Ragdoll Cat Behavior Question for Dr. Jenn – Baxter

Post Published on September 15, 2010 | Last Updated on July 15, 2021 by Jenny

Lynn wrote to Guest Vet Dr. Jenn wanting to know about her Ragdoll cat, Baxter.  Here’s what she wrote:


“I purchased a 12 week old female ragdoll a little over a year ago from a local breeder.  I picked her out at about 8 weeks old and the breeder’s asked me if I wanted a teenage ragdoll.  I fell in love with a 1 year old male immediately.  He came to me and I held him for about an hour.  They told me he would never sit with anyone and couldn’t believe how he was with me.  I took him home and kept him in my room with me.  He followed me around, flopped over for belly rubs, etc. but my two teenage boys couldn’t get near him.  They let him stay in my room to get used to his surroundings, but he would only let me touch him in my room…nowhere else in the house.  We have another cat and two small dogs, which he didn’t seem to mind and they liked Baxter right away.  I brought Izzy home a month later and Baxter loved her!  Unfortunately, he stopped using the litter box for bowel movements ( I have 4 litter boxes) and became very timid.  I love him and he sleeps on my bed, but won’t let me touch him anymore.  I talk very softly to him feel bad that he’s missing out on being cuddled, etc.  He plays with the other animals, but my boys have never been able to touch him…any suggestions on how to get him less timid?”

Lynn's kitten and Baxter
Lynn's kitten and Baxter

Dr. Jenn replied,

“Usually hand feeding ALL the meals will help the timid ones but a cat that old is going to be a challenge to rehab and it could take months and month. Jenn”

Readers, do you have any other suggestions for Lynn?  Please feel free to leave any suggestions by leaving a comment on this post.

Do you have a Ragdoll cat behavior question for Dr. Jenn?  Please use our contact us form to submit it and we’ll pass it onto Dr. Jenn.

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One thought on “Ragdoll Cat Behavior Question for Dr. Jenn – Baxter

  1. Michelle says:

    It is my belief that Ragdolls are not only very sensitive creatures but also highly communicative–way more so than most “normal” cats. While Baxter may like Izzy, he may be feeling a bit territorial, possibly of you or a particular area, or hurt by her addition. More information would be helpful, some of which you’ve likely already considerd but, just in case:
    1.) Have you ruled out any medical issues?
    2.) Have Baxter and Izzy both been altered?
    3.) Have you changed litter?
    3.) Where is Baxter pooping? Same places or different?
    4.) How does he react when approached by your sons? And how does he avoid your touch? Does he simply move away from your hand or get up and leave when you attempt to pet him?
    5.) What do you mean by timid? Running and hiding or just avoidance? And did he just begin exhibiting this behavior after Izzy’s arrival?

    As for litter boxes, 1.5 per cat is the most common recommendation I’ve heard. Based on that, I think you’re one half short; however, there are few people who do adhere to that suggestion and, most of the time, it’s not necessary as long as the boxes are cleaned frequently. Since it sounds like he is urinating in the box (thank goodness), that’s not likely the problem anyway.

    While I know the improper elimination is frustrating, keep in mind that as long as Baxter seems to enjoy interacting with the other animals and seems content otherwise, he is choosing to withdraw from you for now and isn’t likely to do something that makes him unhappy. That thought might help give you some patience while he works out his feelings. I’d suggest letting him know yours as well. They understand SO much and it may help both of you.

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