Ragdolls may have an imposing size, but don’t let that fool you. This cat breed is as gentle and patient as they come. Unlike the stereotypical anti-social cat, Ragdolls adore being around people, both their family and strangers alike. Their docile nature makes them the ideal pet for families of all kinds, including those with children.
9 – 11 inches
10 – 20 pounds
15 – 20 years
Seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red and cream.
Families, singles, older owners, first-time owners
Tolerant, friendly, docile, gentle, affectionate, loyal
The Ragdoll gets its name from its tenacity to go “floppy” when picked up. While the gorgeous Ragdoll is relatively easy-care, they are also a unique breed with some particular traits. Getting to know Ragdolls will help you give them the very best care.
Ragdolls are both popular and relatively rare. This makes the price for a kitten higher than many other basic domestic breeds. Kittens, of course, are highly sought after; thus, they reach higher prices. Older Ragdolls may have a lot lower prices. However, consider that older cats will be settled into their personalities, so there are no surprises further down the line.
Ragdolls are often used as show cats, so there are a lot of breeders on the market. Each breeding line will have various genes that will impact the price. The pedigree and the papers will result in a more expensive kitten.
Ragdolls come in an extensive range of colorations and patterns. Some are more favored by owners than others. Naturally, these will be more costly. Alternatively, some kittens may not display preferred physical attributes and sell for a lot less.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Ragdoll
Ragdolls are a true standout breed. They go against the grain of what you would typically expect from a cat. Instead of becoming irritated from too much attention, they revel in it, becoming very docile upon being picked up or snuggled.
Instead of ignoring your commands and bids to control them, they respond to training and other fun, engaging activities. Some Ragdolls are known to engage in games of fetch and hide and seek.
Instead of vocalizing loudly to get your attention at dinner time, you will barely hear a peep from a Ragdoll. However, be prepared to be at the mercy of the hypnotizing, saucer-like blue eyes.
Ragdolls possess many of the traits that are adored in cats. They are gentle, affectionate, and relaxed. Very little can faze the easy-going Ragdoll, and they make excellent companions for anyone.
Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪
Ragdolls fit seamlessly into virtually any family. Unlike many other finicky cats, Ragdolls are highly tolerant of children. Even toddlers’ wildly unpredictable nature does little to waver the Zen of a Ragdoll.
Ragdolls are also known to be very soft-pawed when playing. They rarely pull their claws out during interactions, so even if anyone bothers them enough to warrant a swiping, no blood will be shed.
It’s important to note that because of Ragdolls’ quiet nature, they rarely express their discomfort. You should still watch children closely with Ragdolls, more for the cat’s comfort than the child’s concern. Always practice teaching your children how to respect cats and recognize their behaviors.
Ragdolls are very social so are happy to live in large families. To them, all they see are more laps to sit on! They are also friendly towards strangers, so they don’t mind a social family with frequent visitors.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
In general, Ragdolls can get along very well with all kinds of pets. They are comfortable with other cats if they aren’t picked on. Another aggressive cat may see a Ragdoll’s quiet nature as a sign of weakness.
They also tend to be relaxed around friendly dogs. Due to the gentle nature of their playing, dogs tend to enjoy Ragdolls as a playmate as there is little risk of getting any claws to the face.
Additionally, Ragdolls don’t have a very strong prey drive. Many domestic breeds were bred for pest control; however, Ragdolls were bred as lap cats, so small pets such as birds and hamsters could be introduced.
The ability of a Ragdoll to socialize and get along with other animals, whether it is a cat, dog, or small animal, depends on introductions and early socialization. Early and proper socialization will have your Ragdoll feeling comfortable around other animals.
Also, note that if adopting an older cat, their relationship with other animals may be influenced by trauma in their past. Bad experiences will stay in their mind, and they may never learn to trust other animals again.
Things to Know When Owning a Ragdoll:
Food & Diet Requirements
Ragdolls don’t require any special diet. A quality, high-protein cat diet should be sufficient to support your Ragdoll. They are a large breed, so ensuring they get the correct kitten diet will help during their periods of growth. Most kittens transition to an adult diet at around 12 months old, but for a large breed like a Ragdoll, this diet change should occur between 18–14 months.
Adult Ragdolls can be prone to obesity, so monitor their consumption and weight to find a feeding amount and schedule that works for you. Ragdolls are also genetically predisposed to various heart diseases, and a dietary deficiency of taurine can contribute to these. Generally, most modern cat diets have plenty of taurine.
Ragdolls are a mellow breed. They don’t have high energy levels, so they won’t always keep active on their own accord. This lazy nature makes them easy to maintain as indoor cats. Still, it may expose them to a higher risk of becoming overweight.
Ragdolls like to play and especially want to interact with people. Interactive play between you and your Ragdoll will engage them in keeping active. You’ll mostly see your Ragdoll engage in short bursts of play separately by frequent naps.
Engaging in training with your Ragdoll is a great way to get them to be more active. Turning exercise into a game, such as fetch, will be much more fun for them than playing with a toy solo.
Cats aren’t often thought of as being trained much more than simple litter box training. But Ragdolls are one of the handfuls of breeds that are excellent learners. This trait seems to align with extra friendly breeds, signifying that all cats can be trained; most of them just don’t care enough.
Fortunately, Ragdolls love all the attention they can get, so when you take the time to engage with them in training, they will excel. The use of tasty treats will also get them excited to perform.
Ragdolls are a long-haired breed, so some extra care in grooming is required. Fortunately, their single coat is not very prone to tangles and matting. A minimum of once weekly brushing will help a Ragdoll keep their locks under control.
More brushing will be required as Ragdolls age. It is more difficult for them to twist themselves into grooming positions. At this stage, professional grooming is recommended to achieve close care of their coat, particularly for sanitary reasons.
Ragdolls are unique as, broadly speaking, they enjoy the water. It’s not known why, but many owners report their Ragdoll will happily jump in the bath and come running at the sound of running water. This is a bonus for when your Ragdoll gets extra grubby and needs a bath.
Health and Conditions 🏥
Ragdolls are a relatively new breed of cat, emerging in the 1960s. Since they are a newer breed, this means they haven’t been as extensively bred as many other designer cats, so they have fewer genetic health predispositions.
However, they are purebred cats, so in general terms, they will likely have a lowered immune system and may inherit more genetic issues. Heart or kidney disease is the most prominent of these for Ragdolls.
Male vs Female
Personality-wise, there is no substantial difference between a male and a female Ragdoll. Owners will impose many gender stereotypes on Ragdolls, but each of these is met with an exception. Overall, you cannot judge what traits a Ragdoll will possess in its adulthood from its gender.
A Ragdoll’s upbringing and genetic makeup will have a much more significant influence. Suppose you are looking for a particular personality or temperament. In that case, researching your breeder and meeting the sire and dam will help you determine what your kitten may be like.
However, physically there are differences between male and female Ragdolls. Males have the tendency to get a lot larger than females, potentially costing more in food bills! Also, males left intact may display testosterone-fueled behavior such as aggression or scent marking. Getting a cat neutered reduces urine marking by 90%.
Female cats left intact will go through hormonal cycles, affecting their mood and general well-being. Spaying can stop these behaviors. In fact, desexing your cat is recommended if you do not intend to breed them. Desexing drastically reduces the risk of reproductive diseases.
If you can’t decide what gender Ragdoll to choose when faced with the decision, consider getting the opposite gender to any existing household cats. Same-sex cats may see each other as a threat and not get along as well.
Alternatively, just toss a coin! Ragdoll owners will tell you it won’t matter because you are sure to get a second Ragdoll anyway!
3 Little-Known Facts About the Ragdoll
1. They have a deceiving coat
At first glance, the long, fluffy, white coat of the Ragdoll looks like a nightmare for homeowners. All you may imagine is a home covered in white fur and cat allergens floating in the air. However, the Ragdolls’ coat is unique in that it has a minimal undercoat.
This means that although they have a lot of fur, they shed very little. Their soft fur will still shed only mild amounts, just as you would expect from any other cat. Additionally, many cat allergies suffer from the effects of cat saliva, so Ragdolls are also not considered hypoallergenic.
2. They are late bloomers
Most cat breeds will become fully mature on average around 18 months. Ragdolls are not considered mature until they are a whopping four years old! Ragdolls are one of the largest cat breeds, so they need a lot more time to grow into their fluffy little boots.
3. They’re shapeshifters
If your young Ragdoll kitten ran away from home and came back a year later, you may not even recognize them!
Ragdoll kittens are born entirely white. They start developing color patterns some days after their birth. Over time, their colorations and patterns will keep changing and developing until they are fully mature (up to four years, remember!) So don’t expect your perfect little Ragdoll to always stay the same. Be prepared to accept them no matter how they grow and change.
Ragdolls are a charming breed. Their sweet natures are simply adored by all blessed with their addition to their families. But these gentle cuties can sometimes be overly tolerant and find it difficult to express their discomfort. This way, it’s vital for you to deeply get to know the inner workings of a Ragdoll to provide them with a happy home.
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Featured Image Credit: absolutimages, Shutterstock