> What colours do you regard as acceptable colours for ragdolls? Are Seal, Blue, Chocolate & Lilac the only "traditional lines" or would you include other colours.
Hi Pam, I don't think the issue is a "colors" problem specifically (although in the end it does become that). I think the issue is a "What is a breeder?" problem, and by answering the "How do I find a good breeder?" question, you'll find the answer to the color question. The whole point of breeding is to breed to a specification, or an ideal. which is set by the clubs and a cat associations (RCFI, CFA). It's called "hobbyist breeding" because it's a hobby, not a money making venture. The hobby is to breed for show. This is where purebred cats come from. Most cats (not all) are some sort of specific genetic variant that was encouraged or developed by breeders for a specific reason, anyway.
Purebred cats initially came from the hobbyist breeders who breed for showing, but clearly you have to breed a lot of cats to encourage genetic expression of the ideals you want to show in your cats. So you sell the cats/kittens off as pets and keep the ideal ones as future breeders. The best breeders get to sell their cats at slightly higher prices, but really, do they want to sell them at crazy prices? No, because the point of selling their cats is to make room to breed more, because their breeding is a hobby, with a goal in mind, and if they have a house full of cats, they can't do that.
But the breeder's "show quality" cats, they contain the breeder's "trademark" if you will, the combination of genes that the breeder has put together. Show quality breeding cats, they are more expensive than "pet" cats (which typically have some trait that the breeder does not want to encourage). A show quality breeding cat will be more expensive, because this combination of genes will get the breeder further to winning a show. A breeder will not want their "trademark" set of genes just given to anyone to reproduce; they will want to mentor the breeder and make sure that best breeding practices are followed, since this is the goal of the cat club.
So here we are, hobbyist breeders in a club, setting standards for what is acceptable and not for the breed. What is our goal, what are we trying to achieve? The club sets standards, not just for color, but for size, head shape, eye shape, body conformation, etc. We use these standards in order to say "This is a well bred cat" and "This is not what we're looking for."
How do you know you're working your way to breeding the world's most perfect cat? Cat shows! Cat shows are expensive and time consuming, and if you're looking to make money, why would you waste it there? Clearly you wouldn't, although shows are one of the ways information is disseminated among breeders and standards are set and kept.
And here's where the colors come in. Why would you breed other than what the clubs and associations call "traditional"? (SBT) As a hobbyist breeder, you wouldn't, because you couldn't show those cats. But if you're trying to make money off the venture of selling cats (remember this is a hobby, not a money making venture) and it's expensive to 1. buy a well bred breeding pair, 2. get a mentor to learn to breed properly, and 3. all the other things that go along with proper breeding practices (genetic testing, early speuter, provide adequate space, medical care, time to nurture them properly, etc). And it's expensive to belong in a club and go to shows.
Originally, hobbyist breeders placed their kittens in kitten homes for the purpose of making space so they could continue their hobby of breeding. But now it's really en vogue for people to buy designer cats, and of course everyone wants the best cat! (let's say the Mercedes cat) Well, not some, because some people want a discount cat, one that is cheaper (let say the Yugo cat lol), but they still want to be able to call it a Mercedes, so they do. But these Yugo cats that are called Mercedes mixes, some of them look like Mercedes and some of them don't even resemble Mercedes, and the people buying the designer cats don't really care so long as they can call their cat Mercedes. And some of these Mercedes mixes are sick, and some are dying, because they were not properly bred, have not been genetically tested, etc.
Now when people go to buy their designer Mercedes cat, how do they find a Mercedes cat breeder? How can they tell if the breeder is a good one or not? Why does it matter if they show their cats if I'm not looking for a show cat? The reason is that I want a healthy cat, not one that was bred "for the purpose of making money" with all the shortcuts that entails.
So let's go back to Standards. What did the club and the association say were part of the standards? They agreed that the ideal Mercedes cat was a certain combination of genetics. These genetics produced these colors and not those other ones. This eye shape and head shape, body conformation, etc.
--the cost to breed a cat is the same regardless of color of cat (it isn't cheaper to breed a mink cat vs colorpoint cat)
--good breeders don't want to breed sick cats because their purpose is to better the breed (ie. they want to produce breeding cats for the future)
--if you're breeding just to sell kittens (make money) then spending money to better the breed does not make sense, because you don't care about genetics, especially not after you've made the sale
--How can you tell if it's a "good breeder"? Because they do all the things good breeders do, and part of that is 1. have a mentor, 2. go to shows, 3. breed SBT ("traditional" colors), etc
--What colors are acceptable are set by the clubs (RCFI, CFA) The point of belonging to a club and going to shows is "to better the breed." If you're not breeding for that purpose (to better the breed), then what is the purpose of breeding an "unaccepted variant"? If the purpose is "to make money" then you have your answer.