Ragdoll Cats vs. Himalayan Cats

Ragdoll and Himalayan cats are two of the friendliest and most relaxed cat breeds, making them extremely popular pet options. They share several similarities but plenty of differences, so with that in mind, let’s look at how Ragdoll Cats and Himalayan Cats compare.

Growing up, I was often asked if my Ragdoll cat, Rags, was either a Himalayan or a Siamese. They are all colorpointed cats, so it is understandable why they might get them confused.

Avro, an 11-year old seal point, Himalayan Cat tummy up lying on wood floor
Avro, an 11-year old seal point Himalayan Cat loved by Tammy

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Cat Fanciers Association Recognition

A great source of information when comparing breeds is the Cat Fanciers Association. Considered by many breeders to be the most prestigious cat-registering association in North America, the CFA is currently the world’s largest registry of pedigreed cats. It recognizes 45 pedigree breeds and publishes strict standards on a cat’s standards to be registered as a purebred.

Ragdoll CFA Recognition

The CFA recognizes the Ragdoll as a distinct breed, described as a longhaired large cat, colored at the points, with a docile, calm, and affectionate personality. First bred in the 1960s by Ann Baker, there are now various patterns accepted as Ragdolls. You can find more official information on Ragdoll cats on the CFA website.

Himalayan CFA Recognition

The CFA recognizes Himalayans as a pedigree, a variation of the Persian breed. They were developed through breeding Persians to Siamese. They’re described as longhaired, with a stocky body, long full coat, round head, broad face, and short nose.

The Himalayan variant is colored at the points. They must have vivid blue eyes. Otherwise, they are disqualified. Check the complete breed standards for Himalayan cats on the CFA website.

Ragdoll vs. Himalayan Comparison

FeatureRagdollHimalayan
CoatMedium-longhaired, no undercoatLonghaired
SizeLarge (average 12-20 lb)Mid-to-large (average 7-12 lb)
Eye ColorBlueBlue
Coat ColorSeal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, creamSeal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, cream
Lifespan9 to 15 years8 to 11 years
TemperamentSocial, loving, sweetGentle, quiet, sweet

The difference between Ragdolls and Himalayans is that Ragdolls have a triangular face with oval eyes. In contrast, Himalayans have a round face with round eyes. Ragdoll cats are larger, although Himalayans appear large due to their thick coat. Ragdolls tend to live a little longer. They have similar personalities and coat colors.

Their Coat Appearance and Feel

Himalayan Domestic white and brown cat with its paw up in the air
Himalayan Domestic Cat

While they look alike, one way you can see the difference between these breeds is to look closely at their coats. Ragdolls are medium to longhaired and have a unique feel to their fur. Even though it’s very thick, their hair is incredibly soft and silky and often compared to rabbit fur’s texture. They’re particularly fluffy and sport their famous mane around their neck, which only gets more prominent as they age.

Even though they’ve got this incredibly luxurious coat, Ragdolls don’t have an undercoat. This is one of the reasons the breed is so popular: they don’t shed nearly as much as other cats and are less likely to trigger allergies (though they’re not hypoallergenic).

Himalayans are a longhaired breed and have thick coats, just like Ragdolls. Their fur is so bushy that it’s easy to mistake them for being more giant cats than they are, but as soon as you pet them, you can tell that a lot of their ‘bulk’ is just hair. Their fur feels dense thanks to their double coat and has a soft, downy texture.

Avro an 11-year old seal point Himalayan lying on cream colored glider rocker chair
Avro, an 11-year old seal point Himalayan loved by Tammy

Himalayan fur is prone to matting and requires daily brushing to keep it in good condition. They also have a thick undercoat, making them prone to shedding. Himalayans require a bit more grooming upkeep compared to Ragdolls, though you should still use a comb on your Ragdoll 2-3 times a week to keep it looking healthy and free of matting.

Differences in Appearance

Ragdolls are one of the largest domestic cat breeds around. Males are heavier than females, typically weighing between 12-20 pounds, and there have even been cases of Ragdolls growing larger than this. They have a solid frame, broad chests, long legs that are proportionate to their body, and long tapered tails.

Himalayans aren’t quite as large as Ragdolls. Medium- to large-sized cats usually weigh between 7-12 pounds, though just like with Ragdolls, some have been known to be larger. They are sturdy and heavy-boned, with a much shorter body than Ragdolls and thick legs that look short compared to their body.

One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between Ragdolls and Himalayans is their head and eye shape. Himalayans have very round faces and round eyes. Ragdolls have a more angular face, closer to a triangle in shape, and have oval-shaped eyes.

Ragdoll vs. Himalayan Colors and Patterns

There are several variations that a Ragdoll cat can present in. They have four recognized patterns – bi-color, van, mitted, and colorpoint. And those patterns can come in six official colors – seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, and cream. There are also lynx, tortie, and torbie (lynx/tortie) variants.

Himalayan cats have similar variations, with patterns including bi-color and tri-color, and color options including red, cream, seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, tortoiseshell, and blue-cream, with lynx variations.

Ragdoll vs. Himalayan Personality

Himalayan white and brown cat sitting on a white background
Himalayan Cat

While both breeds tend to be super friendly, they have slightly different personalities. Remember, though, that this is a broad overview of the breeds – individual cats have their own unique personalities and may differ from these characteristics.

Ragdolls are generally infamous for being lap cats, loving nothing more than being close to their owners and having a cuddle. Himalayans also love attention from people and can be very calm. Both breeds enjoy playing, though, so it’s a good idea to have a lot of different toys for them to play with.

Both Ragdolls and Himalayans are social animals likely to get along with any other pets you may have. Ragdolls, in particular, are known for being very affectionate with dogs. Himalayans also tend to make friends with them, so long as the dog isn’t too boisterous. Because of their social nature, Ragdolls and Himalayans thrive on affection and attention but aren’t so good at entertaining themselves.

Neither breed cope well with being left alone for extended periods. Suppose you really have no choice but to leave your kitties alone for a while. In that case, the Himalayans manage a little better than Ragdolls, but this will depend on the individual cat.

Both cats are so social that it’s a good idea if you’re considering adopting one to ensure it will have a companion. Cats who live in the company of other cats are happier and more active than those who don’t. A significant difference between these two breeds is how chatty they can be. Himalayans do vary a bit in terms of how talkative they are, but for the most part, they’re pretty vocal. They’re very social with people and will meow and purr to join conversations and let their needs be known.

Ragdolls, while very friendly, are known for being relatively quiet. They do meow, but there usually must be something dramatic going on to prompt it. Otherwise, the most you’ll probably get out of them is a soft and musical trill or chirp. Ragdolls are one of the quieter cat breeds around.

Both breeds are intelligent, clever enough to learn a range of tricks, and can adapt to being taken for walks on a leash or harness.

Ragdoll vs. Himalayan Lifespan

Himalayan Cat with blue eyes laying against a blue backdrop
Himalayan Domestic Cat

On average, Himalayans live between 8 and 11 years, though many outlive this. Ragdolls are a little luckier, with a 9 to 15 years lifespan, often reaching the mid-high teens. However, this will vary for both breeds depending on individual genetics. While all cats risk developing health issues as they age, some breeds are more prone than others.

As with all cats that have been selectively bred to shorten the face, Himalayans are susceptible to several health issues due to the shape of their skull. Difficulty breathing, other respiratory issues, and several eye issues, such as watery eyes, are common health problems. As a Persian variant, they are also susceptible to Polycystic Kidney Disease, a nasty illness of the kidneys, so make sure you check their genetic history for this disease when buying a Himalayan.

Ragdolls are a relatively healthy cat breed with only a few known health issues. As with all longhaired cats, they do sometimes suffer from hairballs, and as they enjoy lounging around and cuddling so much, they can also suffer from obesity-related issues if they aren’t given enough exercise. However, the same can be said of Himalayans if they aren’t fed a balanced and nutritious diet.

They can suffer from urinary tract issues, like bladder stones. One of the most recurring severe health issues Ragdolls face is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a potentially fatal heart disease where the walls of the heart thicken, making it more challenging to pump blood. That said, all cat breeds are somewhat prone to developing this. Compared to other cat breeds, Ragdolls are generally very robust.

Suppose you’re planning on buying either breed. In that case, you must buy from a reputable cat breeder who ensures that the parents have been genetically tested to ensure they don’t have any hereditary health issues. This will drastically reduce the chance of your cat developing severe genetic health issues.

FAQs

How do you tell if your cat is Himalayan?

If you did not receive official registration documents when you bought your cat, the best way to tell if your cat is Himalayan is to do a DNA test.  You can also attempt to guess by examining its physical characteristics. One of the best resources for checking a cat’s breed is the CFA website, where you can look up a clear list of officially recognized traits and features for pedigree breeds.

What are the characteristics of a Himalayan cat?

Himalayan cats are mid-sized with long hair, short legs, and round faces. They usually have friendly, playful, energetic personalities. They have vivid blue eyes and have various point color options, including chocolate, seal, blue, red, cream tortie, and lynx variants, similar to Ragdolls.

Are Ragdoll cats a Himalayan?

Although they share some similarities in coat colors and personalities, Ragdoll cats differ from Himalayans. Himalayans are a variant of Persian cats, while Ragdolls are a completely separate breed altogether. The most apparent difference between the two breeds is their size and face shape.

Conclusion

Ragdoll and Himalayan cats share several personality traits and similar coat colors and patterns. Still, considering how different their faces look, you’d be unlikely to mistake one for the other. They’re both gorgeous cat breeds, though, and they make fantastic pets too.

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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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One Comment

  1. Patti Johnson says:

    TYSVM for such a super pawesome & interesting post, Jenny honey! Very interesting comparison! Personally, I much prefer The Raggie Face! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

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