Ragdoll

Ragdoll cats are gentle, loving companion pets who get along great with children. Learn more about this gorgeous, gentle breed.
By Hilary Braaksma
Ragdoll
Coat Length
Pattern
Other Traits
Temperament

Ragdoll

height
  • 9—11 inches
weight
  • 10—20 pounds
life span
  • 13—18 years
good with
  • children
  • seniors
  • dogs
  • cats
  • families
temperament
  • sociable
  • affectionate
  • bold
intelligence
  • high
shedding amount
  • occasional
playfulness
  • high
activity level
  • calm
vocalness
  • quiet
coat length
  • long
colors
  • white
  • black / ebony
  • red / orange
  • blue / gray
  • lavender / silver
  • cream / beige / tan
  • chocolate / brown / sable
  • lilac
patterns
  • bi-color
  • color point
other traits
  • easy to train
  • easy to groom
  • friendly toward humans
  • friendly toward other pets
  • friendly toward strangers
  • low prey drive
  • good for first-time pet owners
  • strong loyalty tendencies
  • good lap cat
  • tolerates being picked up

Ragdolls are large, lovable cats who are incredibly patient and gentle. Despite their imposing size, these cats are a calm and quiet breed who love nothing more than playing and cuddling with their pet parents.

This breed is typically easy to care for and incredibly social. They make great family pets and get along well with children. If you have the time and attention to give this fluffy kitty, he or she will reward you with endless loyalty and love.

Because ragdolls require careful breeding, they’re less common than other breeds of cats. Ragdoll prices can vary from $400 for a kitten to as high as $2,000 for a show cat. The cost of your cat will depend on age and pedigree.

Appearance

These beautiful cats are large and muscular with semi-long hair and a soft, silky coat. Ragdolls are a low-shedding breed, but you may notice heavier seasonal shedding in the spring. The lack of an undercoat is to thank for this breed’s low shedding, but they are not hypoallergenic.

These cats stand between 9–11 inches tall and are usually 17–21 inches in length (excluding the tail). They weigh 10–20 pounds, with male cats typically weighing more, according to the Cat Fanciers' Association.

The three types of ragdoll coats are colorpoint, bicolor, and mitted. Colorpoint coats are darker around the eyes, ears, tail, limbs, and sometimes stomach. Bicolor ragdoll cats are similar in appearance to colorpoint ragdolls, but these cats will have an inverted-V coloring pattern on the face and light belly and limb color. Mitted ragdolls look like their colorpoint counterparts but have extra light spots near the paws, giving the appearance of mittens.

Ragdoll colors include black, white, gray, blue, cream, lilac, chocolate, seal, and red. This breed is known to have blue eyes, but it is not an exclusive feature of the ragdoll.

Temperament

This adorable breed is about as docile as cats come. In fact, the name ragdoll comes from their tendency to go limp when picked up. These cats love to be held and babied and will relax in your arms for as long as you’ll let them.

The ragdoll’s personality is smart, gentle, and super affectionate. These kind kitties love and crave human attention, but they’re rarely demanding. Ragdolls are extremely loyal and devoted to their people, making them wonderful companion pets.

When it comes to noise, you might not hear much from these quiet cats. Ragdolls don’t tend to make a ton of noise unless something is bothering them. When they do speak up, they typically make small, sweet noises to let you know they’re hungry or need some love.

Unlike most cats, the ragdoll doesn’t get a kick out of conquering the highest points in the household. These kitties prefer to stay low to the ground—the CFA calls them "floor cats"—but are more than happy to jump up on a sofa or bed to lounge in your lap.

Living Needs

Ragdolls are generally easy to care for and a good fit for most families, kids, adults, and seniors, the Ragdoll Fanciers Club says. This breed gets along well with other pets. If you have the space to accommodate these large cats, as well as tons of love to give them, they’ll make a wonderful addition to your household.

Your ragdoll can be left alone for short periods of time—say a workday—but they’ll definitely miss you. These cats crave human attention and do best in households where one or more family member is usually present during the day. A ragdoll frequently left at home without his humans will surely get lonely. And when you do leave for just a few short hours, don’t be surprised to come back and find your ragdoll patiently waiting at the door for you!

Keep a watchful eye on your super-social ragdoll. These cats have been bred to have trusting, friendly personalities and will approach anyone without much caution. If you take them outside, which experts will advise against, be sure to leash them and keep them close. Ragdolls typically will not defend themselves, and this leaves them open to attacks from more aggressive animals.

Though they’re docile, that doesn’t mean low activity. These cats love to play and be part of family activities. After a busy day, they’re more than happy to relax in your arms or on your lap for lots of snuggles.

Care

The ragdoll’s grooming needs are relatively simple. These are very clean animals who take care of most of their own needs, but they might still require bathing every now and then. When you notice his coat looking greasy and stringy, it’s time to put him in the tub. 

“Daily combing will keep a ragdoll in good shape,” says Nicole Goudey-Rigger, owner and CEO of Pets a Go Go in New York and Connecticut. “Starting early in a kitten’s life helps and a dedicated amount of time daily is key to avoiding professional groomer visits.”

Your ragdoll will also need other regular pet upkeep like nail trimming and ear cleaning.

Ragdolls are playful animals who will enjoy having toys left out for them. They’re not super high climbers, so cat trees should be low to the ground. This breed of cat doesn’t require a lot of extras in the way of exercise. You can expect them to spend a lot of time laying around, with short bursts of play and activity.

Ragdolls are typically easy-to-train animals. They can learn to come when called and to retrieve toys. They’re also usually quick to pick up on the basics, like scratching posts and litter boxes. Speaking of litter boxes—these big boys need big boxes to accommodate them and allow them to comfortably squat. During training, these people-loving cats thrive with lots of positive reinforcement, snacks, and praise.

Socializing is easy since this trusting breed wants to be every human’s best buddy. The hardest part is keeping a careful eye on these social butterflies, who can get themselves into danger (or lost, or stolen) trying to make friends.

Feed your ragdoll high-quality cat food and monitor him to prevent them from overeating—these cats are prone to obesity. Check-in with your vet to learn how much and how often to feed your individual cat.

Health

Ragdoll cats have a lengthy lifespan of 13–18 years and are typically healthy pets.

The ragdoll’s greatest health risks include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and urinary tract issues. Reputable breeders will screen for health issues in your kitten, but it’s important to have them screened regularly into adulthood. HCM and other health problems can go undetected until later in your cat’s life.

“Like all other purebreds, health issues can be more common (simply due to the smaller gene pool),” Goudey-Rigger says. “Having a good relationship with an experienced cat vet is imperative since there is some increase in issues that can be at least postponed through diet and regular veterinary care.”

History

A breeder named Ann Baker developed the ragdoll in the 1960s in Riverside, Calif. The ragdoll breeding process involved careful selection for gentle, non-aggressive traits. As time went on, Baker had increasingly eccentric ideas about the ragdoll breed. At one point, she even claimed the breed was the result of medically altered genetics, although that claim is unfounded. 

Breeders who were franchised under Baker eventually distanced themselves due to increasing strain with Baker and continued breeding the adorable, docile cats we know and love today.

Fun Facts