Of course this blog is dedicated to Ragdoll cats so it should be no surprise I’m writing this particular piece. The Ragdoll is an extremely popular and luxuriously coated cat breed that has a huge fanbase. But what are Ragdoll cats precisely? Why are they called what they’re called? Why is it that people seem to love them so much?
In this post I’m going to provide a detailed overview of this gorgeous breed, which should help you understand precisely what Ragdoll cats are.
Table of Contents
- What are Ragdoll Cats?
- Appearance & Physical Characteristics
- Ragdoll Cat Personality & Temperament
- Nutrition & Feeding
- Training & Exercise
- Ragdoll Cats Q&A
- Related Posts
What are Ragdoll Cats?
Ragdoll cats are a relatively new breed, created in California (USA) during the early part of the 1960s, by a cat breeder called Anne Baker.
Baker developed Ragdolls by crossing Persian/Angora type breeds with Burmese cats with Siamese point coloration. This resulted in a large domestic cat with a gorgeously medium-length, thick and silky coat, a muscular body and a fabulously relaxed temperament.
But perhaps their most striking feature… they have the most beautiful blue eyes!
The physical appearance though has nothing to do with a child’s rag doll toy… so why are they called Ragdolls?
Curiously, Ragdoll cats are so named because they tend to be extremely relaxed when picked up… just like a rag doll in fact!
Ragdoll Cat Appearance & Physical Characteristics
Ragdolls are a large cat breed: males weigh between 5.5kg to 9.1kg (12.13lbs to 20lbs), with females being slightly smaller at between 3.6kg to 6.8kg (7.9lbs to 15lbs). Adults are not considered fully grown until they are around 4 years old.
Find out more about the Ragdoll cat size.
There are several prominent characteristics that identify Ragdoll cats:
- Blue eyes
- A charming “smile”
- Broad chest
- Short neck
- Muscular legs
- Large paws
- Medium-length coat of silky fur
- Fluffy neck “collar”
- “Knickerbockers” on their back legs
- Long, bushy tail
Ragdoll cats have piercing blue eyes that can be very deep and intense. This feature in itself is why some people love them so much. However, perhaps the main characteristic people notice about Ragdoll cats immediately is their fur.
Their coats are fluffy and of medium-length. This fluffiness is present especially around the neck and throat, but it’s also present on the paws and the hind quarters (on adult cats).
In terms of their coat patterning and coloration, Ragdolls may be:
Bi-colour Ragdolls will have white fur extending from the paws and up the legs. They can also have white fur on the belly, patches of white on their backs and a white mask on the face.
Colorpoint Ragdolls have patterning like Siamese cats, and without any white coloration at all.
Lynx Ragdolls have a combination of point coloring with a tabby-like striping on the darkened areas of the head, tail and legs.
Mitted Ragdolls have white paws, somewhat like mittens (hence the pattern name!). They will also have white fur as the fluffy unidentified and perhaps a white mask on the face and/or a white tip on the tail.
Tortie Ragdolls (tortoiseshell) have markings with red and cream patches on the point areas, which are largely seal or chocolate colored.
Van Ragdolls have dark points only on the ears, face and tail , which is clearly distinct from the remaining white fur.
In terms of Ragdoll cat colouration, expected colors are:
Find out more about Ragdoll cat coloring.
Ragdoll Cat Personality
Ragdoll cats are an incredibly easy-going breed, famous for their pleasant personality. As a consequence they make excellent pets. In fact, their calm nature backs up the “ragdoll” moniker… they go limp like a rag doll when picked up!
However lioness when picked up does not mean docility. Ragdoll cats are known to be curious and intelligent… they’re just relaxed about being picked up and held. As such they’re excellent companions, happy to be sat on your lap or laying on top of you if you’re stretched out!
As a general rule Ragdolls are happy to be indoor cats. They’re totally capable of having an outdoor life, but their relaxed approach to life means they’re content to stay at home. Furthermore, many Ragdoll owners are happy to keep them indoors to avoid the additional grooming a furry cat demands when living an outdoor life!
Ragdoll cats are also playful and affectionate. Indeed, you may find a Ragdoll cat acting like your shadow, following you around as you go about your business!
Find out more about the personality of Ragdoll Cats.
The Health of Ragdoll Cats
Ragdolls have an average lifespan of around 15 years, though some can live much longer.
They are generally healthy, but as with most animals, they are prone to certain health conditions. The following are their most common ailments:
- Oral Diseases
- Feline Aortic Thromboembolism
- Gastrointestinal Problems
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
- Neonatal Isoerythrolysis
- Feline Obesity
- Polycystic Kidney Disease
- Respiratory Tract Problems
- Urinary Tract Problems
Ragdoll Cat Nutrition & Feeding
Ragdoll cats don’t have particular nutritional requirements over and above a normal cat diet. Like most breeds they need a diet that’s high in protein and one that contains the vitamins and minerals they need.
It’s important to remember that all cats need different diets according to their age. Ragdoll kittens need a different diet to accommodate physical growth compared to adult Ragdolls that are less active.
Since Ragdolls are prone to obesity (after all, they’re quite happy to be couch potatoes), feeding is important to get right.
Overfeeding Ragdolls is harmful and can lead to feline obesity. This is a real problem with serious consequences for a cat in terms of length and quality of life.
If you’re ever in any doubt about what and how much your Ragdoll cat should eat, talk with a veterinarian for the best advice specific to your cat.
Ragdoll Cats – Training & Exercise
Ragdolls are inquisitive and love to play in particular when they are kitties. As a consequence, exercising Ragdolls when they’re young is usually fairly easy.
Kittens tend to be more than happy to play for the daily 30 minutes they need to remain healthy and happy… though you’d likely split up playtime so you don’t overdo it.
A variety of cat toys will provide further opportunities to play, exercise and stretch their bodies. Like many cats, a scratching post can offer another plaything that helps to satisfy cats’ need to scratch things.
A scratching post might also take the focus away from furniture!
Equally, it’s reasonably easy to train Ragdoll cats to play games such as fetch when they’re small. This type of play could even make up a part of a daily exercise regime.
As I’ve talked about already, adult Ragdolls are happy to just chillax from one comfy spot to another. Hence, they can be prone to indolence and weight gain. It’s really important to make time to play with an adult Ragdoll, especially if it’s a house cat.
A little exercise goes a long way to avoiding obesity.
In general, toilet training is not an issue for Ragdolls, though as with any pet, persistence and positive encouragement goes a long way.
Ragdoll Cat Grooming
Since Ragdolls have such a resplendent coat of medium to long fur, you’re going to need to groom regularly… probably on a daily basis. Even when they’re kittens!
Ragdolls’ silky fur can become knotted very easily, especially during the annual moult. Daily combing will help to keep their coats in tip-top condition and help them to look their best.
Regular grooming not only helps to prevent matting but it also reduces shed fur from spoiling your furniture… I’m sorry, but a Ragdoll cat will want to spend time on your furniture!
Furthermore, daily grooming helps to reduce dander in your home, which is vital if you or anyone who visits you suffers from allergies.
As a general rule, most indoor Ragdoll cats will need bathing every 4 to 6 weeks. If a Ragdoll ventures outdoors frequently, washing requirements will vary enormously… it could even be daily at certain times of the year.
Regular washing is another way to reduce dander, but like most cats, Ragdolls do not enjoy being washed! Early sensitisation to washing is highly recommended to help them become accustomed to the process.
Find out more: How much do Ragdoll cats shed?
Are Ragdoll Cats Hypoallergenic?
Ragdoll cats are NOT hypoallergenic. To be honest, no cat breed is 100% hypoallergenic… even hairless breeds like the Sphynx cat produce dander, which can trigger allergy sufferers.
That said, Ragdolls are single coated, average shedders. This helps to keep shedding to manageable levels, though they will leave a fur trail for sure, especially during molting season.
Regular grooming and washing will help to keep both fur and dander down to a minimum.
Find out more: Are Ragdoll Cats Hypoallergenic?
How Much Do Ragdoll Cats Cost?
Are Ragdoll cats expensive? This is not easy to answer, since the acquisition cost should be factored alongside the “running” costs of owning a Ragdoll.
The initial cost of purchasing a Ragdoll kitten from a breeder can be high, especially if you’re looking for a pedigree cat from a titled breeding line.
Breeders who enter their Ragdolls into competitions and shows invest substantial amounts of time caring for their cats and traveling. Responsible breeding also costs a considerable amount: veterinary fees, medical treatment and studding require substantial capital.
Furthermore, traveling expenses for show competitions and the enrollment fees for cat shows themselves are not cheap.
As a consequence, pedigree Ragdolls are expensive… and the more competitions a parent Ragdoll cat wins, the more expensive its progeny will become.
As a very general rule, pedigree show-level Ragdoll kittens from a reputable breeder will start at around US$700 (UK£600). However, this increases if the parent cats are show winners… likely reaching up to US$1,500 (UK£1,300).
You can probably buy non-pedigree Ragdoll kittens for around US$300 (UK£260), however be sure to satisfy yourself that the breeder is reputable and not pushing out kittens from a mill.
Of course you might also adopt Ragdoll cats from a rescue center, though it’s less common to find Ragdolls in such establishments. Ragdolls are extremely sought after and they do not remain in rescue centers long before someone adopts them.
As another general rule, adopting a Ragdoll from a rescue center might set you back up to US$1,000 (UK£880)… depending on circumstances.
In terms of ongoing costs, you’ll likely have to find at least US$250 (UK£220) each month for food, insurance, veterinary fees… and so on.
Any pet such as a cat means ongoing costs for their lifetime.
Learn more about finding Ragdoll cat breeders.
Ragdoll Cats Quick Q&A
Can Ragdoll cats go outside?
Yes Ragdoll cats can go outside… but many owners prefer to keep them as indoor cats simply because their coats can add to the daily grooming commitment. The length of Ragdolls’ fur means their coats get dirty easily: outdoor Ragdolls require more regular bathing as well as daily grooming.
Are Ragdoll cats hypoallergenic?
No, Ragdoll cats are not hypoallergenic… to be honest, no cat is 100% hypoallergenic. Daily grooming will help to keep fur and dander to a minimum if you suffer from allergies.
Do Ragdolls need much grooming?
Yes, Ragdolls require daily grooming and washing every 4 to 6 weeks if they’re indoor cats. If they spend lots of time outside they wash much more regularly.
Are Ragdoll cats good for first time owners?
Yes, Ragdolls make excellent cats for first-time owners. As a very relaxed, friendly and loving cat breed, Ragdolls are also ideal in a family environment.
Are Ragdolls expensive?
Yes, Ragdoll cats can be expensive, costing up to US$1,500 (UK£1,300)… and sometimes even more! Non-pedigree Ragdolls are much more affordable as are those available in cat rescue centers. Then there’s the ongoing expenses that all pets incur!
Ragdoll cats are one of the most desirable and popular breeds in the world. Maybe it’s the fluffy coat, quizical “smile” and baby blue eyes? Perhaps it’s their relaxed approach to life and affectionate nature?
More likely… it’s a bit of everything! Ragdolls are just the perfect cat breed!
Do you have any questions about Ragdoll cats? Or perhaps you own a Ragdoll and want to add your thoughts / experiences to this article? Either way, please use the comment section at the bottom of this page.