Ragdoll Cat Breed: Everything You Need to Know

Ragdoll cat breed

If any animal deserved its name, it's the Ragdoll cat breed. They're soft and cuddly and go limp when picked up. They're calm cats, but friendly. Your Ragdoll might follow you around like a puppy.

They like to play fetch and their curiosity makes them natural explorers. They're sweet and clever and easy to handle.

In fact, this breed is so calm and gentle the more conscientious breeders are trying to steer away from extreme docility as it's not in the cat's best interest.  They simply don't have much of an instinct against danger that more cautious breeds might have.

Keep Rags away from those who would take advantage of her easy-going nature and you'll have a very happy cat!

The Origins of the Ragdoll Cat Breed

The breed dates back to the 60's with Persian breeder Ann Baker of California. She started with some kittens from a white furred semi-feral female Persian/Angora named Josephine. The sire was a Birman or Burmese with Siamese markings.

Of this litter came a black Burmese male called Blackie and a Birman-like male named Daddy Warbucks who was a seal point with white feet. These two were instrumental in the breeding of the modern Ragdoll

Ms Baker selected cats that were large yet affectionate and gentle with beautiful markings in temperament for her breeding program. In an unorthodox move, Ms Baker eschewed existing cat breeding associations and started her own in 1971 after trademarking the name “Ragdoll“.

Her still extant registry is called the International Ragdoll Cat Association. The IRCA is not recognized by any cat show or major cat breed organization and has a small but devoted following.

The standardization of the breed is due to the efforts of Denny and Laura Dayton. The Daytons bought a pair of original IRCA Ragdolls and selectively bred for gentleness, large size and the defining characteristic of a Ragdoll, the tendency to go limp when picked up.

They formed the Ragdoll Fancier's Club International to further promote the breed and set specific guidelines for breeding. Unlike many breeders, the RFCI recognizes that the cats they breed are living creatures that must be treated with kindness and care.

The Adorable Look of the Ragdoll

By cat standards, the Ragdoll is fairly big and sturdy. A female can get up to 8 to 15 pounds. The male is even larger, often weighing between 12 and 20 pounds.

This cat is broad-chested with large hindquarters. These parts are emphasized by a thick ruff about the neck and fluffy britches.

The fur is medium long with a texture like a rabbit's. Newborn Ragdolls tend to be pure white, developing darker Siamese-style points as they mature. This breed is slow to mature, taking up to three years before reaching full growth.

The eyes are oval shaped and an intense shade of blue. The ears are large and round, tilted slightly forward. Generally, everything about them is round and soft from their sweet little face to their fluffy tails.

The Ragdoll's coat is very plush, consisting mainly of long guard hairs. This reduces shedding. Ragdoll fur doesn't mat but should be groomed regularly to prevent hairballs.

The recognized coat patterns are colorpointmitted and bicolor with variations of lynx, van and tortoiseshell. The point colors come in flame, chocolate, seal, cream, blue and lilac.

Ragdoll cat breed

The Winning Personality of the Ragdoll

As adorable as the Ragdoll looks, it's their docile temperament and affectionate nature that wins them over as popular house pets. After all, they get their name from the way they go limp when picked up.  They are very easygoing with little to no aggressive tendencies. Ragdolls are affectionate and mild-mannered but are also fairly clever.

Ragdoll Cat Breed: Everything You Need to Know 1

They are very friendly and sociable cats that will regularly greet visitors and get along well with other pets and children. They're very adaptable. Ragdolls are only occasionally vocal, only making noise when they need help or feeding. As for food, Ragdolls can be a bit finicky, preferring certain foods at certain times.

Ragdolls like playtime but they're not overactive. What they really love is to curl up to their favorite human and purr themselves to sleep.

Related article: Most Popular Cat Breeds

How to Take Care of a Ragdoll

This is a big cat, so she will need a big litter box. The Ragdoll has little to no defensive instinct, so this breed is almost exclusively an indoor cat. If you do take Rags outside, keep a close eye on her to make sure she's not savaged by meaner animals or lets her curiosity lead her into trouble.

While Ragdolls get along with children and other animals, keep an eye out to make sure the children and other animals are being just as gentle as Rags deserves. A Ragdoll's fur is easy to comb with a wide, steel-toothed comb and Rags might be more than happy to lay in your lap and be groomed. Rags will even lay still for a dental cleaning.

Ragdoll Cat Breed: Everything You Need to Know 2

Ragdolls are prone to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetic disease that causes thickening of the cardial wall and causes the heart to pump less efficiently. Get this screened for by a veteranarian as soon as possible. Also be on the lookout for urinary problems that indicate problems with the bladder or kidneys.

Ragdolls don't generally need vitamin supplements but like any cat needs a diet high in protein. They have a heavy sense of curiosity, so kitty-proof your home by tucking away cords and not having any toxic plants to nibble on. A scratching post and lots of toys will make Rags a happy cat.

Unlike most cats, this breed is fascinated by water. Make sure Rags has a deep and sturdy water dish so she doesn't tip it over if she decides to play with it. Keep an eye on her around larger bodies of water to make sure she doesn't drown herself. 

Ragdolls actually like baths and should take one once a month for a shiny, healthy coat. As with any cat, get Rags spayed or neutered and keep up with all vaccinations.

Ragdoll cat breed

How much does a ragdoll cat cost?

Ragdolls certainly aren't the cheapest breed of cat to buy. Ragdoll kittens can cost $400 each, while show-quality cats may be priced at $2,000 or more. Prices will vary according to the breeder and the quality, age, and show record, if any, of the cat that you're considering.

Are ragdolls indoor cats?

Ragdolls should stay indoors as much as possible, and they should usually only be taken outside on a leash for short periods of time. They almost never hunt, and they aren't very effective at it when they do. All in all, Ragdolls are very dependent cats that need a good deal of love and attention.

How big do Ragdoll cats get?

The Ragdoll is one of the largest domesticated cat breeds, with a sturdy body, large frame, and proportionate legs. A fully-grown female weighs from 8 to 15 pounds (3.6 to 6.8 kg). Males are substantially larger, ranging from 12 to 20 pounds (5.4 to 9.1 kg) or more.

Are Ragdoll cats high maintenance?

Ragdoll cats are Ideal for families or single people as the Ragdoll is an easy to care for cat. The coat needs regular combing or grooming but is not a high maintenance coat like the Persian as it does not have an undercoat and the hair is quite silky. These cats will not defend themselves.

  • Updated May 19, 2021
Mary Nielsen

A huge animal lover, born and raised around dogs, cats, chickens... Self-educated pet care nerd. Currently parent of three adopted cats and one small mutt. Animal adoption advocate. Loves a good book (about animals) and playing the piano.