Ragdoll Color Progression and Development

One of the most amazing things about Ragdoll cats is their outstanding coat. It comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, but even more interesting is that the Ragdoll color progression and development are so fascinating to watch, regardless of the pattern.

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

Ragdoll’s color progression and development are impressive. To show you how much, we will walk you through the main changes in color that can be seen in a Ragdoll’s life.

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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 age, 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.

A Ragdoll Kitten Care Guide book

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’s coloration dependent on its body temperature.
Side note: Ragdoll’s color genetics are interesting. If you want to learn more about Ragdoll color genetics, The British Ragdoll Cat Club keeps a Ragdoll Cat Pattern/Colour Predictions table.

It allows you to put in the colors each breeding cat may carry. Another great thing about this site is it also makes patterns. Since there are a few different genotypes of the bicolor pattern in the Ragdoll breed, it is essential to know what you may get. In the USA, most breeders only work with the High Mitted Bicolor pattern.

Some will work with True Bicolor or Mid High White. Still, they are a more complicated pattern to work with as they carry more white, and a colorpoint mate is needed to control the white spotting gene. A Mitted to Mitted breeding will produce all 3 patterns of Mitted, Colorpoint, and “High Mitted” Bicolor.

Other websites that will show you color and patterns are here.

How Does Body Temperature Affect the Coloration?

Most Ragdoll cats are bi-colored, and it is all due to this mutation. The fur will be darker in the areas of the body where the temperature is lower. This would include the extremities-the paws and the ears’ edges. While the areas where the temperature is higher – the torso – the fur will be lighter in color.

Luna bluepoint mitted ragdoll kittens and Oscar a flame point mitted with a blaze lying on the floor- carpet and hardwood
Luna, a blue point-mitted Ragdoll, and Oscar, a flame lynx point mitted with a blaze Ragdoll cat, live in Scotland and are loved by Sarah.

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 noticeable, as seen in the cat’s coat. But, of course, 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 Ragdolls change colors over time to see just how big the difference can be.

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 differ 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 ages, 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 their body temp will start going down in some areas of the body. Since the extremities are the most challenging 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. Shows from kitten, to young cat to full size adult.
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, the adult cat will reach a steady state of its metabolism and maintain it throughout adulthood.

This is called homeostasis. During this period, the cat’s body temperature will be varied by minimal amounts, which means that the adult Ragdoll will not display significant changes over the years.

When Ragdoll Cats Get Sick, Their Colors Might Change

There are certain illnesses, both chronic and acute, which can cause significant changes in body temperature. For instance, if a cat has a fever, its body temperature will increase. But, on the other hand, 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 evident on a Ragdoll cat’s coat. For example, if kidney disease becomes chronic, the cat’s extremities and lower area (its belly and torso) will be colder, which means it will get darker.

Floppycats The most important Vet Interviews that any cat lover should own Book

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

Seal Mitted with an hourglass blaze Ragdoll cat 4 months and then 10 years
Seal Mitted with an hourglass blaze Ragdoll cat – 4 months and 10 years

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, this is the natural development of a cat’s metabolism and body temperature. Therefore, 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. Bring some older pictures of your cat, if possible, so the doctor can compare them. As mentioned above, some serious diseases can cause a change in body temperature. In Ragdolls, it’ll manifest itself in a color change, so your veterinarian will definitely want to look.

Do Ragdolls Get White Hair?

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

As you can see, Ragdoll’s color progression and development are 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 about the changes you’ve seen in our comments below.

Tips and Tricks for Grooming Ragdoll Cats book

**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 seal colorpoint shows him as a kitten then a grown adult cat standing up on his hind legs
Jax, a seal colorpoint loved by Cindy. (Jax is a half-brother to Jeter below)
ragdoll color progression Jeter - Seal Point loved by Brenda. Kitten to adult cat sitting on chair
Jeter – Seal Point, loved by Brenda
ragdoll color development Soba Seal Mink Colourpoint cat from 4 months to one year to 4 years
Soba Seal Mink Colourpoint, loved by Lan Phuong
Ragdoll cat progression Sapphy is a Seal Point loved by Scott sitting on a sofa
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. Lying on a carpet and hardwood floor
Luke – Seal Mitted with a blaze loved by Tracy
ragdoll color progression Meriadoc Seal Mitted with a blaze kitten at 5 weeks and then 4 years old lying on carpet
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. Lying on a bed
Seal Mitted with a Blaze Atticus loved by Melissa
ragdoll color progression. Shadow seal mitted with a blaze loved by Helen, sitting on a cat perch
Shadow, a seal mitted with a blaze loved by Helen

Seal Color Progression – Bicolor

Oscar Seal Bicolor Ragdoll cat at 9 weeks and 3 years
Oscar, at 9 weeks and 3 years loved by Miranda
Seal Bicolor Ragdoll Cat Bella as a kitten and at 11 years old
Seal Bicolor Ragdoll Cat Bella as a kitten and at 11 years old
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 kitten
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.  shows the progression from kitten to grown cat. 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 kitten to adult cat loved by Cindy
Joey, a seal bicolor, loved by Cindy
ragdoll color development Mieka (Seal bicolour) and Pazuzu (Seal point) sitting and lying on hard floor. loved by Melissa
Mieka (Seal bicolour) and Pazuzu (Seal point) loved by Melissa

Seal Color Progression – Lynx

ragdoll color development from kitten to adult cat- 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 kitten 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 sitting as a kitten, then older cat then a grown cat. loved by Helen
Zimba, a blue mitted with blaze loved by Helen
ragdoll color development blue mitted ragdoll, Frankie as a kitten and adult, 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
The DollHouse Heart throb, aka Henry. He is a blue mitted Ragdoll. In the top pic, he was 6 weeks old; in the middle he was 4 months; in the bottom he was 2 years old. Loved by Amanda
Chamidolls Masquerade of TheDollHouse, aka Maddie loved by Amanda. Kitten in the first picture, then older then a grown adult cat
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.
Blue Mitted Tortie Ragdoll Cat Nova loved by Mikaela Chris sitting as a kitten then showing stages of growth to a full grown cat
Holliewoodrags Nova, blue tortie point-mitted Ragdoll cat loved by Mikaela & Chris in Nottingham, UK
Ragdoll cat progression Angel Blue mitted Ragdoll loved by Cindy. Kittten to adult cat
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 from kitten to grown adult cat 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
Oscar a flame point mitted with a blaze Ragdoll cat color progression as kitten to grown adult cat. lives in Scotland and is loved by Sarah
Oscar, a flame point mitted with a blaze Ragdoll cat, lives in Scotland and is loved by Sarah.

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- newborn kitten to grown adult cat 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

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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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14 Comments

  1. Alesia Ross says:

    This was so informative! I have a blue mitted and a seal bicolor. Both are 10 years old. They are such beautiful and loving creatures. I am wondering how you can identify the type of ragdoll a kitten is when they are very young.

    1. A knowledgeable breeder can do it easily. Their color shows up on their ears and tail first. And then the pattern will come out on their nose or their mitts.

  2. has anyone snipped a bit of fur and placed in the freezer or near a hot pan? this might show if the reactive part is in the hair follicle or in the skin

  3. Our willow turned dark overnight. We thought she got dirty somehow. Weird

    1. That is REALLY weird – was there an extreme temperature change?

  4. Rachel Swanson says:

    This is just fascinating! My Willow is a 14 week old lynx point and I’m so curious to see how she will change as she gets older. I can already see that she has darkened up a little.

  5. So much Ragdoll gorgeousness all in one place – my heart nearly exploded!!! What a beautiful resource you have created Jenny!!! Thanks for all your hard work and your dedication to this glorious breed.

    I think this is my favourite Floppycats page ever!!!

    Best Wishes
    Pam & FLUFFY

  6. 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!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it – couldn’t have done it without reader submissions!

      1. I agree. I am going to choose my kittens soon and am so glad I saw these pictures! Thanks SO much!

  7. 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

    1. Yes, definitely could not have done it without the reader submitted photos!

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