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Lilac Ragdoll Cat: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Jeff Weishaupt

By Jeff Weishaupt

adorable lilac ragdoll kitten

If you’re a cat person, you’ve most likely heard of the large and beautiful breed of Ragdoll cats. Known for their beautiful blue eyes, luxurious coat patterns, and gentle temperament, these cats have a compact build and are seen in six recognized colors. That includes lilac!

Lilac is one of the popular colors of the Ragdoll breed, resembling a faded gray instead of a true purple. Aside from their coat pattern and color, Lilac Ragdoll Cats aren’t too different from other cats of the same breed. They showcase similar personalities and body types.

Lilac Ragdoll Cats meet the standards of this breed in every sense, but their history is definitely fascinating enough to read about. If you’re wondering about the origin and facts of the Lilac Ragdoll Cat, keep reading to learn all about this beautiful feline breed.

The Earliest Records of Lilac Ragdoll Cats in History

Ann Baker bred the first Ragdoll cats precisely six decades ago. Working in a laundromat in California, Baker had taken the help of her next-door neighbor, who owned over 40 to 50 semi-feral cats.

These cats lived on her farm property, including Josephine, a beautiful white “Angora type” cat. Ann had initially borrowed a black Persian cat named Blackie from her neighbor to conduct a breeding experiment.

Once she familiarized herself with Josephine’s cool-as-a-cucumber temperament during the panic of a car accident, Ann took an interest in the white cat too. After breeding Josephine and Blackie, Ann acquired a female cat named “Raggedy Ann Buckwheat.”

Soon, she also acquired “Daddy Warbucks” (another son of Josephine) and his daughter “Raggedy Ann Fugianna.” After Daddy Warbucks and Raggedy Ann Buckwheat were mated together, Ann continued the experiment with their offspring and Josephine’s offspring to create the core foundation of the Ragdoll Cat breed.

These foundation cats were of varying colors, with lilac being one of them. Lilac Ragdoll Cats have been part of the original breed standard as an accepted color. The color resembles a frosty grey shade more than a purple or blue tint.

Variations of the Lilac Ragdoll Cat include lilac point, lilac-cream lynx point, lilac-cream point, and lilac lynx point.

In September 1975, Ann registered these foundation cats as the Ragdoll breed. Ten years later, she also acquired a patent for the breed, its four colors (blue, chocolate, lilac, and seal), and three patterns (colorpoint, mitted, and bicolor).

Lilac Point Ragdoll cat
Image Credit: Deden Alifa, Pexels

How Lilac Ragdoll Cats Gained Popularity

Ann Baker bred the Ragdoll Cats mainly because of their loving and attentive nature combined with their calm and docile temperament. After seeing the success Ann experienced with her breeding experiment, many others began breeding their own Ragdoll Cats.

Ragdoll cats became the popular breed they are today primarily due to their dedication to the intricate breeding program. After registering the species with the National Cat Fanciers Association, Ann sold a breeding pair to Denny and Laura Dayton from Blossom-Time cattery.

These breeders are responsible for the main viable features of the Ragdoll breed’s bi-color, van, mitted, and colorpoint coat patterns. Denny and Laura focused heavily on differentiating the dark and light cats in the litter, resulting in the popularity of the Lilac Ragdoll Cat.

Still, Ann Baker did her best to maintain control over the breeding of Ragdoll Cats and her association with their origins. After founding the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA) in 1971, she was able to set regulations on the breeding process for Ragdoll Cats.

Unfortunately, the Daytons founded the Ragdoll Fanciers Club International (RFCI) and refused to accept her regulations. Their breeding methods and dedication contributed to the popularity of Ragdoll Cats today.

Formal Recognition of Lilac Ragdoll Cats

After just 3 years of Josephine giving the first litter of Ragdoll kittens, Ann Baker was able to register the breed with the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) and The International Cats Association (TICA).

In the initial registration of the breed, lilac was one of the four recognized and accepted colors for Ragdoll Cats. Today, these cats are seen in black, white, gray, blue, cream, chocolate, seal, and red shades.

Although lilac isn’t a standard color for purebred cats, you’ll still see it as an accepted color for specific breed standards. That includes Himalayan, American Curl, Oriental, Balinese, Siamese, Burmese, Lykoi, Persian, and Bengal cats. Stray cats, such as Domestic Longhairs or Shorthairs, typically don’t have lilac as an accepted coat color.

Aside from the Daytons, Lulu Rowley was another famous breeder to receive a Ragdoll breeding pair from Ann Baker in the 80s. Soon enough, Pat Brownsell received her own breeding pair too.

With various famous breeders working on the Ragdoll breed, these cats became one of the most loved breeds in the UK at the time. Nearly 400 Ragdolls were officially registered in the late 90s, but this number jumped to approximately 1,400 by the early 2000s. According to TICA, there are currently over 700 Ragdoll breeders worldwide.

Lilac Bi-Color Ragdoll cat
Image Credit: 孟想家, Pixabay

Top 9 Unique Facts About Lilac Ragdoll Cats

Here are nine facts about the Lilac Ragdoll breed that you probably didn’t know.

1. Lilac is one of the six colors that are accepted as the coat colors of Ragdoll Cats.

Other colors include red, blue, seal, cream, and chocolate. Unofficially, you can find Ragdoll breeds in varying color combinations and patterns.

2. The coat color of Ragdoll Cats typically darkens as they grow older.

Most breed standards include allowances for the darkened colorations with age, even for Lilac Ragdoll Cats. Once older, their fur may turn into a dark pink or grey tone.

woman carrying a lilac ragdoll on her arms
Image Credit: cath5, Shutterstock

3. Lilac Ragdoll Cats have a recessive color gene, which is why their fur is a faded gray color.

Despite their name, they don’t have purple fur, but their paw pads may be lavender or pink. In some cases, their nose leather is noticeably lavender, too.

4. Due to their name, some may also call Lilac Ragdolls the “purple cat.”

People are also confused about why these cats are named lilac when they aren’t purple at all. In reality, the color lilac is named after the flower, which can be a purple-ish gray in its mature stages.

5. Lilac Ragdolls are recognized in varying coat patterns

These include bicolor, mitted, and point.

6. Lilac Ragdoll Cats are somewhat rare due to their recessive color gene.

This means they’re only a 20% chance of their being born, making them the rarest type of Ragdoll Cats. When two non-lilac point Ragdolls are bred together, there’s an 80% chance that the offspring will be a blue or seal Ragdoll kitten.

7. When Ragdoll Cats grow older, their eyes may change colors.

In some cases, a blue-eyed Ragdoll kitten may change to green or golden eyes with age.

8. It’s hard to find a cat that likes being held, but that’s where Ragdoll Cats get their name.

They go limp and relax when held, much like a Ragdoll. This behavior contributes to this breed’s laid-back temperament, making them one of the most sought-after cats worldwide.

9. At birth, it’s hard to tell Lilac Ragdoll Cats apart from other colors.

Once they’re 12 weeks old, you can know that they are Lilac Ragdolls due to their lavender nose leather and light fur. You can also opt for genetic testing to see before they’re 12 weeks old.

Do Lilac Ragdoll Cats Make Good Pets?

Regardless of their color or coat pattern, all Ragdoll Cats make excellent pets. If you prefer sociable and laid-back cats with adorable features, a Lilac Ragdoll Cat would be the perfect pet for you.

Unlike most cats, Ragdolls tend to get a lot with anyone and everyone, even strangers. That means they’ll happily accept pets and scratches from your cats instead of hiding under the couch when they hear the doorbell.

Contrastingly, these cats tend to stay quiet, so you won’t hear them meow as often as other cats. But you’ll definitely appreciate their gentle and affectionate nature when they cuddle you instead of scratching you!

Although they aren’t too playful and active, they enjoy the occasional game of fetch or tug of war. The best part about these cats is that they’re relatively easy to train, which means you can teach them cool tricks like rolling over or playing dead with a simple reward system.

Unfortunately, Ragdoll Cats can become anxious and restless after being left alone for too long, so you’ll need to give them your care and attention. Additionally, their thick and luscious fur requires quite a bit of brushing for maintenance.

Since they’re not as active as other breeds, they won’t need too much stimulation or exercise. If your home is typically quiet and sedentary, you can provide the perfect environment for these cats.

It’s worth noting that Ragdoll Cats can inherit polycystic kidney disease, feline mucopolysaccharidosis VI, or feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). So, you’ll need to take extra care of their health and diet.


Lilac Ragdolls are relatively easy to take care of, but you must find a responsible breeder from which to purchase this cat. In some cases, breeders may breed these cats for the sole purpose of color outcomes without completing health tests or garnering the proper education.

Featured Image Credit: cath5, Shutterstock

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