Although they can’t seem to agree on a specific number, specialists do agree there are almost over 50 different cat breeds out there in the world. Out of them, Ragdolls have earned a top position among cat owners due to their personality traits and charming looks.
Before getting any cat, regardless of the breed, it’s only fair to get to know what characteristics that cat displays and what you need to be aware of before sharing the same living space together.
Let’s see what makes a Ragdoll special, what its unique traits are and what you need to know about this cat breed in terms of care and grooming.
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An Overview of Ragdoll Cats
The Ragdoll cat came to be completely unexpectedly in the ‘60s when a domestic longhaired cat named Josephine produced several litters of typical kittens. Later on Josephine gave birth to slightly different cats, with a distinct temperament. These ones had a placid attitude, were docile and affectionate in nature and had a tendency to go limp and become very relaxed when picked up. This is in fact how this cat breed got its name - due to the similarity it shared with rag dolls.The Ragdoll cat came to be completely unexpectedly in the ‘60s when a domestic longhaired cat named Josephine produced several litters of typical kittens. Click To Tweet
- Ragdoll cats have a surprising dog-like personality, which adds to the popularity they’re currently enjoying all throughout the world. They tend to be open and active, you can expect them to follow you around the house and even greet new people coming in through the door.
- They tend to be playful and very resourceful in spending their time around the home. They can simply enjoy being by themselves by finding something to play with and they enjoy playing with their human companions just as well. Regardless if you’re engaging in simple physical games with your Ragdoll, such as playing catch, or if you’re stimulating it with puzzles and other specially created games, you can immediately notice how your cat becomes interested and thrilled.
- They are affectionate towards humans in general and do very well with children, as well. Ragdoll cats are not the type of cats to shy away from newly formed connections with humans and will simply ask for your affection when they need it. You can expect them to jump in your lap and cuddle until you start petting them.
- The Ragdoll cat personality is remarkably adaptable when it comes to sharing their space and spotlight with other pets. This is exactly what makes them a great choice for families with kids and several pets.
- Ragdoll cats tend to be a bit quieter than other cats. This means that you will rarely hear them howl. At most you’ll hear them purr, meow, and make playful noises.
- Ragdoll cats are known for their rather impressive size. They are a large breed and they reach their full size when they’re about 4 years old.
How Can You Best Care for Your Ragdoll Cat?
Now that we’ve established what sets Ragdoll cats apart from all the other breeds out there, it’s time to see what type of care they require.
Grooming Your Ragdoll Cat
Ragdoll cats have semi-long hair and their coat is pretty thick. Despite this, matting does not occur too often, as their fur manages to stay relatively neat.
- However, Ragdolls do need regular grooming, about once or twice a week minimum, in order to maintain that coat luscious and shiny.
- Due to their open and affectionate personality, your Ragdoll cat is most likely going to enjoy the grooming process and will find ways to prove this to you. It’s still recommended that you start grooming them at an earlier age, so they can get used to the process by the time they reach adulthood.
- Having said this, it’s best that you get high-quality grooming tools made of premium materials and specially designed for the type of fur your Ragdoll has. Having said this, FloppyCats has reviewed ten of the best cat grooming tools out there.
- When it comes to bathing your Ragdoll cat, it’s important to note they don’t need frequent baths, as long as you take proper care of their coat.
- Ragdolls do shed, contrary to other opinions, and it’s best if you get additional tools and devices that can help you sweep up or vacuum all the extra hair lying around in your home.
- Trimming the nails of your Ragdoll cats is also essential since in their incessant play they can cause unwanted injuries. Apart from this, neatly trimmed claws also prevent the furniture in your home from getting scratched. It’s best if you can accommodate your Ragdoll with the nail clipper before you get started. In this respect, familiarity will play in both your favor.
Keeping Your Ragdoll Cat Active
Since they have lots of energy and love companionship, Ragdolls need you to treat them accordingly. This means you will need to realize this breed does better with human or animal companionship around, so leaving them alone for too long will only contribute to their mood dropping.
While you are with your Ragdoll cat around the house, be sure to engage it in your life. Talk to it, notice your furry friend, play a friendly game of catch from time to time and get some interactive games that can stimulate its curiosity.While you are with your Ragdoll cat around the house, be sure to engage it in your life. Click To Tweet
Caring for Your Ragdoll Cat’s Health
If kept indoors, Ragdoll cats can live a long and fulfilling life of anywhere between 15-20 years, although some sources also claim their mortality rate is a bit higher than in other cat breeds.
As any other cats, Ragdoll cats are also prone to certain afflictions and health conditions that may or may not show up during your living together with them. Having said this, it would be best if you had with you at all times this cat health advice given by veterinarians ebook.
Ragdolls may be affected by obesity at some point in their lives, so you will need to pay extra attention to their diet. As interviewed by Floppycats, veterinarian Dr. Jean Hofve gives a couple of cat diet tips and tricks that you can apply when it comes to your approach in feeding your furry friend.
- It’s important to feed your four-legged friend a varied diet that provides rich nutritional value. Please see this page on our website to learn more about proper feline nutrition. Varying the diet for your Ragdoll will also prevent it from becoming finicky. This is because most cats are habit creatures - once they eat the same thing over and over again, they will find it difficult to accept any new type of food.
- You might want to consider scheduling your cat’s meals. Eating at a regular hour every day has surprisingly positive effects on metabolism. You may also want to feed your cat and leave it out for about 45 minutes, after which you can pick it up. This will give your cat the freedom to eat at its own pace and choose how much it needs to eat. Depending on how active it’s been that day, your cat may need to eat a smaller or a larger amount of food.
- Lastly, if your cat has been spayed or neutered, it’s important to remember that its metabolism has also been affected. After de-sexing, the metabolism tends to slow down, so you might have to monitor your kitty's diet to make sure s/he doesn't gain a bunch of weight after being de-sexed.
Bladder and Kidney Stones
These two health conditions tend to generally affect cats and Ragdolls are in no way immune to them.
- Kidney stones typically occur in older cats, specifically after infections and smaller-scale kidney-related conditions have set in. Kidney stones in cats tend to appear as a result of a very dry diet that overloads the actual kidneys. This is where the vet’s advice comes in handy again: diversity, diversity, diversity. Make sure your Ragdoll’s diet does not only consist of dry food and that you also introduce elements that promote hydration.
- When it comes to bladder stones, the situation is a bit different, in that it’s caused by a prolonged retention of minerals in the body. These minerals get sedimented and they gradually get bigger and bigger until they make the bladder feel sore. The first symptoms you may see in your cat is the tendency to urinate more frequently and the urine comes out with blood. Again diversity in diet is key.
HCM is a common heart disease in many cats and it also affects Ragdolls. It’s mostly genetic in the cause and it ultimately makes the heart pump blood less efficiently. This often results in cats dying even before the age of 3. Thankfully, there’s a DNA test that can identify the gene that causes HCM in Ragdolls and you can take it in your friend’s early life development stages.
Feline infectious peritonitis
This is a viral disease that occurs worldwide in both wild and domestic cats. A type of coronavirus causes this condition which manifests as an attack on the cells of the intestinal wall. General symptoms include fever, weight loss, and lethargy. This condition takes both a ‘wet’ and a ‘dry’ form, both of which tend to manifest its own set of particular symptoms. Since this virus is quite contagious, rigorous hygiene is more than necessary for both yourself and your Ragdoll, especially if it goes outside.
This is a disease that typically occurs in cats and that impedes their normal growth and development. Clinical signs of feline mucopolysaccharidosis
- Reduced growth rate
- Skeletal abnormalities
- Skeletal deformity - such as a flattened face with widely spaced eyes and small ears
- Mental retardation may also become obvious
- Enlarged liver
The disease is congenital and the signs tend to show up really early in a kitten’s life, as early as 6-8 weeks, if both parents carry this mutated gene. Additionally, hind-limb paralysis can occur when the cat is around eight months old.
Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment for this disease, but cats that are affected by it make good candidates for gene replacement therapy and enzyme replacement therapy. However, these are very expensive procedures and your veterinarian may recommend an operation instead.
As you can see, Ragdolls tend to be for the most part healthy cats with an even healthier zest for life and play. However, there are a few health conditions they may be prone to and it’s worth knowing about them before any symptoms set in. This doesn’t necessarily mean your Ragdoll friend will tick all or any of these health issues boxes throughout its life - it only pays to know about them and be prepared in case they occur.Ragdolls tend to be for the most part healthy cats with an even healthier zest for life and play. Click To Tweet
Do Ragdolls Need Special Care? To sum it up, it’s safe to say Ragdolls are pretty upbeat, healthy, and energetic cats that don’t require any special care. They do have certain personality traits that will require more attention on your part, such as their playfulness that needs to be engaged with on a regular basis or their emotional openness that requires you to pet them and love them regularly.
Their coat is semi-long and, contrary to what may seem, doesn’t need all that extra care you may expect. However, it’s best that you groom your cat with professional grooming tools on a regular basis, once or twice per week.
You will also need to pay attention to your Ragdoll’s diet, making sure you introduce diversity in the menu, so as to not keep your friend on a dry-only diet which can lead to more severe health conditions down the line. Obesity may also occur with this breed, so it’s important to carefully dose the meal quantity and to schedule consistency in your cat’s daily eating habits.
All in all, Ragdolls need very little special care. What they can do most with is your upbeat energy and loving attention - it’s what they were born to enjoy and give back in turn to you.