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Fluffy and Floppy: Discover the Ragdoll Cat!

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Ragdoll Cat

A large cat, the Ragdoll is a particularly calm, patient and docile animal. It is also characterized by a formidable adaptability that allows it to acclimatize to most lifestyles.

However, he prefers calm and secure environments.

Ragdolls are a relatively new breed, never aggressive and legendarily gentle.

They have become very popular, first in the United States and then with families in the rest of the world, especially in Europe.

Ragdoll Cat Breed Informations

  • Size: medium to large (+/- 14 inches)
  • Weight: 6 to 20 pounds
  • Hair: medium-long, silky
  • Color: two-tone, colorpoint and variants
  • Life span: 12 to 17 years
  • Gestation period: 65 days

Origins and History of the Ragdoll Breed

It is to Ann Baker, breeder of Persian cats in Riverside, California, that we owe the creation of the Ragdoll breed at the beginning of the 1960s.

She had obtained it by crossing a Persian Angora cat and a Sacred Cat of Burma, thus giving birth to a companion with exceptional gentleness.

Ann Baker gave him the name Ragdoll, which literally means “rag doll”.

She then registered several of her Ragdoll cats with the National Cat Fanciers’ Association. Ann Baker also passed on representatives of the new cat breed to Denny Dayton and his wife Laura.

The couple also played a fundamental role in the development of the Ragdoll, which they continued to provide within his famous Blossom Time cattery until the 1980’s, while distancing himself from Ann Baker.

Very popular in the United States, the Ragdoll began to be recognized by various major American cat authorities during the 1970s, in particular the TICA (The International Cat Association).

The first exports then took place, first to the United Kingdom, then elsewhere in Europe.

Physical Characteristics of the Ragdoll Breed

The Ragdoll has beautiful blue eyes – Source: needpix.comCC0 1.0

The Ragdoll is one of the larger domesticated breeds: Males typically weigh 12 to 20 pounds, while females weigh 8 to 15 pounds.


The Ragdoll’s body is of powerful construction, heavy and long, fitting into a rectangle.

The neck is short and well muscled, the chest is broad and rounded, the legs are medium sized and robustly boned.


Medium-long, silky, the topcoat is well furnished and associated with an undercoat.

Shorter on the front legs, longer and denser on the back legs. The ruff is particularly sought-after.


The 4 main patterns are colorpoint, mitted, bicolor and van. There are 6 colors for the patterns: seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red and cream.

Points can be solid, lynx, tortie, or torbie (tortie and lynx).

The color of the body almost always goes from eggshell white to milky white.

In colorpoint, the dots formed by the ears, mask, feet and tail are darker than the body.

In the mitted, the chin has a white coloration extending through a band running down to the chest and running along the entire length of the abdomen. The ears, mask and legs (except the paws) are darker.

In the bicolor, the nose is pink and the points made up of the ears, tail and mask, which is characterized by a white mark in the shape of an inverted V.

In the van, the body color is white and is associated with small eggshell to milky white spots. The spots are the ears, tail and top of the mask, the nose is pink.

Ragdolls are born entirely white. They acquire their color at 8-10 weeks and have their final colors after 3-4 years.

Ragdoll Kitten – Photo by Polly Alexandra on Unsplash


The head is triangular. The contours of the head, the skull and the forehead are rounded.

The muzzle is of medium length and well developed, the chin is well marked.


Of big size, oval shape, a little inclined without tending towards the oriental style. The color is a very intense blue.


Medium size, large at their attachment, prolonging the triangular shape of the head and slightly pointed forward.

Their tops are rounded.


The legs are rather short, the tip of the legs rounded and wide.


Long, broad at birth and generously covered with hair.

Character and Behaviour of the Ragdoll

Flame Point Ragdoll – Source: Wikimedia CommonsCC BY 2.0

The most striking characteristic of the Ragdoll is that he completely surrenders when you hold him in your arms: like a stuffed toy, it lets itself go completely, with loose legs, without any nervousness – which is not the case for all cats in such a situation!

It is therefore an ideal companion for children, as it is peaceful, cuddly and extremely patient.

Paradoxically, he likes its peace and quiet, but at the same time he is very demanding on his owners, whom he likes to wait on the doorstep and follow everywhere in the house.

The Ragdoll is very gentle and protective; he also enjoys playing, but does not like to be rough.

Due to this very placid nature, a legend has arisen about the Ragdoll: he is said to be insensitive to pain. This is completely wrong. It’s just that he has a very confident nature.

Sociable with other animals, he generally gets along well with dogs and it is not uncommon for them to share the same bed!

Beware though: with an extraordinary kindness and sociability, the Ragdoll does not tolerate solitude.

The Ragdoll is essentially an indoor cat, preferring the tranquility, comfort and security of the home to the hustle and bustle of the outdoors.

Living Conditions

Even if its calm and patience allows it to adapt to all family structures and most environments, the Ragdoll is more of an indoor cat than a feline intended to explore the surroundings of its home.

Its needs, in terms of outings and activity, are much less than those of other cat breeds.

It is even better to keep him safe as he is not good at defending himself if he is attacked, even by a fellow cat.

Life in an apartment therefore suits him perfectly.

Taking Care of a Ragdoll Cat

The Ragdoll requires regular brushing, because his fur tends to get tangled, but also for the health of his hair and skin, especially during the moulting period.

Brushing the Ragdoll should be done once or twice a week to help get rid of his dead hair, and thus prevent the latter from ending up in large numbers in his intestine and forming trichobezoars.

When brushing, emphasis should be placed on the “pants” area, formed by part of the cat’s hindquarters. The coat in this part of the cat’s body is generally denser and fuller.

A warm bath can also be useful to get rid of dead hairs, followed by drying and brushing as gently as possible.

It is recommended to brush his teeth once a week to prevent gingivitis.

Vetoquinol markets a kit composed of a toothbrush with 2 heads, a finger brush and a poultry flavoured toothpaste. It contains enzymes to polish and remove plaque from the teeth.

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It is important to regularly check the condition of his eyes and ears: in case of impurities, use a clean and soft cloth to wash the corner of the eyes, or a cotton pad soaked in warm water (to be renewed for each eye).

If the inside of the ears is waxy, they will be cleaned with a cotton soaked in warm water and cider vinegar diluted at 50%. You can also use a veterinary product designed for this purpose.

Finally, the length of the claws should be monitored and trimmed if necessary with an adapted nail clipper (in pet stores). Ask your veterinarian to show you how to proceed.

Ragdoll and Food

When it comes to nutrition, cats have specific needs, which is especially true for kittens and senior cats.

It is very important to respect the nutritional needs of the Ragdoll: you can get kibble in pet stores or on specialized sites, rather than in supermarkets.

It is also better to avoid human food, which is too fatty or too salty, and to limit yourself to one portion of mash per day to limit weight gain, because the Ragdoll is, like the Persian, subject to overweight.

Make sure that he always has fresh water available, and we always prefer good quality kibble that allows him to chew and keep his teeth healthy.

Take care to obtain a range of kibble adapted to the situation: sterilized cat, indoor cat (or “light”), kitten, elderly cat…

Royal Canin kibble specially formulated for Ragdoll contain taurine, EPA and DHA to ensure good heart health. Their Omega 3 acids helps to maintain their silky coat.

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Ragdoll Health and Pathologies

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy – Source: Wikimedia CommonsCC BY 3.0

The Ragdoll is generally of good constitution, but can be affected by feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a cardiac syndrome which results in the thickening of the walls of the heart.

It is an inherited condition that can affect all cats, but research has unfortunately shown that it is more common in Ragdolls.

A DNA test, developed especially for the breed, can diagnose mutations in the gene responsible for this disorder.

Ragdoll can also have renal fragility, which can progress to polycystosis (formation of cysts in the kidneys).

Rest assured: this doesn’t mean that all Ragdolls are subject to it! But breeding methods have, as with many breeds, developed in these cats an increased risk of genetic diseases.

Price of a Ragdoll Kitten

The price of a Ragdoll kitten will depend on the sex, the pedigree of the parents, the conformity to breed standards, etc.

  • Price of a male Ragdoll: 700 to 2000 dollars
  • Price of a female Ragdoll: 750 to 3,000 dollars

Annual Cost

The annual cost of a Ragdoll is between $600 and $950.

Conclusion on the Ragdoll Cat Breed

The Ragdoll cat is surely the perfect indoor and leisure feline: first elegant, placid and easy-going, he is very attached to his master and will not suffer from spending his days on the sofa!

Originally from the United States, where he is very popular, he is a little less known in Europe but he definitely has followers there.

In the “cat-dog” category, the Ragdoll is without hesitation the most convincing: a breed to discover as soon as possible, if your heart still balances between Persian, Burmese and Siamese…

Happiness guaranteed for the whole family, young and old.

About the Ragdoll, the expression does not lie: to try it is to adopt it!

Frequently Asked Questions about the Ragdoll

Does the Ragdoll Require Significant Maintenance?

The Ragdoll’s coat requires regular grooming and combing, but much less frequent than for a Persian for example.

This is due to the fact that he does not have an undercoat and that his coat is quite silky.

Why Do Ragdolls Go Limp?

When you take a Ragdoll, it relaxes so much that it will tend to go limp. This is also why they are called “floppy cats”.

Seal Lynx Pointed Ragdoll – Source: Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 3.0

Do Ragdolls Meow a Lot?

A Ragdoll does not meow more than another cat. He’ll meow when he needs something. Be concerned if your Ragdoll starts meowing more than usual: he may have a specific problem. But most of the time, it is because he’s hungry!

Can a Ragdoll Be Left Alone?

Due to their very affectionate nature, Ragdolls are much less tolerant of loneliness than other cat breeds. You can leave a Ragdoll alone during the day while you go to work, but be aware of this specificity.

Is the Ragdoll Hypoallergenic?

No, the Ragdoll is not hypoallergenic.

Can I Walk a Ragdoll Outside?

Even if the Ragdoll is rather an indoor cat, nothing forbids to walk him. In this case, as with other cats, it is advisable to buy a harness and a leash and to gradually get used to this accessory.

For more information, you can consult this article which will explain how to get a cat used to the leash.

Do Ragdolls Like Baths?

A bath once a month is sufficient. This will prevent oil build-up and reduce the  shedding of fur. After bathing, dry your Ragdoll immediately to prevent him from catching cold.

Ragdoll Photo by monicore from Pixabay


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