The unique characteristics and traits of Ragdoll cats make them wonderful furry companions. It’s easy to understand why they’re one of the most popular cat breeds in the UK! But is the Ragdoll cat right for you? Cat in a Flat tells you everything you need to know about this calming kitty breed. 

Where do Ragdoll cats come from? 

Unlike the British Shorthair or Bengal cat, Ragdolls are a relatively young breed. They were developed in the 1960s by a breeder in California named Ann Baker. A particularly fascinating cat fact about the Ragdoll is that they were bred almost entirely from free-roaming cats. Ann Baker bred her domestic longhaired white female feline with kitties she found running loose around her neighbourhood. From her cat’s offspring, Baker selected those with the unique temperaments and traits she wanted until she created the famous Ragdoll breed.  

rag doll cats traits

What do Ragdoll cats look like? 

Ragdolls are famous for their beautiful looks, and this is one of the reasons why they are so widely beloved. They are one of the largest breeds of domestic cat and can reach up to 20 pounds in size! Their semi-long coats can make them seem even larger—around the size of a small dog. 

All Ragdoll cats have striking blue eyes, so if you come across one with green or yellow eyes, beware; this means the kitty is a Ragdoll mix. They have semi-long, plush coats which can vary in colour. All Ragdoll kittens are born completely white but darken into different colours with age. Like Siamese cats, Ragdolls develop colour points on their ears, face, tail, and legs. While there are 20 types of Ragdoll coats, these are the six main point colours:

  • Seal — Pale fawn or cream body. Points are a deep seal brown.
  • Blue — Bluish white body. Points are a deep blue. 
  • Lilac — White body. Frosty grey points with pinkish tinge. 
  • Red — White body. Bright apricot to deep red points. 
  • Cream — White body. Pale orange to light pinkish points. 

Pros of owning a Ragdoll cat

Ragdoll cats make great companions, and not just because of their stunning looks! Here are a few pros to owning a Ragdoll kitty: 

  • Friendly personality. Ragdolls are very loyal and affectionate cats and boast dog-like personalities. This feline breed will be completely devoted to their owners. Mr Whiskers will greet you at the door and follow you all around the house—even to the bathroom! Their engaging temperaments also make these kitties a dream for cat sitters to look after. 
  • Easy to train. This cat breed is very intelligent, which makes them easy to train. A Ragdoll will happily learn how to do tricks such as play fetch, or high-five, sit, and lie down on command. 
  • Lap cats. Depending on how you look at it, the Ragdoll cat’s laid-back nature can be either a pro or a con. If you’re looking for a lap cat, the Ragdoll might be perfect for you. These cats will be happy sleeping in your bed or lazing around on your lap. 
  • Easy to groom. You would think that a Ragdoll cat’s long fur would make them difficult to care for, but this isn’t the case! Ragdolls can thrive with just the basic cat care essentials. Twice weekly grooming with a steel brush is enough to keep your Ragdoll happy, and it can be a great bonding experience too! Another positive is that, if you groom them regularly, Ragdolls don’t shed very much either. 

Cons of owning a Ragdoll cat

The Ragdoll cat may sound too good to be true, but don’t run out and adopt one just yet! Like with any breed of cat, there are some cons to owning a Ragdoll:

  • Loud. Our fur friends communicate with us in a variety of ways, whether it’s by lying on their backs or meowing for treats. However, Ragdoll cats take communication to a whole new level! This feline breed is infamous for being vocal, so if you decide to get a Ragdoll be prepared for a lot of dramatic meowing. 
  • Not outdoorsy. While Ragdolls are an intelligent breed, they lack both hunting skills and street smarts. They are also not territorial by nature and can be quite gentle. For these reasons, Ragdolls should only be indoor cats. On the positive side, these traits make them perfect cats for apartment living
  • Weight gain. One of the downsides of the Ragdoll’s lazy nature is that they are prone to weight gain and obesity. Not only that, but Ragdoll cats will eat a lot and not know when to stop. These kitties are not grazers, so you’ll have to be very careful about controlling your Ragdoll’s food portions. If you feed your cat small portions on a schedule and play with them daily, maintaining your furry friend’s weight shouldn’t be an issue. (Tip: When you hire a cat sitter, make sure they are aware of your Ragdoll’s strict feeding schedule. This may mean booking your cat sitter for multiple daily visits to ensure your kitty sticks to their diet while you’re away.)
  • Health issues. While Ragdolls are generally healthy, there are a few diseases common to this particular cat breed. Be aware of the signs of a sick cat, so you know when it’s necessary to take your kitty to the vet.
    • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy — This happens when the heart muscle becomes thick due to an overly active thyroid gland. Obesity often plays a role in this condition. Some symptoms include: lethargy, loss of appetite, and rapid breathing.
    • Kidney disease — This condition is caused by a defective gene some Ragdolls can carry. It occurs when a kitten is born with cysts on their kidneys or liver. These cysts grow over time and can lead to kidney failure. Symptoms include: increased thirst and weight loss. 

It’s important to always weigh the pros and cons before buying or adopting any breed of cat. Our fur friends deserve the best, and you want to be sure Mr Whiskers suits your personality and lifestyle and vice versa. If you’d like to know more about fantastic felines and how to care for them, check out these safety tips for new cat owners and to know when your cat is overweight