You’ve undoubtedly seen and perhaps even cuddled an elegant Persian cat. Even if you’ve never seen a Ragdoll cat in the flesh, you can easily picture the type of cat who melts into your arms like an old-fashioned rag doll as you hold them. When we cross these two breeds, each parent brings a set of traits to the mix. Some are similar enough to pass along predictably. Unsurprisingly, this desirable mix makes a welcome addition to the family.
Blending two such popular breeds produces a cat that may have traits from both breeds in equal proportion but could also be like the purebred Persian or the pure Ragdoll. Because this is a hybrid and not a stable breed, individuals from the same litter may show marked differences in appearance or personality. Considering the typical traits of each parent breed serves as a primary point of reference for what you can expect, no matter which of their parents your kitten favors. Regardless of which breed your kitten resembles, they are a unique individual who needs your love and care throughout life.
The breed history of this mix is short primarily because a breeder recently developed the Ragdoll. A California breeder established the Ragdoll breed in 1966. On the other hand, Persians have been mixed with other breeds for decades, so often that new varieties of Persian (such as the Himalayan) or entirely new breeds have been created (like the Exotic Shorthair). The history of the Ragdoll/Persian cross lies in the common practice of adding Persian to other breeds for their beautiful, luxuriant coats.
Ragdoll Cats were established as a breed by one woman with a cat named Josephine. In the 1960s, Josephine’s owner, Ann Baker, felt that this white, Angora Persian-type cat with a Himalayan coat pattern had traits worth reproducing. She bred her to longhaired males of two particularly affectionate breeds. The Ragdoll likely has roots in the Persian breed through Josephine, so a cross back on Persian may tip the scales towards Persian characteristics.
Persian Cats are the most popular breed in the United States per the Cat Fanciers Association, the largest registry of pedigreed cats today. Early Egyptians first domesticated the cat some 4,000 years ago, but the cats depicted were sleek and short-haired. Some sources suggest that hieroglyphic references to longhaired cats brought to the west from ancient Persia over 3,500 years ago were the precursors of the breed existed. Others indicated that early domestic cats interbred with the European Wild Cat or Pallas Cat, both of which had longer, thicker hair. Others believe the long hair appeared as a genetic mutation.
The history of the modern Persian as we know it begins more recently. In the 1800s, traveling diplomats brought longhaired kittens back home to England and Europe from their travels in the Middle East. The cats were known by their country of origin. Travelers brought Persians from Persia (Iran) and Angoras from Ankara (Turkey). Both Europeans and Americans were smitten with this elegant but personable cat, and by 1871, the first cat show was held in London. Fanciers continued to breed the cats with specific traits in mind, and their efforts created the Persian as he looks today.
The Ragdoll has a far shorter and much more specific breed history. The founding mother of the breed likely had Angora-style Persian in her lineage and was white with long hair with points. Her owner found her temperament to be unusually calm and companionable. As the story goes, Josephine was so quiet that when her owner, Ann Baker, picked her up, Josephine would go limp like a rag doll. Ms. Baker found her so endearing that she chose to breed her.
Baker used males that were Birman and Persian in type to create her first-generation kittens. She then continued selecting the physical and temperament traits she had found in Josephine. Thus, the Ragdoll breed came into being. She carefully produced large, affectionate cats with standard pointed colors and blue eyes whose coat was much easier to care for than a Persian’s.
Persian Ragdoll Mix
Although it is impossible to precisely predict what you’ll get when you cross a Persian and a Ragdoll, the traits the two breeds share should be reasonably predictable. The differences will be much more difficult to predict. One parent’s influence may be more significant depending on how genes are expressed. For example, Ragdolls have blue eyes. The gene that causes the colorpoint (Himalayan style) pattern and blue eyes is recessive, so for the kittens to have blue eyes, both parents need to carry this gene.
Persian Ragdoll mix cats are likely to be affectionate because both parental breeds are known for being sweetly affectionate. Neither breed tends to jump or climb, especially in adulthood, making them easier on the household furnishings. Persians and Ragdolls are sweet-tempered cats, but the Ragdoll side is more companionable. They want to be with their people more than many breeds and will sleep with you, sit with you, and can even be taught to play fetch. Your kitten may spend more time to alone if they have more Persian genes. But any breed has an individual variance. Persians are gently talkative, and Ragdolls typically play gently with their people. Your particular kitten may express themself to you vocally.
Size & Appearance
Ragdoll cats are larger than Persians. Persians are heavy-boned, cobby-bodied cats. They aren’t giant cats with short, strong legs, although their abundant coat makes them appear so. Healthy adult Persians generally weigh between nine and thirteen pounds for males and seven to ten for females. Ragdolls should add size to the mix, so there’s a better than average chance your Persian Ragdoll mix will be a sizable cat. Neutered male Ragdolls can be as heavy as twenty pounds, and females could top out at fifteen. Your Persian Ragdoll mix, with blended genetics, could be a huge girl, depending on which parent’s genes they inherit. This is not your cross if you’re looking for a petite household companion.
Coat & Colors
The sky may be the limit regarding what color your Persian Ragdoll can be. If you want this cross and desire the Ragdoll colorpoint look, you’ll need to locate a breeder with parents who both have the colorpoint gene. It’s recessive, so it takes two copies to express. If the Persian parent is not colorpoint, you can expect the same mixed bag as with any other litter. Persians come in so many colors that they’re broken into divisions. The divisions include solid color, silver and golden, shaded and smoke, Tabby, parti-color, Calico and bi-Color, and finally, the Himalayan Division, containing cats that look more similar to the Ragdoll color than any others.
Because the coat types of the Persian and the Ragdoll have some distinct differences, there’s variability in what coat a blend will have. The fine-textured coat of the Persian is long and thick, with a full ruff around their neck and long ear and toe tufts. Their heavy undercoat requires daily grooming to keep it from matting. The Ragdoll’s coat is of moderate length but has abundant guard hairs and a minimal wooly undercoat. The guard hairs are the longest, straightest, and thickest on the cat’s body. How much time you’ll dedicate to coat care depends on whether the Persian Ragdoll blend kitten has a preponderance of guard hairs or the Persian’s heavy undercoat.
If your Persian Ragdoll mix kitten has a Persian-style coat, you’ll be grooming daily to minimize mat formation. The wooly undercoat tends to tangle around the ears, armpits, and around hindquarters, and legs. Gently pull apart any mats with your fingers, then comb through with a wide-toothed metal comb. Avoid pulling out the whole mat with the comb, or you may be pulling hair directly out of their skin. Baths are needed if their coat becomes greasy like a Persian’s. Special degreasing shampoos will help remove excess oils, although you may need to wash and rinse your cat multiple times to remove any residual shampoo.
You’re lucky if your Persian Ragdoll mix has a Ragdoll style coat. Ragdoll coats mat with less frequency than Persian coats, and you’ll usually only need to brush them twice a week. He’ll need only the occasional bath and will be less prone to developing a greasy coat. To keep their coat healthy and mat-free, grooming with a slicker brush should do the trick. You may have to experiment as your kitten grows to adulthood, but with a wide-toothed comb for mats and this basic slicker, you should be able to address their grooming needs.
Most importantly, cats want to feel safe in their homes. There should be plenty of hiding places and designated areas for their food and water away from their litterbox. Household items may pose a hazard to your curious companion. Even though a Persian Ragdoll mix may not be a climber, please don’t leave anything out on a counter that your cat could break or that could hurt them. It only takes one time.
By instinct, cats stalk and kill their prey. They also play with their catch and spend a lot of time stretching and scratching surfaces with their claws. Behaviors like this are natural, even though Persians and Ragdolls are far removed from the wild. Cats need outlets for these instinctive behaviors to keep their bodies in motion and their minds active. Obesity causes many related health problems, and Persians and Ragdolls are great relaxers. The Ragdoll side loves to play more than the Persian, so find toys your blend can “hunt” and chase to keep them healthy and entertained.
Both Persians and Ragdolls cats need to be indoors. A mix still requires daily exercise. Try to offer some different varieties of toys. Cats love toys that mimic the actions of their wild ancestors. Tunnels enchant them, and they will “catch and kill” small stuffed toys, especially those dangled temptingly at the end of a stick. Some Ragdolls can learn to fetch a toy and bring it back, so this may be a fun way for you and your blend to interact and give some exercise, too. They’ll benefit from several short sessions a day of interactive activity.
This mix of independent and personable genetics opens the door for a wide range of attitudes. Depending on the dominant genes, Persian Ragdoll mixes may be somewhat independent and not so easy to train to anything but the basics of the litter box, or they may also be happy to learn tricks for treats. Gentle positive reinforcement is best for this mix because both parent breeds love people.
The first thing your kitten learns when they come home with you is where to find the litter box. Use your cat’s instincts to guide positive behavior in your home. Cats should be handled gently and introduced to other family pets calmly to encourage positive interaction between pets and people. Your Persian Ragdoll mix likely won’t be a climber, but you’ll need to provide a scratching tower or other toy to exercise this instinct in a non-destructive way.
Common Training For Cats
- Use the scratching post or cat tree only.
- Keep claws retracted when playing with people.
- Eliminate only in the litter box.
- Biting is for toys only.
- Games and tricks.
- Standard commands like sit, stay, roll over, jump, high-five, play a game, time to eat, come here, etc.
- Familiarity with the grooming process.
- Familiarity with being bathed.
- Riding calmly in the car.
Your Persian Ragdoll mix should be a healthy cross. Ragdolls have few health issues, but you’ll need to watch for obesity, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, urinary tract issues, and hairballs. Persians have more conditions you’ll need to watch out for, such as polycystic kidney disease, progressive retinal atrophy, hip dysplasia, brachycephalic airway syndrome, primary seborrhoea, dermatophytosis (ringworm), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), and cryptorchidism.
Because both breeds involved in this mix have an increased chance of urinary tract or kidney issues and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, you’ll need to monitor for these conditions. Understanding the breed history, personality types, and potential health concerns specific to each parent breed helps you know what to expect. Still, it is not a substitute for professional advice from your veterinarian.
Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) causes the heart’s walls to thicken, decreasing the heart’s efficiency. Although the cause of HCM remains inconclusive, there may be a genetic component. Both Ragdolls and Persians have been identified with this disease. While the prognosis for this disease varies, proper diagnosis and treatment can help.
Some cats with HCM are asymptomatic, but others exhibit labored breathing and lethargy from congestive heart failure. Your vet may use an echocardiogram or genetic testing to see if your cat suffers from this condition. Your vet will likely prescribe medication to help your cat live more comfortably. Asymptomatic cats may live for many years, but the disease is progressive.
Urinary Tract Disorders
Lower Urinary Tract Disease (LUTD) is the number one reason cats visit veterinary practices. This term covers a range of disorders of varying severity that often have more than one cause. LUTDs can be triggered by infection, inflammation, diet, and stress. LUTD most frequently affects middle-aged, overweight cats that don’t get enough exercise, use an indoor litter box, stay indoors only, and don’t drink enough water. Stressors such as a change in routine may also increase the risk.
Both Persians and Ragdolls have characteristics that make them best as indoor-only cats, so this may be one reason they are more likely to experience some form of LUTD. Watch your Persian Ragdoll mix for signs of urinary irregularity. These may include straining to urinate, urinating around the home, or blood in the urine. If your cat cries out during urination, see your vet. Increasing distress may indicate a urethra obstruction, which is a life-threatening emergency. If you suspect an obstruction, immediately call your vet or emergency vet clinic. Time is of the essence.
If your Persian Ragdoll kitten inherited the Persian’s brachycephalic profile, he may have difficulty chewing food and need his teeth cleaned more frequently. A wet food could benefit any individual who struggles to chew kibble due to a malformed bite. Wet cat food contains more moisture than kibble. If your cat is prone to urinary tract infections, this additional moisture can help reduce the frequency of his infections. If your cat is overweight, it’s best not to feed free-choice dry kibble. Providing canned food makes monitoring his intake easier, and he’ll take in more moisture as he eats. Not only will this help you limit his caloric intake, but it may reduce the incidence of Lower Urinary Tract Disorders.
Any cat food you choose should be AAFCO certified as a complete and balanced diet for your feline. In the wild, animal meat comprises the most significant part of the feline diet. Their diet should reflect what they evolved to eat. They consumed high amounts of protein, moderate amounts of fat, and a minimal amount of carbohydrates. Their prey provided adequate vitamins and minerals. Regardless of which type of food you choose, read the label. Look for meat, meat by-products, or seafood among the first few ingredients. This suggests the food probably contains enough animal-source ingredients to supply essential amino acids and fatty acids without additional supplements. For cats prone to urinary tract issues, a low magnesium wet food may be worth the extra expense.
Breeders & Kitten Costs
Because this kitty is a mixed breed, the price of a kitten will often be much less than the cost of their purebred parent breeds. You can expect to pay from about $100 to $400 or $500 for a kitten. Depending on the breeder or seller, the price may be more. Most professional breeders will be producing purebred cats, so your kitten may come from a backyard breeder. While they may not offer health guarantees, they should be able to answer your questions and show you your kitten’s parents. Be wary of anyone selling kittens who won’t answer your questions or seems to produce many litters yearly.
Before bringing your kitten home, get the supplies you’ll need. Have a litter box and the food you plan to feed waiting. You may wish to have a bed, a crate for transport, some toys, and grooming tools. If you don’t already have an established relationship with a local veterinarian, be ready to locate one for your kitten’s first vaccinations and a general wellness check. Expect to spend about $500 to $1,000 for your kitten and supplies if you’re starting from scratch.
There may not be many breeders advertising these mixed kittens, but you can check with local online resources. If you have Persian and Ragdoll breeders in your area, they may be able to steer you in the right direction. Your veterinarian may know of available kittens in your area and check local rescue and shelter pages regularly.
Rescues & Shelters
You’ll probably find several available kittens with long hair when you visit a shelter. Finding a Persian Ragdoll mix specifically may be a challenge. Both parent breeds may cost as much as several hundred to over $2,000 for high-quality bloodlines, so breeders will try to limit accidental litters. Depending on your needs, you may find a kitten with the look and temperament to make you happy at the shelter. The Humane Society of the United States, your local shelter, and your veterinarian are reliable resources for finding reputable shelters and rescue groups.
Check your local shelters and rescue groups in late Spring and early Summer if you’re in the market for a kitten. They’ll likely have a vast array. If you are willing to adopt an older cat, you’ll be able to see the adult and interact with them one on one. There are many advantages to adopting a mature cat. Most kittens are playful but settle as they approach adulthood. When you meet an adult cat, what you see is what you get. You’ll have a much more unambiguous indication of the personality you’ll be living with for the rest of their life.
Animals bring joy to our lives. When a cat loves you, you’ve been given a gift. Show your love in return with regular veterinary care, proper nutrition, and a healthy, attentive environment. Not much of a climber, he may spend more time on the couch next to you than on the top of the refrigerator. You’ll need to monitor their weight and be vigilant for signs of urinary trouble. If your cat shows pain while urinating, call your vet immediately as this could be an emergency.
Play with your cat to provide exercise and strengthen your bond. This slow-maturing, indoor-only mix will hopefully live as long as seventeen years. Remember that each cat is a unique individual, and being a mixed breed adds to the mystery. Ragdolls don’t fully mature until they’re around four years old. Still, adding the Ragdoll to the Persian type will likely extend their lifespan by mitigating the primary sources of age-related issues in Persians, their brachycephalic profile, and their thick hair coat.