young woman sitting on couch holding ragdoll cat in her lap

Ragdoll Cats: Cuddle Monsters of the Feline World


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The term ragdoll might have some negative connotations. But when it comes to the Ragdoll cat, it’s all about fluffy and cute, not scruffy and limp. These cats are named because of their tendency to go limp and relaxed (like a rag doll) when picked up. Cute, right?

As far as purebred cats go, Ragdolls are one of the newest breeds. They were developed by California-based breeder Ann Baker as late as the 1960s. Her cat, Josephine, was a domestic longhair with a white coat who formed the foundation of Ragdoll cats worldwide. All of today’s Ragdoll stock can be traced back to Josephine if you go back enough generations.

These days, the breeding is a little more tightly controlled, which is why you’ll pay a hefty price for a Ragdoll kitten in New Zealand.

Ragdoll cat physical characteristics

If you’ve never seen one in real life before, you might be forgiven for thinking these are small cats. After all, dolls are small and dainty. But in reality, Ragdoll cats are large-boned and big bodied – they can weigh over 10 kilograms. As for how long do cats live, the Ragdoll averages fifteen years.

You can spot a Ragdoll cat by the hallmark upside down V markings on their forehead and their distinctive blue eyes.

They have ‘pointed coats’ just like Burmese and Siamese cats, meaning they have very pale bodies with darker points on their ears, nose, and tail. The coat can be seal, chocolate, blue, or lilac and is beautifully plush and silky, similar to a rabbit’s fur.

cute light brown and white ragdoll kitten looking directly at camera

Personality of the Ragdoll cat

We mentioned earlier where Ragdoll cats get their names. Generally, they’ll happily collapse into your arms in a pile of limp and adorable love when you pick them up. Even if they’re lying on their backs like a human baby.

As you might’ve guessed, this is a sign of how loving and affectionate Ragdoll kittens and cats are. They enjoy nothing more than a cuddle session and will happily snuggle with you or climb onto your lap if given half the chance. You’ll probably even find they greet you at the door and follow you around the house.  

They’re often described as docile, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lazy. They enjoy playing and are quite interactive cats. Much like Maine Coon cats, the breed is also considered to be pretty clever and many can be trained to do tricks and walk on a lead like a dog. Some of them even play fetch!

For the most part, they make great family pets and get along well with adults, children, other cats, and dogs.

Psst … ever thought your personality matches the Ragdoll? Well, now you can find out with our PET PAWSONALITY test! Find out what cat or dog breed you are at heart and share it with your friends – click here:

Their health and other needs

Like other purebred cats, Ragdolls may be more prone to certain diseases and illnesses. Keeping your cat healthy is your primary concern as an owner, so knowing about potential health problems means you can stay vigilant. 

Medical conditions

One medical condition that can affect the Ragdoll is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease causing thickening of the hart walls. This makes it difficult for the body to properly circulate blood cells and oxygen, so your cat might be lethargic or exercise intolerant due to lack of oxygenation. This condition can also cause sudden collapse. A DNA test can be done to identify whether cats carry one of the mutations that causes the disease.

They’re also prone to bladder stones and feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) or gum disease. So, make sure to check and clean your cat’s teeth regularly then take them to the vet if something seems amiss!

Alllll that fur

The other thing to be aware of with Ragdolls is their grooming needs. Luckily, although long-haired, they have a single layer coat with no undercoat. So they rarely get matted and don’t shed much – but you’ll need to brush them regularly to keep their coat silky smooth.

Despite only having one coat which doesn’t shed too often, Ragdoll kittens and cats aren’t hypoallergenic. If you’re prone to allergies, you might be better off with a breed like a Russian Blue – or a hairless cat. Read our article on breeds of hairless cats.

young woman outside on grass playing with stick with two ragdoll cats

Cat insurance for your Ragdoll

Regardless of how healthy your kittie is when you welcome them home, you never know what the future holds. Taking out pet insurance early means you’re covered against pre-existing conditions before they arise, as well as most hereditary health conditions. Not to mention accidents, which can happen anytime whether your cat lives indoors or outdoors.

That way, you’re investing in your pet’s future by protecting their health to the best of your ability.

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