Last Updated on November 12, 2019 by Jenny
The Ragdoll is one of the most popular cat breeds in the world due to its amazing personality. Having the “gentle giant” as part of the family is certainly a wonderful and rewarding experience.
If you intend to get a Ragdoll cat for yourself, then finding out as much as possible about what life with a cat like this is can be extremely useful. Here is what you need to know about Ragdolls.
Ragdoll Cat Breed – Short History
The breed was developed in the 1960s by Anne Baker. Interestingly, the origin of the Ragdoll cat does not consist of specialized cat breeds with either long hair or a special type of temperament. In fact, Ann Baker created the breed from free-roaming cats.
Where does the name “Ragdoll” come from?
The famous name comes from this cat breed’s tendency to go limp and relaxed when picked up. This is one of the best-known features of this type of cat.
Ann Baker has trademarked the breed name “Ragdoll” and she set up her own breed registry, the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA). She urged breeders to meet very specific standards in order to qualify.
The Main Profile of the Ragdoll Breed
**Please know that after having this website for 11 years, I have learned the importance of stressing that BREED STEREOTYPES can be deceiving.
DO NOT EXPECT that if you adopt a Ragdoll kitten that it will fit the breed description. Every cat is a living soul, which means they will have a different personality and may or may not possess some or all of the qualities of the breed.
Everybody knows Ragdoll cats because of their floppy personality and their gorgeous blue eyes, but that is only one of their amazing features. These are the main features of the Ragdoll cat breed:
- Large cat breed – Comparable to the Norwegian Forest Cat, the Maine Coon, the Egyptian Mau, or the American Bobtail, Ragdoll cats are truly large. Males go up to 20 pounds, while females may vary from 10 to 15 pounds. This makes it one of the largest cat breeds in the world.
- Semi-long-haired cat – Ragdolls have a soft semi-long coat, which makes them easier to groom than other long-haired cats. They do not have an undercoat, which is very important because this is where the excessive shedding usually comes from in other cat breeds.
The life span of Ragdoll cats averages around 15 years. Each individual’s life span varies according to genetic facts, medical issues developed throughout the years, quality of nutrition and care, living conditions, etc.
The Personality of a Ragdoll Cat
Aside from the Ragdoll effect mentioned above, these cats have many more traits that build up to their wonderful personality. Here are only a few things that make Raggies so great:
- Ragdolls are extremely sociable with humans – both their masters and other people.
- Ragdolls are very close to their masters, but they are not pushy.
- Ragdolls show their love through constant proximity to their masters.
- Ragdolls are very playful cats.
These characteristics make these cats fit for almost any type of home. They are best suited for owners who are looking for a relaxed cat with which they can develop a close relationship. Here are a few commonly asked questions about the behavior of Ragdoll cats.
Are Ragdolls good with children?
Ragdolls are some of the best cats for families with children because of their floppy, laid-back personalities. These cats are patient enough to interact with children and, most importantly, they will not become violent with them.
Are Ragdolls good with other cats?
Introducing a new cat in the household is a complex process in itself, but with Ragdolls it should at least a little bit easier because they are docile and sociable. If introduced properly, Raggies should get along well with other cats.
Are Ragdolls good with dogs?
Ragdolls are actually some of the few cat breeds that get along with cat-friendly dogs. It is highly recommended that at least one of the animals be of younger age, that they are introduced gradually and kept under constant surveillance, at least at first, but getting a Raggie to befriend a dog is certainly possible.
Ragdoll Color Patterns
All Ragdoll cats are born white, but as they grow, they develop a wide variety of colors and patterns. They are colorpointed cats, which means that their bodies are lighter in color than their extremities. The color options are:
- Blue – the body of the cat is very light gray and the extremities are a darker shade of gray – various color patterns.
- Seal – the body is creamy white and the extremities are a very dark shade of brown.
- Chocolate – a combination of a light-colored body and light brown extremities.
- Lilac – the body is very light in color and the extremities are gray and cream-colored.
- Cream – a combination of an ivory-colored body and creamy extremities.
- Flame – the body is very light in color and the extremities are red or orange.
- Black – this is an upcoming color variation for Ragdolls, as it is yet to be accepted by The International Cat Association (TICA), but they do come in black as well.
Check out our fun page – Colorpointed Cats Transition: Ragdoll Cats to see kitten --> adult photos of the same Ragdoll cat.
As for the patterns they can develop, Ragdolls can be colorpointed, mitted, bicolor, lynx point, or tortie point, as per the Ragdolls Fanciers Club International (RFCI).
Breed-Specific Health Risks
Ragdoll cats do not present major health risks. However, every cat breed has displayed a higher prevalence in developing certain types of diseases.
Knowing what these are can create an advantage for the cat owner because preventative measures for these illnesses can be issued early on.
According to breed statistics, Ragdolls have a tendency to develop a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which causes the thickening of the cardiac wall.
The main cause for this is genetic, and breeders now have access to a test that can determine the cats that have this condition.
These should be removed from the breeding process to stop perpetuating the disease. HCM can be detected during the regular checkups performed by the veterinarian.
Other common health issues seen in Ragdolls are kidney stones and digestive issues related to a sensitive stomach.
They also have a tendency to become overweight, but this can be easily prevented with a rigorous dietary plan and a healthy active lifestyle. With the proper dietary supplements and regular visits to the veterinarian, Ragdoll cats can live a long a healthy life.
How to Take Proper Care of a Ragdoll Cat
This breed comes with a few particularities in terms of proper cat care, but having a Ragdoll around the house will not be problematic. Here are a few aspects for your consideration:
Housing Particularities – Are Ragdolls Fit for Any Type of Home?
Ragdolls are large cats, which means that they need to have a space that is proportional to their size. However, this still makes them suited for almost any type of apartment or house. The more space you can offer them, the better, but the limits are quite acceptable.
Moreover, if you want your Ragdoll cat to get more exercise, you can always invest time in daily play with a cat wand toy or teaching them new tricks while playing with them.
Depending on your situation and where you live in the world, you can also take it out for a walk. Cat owners who have yards for the cats to roam free in have it quite easy. Ragdoll owners who live in apartments have the option to train their cats to go out for walks.
Please note that some safety precautions should be taken in this case. Cats should wear harnesses and be on leashes to make sure that they are safe during their exploration.
In fact, cat walking is becoming more and more popular among pet owners. Soon enough seeing cats being walked by their masters will be just as normal as seeing dogs.
Ragdolls, and especially those that live in smaller places, can benefit from walking because they can get their exercise. It is very important to keep Ragdoll cats fit and this is a very good way to do it.
As for the cats that do have access to a yard, it is extremely beneficial for them to spend time outdoors. However, it is highly recommended that they are watched in this time.
One of the myths about Ragdoll cats is that they are so friendly that anybody can pick them up and take them because they will not protest.
While this remains more of a stereotype, keeping an eye on indoor cats when they get to go outside is a safety precaution that any cat owner should take.
Do Ragdolls Need Special Diets?
In terms of feeding Ragdoll cats, there are no breed-specific particularities. The cat’s diet should be set up together with the veterinarian to make sure that it meets all the nutritional requirements. From there on, it depends entirely on the individual, its build, its underlying medical issues, etc.
Any cat should receive high-quality food and Ragdolls are no exception. In fact, the quality of its diet will be visible in its coat. When a Ragdoll’s coat begins to look matted and lacks its usual shine and soft feel, one of the causes could be the food.
Considering the large size of Ragdoll cats, they can benefit from Omega-3 supplements. These are extremely useful for their joints, their nervous system, but, most importantly, for their cardiovascular system.
How Often Do Ragdolls Need to Go to the Vet?
Ragdoll cats require the usual amounts of veterinary visits. They will need to be taken in more frequently when they are kittens and when they reach the geriatric stage, but in between these, there’s a routine that can be set up.
Aside from their routine vaccinations, they do need regular check-ups just to make sure that everything is OK. Taking your Ragdoll to the vet once every 6 months is enough in most cases, but the specific routine depends on the particularities of the individual.
While common points for any Ragdoll cats include cardio, orthopedic, and dermatological workouts, every cat has its own needs.
It is up to the vet to keep a rigorous patient history and set up preventative measures to ensure the cat’s long term health. You can read or listen to our interviews with Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM of Little Big Cat to find out more about cat care.
Grooming Rituals for Ragdolls
You might think that owning a Ragdoll cats means spending half of the time grooming it, but it is actually not as much as a chore as it seems. With the proper grooming tools for long-haired cats at your disposal, you can minimize the time you spend on this task.
On the other hand , regular grooming is a must when it comes to Ragdolls. Cat owners who do not feel up for the task are advised to look for cats with short coats, such as the Russian Blue or the British Shorthair.
It is very important that Ragdolls get used to being groomed from an early age. With patience and perseverance, any Ragdoll owner can groom the cat.
As mentioned above, this breed does not have an undercoat, which makes a sizable difference both in terms of shedding and matting.
Another important part of the grooming process is trimming the cat’s claws. This should also be done from an early age to reduce the cat’s protests as much as possible. Having specialized tools for cutting the cat’s nails is also crucial.
What Kind of Accessories Do Ragdolls Need?
Aside from all the cat toys you can think of and your grooming supplies, you Ragdoll cat will need one or several cat scratchers. These will keep its claws trimmed and your furniture safe from scratches.
Cat beds and cat houses are also important because the cat must have a place of its own where it can hide or simply spend time alone.
Check out our Floppycats 10 Pawesome Cat Products to see which products we love for Ragdolls and why.
Do You Need to Play with Your Ragdoll Cat?
While Ragdolls are rather independent cats, playing with them is certainly recommended. Interacting with its masters will build the cat’s personality and it will strengthen the bond them. It is also a lot of fun because Ragdolls are extremely playful.
They are known as “puppy cats” because they genuinely enjoy these playful moments. Your options for cat toys are virtually infinite, so there are always new things that you can do with your cat.
As an added bonus of setting up a playtime routine with the cat will also give it the exercise it needs and it will prevent it from becoming overweight. We are always reviewing great cat products to try with your kitty.
The Financial Aspects of Becoming a Ragdoll Cat Owner
Owning a Ragdoll cat comes with a financial effort, both in terms of the initial investment, and the long-term care required for any pet. All cat owners should be aware of these costs before getting their Raggies to avoid unwanted situations when the cats must be re-homed.
Initial Costs – Buying a Ragdoll Cat
Buying a Ragdoll cat requires a financial effort. The specific costs, however, vary enormously (approximately $850- $2,700+) from one breeder to another because each of them may set up different rules in terms of vaccination, spaying, veterinary consults, and many other aspects that alter the final price. Read our article on the costs of purchasing a Ragdoll cat to find out more.
The best place to get a Ragdoll cat is from a licensed breeder. Make sure to check the IRCA registration and to look into the breeder before getting the cat. Our guide to finding a good cat breeder can give you some ideas about the process.
Is Adoption an Option?
Yes, adopting a Ragdoll cat is an option. Before you start looking for breeders, you may want to see if there is a Raggie out there who is in need of a home. Learn about finding a Ragdoll needing rescue in your area.
Unfortunately, the immense popularity of this breed has created a stereotype around it and when the cats don’t live up to their owner’s expectations, some of them are abandoned.
The biggest downside of adoption is that, in most cases, the cat is already an adult. If you are willing to get a cat instead of a kitten, then this is something you are well worth looking into. Giving a home to a cat in need is an extremely rewarding experience.
The Costs of Taking Care of a Ragdoll Cat
As you may expect, taking care of a Ragdoll cat is more expensive than taking care of a small cat breed, but the variation in price is quite acceptable.
The cost of food and dietary supplements is going to be higher than it is for other cats because Ragdolls do need a bit more of everything.
Aside from nutrition, everything in terms of pet accessories and toys must be supersized to fit the gentle giant. But buying the largest cat scratchers and cat beds will not lead to a sizable difference in the overall costs of cat care.
As you can see, Ragdoll cats are a particular type of cat breed with specific needs, but not some that set it apart from other cats out there. Having this large docile cat in your home will certainly make up for your investment and you will earn a true companion.
Are you thinking of adopting a Ragdoll kitten? You might enjoy our book, A Ragdoll Kitten Care Guide.