Ragdoll Cat Breed: The Ultimate Guide

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Ragdolls are a relatively new breed of cat, best known for their blue eyes and docile nature.

These cuddly cats have a distinctive pattern on their plush coats. They are one of the most sought-after breeds because of their laidback behavior, which has earned them the alternative name “floppy cats.” 

Calm and playful, the Ragdoll is an affectionate breed that prefers to stay away from higher surfaces and hang out on the ground instead.

These cats are intelligent and enjoy being in close proximity to their owners.

Pet parents enjoy playing with these fluffy cats as they tend to go limp when picked up.

Ragdoll Breed History

The Ragdoll breed is a relatively new pedigree. Hence, the history of this young breed does not date back far. 

Persian cat breeder Ann Baker bred the first Ragdoll cat in the 1960s. A resident of Riverview, California (USA), Ann was a breeder of free-roaming cats.

In the 1960s, Ann found that a stray long-haired cat named Josephine had given birth to kittens with a calm, gentle temperament.

So began the initial development plan of the Ragdoll breed to create these unique personality traits in cats. Ann selectively bred other cats that had the physical characteristics she desired with Josephine’s kittens and gave the new breed its name.

Initially, Ann registered the first four Ragdoll kittens in 1966. Later, she set up her own registry for Ragdoll cats, the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA).

The regulations of this registry prevented cat owners from registering their Ragdolls with any other registry. 

Eventually, Ragdolls gained recognition from the Cat Fanciers Association in 1993. Since then, the CFA has also started registering Ragdoll cats.

Although this breed has not been around for long, it has successfully gained recognition from other major registries as well.

This beautiful cat breed is recognized by international registries, such as the International Cat Association and the American Cat Fanciers Association.

This has made these gentle cats even more popular.

Ragdoll Cat Breed

Ragdoll Breed Traits

Ragdoll cats have striking features and charming personalities that make them stand out.

Therefore, many animal lovers prefer these sweet-natured creatures over other pets. 

Personality and Temperament

Ragdoll cats are a gentle breed that is happy most of the time.

However, Ragdolls can also act up like other cats when put in a bad mood. Nevertheless, this breed is known for its loyalty to its owner.

Most of the time, Ragdoll cats are content with being picked up, and they’ll even return your affection more often than not.

Their calm and easygoing nature makes them the perfect pets.

Another endearing trait of Ragdolls is their playful and tolerant attitude toward children, making them an excellent choice as a family pet.

Despite their relaxed, playful behavior, Ragdolls are very intelligent and independent cats.

The Ragdoll breed lives up to its alternative name, “floor cat,” as it enjoys lazing around on the ground. These cats have a laid-back attitude, which is why they hardly ever extend their claws.

Also, these fun-loving cats have a playful attitude toward other pets. 

Size & Weight

Although Ragdolls are not the biggest cats by far, they still grow to be relatively large.

Their fluffy hair also gives them the illusion of a larger body, and their heavy bones contribute notably to their weight.

More commonly, female Ragdoll cats weigh between 8 and 15 pounds. On the other hand, male Ragdolls usually weigh between 12 and 20 pounds. Some of the ragdolls can weigh even more.

So, you should brace yourself for impact when these heavy felines go limp in your arms after you pick them up.

To put things in context with a healthy comparison, it’s worth noting that short-haired cats are lighter and often weigh between 8 and 10 pounds. While most Persian cats are approximately 8 to 10 inches tall, Ragdolls stand between 9 and 11 inches tall.

Consequently, Ragdolls require a larger litter box and bigger toys, which take up more space.

Ragdoll Cat Breed – Appearance

Irrespective of the color Ragdolls grow up to be, all Ragdoll kittens are born pure white.

Kittens remain white for around ten days, after which their coat starts developing color. Only after about two years do Ragdolls fully develop their adult colors.

Ragdoll cats have striking blue eyes that add to their appeal. They are beautiful cats with soft, silky fur.

Also, the Ragdoll breed has a distinctive long hair coat with fluff around its neck. Not to mention, Ragdoll cats appear fluffier because of the absence of an undercoat. 

Some people get Ragdoll’s and Birmans mixed up, because they look similar in appearance.

But the easiest way to tell them apart are their size. The Ragdoll is much bigger than a Birman. If you want to know more, check our post on the Birman vs Ragdoll breeds.

The body of the Ragdoll cats is paler compared to the tips, which is why many people describe them as “pointed.” Typically, Ragdoll cats have darker peripheral organs like ears, tails, legs, and faces.

In addition, these cats have unique, distinctive patterns on their coats.

The colors of Ragdolls include red, lilac, seal, chocolate, and blue. The variety of colors does not represent differentiation in the Ragdoll breed. 

Ragdoll cats can have different pointed patterns on their coats in addition to their unique colors. 

Some of the common variations in the pointed pattern are as follows:

Colorpoint Ragdolls

Colorpoint Ragdoll cats don’t have a speck of white fur on their coats. Instead, these have the classic Siamese-cat-style pattern on their fur.

Thus, these cats have pointy-colored faces, feet, paws, ears, and tails.

Mitted Ragdolls

The Mitted Ragdolls get their name from the distinctive mitten-like appearance of the white fur on the front legs of these cats.

The matching white fur on their hind legs also gives the impression of boots.

Mitted Ragdoll cats have a white stripe along their middle, extending from their neck to their stomach. These have pointy legs, faces, and ears.

Bi-Color Ragdolls

As the name suggests, the bi-colored Ragdolls develop one color on their white coat.

While the Bi-colored Ragdoll has a point-colored tail, saddle area, mask, and ears, its paws, stomach, chest, and legs remain white.

Van Ragdolls

Van Ragdoll cats have pure white bodies. However, their faces, ears, and tails have a point color. 

Some of the less frequent colors and designs of Ragdolls include lynx or tortoiseshell.

Ragdoll Cat Breed

Grooming

Ragdolls have a plush, fluffy coat of long-haired fur. Even though Ragdolls are independent and don’t need as much care as some other breeds, their owners still need to take the time to brush their coats, so they don’t get matted.

Fortunately, there is no undercoat in this breed. Therefore, Ragdolls are relatively low-maintenance and don’t need that much upkeep.

The soft, silky fur of these cats makes them less likely to get sick, but brushing is a great way to keep them healthy. 

Ragdoll owners can brush their cat’s coat once or twice weekly to keep it in tip-top condition. Using a steel comb to disentangle the fur and remove loose hair is best.

Cats that are groomed as kittens grow up to enjoy their grooming sessions.

Apart from regularly grooming the Ragdoll’s coat, owners should also attend to their cat’s dental hygiene.

While it is impractical to try daily brushing, pet parents can rub pet-specific toothpaste on the cat’s gums and teeth using their fingers. 

Shedding

The lack of an undercoat makes Ragdolls moderate shedders. Regular grooming helps in reducing the amount of hair it sheds.

After combing through the Ragdoll’s coat with a steel comb, owners should use a rubber brush to pick up the loose hair.

The Ragdoll breed sheds more as the seasons change. Naturally, these cats undergo a greater degree of shedding during the spring and autumn.

As such, it’s essential to groom your Ragdoll cat more frequently during this time to prevent it from ingesting too much of its hair.

Average Lifespan

Generally, the life expectancy of Ragdolls is longer than that of several other cat breeds.

These cats grow slowly and reach their full weight and size in approximately four years. Ragdolls can live anywhere between 15 and 20 years. 

But, this is not always the case as the Ragdoll breed has genetic risk factors for various illnesses. Because of this, it’s important to know how to spot early signs of the disease so that more people can live. 

Another factor most people overlook when thinking about their cat’s health is working with a reliable cat breeder.

It is best to get your Ragdoll cat from a breeder who can provide all the required documentation to increase the chances of a longer, happier life for your cat.

Ragdoll Cats – Health Issues

Although the Ragdoll is a relatively healthy breed, these cats are predisposed to a few health conditions because of their genes.

Cat owners should keep a keen eye out to detect the symptoms of any of these diseases and immediately consult a vet. 

Ragdoll cats are at a higher risk of developing some common health issues like:

Bladder Stones

Traces of blood in the cat’s urine or difficulty in passing urine most likely indicate the development of stones in the bladder.

Aside from being genetically predisposed to them, bladder stones can be caused by things like not drinking enough water, eating an unbalanced diet, or having an infection in the urinary tract. Cystotomy, i.e., surgical removal, is the most common treatment for this painful medical condition.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

The Ragdoll breed is also at a greater risk of developing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy(HCM). In this condition, the overworking of the thyroid gland leads to the thickening of the heart muscles.

HCM is a serious condition that could lead to the formation of blood clots. Your cat could potentially suffer from paralysis in its hind area. Some more symptoms of HCM are:

  • Decrease in appetite
  • Lethargy/fatigue
  • Rapid breathing
Ragdoll Cat Breed Cats and Kittens

Do Ragdoll Cats Make Good Pets?

The Ragdoll is an affectionate cat breed that is one of the perfect choices for family pets. These docile, sweet-natured felines are gentle and loyal to their pet owners.

Additionally, even a ragdoll kitten is more tolerant of children and other pets.

Also, this breed of cat does not require a lot of grooming. Instead, they are independent and less demanding.

Pet owners only need to brush their cats’ coats twice a week and look out for health conditions.

Is the Ragdoll Cat Breed Hypoallergenic?

Most people associate cat fur with allergies. But it’s not the hair that causes an allergic reaction in a person; it’s the cat’s saliva on the hair. 

Studies identify “Fel D1” as the molecule which acts as the primary cat allergen. Fel d1 is a protein in the saliva of various felines and other canines.

In comparison to dogs, cats have a higher production rate for this protein. Consequently, cat allergies are comparatively more common.

Cats that have a lower production rate of the Fel-d1 protein are referred to as hypoallergenic cats. While these cats still have a few allergens in their saliva, the quantity is relatively low.

Meanwhile, the Ragdoll breed is not hypoallergenic as these cats have not been found to produce less Fel-d1 in their saliva.

Ragdoll Cats — Diet

Feeding your Ragdoll cat nutritional food is a fundamental part of their care. Ragdolls are relatively bigger cats. Hence, they have greater dietary needs than average domestic cats.

The best balance is to give them food that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates.

That said, cat owners should be mindful that their cats can potentially become obese if left unchecked.

Obesity can lead to various medical complications and decrease the cat’s lifespan. Hence, it is important to divide the cat food into specific portions.

Final Thoughts on Ragdoll Cats

The Ragdoll cat breed is amongst the most sought-after cat breeds in the United States. These cats have startling blue eyes, pointy ears, and a silky soft longhair coat.

Apart from their striking features, Ragdoll cats are relatively low-maintenance. In addition, their laid-back temperament makes these cats excellent pets.

Ragdolls grow slowly and have a long lifespan. Moreover, these cats are relatively healthier than some other cat breeds.

Ultimately, they stand out because of their large size and the distinctive patterns on their coats.

Steven has been studying cat behavior ever since adopting two stray kittens in 1996. After rescuing many homeless cats over the years, he developed the skill of finding new homes for cat lovers seeking to adopt.

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