The seventies had brought new strength to the Ragdoll breed in the form of the Ragdoll Fanciers Club (RFC). The result had created a unity of a hundred-plus members, ( In the early days of the RFC you did not have to be a breeder to hold membership in the club, and the vast majority of the members were pet owners.) working together in different ways for a common goal, the promotion of the Ragdoll. From the very beginning the Ragdoll had gained reputable representation in the Cat Fancy. At this time the Ragdoll was accepted in six associations for championship competition.
As the 1980’s were rolling in the Ragdolls were being included in more and more cat publications. The members of RFC were beginning to feel like they were now a part of the Cat Fancy. Stories and pictures were starting to show up in various magazines including CATS Magazine. Susie Page’s book “Let’s Talk Cats”, included information on both the RFC and the Ragdolls. In 1980 the attention of the members of the RFC was focused on CAT FANCY, a CFA oriented publication which was planning to print a comprehensive article on Ragdolls in 1980.
The RFC was now ready to embark upon one of the most difficult task yet, to gain acceptance into the largest cat association in the Cat Fancy the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA). Denny felt that the time was right and contacted CFA, and what he heard was, “CFA will never accept the Ragdolls!” Denny persisted, until eventually he had CFA officials actually talking with him, advising him on how to precede, and offering suggestions on how to succeed.
The task now for Denny was to get a standard ready, genetics information, and signatures of all of the Ragdoll breeders. There was a mad scramble to get as many Ragdolls registered with CFA as possible. The breeders had to prepare the registration papers and get their signature and checks into Denny by April 1981.
Denny had to synthesize everything and forward everything to Tom Dent, the Executive Director of CFA, with a cover letter. Another letter went to Walter Friend the President of CFA asking to be placed on the agenda for the October meeting of the Board in Philadelphia. Word came back from CFA that the Ragdoll standard would have to be rewritten to conform with CFA requirements. Denny immediately went to work on the project. Three Ragdolls would have to be chosen to go to the meetings with Denny to be seen by the CFA Board. The RFC response to the call for funds to present their Ragdolls in Philadelphia was phenomenal, and the cooperation of the breeders and members was heartwarming.
Finally the big day arrived, and Denny Dayton and Doris Michaux took a night flight from California ( they now know why it is called the red eye special). Cindy and Charles Alldredge travelled up from Texas and brought Blossom-Time Rue who was now living with them. Rue was her gorgeous self with her fur furrier than ever. Dorothy Metcalf and her mother drove to Philadelphia with Blossom-Time Dusty Miller of Caprillon, who was his usual big, furry, and unflappable self.
Meg Miller joined up with Blanche Herman of Ragtime, and they flew in together, bringing Meg’s Ragtime Bojangles, an impeccable handsome, impressive young man. Glena Spaulding of Raggles came too, with a friend, and the Williams family buzzed up from their new cattery Morning Mist in Maryland. Georgann Chambers also flew all the way from California on an even more rigorous all-night flight via Dallas, and Pat Health of Raintree cattery flew in from Portland Oregon, adding to the festivity of the occasion.
They had brought champagne and cookies with which to regale those who stopped by the show room to see the Ragdolls, and they made themselves available most of Saturday as well as Sunday morning to talk about the Ragdolls and answer any questions people might have concerning them. In between they held a Board meeting and in addition had an exciting time renewing acquaintances or making new ones. It was very beneficial, in that they were able to exchange points of view among Board members who cannot usually attend meetings, this resulted in strengthening the bonds in ways that would prove beneficial to working more effectively.
It was a good thing that they had all those fringe benefits, because in the end CFA rejected the Ragdolls. The most damaging material against acceptance of the Ragdolls was a report from the Carnivore Genetics Research Center on the position of the Ragdoll cat. This report was devastating to the Ragdoll presentation for acceptance and stopped it dead in the water, (you can read this report on the RHS web site by clicking Miscellaneous Documents). It would be 12 years before another attempt for acceptance in CFA would be attempted, and this time the effort would result in total victory for the Ragdoll, and today the Ragdoll is accepted in all colors and patterns within CFA.
The year 1981 was the year in which the Ragdoll went International, invading England even though if captured they would suffer six months in quarantine. The strategy for the operation to invade England was revealed by RFC Board of Directors on January 10, 1981. The advance scouts who were chosen for this dangerous assignment were Blossom-Time Lad and Blossom-Time Lass. They were expected to see the shores of England some time in March. There mission was to cautiously survey the situation at Norwich where all the Ragdolls were scheduled to meet up. However they were captured at Colchester and sent to Norwich to serve their six mouths of quarantine. While there they met another pair of Ragdolls who had been captured several months after them name Prim and Proper. Lad and Lass were able to escape on September 9th and join up with friendly forces commanded by LuLu Rowley at Petil-Lu cattery.
Petil-Lu Cattery, home of Blossom-Time Lad & Blossom-Time Lass (above and below)
Stud Houses at Cattery Petil-Lu (below)
Executive Suites at Cattery Petil-Lu (below)
While in captivity Lass had become pregnant and gave birth to three fat, furry beautiful babies. They were born on the very eve of Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding-they of course thought the world of bonfires and beacons around the country, not to mention the fireworks at Hyde Park were just for them.
LuLu decided to throw a cheese and wine party for Lad and Lass to welcome them to freedom and a new life. The turn out for them was overwhelming with over 150 people attending. Their reception was so great that LuLu decided to exhibit them at the London show where there were 2500 entries. They were given center stage with a hugh four foot sign announcing they were the first Ragdolls in England. Even the BBC couldn’t resist showing up and doing a half hour show on them. By this time LuLu had a waiting list a mile long and LuLu realized she was going to need a few more Ragdolls to meet demands. Soon six more Ragdolls would be on their way to join with Lad and Lass. Blossom-Time Prim and Blossom-Time Proper would eventually serve their time and be released into the custody of Pat Brownsell whose cattery was named Patriarca.
The year 1981 would also see the acceptance of the Ragdolls by ACFA for championship competition, leaving only the mountain of CFA left to climb. The sad news was that Denny and laura Dayton had decided to retire from breeding.
Ragdoll breeders noticed in 1981 that Blossom-Time cattery had disappeared from the ads in the cat magazines. After so many years during which Denny Dayton’s determination to see the Ragdolls accepted in all the cat associations for championship competition, Blossom-Time had ceased to be a cattery. Laura and Denny had decided it was time they did other things that they had wanted to do, but couldn’t because of the responsibility of their cattery. Denny resigned as Breed Committee Chairman and announced that he would continue as a club member and continue to do the Genetic Chart.