Ragdoll Color Progression and Development

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One of the most amazing things about Ragdoll cats is their outstanding coat. It comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, but what is even more interesting is that, regardless of the pattern, the color of a Ragdoll will change noticeably over time. Ragdoll color progression and development is absolutely impressive. To show you just how much, we are going to walk you through the main changes in color that can be seen in a Ragdoll’s life.

ragdoll color progression Luke - Seal Mitted with a blaze loved by Tracy
Luke – Seal Mitted with a blaze loved by Tracy

All Ragdoll cats are born white

At the very beginning, all the Ragdoll kittens will be covered with white fur all over their bodies. Then, as they get older, some parts of their fur will get colored and the pattern will become visible. Why does this happen? The short answer is that it is all in their genes.

Ragdolls display a genetic mutation that affects an enzyme in the metabolic pathway between tyrosine and the final pigment, which is sensitive to temperature. This mutation makes a ragdoll’ cat coloration dependent on its body temperature.

How does body temperature affect the coloration?

Most Ragdoll cats are bi-colored and it is all due to this mutation. In the areas of the body where the temperature is lower, such as the extremities – the paws, the edges of the ears – the fur will be darker in color, while the areas where the temperature is higher – the torso – the fur will be lighter in color.

You could say that a Ragdoll’s colors are a map of its body temperature and you would be right. The differences in local temperature from one area to another are quite noticeable, as seen in the cat’s coat, and they are generated by various factors such as age, state of health, sex, and many others. Take a look at our article on how color-pointed Ragtdolls change colors over time to see just how big the difference can be.

ragdoll color development Kahlua a blue color point Ragdoll loved by Jane Approx 6-8 weeks and 2 years.
Kahlua a blue colorpoint Ragdoll loved by Jane Approx 6-8 weeks and 2 years.

Ragdoll Younglings Are Lighter In Color

Regardless of the color and the type of point of a Ragdoll cat, its color progression will be different over time. While it is a kitten, it will go from full white to white with some dark-colored areas in the extremities. Then, as the kitten gets older, the darker areas grow alongside it to develop its pattern.

Why does this happen? Again, it’s all about body temperature. Kittens and young cats have accelerated metabolisms, which makes their body temperature high. As they grow up, their metabolism starts to slow down progressively, which means that they body temp will start going down in some areas of the body. Since the extremities are hardest areas to irrigate with blood, they are the coldest in the body, which you can clearly see in a Ragdoll’s coat.

ragdoll cat progression Zimba blue mitted with blaze loved by Helen
Zimba, a blue mitted with blaze loved by Helen

Ragdoll Adults Will Maintain a Steady-Colored Coat Over Many Years

When cats reach adulthood, the changes in their metabolism are fewer and fewer. After the kitten’s development period is over, the adult cat will reach a steady state of its metabolism and maintain it throughout its adulthood. This is called homeostasis. During this period, the cat’s body temperature will be vary by extremely small amounts, which means that the adult Ragdoll will not display major changes over the years.

When Ragdoll Cats Get Sick, Their Colors Might Change

There are certain illnesses, both chronic and acute, which can cause major changes in body temperature. For instance, if a cat has a fever, then its body temperature will be increased, and if it suffers from kidney or liver failure, it will have a lower body temp than it should.

Especially in chronic diseases, the change in body temperature becomes very visible on a Ragdoll cat’s coat. If the kidney disease becomes chronic, for instance, the cat’s extremities and lower area (its belly and torso) will be colder, which means that they will get darker.

On the other hand, a chronic infection that might give out a sub-febrile state will cause the body temp to increase, which, over a longer period of time, will lead to lighter colors.

Old Ragdoll Cats Get Darker in Color

When cats get older, their metabolism slows down more and more. This will generate a radical color progression and the cat’s extremities will get even darker than they were. Moreover, the darker areas will get larger and larger, all pointing out the areas where the local circulation is hardened. However, please note that this is the natural development of a cat’s metabolism and body temperature. All of these changes are normal, up to a certain extent.

Is a Sudden Change in Color a Cause for Alarm?

Yes, it is. If your Ragdoll cat suddenly changes its coloration pattern, you should take it to the vet and point out the changes. If you can, bring some older pictures of your cat so that the doctor has a means of comparison. As mentioned above, there are some serious diseases that can cause a change in body temperature, which in Ragdolls you can see as a change in color, so your veterinarian will definitely want to take a look.

Do Ragdolls Get White Hair?

Yes, they do, old Raggies could get some white hairs in their coat. They usually appear all over the body, but they are more prominent on the cat’s face and extremities. However, cats don’t get to have full-white coats, you there are only going to be a few hairs over the years.

As you can see, Ragdoll color progression and development is extremely impressive. From full white to a detailed pointed pattern, Raggies change their colors radically. How has your Ragdoll cat changed over time? Does it look even remotely similar to back when it was a kitten? Tell us all about the changes you’ve seen in our comments section below.

**A HUGE THANK YOU TO OUR AWESOME READERS WHO SENT IN RAGDOLL CAT COLOR PROGRESSION PHOTOS – showing their kitties when they were kittens to today**  Enjoy them below =)

Seal Progression

Seal Colorpoint Progression

ragdoll cat development Jax sealcolorpoint loved by Cindy
Jax, a sealcolorpoint loved by Cindy. (Jax is a half brother to Jeter below)
ragdoll color progression Jeter - Seal Point loved by Brenda
Jeter – Seal Point loved by Brenda
ragdoll color development Soba Seal Mink Colourpoint loved by Lan Phuong
Soba Seal Mink Colourpoint loved by Lan Phuong
Ragdoll cat progression Sapphy is a Seal Point loved by Scott
Sapphy is a Seal Point loved by Scott

Seal Color Progression – Mitted

ragdoll color progression Baxter, a Seal Point Mitted at 4 months and 14 months loved by Nancy
Baxter, a Seal Point Mitted at 4 months and 14 months loved by Nancy
ragdoll color progression Luke - Seal Mitted with a blaze loved by Tracy
Luke – Seal Mitted with a blaze loved by Tracy
ragdoll color progression Meriadoc Seal Mitted with a blaze 5 weeks and then 4 years old
Meriadoc, a Seal Mitted with a blaze, 5 weeks and then 4 years old loved by Mary
ragdoll color progression Seal Mitted with a Blaze Atticus loved by Melissa
Seal Mitted with a Blaze Atticus loved by Melissa
ragdoll color progression Shadow seal mitted with a blaze loved by Helen
Shadow, a seal mitted with a blaze loved by Helen

Seal Color Progression – Bicolor

ragdoll color development Gabby seal bicolor at 6 months and 2 years loved by Sandra
Gabby, a seal bicolor at 6 months and 2 years loved by Sandra
ragdoll color progression Gabby seal bicolor at 16 weeks and 2 years loved by Sandra
Gabby, a seal bicolor at 16 weeks and 2 years loved by Sandra
ragdoll color development Flynn Seal Bicolor loved by Angela 3 years and 8 weeks
Flynn, a Seal Bicolor loved by Angela at 3 years and 8 weeks
Chamidolls Tenderheart, aka Teddy. He is a seal bicolor ragdoll with a mismark on his left cheek. loved by Amanda
Chamidolls Tenderheart, aka Teddy. He is a seal bicolor ragdoll with a “mismark” on his left cheek. He was 3 weeks old in the top left pic, 5 months old in the top right, 1 year old in the bottom left, and 5 years old in the bottom right. Loved by Amanda
Ragdoll cat development Joey seal bicolor loved by Cindy
Joey, a seal bicolor, loved by Cindy
ragdoll color development Mieka (Seal bicolour) and Pazuzu (Seal point) loved by Melissa
Mieka (Seal bicolour) and Pazuzu (Seal point) loved by Melissa

Seal Color Progression – Lynx

ragdoll color development Sophie - Seal lynx point loved by Andrea
Sophie – Seal lynx point loved by Andrea
ragdoll color progression Sammy - Seal lynx mitted with a blaze loved by Andrea
Sammy – Seal lynx mitted with a blaze loved by Andrea
ragdoll color progression Tucker Lee Seal Lynx loved by Angela 3.5 years and 8 weeks
Tucker Lee, a Seal Lynx loved by Angela – 3.5 years and 8 weeks

Blue Progression

Blue Colorpoint Development

ragdoll color development Kahlua a blue color point Ragdoll loved by Jane Approx 6-8 weeks and 2 years.
Kahlua a blue colorpoint Ragdoll loved by Jane Approx 6-8 weeks and 2 years.

Blue Development – Mitted

ragdoll color development blue mitted ragdoll cat Noelle at 4 months old and 2 years old loved by Michelle
Blue mitted Ragdoll (with a blaze) cat Noelle at 4 months old and 2 years old, loved by Michelle
ragdoll cat progression Zimba blue mitted with blaze loved by Helen
Zimba, a blue mitted with blaze loved by Helen
ragdoll color development blue mitted ragdoll, Frankie as a kitten and now, loved by Sarah
Blue mitted Ragdoll, Frankie as a kitten and now, loved by Sarah
TheDollHouse Heartthrob aka Henry. He is a blue mitted Ragdoll. In the top pic he was 6 weeks old, in the middle he was 4 months, and in the bottom he was 2 years old. loved by Amanda
TheDollHouse Heartthrob, aka Henry. He is a blue mitted Ragdoll. In the top pic he was 6 weeks old, in the middle he was 4 months, and in the bottom he was 2 years old. Loved by Amanda
Chamidolls Masquerade of TheDollHouse, aka Maddie loved by Amanda
Chamidolls Masquerade of TheDollHouse, aka Maddie. She was named Masquerade because it looks like she is wearing a mask over part of her face. She is a split face blue tortie mitted Ragdoll. In the pic on the left she was 3 weeks old, in the middle she was about 10 months old, and on the right she was 2 years old. Loved by Amanda.
Ragdoll cat progression Angel Blue mitted Ragdoll loved by Cindy
Angel, a Blue mitted Ragdoll, loved by Cindy
ragdoll color development Charlotte - blue mitted traditional loved by Kristen 3 months 5 months 8 months 1 year 8 months
Charlotte – blue mitted traditional loved by Kristen. Photo clockwise shows: 3 months, 5 months, 8 months, 1 year 8 months
ragdoll color progression Lyeah Blue Mitted 10 weeks and 17 Months loved by Tracy
Lyeah, a Blue Mitted at 10 weeks and 17 Months, loved by Tracy

Blue Ragdoll Cat Development – Bicolor

ragdoll color progression Finnegan “Finn” McCoul Blue Bicolor loved by Valerie
Finnegan “Finn” McCoul Blue Bicolor loved by Valerie

Blue Progression – Lynx

ragdoll color development Bailey Blue, a Blue Lynx Mitted at 4 months and 14 months loved by Nancy
Bailey Blue, a Blue Lynx Mitted at 4 months and 14 months loved by Nancy

Flame Color Development

Ragdoll Cat Color Development Uncle Everett 4 months and 1.5 years loved by Nancy
Uncle Everett, a Flame mitted with a blaze, at 4 months and 1.5 years loved by Nancy

Mink Progression

Seal Mink Mitted Progression

ragdoll color development seal mink mitted Pickles loved by Virginia Ann Left - 6 weeks old Right - 3 years old
Seal Mink Mitted Pickles loved by Virginia Ann
Left – 6 weeks old
Right – 3 years old
ragdoll color progression Lucy - Seal Mink Mitted Ragdoll loved by Amy
Lucy – Seal Mink Mitted Ragdoll loved by Amy
ragdoll color progression Theodore - seal mitted mink loved by Kristen 3 months 6 months 9 months 1 year 9 months
Theodore – seal mitted mink loved by Kristen. Photo clockwise shows: 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year 9 months
Ragdoll Cat Color Progression Bear Seal Mink Mitted at a month and at 5 years loved by Debbie
Bear, a Seal Mink Mitted at a month and at 5 years loved by Debbiecolor

Comments (5)

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  1. SUPER FABULOUS & PAWESOME TOPIC, Jenny!! WOW! LURVE this information! So absolutely fascinating! TYSVM for all the hard work and detail you put into addressing this topic & educating us about it all! Marvelous! 🙂 <3

    And…a great big SHOUT OUT of THANK YOU SOOOO VERY MUCH to all The Pawesome Floppycatters over the years who have shared such very STUNNING photos of their furbabies with you! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  2. This is the best source I’ve found showing both color and transition. I’m definitely saving this post for future reference. At the end when I saw the last picture I didn’t want it to end! Such an amazing job Jenny! Thanks for sharing!

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