Ann Baker Interview

Transcript – Part 1: Creating the Ragdoll Breed

Ann Baker created ragdoll breed. She describes how she created the Ragdoll Cat Breed from feral alley cats in her neighborhood

Note: The interview video started with the conversation already underway:

Creating the Ragdoll Cat Breed

… Now where was I? Oh you pay 3 to 5,000 dollars you go to the airport and pick the cat up and you say, “Gosh I could have got one at the pound that looks exactly like this!” cause all the universities use just use a plain cat that get at the pound or whatever. Now you take it home and you can breed it to anything you want. It’s not what mother is, and it’s not what daddy is, it’s what they have programmed her to produce. Alright, she’s got a whole bunch of kittens but how are you gonna make a breed out of it worldwide when they’re all brother and sister? See you can’t do that. So when I got with the university they said there’s no way I could do it. Well it took me two or three months of study and I came up with a breeding program. They said “Well that would be the only way you could do it but you would have to do it for seven generations and if you didn’t get overbreds in seven generations you could make a breed out of it. But you only got a breed as long as you adhere to the same breeding program. For all the life of the cats because you lose it all.”

Now first off I’m going to explain a little bit about when I had to move here from my house and what I had to do to make the breed. By the time I got ready to sell cats I had 250. Okay. Now here’s my thing that looked like a penitentiary out there which I call my jail. Now when you breed that mother cat to some cat [DVD video became corrupt here] there’s her 3 female kittens. The next time she’s in heat you mate to a different cat. And you have to keep them separate. The next time she’s in heat you mate to a different cat. So the next time she’s in heat you mate to a different cat. This is two years here. Now, she has some kittens, oh boy, this is what I wish all my litters would look like, this is what I want all my cats to look like. You’re synchronizing the look. These have all different looks because they all have different daddies. Okay. Now so you get another cat that pretty well looks like him so you got the same look practically. Then you can go down here and you get some well you say you use a female from here or you get another one where one of em one of em you use females out of it, the other ones you use the males. Alright, now you put the male here and so you have to have, here’s these females down here I’m gonna make the “Os” for female. Alright, now these have to be highly bred because you’re gonna put one up here in each one of these cages and so [DVD video began to function again here] when you put em one of those males up here then you say to that male, “Okay, now you mate with your wife, and your daughter, and your granddaughter and your great-granddaughter for seven generations and then you got purebred.” Then these could all be mixed up.

The Original Cats were Alley Cats

Okay now at this point I tell you a people story and the reason I tell a people story is because I can’t tell you the real cat story because I would have to do like in Cat magazine and I would have to name three breeds or four breeds and then you go away thinking I mated some breeds together. Well they weren’t any breeds. Where they came up with those breeds…They were alley cats…but I did explain that one of em looked similar to a um an angora another one looked similar to a a uh Burmese like they have back east, not like a Burmese here. I tried to get something that that looked similar that that you could say, “These is what they look like” the different colors I had.

Our interpretation of this important paragraph is as follows:

Ann was discussing the original source cats (Josephine and the sires) that produced the foundational ragdoll cats.  Her point here is that she did not use specific breeds to create the Ragdoll breed.  She used “alley cats” (feral cats) who had the appearances that she liked.  She liked Josephine’s white Turkish-Angora appearance.  The sire of Daddy Warbucks looked like the Sacred Cat of Burma, and she liked that appearance.  But she specifically states that their breeds were unknown.  Ann also criticized magazine publications here, stating that they wanted her to declare which specific breeds she used, and incorrectly print that in their articles, implying that the original cats were not feral.

Ann Baker explains her perspectives about Genetic Inheritance

Now I’m gonna tell ya a people story. Okay. Now let’s say for instance that you’re in an automobile wreck. You have an arm paddle and I’m saying arm because you can heal.  So now you get married and you’ve got 3 kids and they all got the same arm missing. Oh medical science says, “No way, Nature don’t work like that. Besides you wasn’t even born that way and if you were born with one arm your kids would have two arms. Nature don’t work that way.” You didn’t want, you came from a big family and you wanted a lot of kids but you divorce him now. And you can marry a Chinaman and you can have some more kids and they’ve all got one arm. Oh Nature don’t work that way. He would have to have the same kind of genes that your first husband did but your children would be deformed but all three of em would be deformed in a different way but it’s not got anything to do with you with one arm. Now you divorce him and you marry a black man. And you got some more kids but they all got one arm. By this time it’s all over the United States and places are all working with all this kind of stuff. So the information is easier to get. So they said, “No, Nature don’t work that way.” But what happened was when you were in the hospital somebody did something to you and if you have 50 kids they’re all gonna have one arm but you’re the only person in the world that can have one-arm kids. Well every place you went, any place you go, grocery stores, schools, or anything every day you have a couple people say, “Oh you’re that lady with all those kids with one arm, how’s come?” Well you can’t explain to anybody so you just say “I guess I’m a freak of nature” and let it go at that cuz people people yet today a lot of em don’t read the book and don’t even never heard of genetical engineering. See, so you can’t tell em anything or you can’t em what they did to ya or anything else. So you’re mad at the world now. So for 18 years you’ve had to go through all this and your kids have had to go through all this. So you decide now that you want to make a one-arm people race. Now how are you gonna do it? Because when you have grandchildren your grandchildren’s gonna have two arms. You’re the only one that can make one-arm kids. So you have to mate one-arm kids with one-arm kids. And you’d have nothing but overbred kids who had hearts, lungs, livers, or whatever, you’d have a mate. So now you decide that you’re gonna make a one-arm people race out of it so you go over here by Japan where there is no one. And on this island you put your black boy and your white girl. Over here you put your Chinese boy and your white girl. Over here you put your white boy and your Chinese girl. Now you say to those men, “Now you mate with your wife, your daughter, your granddaughter, your great-granddaughter, seven generations down the line. Now you have to kill off all your sons or send your sons back to the United States. Because the sons would be mating with his sisters and his aunt and his mother. So you’ve only got one man on each island and you have to he has to breed right straight down the line. So if you’ve got men in the crowd I say when you men get reincarnated, come back as one of our male studs and we’ll put you in there with all those females. Then they always like that. Now so anyway you decide you wanna make all your people black. We wanna make em so they look like the Sacred Cat of Burma here see. So you say to your sevens and eights generations of black boys you say black girls (voice over the dvd here saying something) you go back to the United States, we don’t need you we don’t need you and so we’ll put all of you back. You men, we don’t need you anymore so you go. Now you got an island of black boys. You got an island of Chinese girls. You got an island of white. Now you say to those boys, now you can move there. For 3 generations now, somes gonna be white somes gonna be tan and somes gonna be brown. But from the 4th generation on now they’re all gonna be black like daddy. Everything is turning real black. But one day everybody’s got one arm everything’s going fine and everything, they’ve got their own businesses. One day there was a great big ship wreck over here and a whole bunch of sailors came ashore and that’s the end of your one-arm people race.

Now one time I had these three couples in here. These kind of elderly couples and when I said that these women just burst out laughing. They had a ball. So when they quit laughing they said, “These three gentlemen here are sailors.” It was kind of funny, ya know.

Now one day I had about 15 people here. And I thought, “How am I gonna tell this story because everything’s black and white. Everything’s black and white.” And but if I don’t tell it the way I’m used to telling it, I’m liable to slip up in the middle and it’s gonna sound worse than ever. So I just told the story the way it was. Now I said, “You know, Dinah Shore married George Montgomery and they had a black baby so he divorced her. And then she sued her folks that they didn’t tell her that she had colored blood in her.” Now when you’re doing cats and dogs or whatever, it’s the same thing. See, her great-grandmother was black. Now the same thing is the same with dogs and cats. Now here is my breeder in Columbus, Ohio. Here is her male stud. Now she had had real beautiful cats all along and everything and one day she called me and she had this litter of cats and they all had markings all over the face. And she couldn’t figure out what was going on. And so I told her to send me the pictures. So when she sent me the picture, I knew exactly what the trouble was. Cuz I was went to my file and I got out great-grandmother and there’s great-grandmother. See, the 4th generation. Now you can have seal point to seal point and when that 4th generation crops up, you might end up getting all black cats because the original ragdolls were black for 3 generations till we got that pretty one with the Sacred Cat of Burma. And if you ever tried to take a picture of a black cat for a commercial it don’t work too good. And so this is what it is. Now I said, “Now if you take a white girl and she marries a black fella they have two black daughters. One black daughter marries black one black daughter marries their children marry black their children marry black and seven generations you got a completely black race. The other black girl marries white her children marry white, her children marry white and seven generations you got a completely white race. I said the only thing is on the 4th generation the black people can have a white baby and the white people can have a black baby.

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