Ragdoll cats have become one of the most sought after breeds of cats. Not only are they beautiful, they are also loyal and lovable. But what is it about this breed that makes them so special and unique? Here’s a brief introduction for people who want to find out more about the Ragdoll cat.
History of Ragdoll Cat as a Breed
Ragdolls are a relatively new breed of cat. Bred by Anne Baker in the 1960s in California, they started as a breeding experiment Baker did with her white long-haired Angora Persian, named Josephine, with other Birman and Burmese male cats with a calm temperament to result in what we refer to today as the Ragdoll.
Due to their gentle, friendly nature, Ragdolls are often cared for like baby dolls, in that they enjoy being carried around and coddled. As a whole, they don’t seem to mind being groomed or dressed up. Hence, the name Ragdoll was affectionately assigned to this docile breed. They even have a tendency to flop over on their owners’ laps when being pet, similar to a rag doll child’s toy.
Ragdolls are known for their stunning blue eyes and long to semi-long coats. As they are a pointed cat breed, the fur on their body is a lighter color than that of the tail, ears, face and legs, otherwise known as the “points”.
Ragdolls are typically bred in four patterns: Color Point, Lynx, Mitten and Bi-Color. In addition, they can be bred to produce the following color.
Ragdolls mature slowly, and they tend to grow into their lasting coat color by the age of two. As for its size, they achieve their adult weight and size by 4 years old. Males typically weigh between 15-20 lbs, while females are between 10-15 pounds, making them one of the largest breeds of domestic longhair cats.
If you are looking for a cat that is extremely loving and affectionate, then this is the breed for you! Ragdolls tend to form a very bond with their humans. They are not known to be jumpers or climbers as they tend to stay low to the ground, although they do enjoy sleeping in bed alongside their humans. Ragdolls are lap cats as they can sit for hours keeping their owners company while they read or watch television.
Despite their size and stature, ragdolls have surprisingly sweet, small, delicate voices, and they love to follow their owners around their home. They do not mind being left alone for short periods of time, so they do not suffer from separation anxiety. But, once they are reunited with their human, they are inseparable.
Ragdolls get along with other children, other cats and cat-friendly dogs. They make great travel-companions and can be trained to walk on a leash. However, they are not outdoor cats and prefer to spend their time inside being loved by their families.
Ragdolls are similar to dogs in that they will greet you at the door, come when called and can even be trained to play fetch. It is very rare for them to not be in the same room with you, if not right next to you, at all times. They are known to be very gentle and tend to play without using their claws. Ragdolls will not show aggression, unless they are being abused or attacked.
Ragdolls can be trained via positive reinforcement such as with treats or affection. They are adept at being litter boxed trained and can be trained to use a scratching post. They are not extremely verbal cats, but will quality remind you that it is feeding time or ask for attention when they are feeling lonely.
Health and Lifespan
Ragdolls like any cat can be prone to the common cat health issues such as obesity, hairballs, urinary tract infections and other common health issues. The average lifespan of a ragdoll cat is 13 to 15 years, but they have been known to life as long as 19 years.
The most common health issues with the Ragdoll Breed are a predisposition to Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease. However, a DNA test can be conducted to see if your cat has in fact inherited this gene. Ragdolls tend to have increased risk for FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) and calcium oxalate bladder stones as well. Otherwise, they are a fairly healthy breed.
Despite the common belief that Ragdolls are resistant to pain, this is definitely not true. Ragdolls have a very calm temperament, but they do experience pain just like any other cat.
Shockingly, despite their gorgeous long coats, Ragdolls do not require a great deal of grooming. They do enjoy being brushed, but do not need a daily brushing as they do not have an undercoat. Despite that, they should be combed with a steel comb once or twice a week to prevent matting and knots.
Care and Nutrition
Ragdolls, despite being one of the largest cat breeds, are relatively sedentary. This tendency to be rather lackadaisical does mean that their diet slightly differs from typical house cats who are more prone to activity.
An ideal diet for a Ragdoll cat should consist of nutritional support for heath health as well as their larger bones and joints. In addition, most Ragdolls prefer smaller sized pellets and food that is easy to chew as part of their everyday diet.
In order to maintain a health coat, Ragdolls need a diet rich in both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids as well as vitamins and amino acids. As well, Omega-3 fatty acids will aid in their joint and bone health.
As they tend to be genetically predisposed to heart issues, you should ensure to you feed your Ragdoll cat foods that are rich in DHA, EPA and Omega-3 fatty acids. Taurine, or amino acid, is another beneficial nutrition that can help with their overall heart health.
To add on, their food should be low in carbohydrates and high in proteins. It is recommended to feed them a diet of whole ingredients and no fillers such as corn or wheat.
Where to Find Ragdolls?
Obviously, ragdolls can be purchased from breeders, but this can be rather pricey. If you don’t mind adopting an older cat, you can ask for a “retired” Ragdoll breeder to ensure that their final years are spent in a calm and loving environment.
However, as we are all well aware, there are literally thousands of cats of all breeds waiting for good homes in rescues and shelters all over the world. If you have your heart set on a Ragdoll, you can look into Ragdoll Cat Rescues. It also pays to check your local pet shelters. Keep in mind that often this stunning breed is misidentified as a Siamese or Himalayan breed so pay close attention while checking out animal shelters and rescues.
Fun Facts About Ragdolls
- While most Ragdolls have blue eyes, their color can change as they grow. Some Ragdolls have green or gold eyes.
- Ragdolls love running water and enjoy playing with a running spigot, water fountain or other feature with running water.
- The Algonquin Hotel in New York City, New York, USA has a resident Ragdoll cat. The current cat is Matilda III. Apparently a stray Ragdoll cat made her home in the lobby in the 1930s and since then, Ragdolls have lived in this famous NYC hotel.