Why Do Ragdoll Cats Go Limp?

Brawny Cat Sleeky Lounge XL with Ragdoll Cat Charlie Floppycats on back

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Why Ragdoll Cats Go Limp

Every now and then on Ragdoll cat forums a concerned new owner of a Ragdoll kitten writes in with a question—“What if my Ragdoll kitten does NOT go limp when I pick them up?” This might be followed by a description of how the kitten is otherwise fine, but the owner is unsure what to think because, after all, Ragdolls are known as the “floppy” cats for a reason.

This is where stereotypes of certain breeds can be a bit oversold. The reality is that not all Ragdolls are equally floppy. Some do not flop at all, some will go limp the entire time you are holding them, and others only exhibit that floppiness when they are sleeping or doing some other activity that doesn’t involve humans.

That said, they’ve earned their name for a reason. They were originally bred for the quality of going limp in someone’s arms when they are picked up—just like a cloth doll. Even if this particular trait might not be true for every Ragdoll, it does speak to their general personality. Ragdolls tend to be very friendly and particularly affectionate towards their owners, which makes a Ragdoll a great pet for a family.

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Here are a few basic facts that you can count on with most Ragdolls:

What is the Ragdoll cat size and appearance?

A fully-grown female Ragdoll cat (usually between three and four years old) can weigh between 10-15 lbs. A fully grown male can weigh between 15-20 lbs. Ragdoll colors include seal, chocolate, lilac, blue, and cream, and they can come in a variety of patterns, including mitted, bi-color, and solid pointed. They are also known for their semi-long, silky coats, as well as their bright blue eyes.

What is the Ragdoll cat personality?

As stated above, Ragdolls tend to be a particularly friendly breed. They are docile and social, and often love to follow their owners around the house. They do well as an indoor breed, since they are so docile that some do not know how to defend themselves outdoors.

Where can I find a Ragdoll cat for sale?

You can get a ragdoll cat through a breeder, a rescue organization, or through some websites such as Craigslist or Petfinder. Try to visit a place before adopting a cat from them, and be sure to vet a breeder or cattery ahead of time to find out more about their conditions.

There are quite a few myths out there about Ragdoll cats—that Ragdoll cats are hypoallergenic, that they don’t feel pain, that they aren’t intelligent. As with any breed, it’s good to take these blanket statements with a grain of salt—some are only half-truths, some are outright myths, and most often it just comes down to the personalities of individual cats. If you do want your cat to be more relaxed in your arms, consider training him or her using treats or playtime rewards until they are inclined to stay in your arms for longer. But again, this depends on their individual personalities, so you might have to just wait and see how they develop.

For more Ragdoll owner insights on the floppy nature of Ragdolls, check out our post “Ragdoll Cats or the Floppy Cat: Are All Ragdoll Cats Floppy?”.

Does your Ragdoll cat go limp when you pick them up? Were they always like that? Do they go limp in other situations? Share here!

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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. Mary Campagna Findley says:

    I’d like to post a picture of Leo Tolstoy, our 4 month old Russian blue mix whom we adopted a month or so ago from a feral colony. He has no resemblance to a Ragdoll except that he goes soft and cuddly when turned on his back.

    1. you’re welcome to do so on our Facebook page – but I’m the only one who can post photos to the site (for security reasons)

  2. Suzanna Alex Naylor says:

    We adopted two brother kittens, one was short haired, the other long, and from the beginning, they were best friends.. and one was much more interested in us humans.. the fluffier one.
    After researching ragdoll behavior, and by his Bengal / tabby coloured coat, I am certain we are the lucky owners of a ragdoll cross, as Jim is the limpest cat weve ever had when he is picked up, and behaves as if he is ion love with all the family. He is very vocal, and a major flirt.

  3. Ruth Marbert says:

    Well, since my Charlie does not like to be picked up, he of course, does not go limp when I pick him up. But I do consider him “floppy” because he “flops” down on the floor often near me and lays on his back with back feet up in the air and front ones turned under. I think it is an attention grabber because he will do it right at my feet or in front of my husband and I in front of the television while we are watching it. I call it doing the “Flop”! I love it cause he looks so cute!

  4. Great post, Jenny! Thank you so much for clarifying the whole “limp” topic. Miss PSB has never gone fully limp in our arms (and we used to think we had the only Ragdoll in the world that didn’t act like a Ragdoll when we picked her up…but it didn’t bother us cuz we lurve her so much!). She’s certainly relaxed and calm when we pick her up now. Of course, as a younger kitty she would get so impatient being held unless you were showing her something up high on the wall where she normally can’t reach. She would wiggle and squirm to be let down almost immediately in those days. Now, at almost 5 years old, she’s very content to be picked up and held and walked around and danced with and cuddled with. It’s because she totally trusts us and her laid back adult purrsonality is here. 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

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