Ragdoll cats are adorable, friendly, medium to long-haired kitties known for their striking physical features and affectionate personalities. These big kitties make wonderful pets and are quite beautiful to look at. This designer cat breed may be most known for their love of people.
In February 2022, the Cat Fanciers’ Association named the Ragdoll the most popular cat breed in the world. This breed is one feline that everybody wants to have. What makes Ragdoll cats so special? Where did they come from? How easy are they to care for? These are all common questions that cat owners may have been bringing home one of these large fluffy kitties.
The gorgeous, blue-eyed, giant Ragdoll is just about everything anyone could want in a feline companion. This comprehensive cat breed profile introduces you to the elegant Ragdoll. We talk about the breed’s history, care, and personality, and get into just what makes this feline breed so special. Remember that the information we present here is a general overview and guidelines about this breed. Not every Ragdoll cat will fit this exact description.
Ragdolls are a designer kitty breed. They were started in the 1960s by a California cat breeder named Ann Baker. There is a bit of a murky history and a twist of mystery when it comes to tracing the exact start of the breed. Baker used neighborhood free-roaming cats and some of her own house cats to create great. She made some wild claims about those first cats. The mother was a long-haired possible Persian or Angora named Josephine. Baker claimed Josephine could feel no pain due to government testing after she was hit by a car. Another variation of the story claimed Josephine had been experimented with by aliens or the CIA.
Josephine was bred with two male domestic, possibly feral cats. The predecessors of today’s Ragdoll were bred from those two males. According to Baker, these cats were physically bigger, prone to going limp, and not susceptible to pain. There are many variations to this story, and the initial cats other than Josephine used to create the breed have never been able to be verified. Josephine was hit by a car and may or may not have felt pain as a result of that accident. However, Ragdolls do feel pain.
The Ragdoll was registered with the CFA in 1966, and in 1971 Baker trademarked the Ragdoll name. She also founded the International Ragdoll Cat Association and became very controlling about breed standards. By this time, other breeders, fond of the sizeable, friendly cats, had started breeding high-quality bloodlines from breeding pairs directly descended from Josephine. These breeders would eventually form the Ragdoll Fanciers Club International in the mid-1970s. The breed did not spread to the UK in Europe until the 1980s.
Today, they can be found everywhere and are always at the top of the list when it comes to the most popular cat breeds. All true Ragdolls today are bred from descendants of Josephine.
Ragdolls have often been called the Raggy, “puppy cats,” or “cat dogs” because they are very affectionate with people, laid back, and highly trainable. Whatever the true origin of this behavior, the name Ragdoll comes from this breed’s tendency to go completely limp, like a Ragdoll, when picked up. This behavior has earned them the nickname “floppy cats” – which is also a popular name for a Ragdoll.
Raggies are loveable sweethearts. They are incredibly amiable and have no problem being carted around, dressed up, or snuggling up on someone’s lap for an afternoon of binge-watching or reading. While they are incredibly laid back, this breed is highly dependent on their human counterparts. They crave attention and constantly want to be loved, cuddled, and petted. Despite their generous size, they are not prone to aggression or fighting like some other bigger cat breeds. These loveable kiddos are perfectly content to follow their owners, and they must be involved in everything their humans do.
Though they love to be around humans and don’t mind the noise, the floppy cat is known for being a very docile, quiet breed. They rarely meow, which can be a benefit. However, owners must pay close attention to these kitties, as they often may not meow even when in distress.
These big-boned kitties are intelligent and can be trained to play games like fetch, chase, and tricks like sitting and rollover. Raggies are quick learners, especially when given positive reinforcement like treats. They get along well with other cats, as well as with dogs and children. These cats are naturally gentle and docile, though they love playing. They do not have a high prey drive and are not likely to chase after small animals or other pets.
Despite any claims otherwise, this breed does feel pain. They do not have a lower pain tolerance or threshold than any other feline. They do, however, flop. This kitty may be most well known for having a gentle personality and loving, agreeable nature. Their sweet personality truly is everything anyone wants in a house cat.
Raggies take, on average, three to four years to mature and fully grow. They keep a playful, affectionate personality throughout their lives due to this longer growth cycle.
Size & Appearance
Ragdolls are substantial-sized felines. Females can weigh 12 to 15 or more pounds. Males reach 15 to 20 or more pounds. They stand on average between 9 and 13 inches tall from paw to shoulder. On average, these cats will measure between 16 and 21 or so inches long. This does not include their tails. On average, the length of their tails should be about equal to their body size. Tails are long and strong, thicker at the base.
The Raggy Is a muscular heavy-boned feline. They have strong legs and huge round paws. This kitty has a wedge-shaped head and strong cheekbones, with medium-sized rounded ears on the tops of their heads.
Raggies are magnificent-looking felines. They all have wide-set sparkling blue or sapphire-colored oval eyes, and most have color point markings. All true Ragdolls have blue eyes, regardless of their coat color or pattern. Their coats are luxuriously soft and silky. Mixed breeds may not have blue eyes.
Health & Lifespan
Overall, the floppy cat is a feline that is healthy. They are not at risk for many major inherited health conditions. Like many hefty-sized feline breeds, they are susceptible to bone and joint issues, including hip dysplasia and arthritis. Raggies are known to inherit hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a type of heart disease that often leads to heart failure. Reputable breeders will screen for this condition. Ragdolls can also be at risk for feline diabetes, obesity, gastric ulcers, and dental disease. Polycystic kidney disease and feline mucopolysaccharidosis VI are also conditions the Raggy may be at risk for. We recommend looking into pet insurance for your Ragdoll to help offset expensive medical bills.
Nutrition, exercise, and regular veterinary care can go a long way to keeping your feline companion healthy throughout his life. Genetics plays a significant role. However, environmental factors also significantly impact how long this feline will live.
Healthy Ragdolls have an expected lifespan of 12 to 17 years. Cats, on average, live about 13 years. So, this breed is considered a longer-lived kitty than many. Some owners even report Raggies living over 20 years. They do not mature until they reach three or four years old, retaining that kitten-like mentality well into adulthood.
Coat & Colors
Ragdolls have semi-long, to long, flaxen coats that are incredibly soft. Hair is shorter on their faces and shoulders and then gets longer along the body and tail. Like many other large, long-haired breeds, these kitties have a ruff of longer fur around their thick, muscular necks. Tails are long and covered with soft, glossy fur. They have thin undercoats with longer, smooth outer coats.
Ragdoll coats can come in several colors and patterns. Kittens are born entirely white. Ears, tail, and face colors will fill in as they age. This breed can come in the mitted, color point, or bicolor pattern. Colors include red or flame, chocolate, seal, lilac, and blue. There are many different color and pattern mixes these big kitties can have.
Ragdoll Colors And Patterns
These include the list we have below, however, there are many more!
- Mitted Ragdolls have white coloring on their chin and stomachs and sometimes have a white star-like or blaze marking on their noses. Mitted kitties also have white coloring, like mittens, on their feet. Blue and seal mitted are two varieties of mitted patterned Ragdolls. Blue mitted have white mittens and grayish blue to silver coloring.
- Pointed Ragdolls have lighter-colored base coats with darker legs, feet, faces, ears, and tails.
- Chocolate point Ragdolls have a cream and brown color pattern that is a mix of color points and chocolate brown. These cats have a base coat color of cream or off-white worth richly colored brown color points around the tail, ears, and face. This coloring makes their vivid blue eyes even more noticeable.
- Flame point red Ragdolls have a reddish coloring with a color point pattern. Their bodies will be lighter-colored, off-white, or cream, with orange to red color points on the paws, legs, tail, eyes, and face. Flame point Raggies are a rare find and will be quite pricey.
- Lynx point Ragdolls are remarkably striking. This handsome cat has Tabby points and often looks as though he is wearing eyeliner. They carry the agouti gene and will have clear striped markings around the face and tail. This is a pretty rare kitty to find.
- From far away, a cream point Raggy may look like a solid white or cream cat. Closer up, one will see they are a range of colors and have very muted tones of yellow, beige, and orange in their silken coats.
- A Van patterned Raggy has darker ears and tails with lighter base coats.
- Bicolor floppy cats have darker faces with an inverted V marking and lighter-colored ears and tails.
- A lilac bicolor Ragdoll has a lighter-colored base coat with a pink or purplish gray mask on its eyes and cheeks. They have an upside-down white V shape around the nose and whiskers. Color point markings can extend down the back.
- A Tortoiseshell Raggy or Tortie, has mottled dark markings of red, brown, orange to black. These kitties have a true one-of-a-kind look. Most will be female as the color markers for orange and black are carried by the X chromosome.
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Ragdolls have a good amount of hair and will need regular grooming. It may not be necessary to brush them every day. However, a few times a week are necessary. Their coats can get matted or tangled easily, and quickly pick up dirt, bugs, and other debris. Raggies that spend a lot of time outdoors need to be brushed as soon as they come back inside. Twice a week, brushing at least should be expected. Daily or every other day brushing is best if possible. Ragdolls like to be brushed, and they love attention, so make grooming a special time they look forward to.
Bathing once a month or more may be needed to keep this long-haired kitty’s coat in the best condition. They love water and are likely to enjoy splashing about in the bath. Occasional wiping after a bowel movement can help keep that part of your cat clean and prevent unpleasant issues with their coats.
Excess shedding, dull coat color, and greasy coats can mean a cat is suffering from an illness or may be having trouble with self-grooming. If you notice any of these issues, discussing them with your veterinarian is a good idea.
When grooming a Ragdoll, owners should use the time to bond with their kitty and look over their skin, paws, and ears for any irritants or issues. Check eyes for signs of discharge or illness and pay close attention to their ears. Keep them clean and free of dust. Look out for inflammation, bad smells, bleeding, excess scratching, or discharge. Ear discharge is a possible sign of infection or ear mites.
Dental care and claw trimming must also be part of the grooming process for any feline. These areas are often overlooked but can lead to serious issues if not taken care of.
Never use human or canine products on your kitty unless they specifically say they are safe for feline use. Owners may want to invest in a sturdy bristle brush, steel-toothed or plastic comb, feline detangler, and wipes. Below are a few grooming products that are pretty popular and come well recommended.
Brushes come in a few varieties. For long-haired kitties like the Raggy a slicker brush like the Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker brush is a great choice. The Ruff ‘N Rufus Self Cleaning Slicker brush is also popular and effective for long-haired kitties. The Peat Neat Grooming Brush is another useful tool that can help remove excess hair and control shedding.
The Hartz Groomer’s Best Flea Comb is another great tool for removing debris, working out tangles, and mats and removing pests. Detanglers are also useful. Look for products that use natural ingredients, like this one, TropiClean Sweet Pea Tangle Remover Spray for Pets.
Ragdolls have a significant amount of hair, some more than others. With semi-long and long-haired cats, owners can always expect some shedding. Despite their generous amount of hair, Ragdolls do not shed as much as some other breeds. The more owners groom them, the less hair they will shed.
Raggies shed daily but have different times throughout the year when they shed more heavily. Often, these times will coincide with the significant shifts in temperature that come with the changing of the seasons. Cats also shed when scared, stressed out, or anxious.
Nutrition is a massive factor in coat health, and poor nutrition can cause a thinner coat and excess shedding. Felines need a high nutrient diet that includes Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids as well as healthy fats. These compounds are quite beneficial for coat health.
Felines that live in warmer climates will shed more than those that live in moderate to cool climates. Owners can keep their homes at a cool temperature to help minimize shedding. However, Ragdolls are hefty felines with a lot of hair, so of course, they will shed, regardless of what owners do to minimize it. Daily brushing, regular cleaning, vacuuming, and lint rolling can help keep the amount of hair these kitties shed manageable.
Ragdolls are wonderful pets due to their lovable nature, incredibly soft coats, and all-around awesomeness. However, because they do not have a high energy drive, they can be a lazy breed. To stay healthy, they should exercise daily, beyond just batting a toy around the living room. Because they are not naturally motivated to be active, owners need to make sure to facilitate exercise. These felines will require dedicated time each day for physical play and exercise. They like to explore outside and can be trained to tolerate a harness and leash with practice.
Ragdolls are very smart and curious by nature, so once outside, they will likely find plenty of things to entertain themselves with. Do not leave this breed outside alone. They need to be supervised at all times. This is not a good kitty to keep as a barn or outdoor cat. They do much better as indoor kitties. They will need regular flea and tick treatment if they spend any time outdoors.
Floppy cats will need clean homes, cool temperatures, and plenty of room to move about and find places to hide. Because they are a semi to long-haired breed, they will do better in a cooler environment. They will shed, so owners must be ready for regular grooming a few times a week.
While these felines enjoy human company and other kitties and dogs, they need an environment that is safe, calm, and free of choking hazards. Because they are large felines, they may knock things over and make a mess. Owners need to be tolerant and understand that they are not being destructive on purpose.
One area owners must take special care with the floppy cat is to always keep their litter boxes clean. Because the floppy kitty has long hair, they are likely to inadvertently spread from the litter box, which is an embarrassing and gross problem for cat owners to take care of. To prevent this and keep both cats and homes as clean as possible, owners must clean these litter boxes once or twice a day. It may be a time-saving investment to look for a self-cleaning litter box.
The Raggy is a cat that can be trained easily to do tricks. Even cats that do not do tricks need to be trained to use the litterbox and common things like no scratching or biting. Some common ways owners need to train cat’s behavior are:
- No scratching on furniture or walls.
- Do not bite people.
- Appropriate litterbox habits.
- Do not spray.
- No fighting with or biting other pets.
- Not to run away outside.
- Walking on a leash.
Ragdolls are substantial in size and need a well-balanced diet of high-quality ingredients throughout their lives to support lifelong health. This breed needs a diet high in protein and must eat meat. Felines are obligate carnivores and require animal proteins for their health. This breed needs food that lists animal protein as a first ingredient. Because they are more significant in size than many other breeds, they need a high-calorie diet, which can shift from kittenhood to adulthood.
Ragdoll’s food should be at least 30 to 60 % protein. They need healthy fats, about 20% of the diet should be fat. Raggies truly do better when they eat whole meat-based rather than processed food. Processed meats can be high in filler and substitutes. Chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, and salmon are some good protein sources. Foods with animal organ meats are also good. Look for named fat sources like chicken fat and fish oil. Cats can have some carbohydrates and grain but steer clear of foods that use a lot of corn or grain. These are hard for felines to digest. Watch out for foods that have a lot of chemicals and artificial additives.
Ragdolls may be fed dry food; however, it is best to give them some form of wet food in their diet. This kitty can get dehydrated quickly, and those fed dry kibble only must be given additional sources of moisture. Adding canned unsalted fish like tuna, whitefish, and even some bits of raw beef can be very helpful. Wet food is easier on this giant breed’s kidneys, so try to give them a mixed or all wet diet if possible.
Felines need a balance of many different vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids. Calcium is essential for bone and blood health, especially in such a large feline. Iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc are just some of the minerals they need for a healthy life. Vitamins A, D, B1, B2, B3, and B6 help metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins and support overall growth and health. Always read cat food labels and ask your vet for recommendations if you are worried about your cat’s nutritional balance.
Many owners want to feed their Raggy a raw diet. This can be very beneficial, however it must be done under the guidance of a veterinarian. It is very easy to overfeed or feed them too much fat, etc. This is a very delicate balance and cannot be achieved simply by feeding a cat raw food. Working closely with a professional will ensure your cat gets everything they need from a raw food diet.
Pure-bred kitties are quite expensive. Companion animals can cost anywhere from $600 to over $2,500 for a show-quality cat. Many factors play into the price, including bloodline, location, and breeder. On average, one can expect to pay about $1,000 for a high-quality kitten. This is a prevalent breed globally and, in some places, can cost several thousand dollars. These sweet felines are bred specially for their looks and personality, and people are willing to pay a lot for that. Show cats will cost much more and can have stringent guidelines for size and coloring. Champion Raggy bloodlines will cost much more, and specific patterns like Lynx, Tortie, and Flame will be much more expensive.
Always look for a reputable breeder. Ask lots of questions and to see the parent cats. Always ask about the health of previous litters and what kinds of genetic screenings the breeder does. Check to make sure the breeder is registered with a cat association. Also, ask for a guarantee of health. Take the time to find a reputable breeder, and do not always pick the one with the cheapest price tags.
It is possible to find a Ragdoll at a rescue or shelter. These kitties will cost much less. Many older show cats or Raggy mixes find their way to shelters. For those looking for an older cat, this can be a great option and gives a cat in need a home. Look for local area shelters and ask your veterinarian for rescue recommendations.
Ragdolls are a popular breed and are found in mixed cats. They come from a mixed breed of unknown origin, so it is very common to find different blends. Just a few include:
- The Ragdoll Maine Coon, called a Ragcoon, is one extremely popular mix. This mix of two massive felines gives a wild look to the beautiful Raggy and is often quite large.
- Norwegian Forest cats and Ragdoll mixes create a boisterous, playful cat with a glorious coat.
- The Ragamese is a Siamese Ragdoll mix. These kitties are remarkably good-looking and affectionate.
- Ragdoll British Shorthair is a laid-back, low-maintenance, short to a medium-haired kitty.
- A Ragdoll Persian mix is called a Perdoll. These glorious fluffy kitties are sweet, playful, and intelligent.
- Ragdoll Bengal is a rare, huge, unique-looking mix. These felines are not common and may require a very attentive owner.
- A Scottish Fold Ragdoll mix is called a Ragfold. These kitties are simply a delight and have a unique appearance.
- A Ragdoll Munchkin mix is an adorable mixed breed that looks like a smaller version of the Ragdoll, with short little legs.
- A Ragdoll Tabby mix is affectionate and friendly.
As Family Pets
The Raggy breed makes lovely family pets. They are loving, gentle, and low energy. Not only is this breed gorgeous to look at, but they absolutely love to be around people. When it comes to affectionate personality, there may not be another breed that genuinely loves people as much. They get along very well with other animals and people of all ages. This is a breed that is exceptionally good with children. However, owners should remain careful of their bigger size. These kitties need a home with plenty of room to run around and lots of nooks and crannies to hide in.
Floppy cats need owners who do not mind having their feline companions with them all the time. They need owners who are understanding of their generous size and do not get upset when things get knocked over or broken. This breed can live a very long time and will need top-quality nutrition throughout their lives and grooming several times a week. Though they are docile and very affectionate, this kitty can never be called a low-maintenance breed.
One very famous unusual Raggy became well known not for his physical prowess or affectionate personality. This cat was famous for having two faces. This condition is called a Janus cat, named after the two-faced Roman god Janus. These kitties are incredibly rare. The longest-lived Janus cat, named Frank and Louie, was a Ragdoll. Most Janus cats die soon after birth. However, Frank and Louie lived to the ripe old age of 15, old for most felines! He even scored a Guinness World Record.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do Ragdoll cats fall limp when they are picked up?
There is no specific answer as to why this cat goes limp when picked up, other than it is in their DNA. The very first of these felines ever bred had this behavior, and all true floppy cats go limp. Mixed breeds may or may not exhibit this behavior.
Can Ragdolls feel pain?
Yes, despite any claims, otherwise, Ragdolls can feel pain. They do not have a lower pain tolerance or threshold than any other breed. It is a myth that Ragdolls do not feel pain.
Are Ragdolls hypoallergenic?
Raggies are not hypoallergenic. They have a lot of hair and shed regularly. Though cat allergies are not caused by hair, the protein that triggers humans with feline allergies is spread more with higher shedding cats. This may not be a good breed for someone looking for a low shed or hypoallergenic breed.
Are Ragdolls expensive?
Purebred Ragdolls are one of the most expensive breeds of kitten around. Those that come from championship bloodlines will cost more. Companion cats can cost anywhere from $600 to over $1,000, and it is not uncommon to spend over $2,500 on a show-quality cat.
Are Ragdolls healthy cats?
Overall, Ragdolls are very healthy felines. They are a large breed and may be susceptible to some mobility and joint issues later in life. This breed does have some health conditions they are prone to and are at risk for obesity. With proper care and controlled feeding, these kitties are pretty healthy and can live for a very long time. Raggies have an expected lifespan of 12 to 17 years. Most live to be at least 15, and many live longer than 17 years.
The Ragdoll is an elegant, luscious breed of fluffy feline. This kitty is well known for having very agreeable personalities and being recognizably hefty in size. These big tykes are overall healthy but can be susceptible to some inherited conditions. They make lovely pets but may be on the pricey side. This floppy cat will never disappoint, as they were bred to be agreeable, gorgeous companions. As with any feline breed, owners have both a great privilege and great responsibility when bringing home one of these fantastic felines.