Ragdoll Cats

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Ragdolls are large, lovable cats who are incredibly patient and gentle. Despite their imposing size, these cats are a calm and quiet breed who generally love nothing more than playing and cuddling with their pet parents.

This breed is typically easy to care for and incredibly social. They make great family pets and get along well with children and dogs. If you have the time and attention to give this fluffy kitty, she will reward you with endless loyalty and love. Because ragdolls require careful breeding, they're less common than other breeds of cats. 

History 

A breeder named Ann Baker developed the ragdoll in the 1960s in Riverside, California. The ragdoll breeding process involved careful selection for gentle, non-aggressive traits. As time went on, Baker had increasingly eccentric ideas about the ragdoll breed—at one point, she even claimed the breed was the result of medically altered genetics, although that claim is unfounded. The ragdoll was recognized as a purebred cat in 1965.

Fun Facts 

  • Ragdoll kittens are born completely white, with their color and markings developing slowly over time.

  • Ragdoll was named the most popular breed of 2019 and 2020 by the Cat Fanciers' Association.

  • Celebrities who also share their homes with Ragdolls:  Singer & songwriter, Taylor Swift; Actor, Sylvester Stallone; Comedian, Joe Rogan; Actor, Seth Green

 

Appearance 

These beautiful cats are large and muscular with long fur and a soft, silky coat. Ragdolls are a low-shedding breed, but you may notice heavier seasonal shedding in the spring. The lack of an undercoat is to thank for this breed's lack of shedding, but they are not considered to be a "hypoallergenic" cat.

Aside from their loving personality, Ragdoll cats are well known for their big and fluffy fur coat. This special fur coat is the key to their seemingly hypoallergenic quality. It might come as a surprise to find out that these fluffy cats do not have an undercoat. Most domesticated cats do have an undercoat. This coat of fur is what is responsible for a cat’s fur shedding, and consequently, their owner’s allergies. As such, this cat is virtually non-shedding.

Without this undercoat, a Ragdoll cat is virtually hypoallergenic to those who suffer from allergies related to cats. However, this depends on the individual's personal response to cat fur/dander as well as their saliva. There is a protein in most cat’s saliva that is responsible for many people’s allergies to cats. Those who have an allergy to the protein in cat saliva will still have an allergy when they encounter a Ragdoll cat. Those with allergies to a cat's undercoat will have more success with owning a Ragdoll cat. 

These cats stand between 9–11 inches tall and are usually 17–21 inches in length (excluding their fluffy tail). They weigh 10–20 pounds, with male ragdoll cats typically on the higher end of the scale, according to the Cat Fanciers' Association. They are slow to mature, with most reaching full maturity around 4 years of age.

Temperament 

This adorable breed is about as docile as cats come. In fact, the name "ragdoll" comes from their tendency to go limp when picked up. These cats love to be held and babied and will relax in your arms for as long as you'll let them.

Compared to most other breeds, Ragdoll cats are incredibly dependent on their owners and absolutely love getting attention and being cuddled with. They actually get their name from the way they react when someone picks them up. Ragdolls notoriously go limp like a ragdoll when picked up. This trait earned them the nickname of “Floppy Cat”. 

The ragdoll's personality is smart, gentle, and super affectionate. These kind kitties love and crave human attention, but they're rarely demanding. Ragdolls are extremely loyal and devoted to their people, making them wonderful companion pets. But Kirsten Kranz, director of Specialty Purebred Cat Rescue, says that while these "gentle, floppy cats" are typically laid-back, every cat is an individual and it's important to do your due diligence before bringing home a kitten, no matter the breed.

When it comes to noise, you might not hear much from these quiet cats. Ragdolls don't tend to make a ton of noise unless something is bothering them. When they do speak up, they typically make small, sweet meows and meeps to let you know they're hungry or need some love.

Unlike most cats, your ragdoll might not get a kick out of conquering the highest points in the household. These kitties prefer to stay low to the ground—the CFA calls them "floor cats"—but are more than happy to jump up on a sofa or bed to lounge next to you.

Living Needs 

Ragdolls are generally easy to care for and a good fit for most families, kids, adults, and seniors, according to the Ragdoll Fanciers Club. This breed also gets along well with other pets. If you have the space to accommodate these big kitties, as well as tons of love to give them, they'll make a wonderful addition to your household.

Your ragdoll can be left alone for short periods of time—say, a workday—but they'll definitely miss you. These cats crave human attention and do best in households where one family member (or more!) is usually present during the day. A ragdoll frequently left at home without her humans will surely get lonely. And when you do leave for just a few short hours, don't be surprised to come back and find your ragdoll patiently waiting at the door for you!

Keep a watchful eye on your super-social ragdoll. These cats have been bred to have trusting, friendly personalities and will approach anyone without much caution. If you take them outside, keep them close on a harness, a pet stroller or kitty backpack..  They do not do well in outdoor environments and should be considered as indoor only cats.

Though ragdolls are docile, Kranz says, that doesn't mean they're lazy. These cats love to play and be part of family activities, so make sure to stock up on cat toys, scratching posts, and extra cardboard boxes. After a busy day, they're more than happy to relax in your arms or on your lap for lots of snuggles.

Care 

The ragdoll's grooming needs are relatively simple. These are very clean animals who take care of most of their own needs, but they might still require bathing every now and then. When you notice her coat looking greasy and stringy, it's time to put her in the tub. "Daily combing will keep a ragdoll in good shape," says Nicole Goudey-Rigger, owner and CEO of Pets a Go Go. "Starting early in a kitten's life helps and a dedicated amount of time daily is key to avoiding professional groomer visits."

 

Your ragdoll will also need other regular pet upkeep, including nail trimming and ear cleaning.

Ragdolls are playful animals who will enjoy having toys left out for them. They're not super high climbers, so cat trees should be low to the ground. This breed of cat doesn't require a lot of extras in the way of exercise. You can expect them to spend a lot of time lying around, with short bursts of play and activity between frequent naps.

 

Ragdolls are typically easy-to-train cats. They can learn to come when called, to retrieve toys, and other fun tricks. They're also usually quick to pick up on the basics, like using scratching posts and litter boxes. (Speaking of litter boxes—these big boys need big boxes to accommodate them and allow them to comfortably squat.) During training, these people-loving cats thrive with lots of positive reinforcement, snacks, and praise.

Socializing a ragdoll is easy because this trusting breed wants to be every human's best buddy. The hardest part is keeping a careful eye on these social butterflies, who can get themselves into danger (or lost, or stolen) trying to make friends.

 

Feed your ragdoll high-quality cat food and monitor her to prevent overeating—these cats are prone to obesity

Health 

Ragdoll cats have a lengthy lifespan of 13–18 years and are typically healthy pets.

The ragdoll's greatest health risks include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and urinary tract issues. All of our Kings and Queens are screened for HCM and other genetic disorders prior to breeding and do not carry this genetic condition.

Ragdolls tend to have sensitive tummies, so it's imperative to keep them on a healthy diet throughout their lifetime.  As  Dr. Patton, an experienced veterinarian and animal nutrition expert reminds us, cats are “obligate carnivores,” meaning they thrive on a meat-based diet free of carbohydrates like grains and vegetables. This carnivorous diet provides cats with an essential amino acid called taurine. While carbs like rice bran can “tie up” taurine and prevent cats from absorbing it, pure meat delivers pure taurine that cats can easily absorb.

Apart from boosting taurine intake, low-starch, low-carbohydrate foods also help prevent obesity in cats. Plus, a low-starch diet encourages natural bacteria in the cat’s digestive system to create B vitamins which are essential to a cat’s nervous system, immune system and digestion. We recommend a combination of Life's Abundance Grain Free dry kibble and canned cat food.  Supplementing with ground raw meat is also very beneficial.

"Like all other purebreds, health issues can be more common, simply due to the smaller gene pool," Goudey-Rigger says. "Having a good relationship with an experienced cat vet is imperative since there is some increase in issues that can be at least postponed through diet and regular veterinary care."

 

*Information provided courtesy of dailypaws.com and petsmont.com