed. So instead of $350.00 you pay $150.00 . . . Everyone who comes buys . .. One man called… No way, he had to have a papered one... About six weeks later; he called me and asked if I had one left . . . It seems he ha paid $350.00 for his at a pet shop and it got stolen a month later . . . Then he had gotten the papers in the mail and so much wanted to buy one of mine to put the papers on . . . He said my pup was much, much nicer and thicker furred than the one he had paid more money for. . . He intended to breed I believe. . . You would be surprised the people who insist on the papers and think they have the true paper for the animal they bought."
She went on to tell readers to provide the papers at no extra cost and say "breed if you want." Her rationale? Most people would get their cat altered, while those who bought unpapered animals would still find a way to breed them. "Sell any crummy animal you want with papers and get away with it... If the people (one in ten) who will breed happens to get a Heinz 57 Variety from his supposed purebred that he paid a lot for... Only one in ten will take you to small claims court... And it cannot stand up because the papers do not mean purebred." Even if the buyer claims he bought the animal on the basis of it being purebred, it was only his word against yours, but because judges were on the side of the consumer, not the businessman, just give the person their money back, because going to court and losing "by some peculiar means" would mean paying back the money, plus costs and this would be a mark against the you.
INCREASINGLY INCOHERENT RAMBLINGS
In "Crook's Paradise" her reasoning become an almost incoherent rambling (the ". . ." are hers, not mine!). She insisted any cats not bred to her strict rules (based on her interpretation of "7 years backcrossing") would not survive the slightest ailment. Her original gene pool was based on 4 closely related cats - a genetic bottleneck - and line breeding back to the same male, but she insisted any mother-son mating or brother-sister mating meant disaster.
"Ragdolls are the only breed that will not breed like other cats due to its being a phenomena. . . . It has to be purebred or it is not a Ragdoll . . . Only that mother could throw her new self and when the cat gets mated, in one gets cat disposition . .. So only authentic purebred Ragdolls are Ragdolls . . . Now since all are brother and sister, no registration can read... That the males and females are all mixed up... If you have such a registration, you have been taken... (You will get deformed kittens or ones that do not live very long) . . . However, we know that the registration shows that Raggedy Ann and so and so are the grandparents or whatever... But that is not so and no way can it be. . . (Other cats been bred in)... Cat Disposition . . . If they can mate that way then so can I and I have tried every way and in fifteen years not found a way and neither have the laboratories . . . There is only one way we can keep the breed going, and we must have help (others to breed). Specialty of there will be no Ragdoll breed . . . At present . . . I am the only authentic breeder of Ragdolls due to the fact that I kept the one line for myself and that is how I control the breed . . . There is no way one can breed several breeds together and keep the disposition . . . Do not be deceived."
"I sold to a party 20 of my older Ragdolls 6 to 12 years old for $2,000.00 ... If only five would still breed they would be money ahead as over the price of my younger females... Then selling for $800.00 each, they were to get stud service until such times as sold them a male breeder stud... I loaned a male for stud service one time and he was returned... And I signed the papers as my cat being the father... Soon afterwards ...I had a lot of cats missing and the people never came back after stud service.
They are claiming to be raising Ragdolls . . . I still have my male studs and I am giving no stud service and I sold them no male stud . . . Neither did I give or loan another . . .What are they using? I can only say I will not register IRCA any of their kittens . . . If they are using one of their children they will get overbred kittens and short lives . . . if not then they are half breeds and false papers. Or they could be my stolen cats? If so I signed no papers of sale, etc. Was my nae forged?? All I can say is I signed no papers . . . Sold no breeder male stud papers or gave or loaned . . . So, their kittens cannot be IRCA registered . .. I sold all the female line of cat . .. If they breed, then the mother of the male they are using for breeding, has to say Tiki or Fugianna and they have been out of commission due to old age and all the males from them I have yet ... The only breeder of Ragdolls in the world at present. . . If anyone is breeding they get stud service from me and I get the kittens . . . The same with the Honey Bears . . . We are having others breed for the male line, but this is confidential as it has been for years, and is the only reason they were not stolen . .. The male line will be no good to the female breeders until the seventh generation has been reached . . . By then they will have completely destroyed the female line they are missing [messing] with... Unless they use the right male for their female line, it will not work with the male line .. . To make a breed for all to breed . . . Read the Ragdoll Breeding Program Book." (Crook's Paradise)
"Now for the Honey Bears... In time others can breed and get Honey Bears as they will reproduce as other animals (breeding program)... But... They did not get their start by mating two breeds together to get them... Now we have set up to register the Ragdolls, and Honey Bears are cats that will not get their start by breeding two breeds together to get started... They are different from cats in many ways and so they have the name of Cherubim ... Cats... Now what is a Cherubim Cat? Well, you have heard of wild cats... Domestic cats... Now Cherubim Cats are the opposite of wild and you keep indoors. Ragdolls will not protect themselves unless taught. The Honey Bears can turn into a wild animal except will die of something if left on their own..." (Crook's Paradise)
"I had a breeder in the east who got a disease in her cattery after three years... She got rid of it in her females but sent her male back. (He died) and wanted another . . . She kept him and then a year later and after he won many prizes, said he was ill with Fip. So I paid the freight back and sent another . . . This she returned in a few weeks . . . The one is still living and in the best of health . .. The last one was killed two months after she returned him ... He got out and got into a cat fight . .. could not afford to be sending her males and paying the freight always... She had to keep one so the last time this was pulled I told her she would have to buy another cat from me ... I made good three times . . . On her phoney complaints... She did not buy another. Someone sent for IRCA papers on their cat and I would not give them ... As they showed the father of her CTA [cat?] to be the son of this lady's breeding pair which means she is mating brother and sister or back breeding with the mother ... The lady was real hurt to have saved two years to get her cat to find she had an overbred one... Which would not survive the slightest ailment . . . Should it ever get sick . . . If they do not change the name of the cats, then it is consumer's fraud." (Crook's Paradise)
This is paraphrased from "IRCA and the Ragdoll Documentary" and was an attempt at an analogy for her breeding programme. It was for people who still could not understand her breeding method. She likened it to creating a new race of human. Bear in mind she was writing in 1978.
Imagine a woman lost an eye and then had children all missing the same eyes. Medical science says this is impossible, it must be something genetic. Her 2nd husband is black and all the children still have only one eye. Her 3rd husband is Chinese, and again, all the children have one eye. If she keeps all purebred [incest!], the next generation will have one eye also. But if they mix with other people, the next generation will have two eyes.
The woman decides to start a new race and moves herself and her children to some islands. She puts her Chinese son and a white daughter on one island, her black son and a white daughter on the other, a white son and a Chinese daughter on yet another. They all have children, but kill all the boys so the daughters all mate back to their own father (then grandfather, then great-grandfather). In seven generations of doing this (God's law of perfection), on one island they all look Chinese; on another island all black and on the third they all white. But if she had put a white brother and sister on one island, this would result in all sorts of deformities and/or people with short lives.
On the 3 islands, all have one eye, but different appearance. The woman also has a one-eyed son with an African, and he mates with any female going, this gives all appearances, but still one-eyed people. They have mixed blood, but keep the one-eyed look. But is a son mates back to his mother, you have trouble. You can mate the offspring to another, and it seems fine, but the next generation will show sterility, deformity, and other things that may not show up until later in life.
IRCA and the Ragdoll documentary, (Ann Baker) 1978
Breeding program for the IRCA registered authentic ragdolls, (Ann Baker) 1979
Crook's Paradise, (Ann Baker) 1980
International Ragdoll Cat Association and the World's Sweetest Cats, a Documentary of the Honey Bears, (Ann Baker) 1980
IRCA and The Ragdoll Documentary (Ann Baker) 1980
Various newscuttings & private correspondence