My Indoor Cat

Why Ragdoll Cats Make The Best Companion Pets | A Closer Look at the Breed

gray ragdoll cat

The Ragdoll cat is a gorgeous medium to large indoor cat breed. These cat species have fluffy silk-like coats with a few other exclusive physical properties like big blue eyes and a medium undercoat.

Ragdolls love being nestled because of their high affection levels. They also make great indoor companions because of their peaceful nature.

Most people consider ragdolls as lap cats because of how they go limp whenever they are carried. They also get along well with all family members – particularly if you understand how to handle and pet them.

Ragdoll Cats as Companion Pets

For first-time pet owners, the Ragdoll is a perfect choice. This is because of their gentle and laid-back nature, easy-to-train personality, and low-medium prey drive.

These particular cat breeds enjoy human companionship at home. They enjoy cuddling and lounging on warm surfaces like pillows, duvets, and blankets.

Ragdolls require a few hours of daily exercise because of their low energy levels and exercise needs.

Ragdoll Cat Breed Characteristics

physical characteristics of ragdoll cats
  • Head: Medium-size with an inverted V-shaped color pattern on the forehead. Sometimes, the long fur makes the Ragdoll’s face appear large. The cheeks and chin are also proportional to the body and well-developed
  • Body & Weight: Ragdolls have a naturally imposing size with a fatty pad on the lower abdomen and well-developed medium hindquarters. The shoulders are strong and muscular.
    A mature male weighs between 10 to 20 lbs, while an adult female weighs 8 to 16 lbs. Some, however, weigh slightly more depending on the particular diet and nutrition provided.
  • Height & Length: Approximately 9-11 inches high and about 17-20 inches long for mature male and female cats.
  • Ears: Medium-sized ears that complete the look of the Ragdoll’s triangular-shaped face. Also, the ears are wide at the base and round at the tip.
  • Eyes: Has vivid blue eyes with an oval-shaped design that complements the cat’s head.
    Legs & Paws: Strong legs with round white paws. The forelegs are medium-sized with sturdy musculature. Hind legs are slightly heavier and shorter than the front legs.
  • Tail: The tail is long with a soft bushy silk coat.
  • Coat: Medium/semi-long silk coat. The fur is also soft and plush.
  • Color: Ragdolls are popular with these colors – Beige, Black/ebony, Blue, Bluecream, Brown, Chocolate, Cream, Frost, Gray, Lavender, Lilac, Red/Orange, Sable, Seal, Silver, Tan, and White. Notice the distinct dark colors on the mask and ears & tail extremities.
  • Available Pattern: Mitted, bicolor, and points. The colorpoint is darker around the limbs, eyes, ears, and tail.
  • Longevity Range/Life Expectancy: 13-18 years.

Personality of Ragdoll Cats

Trait Level  
Playfulness Medium 
Vocality Medium 
Intelligence High 
Boldness High 
Friendliness to kids and other pets Medium-High  
Grooming Low  
Temperament High  
Compliance High 
Affectionate Medium 
Docility High  
Energy levels/Mischievousness Low – High  
Shedding Occasional (High – Medium) 
Attention  Medium  
Exercise level Low 
Attention needs Moderate 

History of the Ragdoll Cat

ragdoll cat kitten

Country of Origin

Riverside, California, United States. 

Ragdolls’ history is surrounded by controversies, mysteries, old fiction, tales, and speculations. 

The history dates back to 1960 when Ann Baker, a renowned Riverside Persian American cat breeder, bought kittens from her local neighbor. The neighbor had acquired them from Josephine, a white longhair outdoor cat. 

Josephine the Cat 

Today, not much is known about Josephine. However, she was an ordinary non-pedigree outdoor cat who bore normal kittens without special features. Nobody cared nor knew their breed or other necessary info.

Surprisingly, Josephine was hit by a car that nearly killed her. Still, luckily she was taken to the vet and survived the ordeal. She later bore striking offspring with fluffy coats, docile temperament, and affectionate personality. This was a surprise to many, including Ann Baker. 

Ann Baker later founded a cat association for breeding and selling the unique kitten breed franchises and making a profit. She established a monopoly to breed these exclusive cats. At this time, they had yet to find a name for the cat breed.

In 1971, Ann Baker officially trademarked the cats and got the name Ragdoll. She established her registry, the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA).

IRCA did not allow the free breeding of Ragdolls by other breed associations. Breeders were only permitted selective breeding through stringent standards from IRCA.

As years progressed, selective breeding continued, and pure breed Ragdoll kittens flooded the market. Today, all Ragdolls have a lineage with Josephine. 

Ragdolls have been recognized by several cat registry associations. These include the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), The American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFS), The Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe), and The International Cat Association (TICA). 

Are Ragdolls Indoor Cats?

Ragdoll’s gentle and sweet nature is one of the reasons they are best kept indoors. They are a social cat breed that is easy to look after. 

Ragdolls are not street savvy and do not fare well against other outdoor cats, owls, dogs, and wild animals. One of the reasons for keeping a cat indoors is the harm that other cats or predators can cause to your cat.

Ragdolls make great indoor cats, but you can take them for a walk on a lead if you want them to enjoy sunlight and the outside environment. 

Also, Ragdolls can easily get stolen by pet thieves because of their attractive appearance (especially as tiny kittens). 

Frequently Asked Questions About Ragdoll Cats

ragdoll cat breeds

Are Ragdoll Cats Hypoallergenic?

Ragdoll cats are not hypoallergenic. Their fur and saliva contain Fel d 1 protein, which causes symptoms in allergy sufferers.

How Long Do Ragdoll Cats Live?

The life expectancy of a ragdoll cat is 13 to 18 years.

Do Ragdoll Cats Shed?

Ragdoll cats have long thick coats which will shed. Regular grooming of your ragdoll can help keep shedding under control.

How Big Do Ragdoll Cats Get?

Ragdoll cats can grow up to 11 inches tall and 20 inches long. A large mature male ragdoll cat can weigh up to 20 pounds, female slightly less.

Are Ragdoll Cats Friendly?

Ragdoll cats are friendly and bond well with their owners. Their high intelligence levels also make them more attune to knowing when you need emotional support. This makes Ragdolls a popular choice as a house cat.

Do Ragdoll Cats Like Water?

Ragdoll cats like playing with water. You may find your ragdoll pawing at a water fountain, running tap, or flipping water out of his bowl. While ragdolls like to play with water, this doesn’t mean they like baths. They will avoid getting their body wet at all costs.

How to Keep Ragdoll Cats Indoors

Ragdolls also enjoy interactive sessions like any other indoor cat breed. 

Interactive play is necessary for indoor cats as it helps to stimulate a cat mentally. Your children can comfortably play with ragdolls because they do not extend their sharp claws habitually.

You should, however, understand some interactive puzzle games to play with your pet if she does not have another pet companion. Ensure each play session lasts 20 to 40 minutes at home. You can play with your Ragdoll cat as much as you want (if you have the time).

Remember that Ragdoll kittens are more playful than mature ones. So, always give them more attention and extended playtime. 

Your pet Ragdoll will often faintly meow when she is hungry. Brush her hair daily to keep tangles and hairballs away. You will find basic grooming techniques for your cat below.

Ragdoll Cat Grooming Advice

groom ragdoll cat

Ragdolls are easy to groom because of their natural self-grooming nature. Nonetheless, understand correct fur brushing, nail trimming, bathing, oral hygiene, and other essential grooming practices. Practices like daily fur brushing are highly encouraged.

Fur Combing 

Ragdolls shed their fur seasonally in Spring. Thus, comb your Ragdolls hair using the recommended grooming comb daily.

It is easy to start the grooming process when your Ragdoll is still a kitten and gets used to regular brushing. Daily fur grooming helps eliminate hair tangles and fur matting.

Tip: Involve a professional groomer if the hair is severely tangled or acutely frazzled. 

Nail Trimming 

Cats use their versatile claws as essential protection and hunting tools. Ragdoll claws are multifunctional and serve different purposes. For instance, to climb trees and defend themselves against any predators & wildlife threats.

You should, therefore, understand that most cats will scratch the furniture to self-maintain their claws. This practice helps the cat to sharpen its claws. 

Furthermore, cats often scratch against the carpet and upholstery to stretch, tone their backbone & shoulder muscles, and flex their bodies naturally. 

Trim the nails after every 14-21 days. 

How to stop nail scratching for ragdolls 

  • Trim their claws: Trimming their claws reduces the risk of furniture destruction. Shorter claws mean less destruction on clothes, carpets, and furniture. 
  • Install a scratching post: Scratching posts encourage vertical scratches for cats. Install the correct scratching post for your pet cat as the pet parent.  A scratching post needs to be resilient to support your cat’s weight. Also, it should come with the correct material. Sisal is, so far, the best pick. 

Five factors to look for in a Cat Scratching Post 

  • For Ragdoll kittens 
  • Design: Wall-mounted or freestanding 
  • Budget 
  • Material 
  • Size 

Feeding plate 

Wash the feeding plate to keep bacteria and algae from growing on the plate’s surface. 

Litter box 

Remember that Ragdolls are medium size to large indoor cats. Hence, the litter box should be large enough to accommodate easy use. Pick a litter box that your Ragdoll can squat in effortlessly. 


Core vaccination like feline leukemia and distemper. Also, seeing your vet for regular checkups and tests for internal parasites is advisable. Regular deworming of your cat is essential.

Diet and Nutrition 

Ragdolls require strict nourishing oversight. As a pet parent, always feed your cat the recommended amount of food. 

Cats are carnivores. Hence, you should provide an adequate protein diet from raw meat and canned food. The proportion amount, however, depends on the size of the cat, its health status, and lifestyle. 

Overfeeding or free-feeding your cat can easily result in obesity. You should notice the fatty pad on the lower abdomen and rib cage extending downwards to know if your cat is slowly getting overweight. 

Ragdoll kittens are slow growers and reach full size after 3 years. Feeding them the correct nutrition helps Ragdolls grow healthy and strong.

You can consult with a vet to know the correct Ragdoll cat food. Also, your vet will explain the correct wet or dry feline recipe and cat feeding guidelines. 

Ragdoll Cat Health Issues

seal point ragdoll cat

Ragdolls are generally healthy cat breeds. They are not prone to some common cat-related diseases. Nonetheless, you need to understand the three most common Ragdoll health concerns. 

Heart Disease – Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

A disease affecting the wall linings & muscles of the heart, valves, and blood vessels. Your vet will be able to monitor for this at your annual checkup. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy will lead to death in severe cases. 

Weight Management 

Obesity in cats is another vital health concern for many pet parents. Free feeding and overfeeding your Ragdoll will automatically lead to obesity. 

Obesity leads to other health issues like diabetes and arthritis in cats. So, always consider portion sizes when feeding your pet. 

Dental Disease 

Dental disease is a common lingering problem in cats and other pets. The gums become suddenly inflamed from bacteria effects. 

You should notice teeth decay in your cat from the brown scales that begin to appear on the teeth’s surface (tartar).

Brush your cat’s teeth regularly to eliminate food particles and other minerals from accumulating in the gum’s lining. 

Enjoy Your Ragdoll Cat or Kitten

Ragdolls are impressive and luxurious indoor cat breeds. Their appealing appearance and affectionate personality give Ragdolls a unique sketch. 

For first-time owners, Ragdolls make the best companion at home. They seldom need 24-hour surveillance and are so easy to look after. 

If you have children or other pets at home, Ragdolls also make the best playmates. 

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