Laura and Denny Dayton’s journey into the Ragdoll world began in 1969. While reading the Los Angeles Times, they noticed a short article about a new breed of cats called Ragdolls. Their interest grew and although Denny hated cats, they decided to go and take a look at them. When they saw them, it was love at first sight, and they knew that they were destined to buy a breeding pair. Denny & Laura named their first breeding pair Buddy and Rosie, and they were on their way.
Being new to the art of breeding cats, they soon realized that they had much to learn. First was the naming of their cattery and registering it with all the cat associations. They chose the name Blossom Time for their cattery. It was Laura’s wish that the future Ragdolls would be named after plants, flowers, etc following a theme of things that would grow and flourish. They soon learned that record-keeping was an absolute must. Their full cattery of 18 Ragdolls kept them both busy, especially at meal time. Witnessing the birth of their first born kitten made it all worth while.
Denny was soon bitten with the show bug. “Show time” was a phrase that his Ragdolls would soon learn. According to Denny, “The height of excitement is when your first Ragdoll is shown.” This was the beginning of years of showing and seeking recognition for their beloved Ragdolls. They worked tirelessly with Blanche Herman and others to get the Ragdolls accepted for championship in the various cat associations.
In 1982, after 13 years of breeding Ragdolls and enjoying a very educational and wonderful journey, they retired from breeding with the satisfaction of knowing that they had helped establish the legitimacy of the Ragdolls within the cat fancy.
During their 13 years of breeding Ragdolls, Denny & Laura created the Genetic Chart which is still continued today by Charlie Myers. They formed the very first Ragdoll club called the Ragdoll Fanciers Club (RFC) which in the mid 1990’s split into two clubs the RFC and RFCI. Both clubs continue to this day. RFCI is by far the largest Ragdoll Club in the world with well over 300 members. They felt that if the Ragdolls were to succeed they would need the Ragdoll community to work together and that communication would be necessary. As a result, they started a Ragdoll newsletter which continues today under the name of the “Ragdoll World”. They also served as the first President of the RFC.
On February 10, 2010, Laura Jean Dayton died peacefully at home with husband Denny and friends at her side. Laura with her husband Denny were instrumental in organizing the Ragdoll Fanciers Club International. She authored and published “The Lovable Ragdoll” book in 1975. Laura and Denny owned and operated the Blossom-Time cattery in Newbury Park for many years. For recreation. Laura worked her way up to a Black Belt in Karate.
Denny Dayton now in his 80’s decided to attend his first International Ragdoll Congress (IRC) in Denver, Colorado, in September, 2010. It had been over 10 years since Denny had seen a Ragdoll. He had not been active in RFCI for many years. I think the thing that touched him the most at the IRC was seeing that the Ragdoll community had not forgotten him and Laura. People not only remembered them but also the many things that he and Laura had contributed to making the Ragdoll breed what it is today.
Denny Dayton was the star at the 7th IRC and it was wonderful that so many Ragdoll breeders were able to meet him. Denny was by far the most photographed person at the congress.