Originally published Jan 4, 2018
One of the big things about Ragdoll cats is that they are supposed to be indoor only cats. In fact, many Ragdoll breeders make adopters sign contracts saying they won’t let their cats outside.
Question: Can Ragdoll Cats Go Outside?
Answer: The short answer is – yes, sure, they can. The long answer is more of an answer to “Should they go outside?”
The most common reason people give as to why a Ragdoll cat should not go outside is because of their docile and too trusting nature – that they wouldn’t know how to defend themselves against predators.
More Like This
As with many decisions, the decision to let your Ragdoll outside is a subjective one. And also, how you’re going to let them outside. When a breeder has you sign that on a contract, I do believe they are thinking more along the lines that you just let the cat outside in the morning and let them back in at night.
I don’t think they are really referencing taking them for walks in a stroller or on a lead or letting them out in a catio, for example. But, maybe they are. If you’re a breeder reading this and ask that your adopters not let their cats out, please let me know in the comments as to why you don’t.
Recently, a breeder, Stormi Nell of FamilytimeRags, shared this with me as to why she doesn’t allow her adopters to let their kittens outside: “We have had 3 pet owners lose their cats in horrible ways. One ran out the door, when their child opened the door. The cat feeling safe outside, ran straight to the street and was killed. Another family, had almost the same scenario, but the cat survived being hit. She had a long recovery time with a broken hip, but all ended up okay. Another family was walking their cat, when a stray dog came and attacked. It was a bad attack, the cat did not die immediately, but the vet was no able to save him. The last was a cat who loved digging in the dirt, who got very sick. The owner was wonderful, she did everything she should do. The vet did as well, but when nothing was making sense, he finally did the test for histoplasmosis, and by the time the test came back, the cat was too far gone. It was probably a month or more of testing, new medicine, and no recovery. The vet said the kitty most likely got the histoplasmosis from the dirt that they were playing in.”
This website is nearly 10 years old, and many, many, many Ragdoll cat owners let their kitties outside through various means – taking them for walks on leads/leashes or in a stroller, or they have a catio (a safe and secure patio designed to accommodate the needs of a feline) or they let them stroll in their backyard as I do with mine.
I do not endorse or suggest letting your cats outside – I strongly believe it is a personal decision based on what you’re comfortable with given your situation, your beliefs, etc.
Dangers of Letting a Cat Outside
The dangers of outside vary depending on where you live. Dangers include and are not limited to (please tell me more if I’ve forgotten them):
- Other cats – neighborhood cats that are roaming
- Coyotes – Unfortunately many readers have shared horror stories of their cats being killed by coyotes with me.
- Hawks and Owls
- Bald Eagles and other large raptors
- Heartworm (from mosquitoes)
- Yard Chemicals
- Neighbors poisoning them
- Children or other people hurting them
- Being stolen
- Poisonous snakes
- Poisonous plants
Other Dangers of Letting a Cat Outside
Of course, cats are known to be swift and efficient killers – they kill birds, bunnies and more. So you are putting wildlife populations at risk by letting your cat outside.
Why I Let My Ragdoll Cats Outside
As many of you know, when I moved into my first home, I brought my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, with me. He was 16 years old at the time.
And he so enjoyed his daily strolls in my backyard – and I so enjoyed watching him…especially as he approached his final years, he would sit for hours just watching the bees. I also found the stroll helped him go to the bathroom (#2), so I appreciated it for that too. Here is an old video of my old man on this daily stroll:
When Charlie was a kitten, I had a bunch of people over one evening. It was winter and we had about 1 inch of snow on the ground – someone had opened the back door (because the house was hot and they were trying to cool off) – I freaked out because I knew Charlie was probably out there.
I am not keen on them being outside at night – I don’t trust night animals – owls, raccoons, opossums, etc. I flew outside to see if I could find him and he was running around like a mad man on the patio in the snow in complete delight to his new found freedom. The joy and peace the outside brought Rags is the reason that I decided to let Charlie and Trigg outside and because of that night of Charlie being a nut.
We now go outside every day – I try to schedule about 1 hour of my day to do it. The three of us go out there together. My back yard is entirely fenced in – they both have escaped. Charlie, twice. Trigg, once. Trigg’s was entirely unintentional – he was smelling something and crept under a part of the fence that I didn’t know he could get under. That portion of the fence was fixed the next day.
Charlie has scaled the fence twice when he has gotten a whiff of the neighborhood cat, Pancho. He hates him. I don’t know why, but Charlie wants to kill him. Pancho used to come in our backyard before we got a 6 ft privacy fence – when we had the chain-linked fence he would come in the back.
One time when I let the cats out, I didn’t know Pancho was in the backyard – so when he saw Charlie and Trigg he burst out of the bushes and ran off to get away from them. That was it for Charlie – he chased the heck out of Pancho – Pancho (experienced in scaling fences) scaled the fence in an instant, leaving Charlie hissing and pissy behind the fence. So since that incident, Charlie has wanted to kill Pancho.
It’s been about a year since Charlie has scaled the privacy fence (which is easier to scale since he can climb the wood with his claws) – I figured out that before Charlie scales the fence, he does a certain kind of meow. So when I hear that and if I am not nearby, I will say, “Charlie, NO!” and then he flicks his tail and decides it’s not a good idea. It’s weird.
Sure, every day, I let them out, I run the risk that I could lose them. I have talked about it before in a video – I do not think I would trade keeping them for another day in exchange for the joy they get going outside.
That’s also why I put flea control on them. I tried the natural ones – didn’t work for us. The chemical ones do – I hate putting it on them – makes me think I’m asking for problems later on.
However, their daily joy is not something I want to take away from them. They both love going out so much. I am not sure if I would start it again after Charlie and Trigg are gone, however. It is a lot of work to let them out – especially if it’s muddy, cold, rainy, etc. On the nice days, it’s a joy…and I enjoy doing yard work with them.
How you CAN let your Ragdoll outside safely.
- Containment Fence
- Flea Prevention Options – Please consult with your veterinarian. These should only be purchased from a veterinarian where they are temperature-controlled and given per cat’s weight among other things
Do you let your Ragdoll cat outside? Why or why not?