Ragdoll Cat Behavior Question For Dr. Jenn

Shadow - Michelle's Ragdoll CatThis question comes from Floppycats.com reader Michelle in Scotland.  Michelle writes:

“hi jen im writing about a ragdoll behaviour for a little advice as i notice you are doing a vet advice page. shadow is great and getting better. But still has his moments he will go crazy and lash out. he runs up and down the house screaming or will follow you around the house crying at you but whatever you do he isnt happy. i spoke to the vet who said hes talkative and healthy. also he might just be a demading cat. i did try to get hold of the breeder but i never heard back but i wouldnt ever get rid of him as hes my baby and makes me laugh esp when he cuddles into me at night and purrs. i would love to maybe find out why he crys all the time and goes wild.”

Dr. Jenn replied:

“This kind of attention seeking behavior is common in single cat households. Its possible the cats are either bored or lonely and they act out in inappropriate ways. You need to be sure to set clear boundries with your cat and not spoil him and devote at least 2 hours a day to active play. Its very important to get the behavior in check now before it escalates. Sometimes a companion for the cat is the only solution.”

Readers, do you have any other suggestions for Michelle?  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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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Connie Benson says:

    We have a 5 month old male Ragdoll we call BB for Blue Boy. He is so different from any cat I’ve ever had. He too is very vocal and will cry incessantly if we are even on our patio where he can see us through the screen. We just had him neutered and would like to take him outside but he loves dogs and I’m afraid he will be hurt. I may try to leash train him. He prefers my husband and to my dismay will only shower attention on him. Me, he only tolerates, and only because I play with him and give him treats before bed. I was hoping for a cuddler and that hasn’t happened. I would love to get another cat but we are in an apt. where we can only have one pet. We love him but gotta say I’m feeling left out and have to grovel for sloppy seconds. Maybe I’m trying too hard??

  2. Well, I have a Ragamuffin, a related breed. She is 5 months, and does possess her own language. She squeaks, shrills, squeaks, purrs, meows, howls, yowls, mutters, and just about any other sound I had no idea a cat could make. It took me about a month to decode everything. It takes her a good day to understand a new word or phrase if you use it enough. She isn’t as playful as most kittens but more attached and attention seeking than even her affectionate litter-mates, preferring more docile folks, although she does enjoy both string and a game of fetch. But one day I hear her calling from the bathroom as if she had fallen in the toilet. When I come to see what’s the matter, I find her hiding under a box flap… when I go to pet her she darts out of the bathroom. She just wanted me to chase her.

  3. Elrisca, the best I can say is that some are squishy lovebugs while others aren’t. Most of ours like to be held but aren’t “heat seeking missiles” until the weather turns cold. The personality of the parents will be a good indicator of their babies temperaments. Of course, how the babies are handled would be a factor too.

    One thing ours do that’s unusual and could be interpreted as not wanting to be held is to place their paw on our face and straighten their leg. I suspect they are farsighted, based on other observations, and maybe they’re just trying to hold us further away to see us in focus. They do this without making any other indications they want to get away. They’re enigmatic creatures for sure!

  4. Hello
    I was reading all the comments and got very excited about getting my own ragdoll, then I read another websites comments where Ragdoll Owners talked about their Ragdoll’s behavior. Many mentioned that their Ragdolls disliked being held or they don’t go limp in their arms. Why do Ragdoll act this way? And can you prevent this behavior form happening cause i really like to cuddle and want my ragdoll to be the most lovable thing ever!

  5. Excellent response, Pamela!! The intelligence and level of communication of Ragdolls are part of what fascinate me about them. They utilize not only vocalizations (listen carefully for some REALLY low ones…some of them resemble complete sentences with a variety of intonations!!) but also gestures and facial expressions as well. We currently have 2 litters of kittens at our underfoot microcattery and I am fascinated at how early these communications began (pretty much at birth). We had one that we couldn’t help but call The Screamer. As you can imagine, he was very vocal from an early age. Several of them will do the Marco Polo call, just to see where everybody is and what they’re up to. I’m sure they’ll be the ones who will be Tweeting or posting every thought on their Facebook status when they learn to type! All cats are individuals but I don’t believe I’ve ever met a more expressive breed than the Ragdoll. I think to simply say something like they are “prone to go limp when picked up” misrepresents their temperament, intelligence, and liveliness. I prefer to say that they are capable of defending themselves but are generally not inclined to do so and, once you’ve earned their trust and love (not necessarily an easy feat for some of them), they do both completely. That means that they are likely to melt in your arms and gaze into your eyes, Another difference between Ragdolls and “normal” cats: little hesitation for eye contact. Since to most animals eye contact is aggressive, I guess that goes along with the lack of desire to fight which certainly helps make our Ragdolls the wonderful companions they are.

    As for Shadow, the commentary and kitty crazies sound pretty normal; however, Michelle says he “lashes out” which isn’t a typical Ragdoll behavior, unless he’s being playful. It’s very unfortunate and unprofessional that Shadow’s breeder didn’t provide any insight about his history as it might relate to these behaviors but perhaps he wasn’t properly directed in what is appropriate behavior with those of us who don’t have fur. Funny how sending an animal away for a time, like to board, will cause them to really be on their best behavior when they come home! I suspect that’s their way of saying,”I promise I’ll be good…please let me stay here forever!” It usually wears off after a while and they’re back to their previous behaviors, though I hope Shadow has continued to be more mellow. It also implies that they are aware that the behavior they stop temporarily is something their human would prefer they not do. Animals are much smarter than they are usually given credit for!

  6. Hi-
    I have a chatty ragdoll also. His name is Bode and he is a 7 month old flame bicolor. He is my 3rd ragdoll and has a personality very different than my other two. When I first brought him home he cried out in the hallway– my other ragdoll cat and myself ran to see what was wrong and then found Bode ready to play:) We no longer run when he gives that big meow!! He wants us to play and he meows as a way to say “come on guys come get me!!” I usually call him to me to give him some loving attention or I go and play with him. I interpret his behavior as a confident kitty who is initiating some play- He also uses his arms to express himself- (many gestures). I have found him to more expressive in his love/affection also- he loves to be on my lap, gives kisses, and is very interactive with me. He also meows when he is communicating “I don’t want to be picked up right now” or “I am a bit overwhelmed- i need space”. I find him fascinating because I am a speech therapist and love interpreting all his communication!! I believe that his intelligence is very high and he is connecting with me on so many levels!!
    Hope that helps,
    p.s. i think my kitty might have some connection with Dr.Jenn’s kitties? His mama is Gracie and I bought him from midmichigan ragdolls.:)

  7. hey there thank you for writing to me and shadow hehe

    shadow is a semi outdoor cat i take him walks with my dogs or run about my garden for 2 – 3 hours a day. also when indoors i play with him alot till he gets bored of seeing me and goes to his hiding spot to sleep hehe.

    this may sound silly but since shadow has came back from my dads who was watching him for 2 days while i was away when he came back home he have been bahaving perfect. still has his moments but hes better 🙂

  8. Hi there, I wonder wheather Shadow is a strictly indoor cat? I rekon that cats really need to get outside and that its cruel to allow a cat to watch a bird but not have the opportunity to chase it….(of course you would never want him to catch it!!) but my point being that its a bit like caging a tiger really isn’t it? I have a friend with a huge Ragdoll who luvs to play and she lets her our daily for an hour minimum, she always goes out and stays with her but she rekons the cat would go crazy if she kept her inside 24/7 and that she really looks forward to ‘out time’. I’ve a Ragdoll X and would never dream of keeping her inside, she comes and goes as she pleases during the day. Of course this means taking the extra care to keep them safe but I rekon if your boy is acting up and at the moment he is an indoor cat, then you might want to try coming up with a way to have him out for a bit if you can; if he is already an outdoor then he might just have you all sorted!! He is totally absolutely gorgeous!! 🙂

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