Ragdoll Cat Cat Hair Coat Type

When my Ragdoll cat, Charlie, went to the emergency vet for nausea, it reminded me of this post.  He was being seen by a veterinarian who did not know him, and she was lightly touching him.  I told them (veterinarian and vet techs), they needed to grasp him because he has flat hair follicles.

Charlie-a-Seal-mitted-ragdoll-cat-with-a-blaze-on-back-patio-IMG_4130-1536x2048 (1)
Charlie with the crépe coat

I struggled to title this article as I am still learning more about it.  And hope that one of our readers knows more or knows where to send me to learn more.

trigg a blue lynx mitted ragdoll cat IMG_4403
Trigg, a blue lynx mitted Ragdoll cat

Some time ago, a reader asked me to do a video comparing the coats of my Ragdoll cats, Charlie and Trigg…and so I did. And that video, posted below, has been up for some time.  I love both of their coats – Charlie’s is like he stuck his paw in an electrical outlet (meaning all of his hair sticks directly out and does not lay flat), whereas Trigg’s reminds me of Rags’ coat.  But Trigg can get oily – he gets little “caps” on his nipples from oil build-up. Gross. Caymus’ coat is like nothing I’ve ever felt, and my sister’s new Ragdoll cat, Ash, has a freakin’ amazing coat.

Earlier this year, a vet in Scandinavia, Wirina Holstein, commented that Charlie’s coat is a “crépe coat.”  I was fascinated.  Who knew there were terms for different types of cat hair coats?  She mentioned that Charlie’s coat resulted from flat hair follicles, and Trigg’s was from having round hair follicles!  I had never thought that much about their hair types.  And I greatly appreciate both of their coats – and Charlie’s obsessive nature about his coat.

I have included much of what Wirina wrote in the video’s comments section.

  • Fatty Caps – Trigg probably “suffers” from being in a perfectly healthy condition. Most often, the oiliness and clogged glands is not because of an overproduction of sebum and other fats evaporating through the skin but simply because they are in good condition. The fat and the clogged fatty caps are a protection they would benefit from in wildlife. The fat ensures they won’t get as wet in the rain, won’t get dust all the way into their skin, and won’t get their fur mangled and damaged. And it keeps their skin soft and in good shape, just as they often produce a lot of excess ear wax, which would also help them a lot in wildlife but is a hassle for humans keeping them as pets.  Since he is well fed with good fatty acid nutritional values, his coat has elasticity and a sleek top layer, making it soft and not mangled without split ends.
  • Sebum – Often, there is a correlation between the thickness of the outer skin layer and the amount of sebum in the fur and the texture. In Charlie’s case, he doesn’t have that extra sebum in his coat. It’s seen by how his coat can fluff out in the air and be lighter even though it’s heavier.
  • Crépe coat – We’re specifically talking about dense fur, flat hair strands, coat hairs that seem light, can stand out from the body of the animal, are movable, not too heavy, not too oily, don’t have a systematic characteristic of undercoat, usually no undercoat at all, the hair rejects water. Still, the coat is more prone to dryness than being moist.  This type of coat rarely causes infections in the skin as the coat is not moist and heavy. The texture of the hair strands is what makes them fluffy and crepe-like, which means they can look puffed up or even frizzed or micro-curled, but they will still be soft to the touch, and some (like Charlie) can still have shine in the coat if the hair strands are similar and not too flat and will lay evenly most of the time. Speaking of evolution and nature, its one of the best kinds of coats because it causes fewer problems than most and can give protection from cold, rain, and even heat as the heat doesn’t reach into the fur because the hair strands are no lying still, totally straight and parallel to each other. But in breed culture, it’s not a favorite coat type as it can seem too bulky, making the animal seem less elegant and more like a little fur ball with legs.  Additionally, it’s typically less desired because the fur can stand out more from the skin than regular long-haired coats like those typical of Maine Coons where the long coat lies flat. Crepe coats are also important in rescue work as its the hardest coat to treat because chemicals, dust, mange, and anything is impossible to clean out of a crepe coat, and often full shaving is necessary. Charlie’s fur has about the same level of water shield as a bird – and that’s a lot. But his crepe coat allows his fur to dry faster when wet. Also, because his hairs don’t lie all flat, he can “feel” them more as they are lifted horizontally from his skin. So he can feel the wind more than a cat with a flat coat that covers the skin all the way out to the surface. He can also feel being petted and groomed more. For some cats, it makes them become annoyed when being groomed, so they want to kill the brush or comb. His coat protects him from many skin and fur conditions and infections like flu and cold :-).

What do you know about this topic?  Can you please share any insight or terminology you know?  I’d like to look into it further.

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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. Great re-post, Jenny honey! I had totally forgotten about this info. A nice refresher of some truly amazing & fascinating info! TYSVM!!! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3 <3 <3

  2. Jennifer McFadden says:

    Love the topic and replies. I’ve made mention a few places I’ve become lazy in buying a great brush for Gus because he needs so little brushing. As he approaches a year old, his fur is long and thick with sassy pantaloons and a huge Plummed/feathery tail. He has some oil to his coat but not excess. Because his belly and legs are so uniquely soft, I often call him my “Cabbit.” Unlike others, he hasn’t much of a mane/beard but that may come with age. He’s luxurious but rotten in so many other ways

  3. Debbie Sipe says:

    I have 2 ragdolls. One is a seal point (Andy) and the other is blue mitted (Odie). Both have the same father but different mothers. Andy is virtually maintenance free. I have to brush his once every few weeks and he never has any coat issues. Odie on the other hand is a nightmare. I was brushing and combing him every day and yet each day he would have more matts no matter what I did. Supposedly he got his large size, coloring and huge amount of hair from a male cat 3 generations back. I started to take him to a groomer every couple of months so they could thin him. It was so dense you could not get a comb or your fingers through it. Now at least it’s manageable.

    The best way I can describe Odie’s hair is that it’s like cotton candy on the top and very dense underneath and soft. He is beautiful in full coat but it is unmanageable. Even after being groomed you would never even suspect anything was done. He still,has more hair than any cat I have ever seen.

    Does anyone else have a Ragdoll with massive hair and if so do you have any suggestions other than taking him to the groomer? He is quite popular there, but I would rather do it myself.

    1. Evie Perkins says:

      Hi Debbie, I have a seal point Ragdoll he is 2yrs old and is called Linus. He has a beautiful soft and silky coat, and is rarely in need of brushing. My other Ragdoll is a Blue Lynx mitted, he is almost 13 months old and is called Sully. He is certainly aptly named, he is big blue and extremely fluffy just like his namesake from “Monster’s Inc”!! I love and adore both of my kitties, but I am really struggling with Sully’s intense coat! He has been to the groomer and it definitely helped. But he leaves shedded coat everywhere! I hoped someone could help, we are all covered in cat fur all of the time

  4. chris chocallo says:

    Jenny: this is a very interesting top to me. My eight month old Widget drinks from the bathtub faucet(got him a fancy fountain but he ignores it!) I wondered why even after he puts his head under the running water, it is hardly wet! I guess this explains quite a bit. From what I can see, he is more like Charlie, although he is fluffy like a cloud. No matter, he has seriously won our hearts!!!!! Chris Chocallo Sarasota FL

    1. ha ha ha – yes, takes loads of water to get charlie wet!

  5. Teresa Reid says:

    What a wonderful, interesting topic! Love reading this so much and thank you for the explanation of a crépe coat. Illaria, our lynx seal mitted has a very puffy, fluffy coat. She is only 10 pounds and has a short body, but because of the puffiness of her coat, she looks quite portly sometimes. She has the same kind of coat that is very sensitive to touch. If I barely touch one teeny tiny hair of her fur while she is sleeping, she will make a little “Humm” and is quite startled by it. So, I can’t ever sneak a little kiss while she is sleeping without her waking up. Illaria’s coat sheds like crazy all the time.

    Gracie is a sepia and her fur is like chinchilla fur. It is so soft sometimes it is hard to discern that I’m even touching it, but she is not super sensitive to touch. It is a lot flatter than Illaria’s puff. Also, her fur is very oily especially on her ruff. She doesn’t have any skin oiliness like Jenny said about Chiggy’s nipples. Part of Gracie’s coat oiliness is because of her vigorous eating and flinging it all over the place. But, also part of it is because it is a different texture and handles skin oils differently. Have just recently begun to wash her because it was looking so bad even with putting her in a turtleneck sweater to eat! That girl is something else and love her to pieces! Gracie’s coat hardly ever sheds.

    Lastly, Miss Mari is a Maine Coon whose coat is different from the Ragdolls in that it is flat and very repellent to water. And, Punkie is a grey tabbie rescue whose fur is short and low maintenance.

    None of my kitties’ fur mats up thank goodness. Had a silver Persian when I was a teen and swore to never ever have another kitty that had such an undercoat that matted up at the skin level. It was so sad and caused her to have so much pain and stress.

    Such diverse kitty coats! Love this interesting topic! Thanks Jenny!

    1. teresa,

      i am glad you seem to have enjoyed it as much as i did/do.

      chinchilla fur is a good description for caymus’ coat.

      love all the variations – but i also love the science behind it!


  6. Patti Johnson says:

    Wow! I had no idea about ANY of THIS!!! Thanks so much for this awesome information, Jenny! I’m curious to see what further information the other Floppycatters (with more experience than I) can provide!!!

    Fascinating topic!

    Big hugs & Happy Holidays!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  7. I have 2 Raggies – a brother and sister and they have very different coats. Neo, is a Seal Point with very fluffy fur that I liken to an airy cotton ball. He’s soft, but with coarser hair. Seven is a Tortie and her fur is silky smooth and soft and not near as thick as her brothers’. Mine also have the shorter tail.

  8. Like your guys, my two have completely different coats. Giorgio has a longer, silkier, more oily coat and Madeline has a drier, fluffy, extremely soft “bunny” coat. Neither of them ever mats but Giorgio sheds much more than Maddie does and he is more prone to feline acne even though we only use glass dishes. I have to brush him outdoors (Shed Ninja) because the amount of hair that comes off him is unbelievable!! Thank God for the Lilly brush or I’d be living in a house covered in white hair!! I’d love for you to open up a dialogue on what others do to alleviate shedding as some cats shed more than others – even when they eat the same food.
    I never noticed before but your babies tails are shorter! Mine both have long tails.

  9. Christina says:

    The first time anyone picks up and feels a Ragdolls fur they are amazed. It feels nothing like what it looks. I recall Sebastian having different fluffier fur as a kitten. Then it was less so as he aged. Right now Quimbys is changing from a silky cotton to a silky. Looking forward to what he grows into.
    Glad you brought up that some Ragdolls can have variables in texture and sgeen etc. Heck they come in so many patterns I can’t keep up

  10. RagdollCatMom says:

    I don’t know anything about the specific coat types, but it was great to learn about what you’ve researched so far! I do know that my 3 boys all have different coats. I asked their breeder, Kristie about it, and she says she gets different coats on kittens in the same litter and sees no rhyme or reason to it!

    Stormy – has a coat similar to Trigg’s. He’s got the big feather tail and the longer, flowing hair but less thick coat. Fortunately he doesn’t get those oil plugs you mentioned!

    Dusty – his coat is shorter, thicker and denser – more of a medium length coat rather than a long haired coat. He also doesn’t have “pantaloons” in the back. I actually really like this shorter, denser coat – he’s still got the feather tail, but no matts and nothing sticking to his back end. 🙂

    Denali – he’s a mink, so his coat is different altogether. It’s the long, plush, thick nature of Charlie’s coat but soft as silk or cashmere. If you’ve never felt the mink coat, you don’t know what you’re missing. I wonder how it would compare to Caymus’ coat since you really like his coat!

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