Ragdoll Cat: Toy With Them All You Want

Studio image of a beautiful Ragdol cat
Martha Harvey
Written by Martha Harvey

Cats are said to possess some of the most flexible bodies in the animal world. Taking that into consideration, you’d think hugging them will be like hugging a squishy and pliant pillow—it’s just about the best feeling in the world. Unfortunately, most cats don’t actually like to be hugged. They like to stay near you or even in your lap all right, but the moment you pick them up, they will wiggle and struggle and perhaps even scratch you in a bid to make you let them go. Luckily, there is one cat breed that’s so docile and pliant, they will let you hug them all you want: the Ragdoll cat.

The Ragdoll cat is a very interesting breed. Firstly, they’re one of the largest cat breeds. Although their size may be intimidating to some, they’re huge teddy bears that love hanging around their owner and other animals. They have even been coined the nickname “puppy cats” as they love to buddy up with dogs. The most noticeable and unusual trait when it comes to the Ragdoll is that they collapse into the arms of anyone who is holding them—allowing you to cradle them like a baby.

Studio image of Ragdoll kittens

If you’re looking for a quiet and affectionate cat that loves to be held, snuggled with, and petted, then a Ragdoll is a great option. They’re extremely friendly and social with humans and other animals. Thus, if your household is already full of children and pets, they’ll make a great drama-free addition.

In this article, you’re going to find out everything you need to know about the Ragdoll cat. From Ragdoll cat temperament to their personality and health, history and grooming, you’ll be given a rundown of what the breed consists of. Keep on reading if you want to learn more about this loving and quirky breed.

Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability: High

  • Grooming: Low Maintenance

  • Health: Good

  • All Around Friendliness: Very Good; they get along with everyone

  • Exercise Needs: Moderate

Cat Breed GroupSemi Long-Haired / Long-Haired, Crossbreed
WeightMales: 15 to 20 lbs
Females: 10 to 15 lbs
Lifespan12 to 17 years

The Ragdoll cat is one of the most desirable and popular breeds today. People love this breed not only because of its size but also its personality and temperament. Though its size can be intimidating to some, the Ragdoll is a gentle giant that loves to interact with people and snuggle up to them while watching TV.

This native California cat was bred in Riverside by a woman named Ann Baker. She started to breed her domestic white long-haired cat, Josephine, with other breeds—eventually forming the breed she named the Ragdoll. The cat’s most noticeable trait was their habit of collapsing into the arms of whoever is holding them, allowing them to cradle the cat—hence the name.

Beautiful ragdol cat sitting on the floor in house

Other breeders jumped in and also started to breed the Ragdoll. They, however, started to move away from Baker once Baker’s eccentricity over the breed became overwhelming. The other breeders then formed the Ragdoll Fanciers Club International which focused on standardizing the breed and receiving acceptance by cat registries. In 2000, the Ragdoll was officially accepted into the Cat Fanciers’ Association.

Now, the Ragdoll is the second most popular breed thanks to its loving and laid back personality, as well as quirky doll-like characteristics. In addition to their cool temperaments, Ragdolls are ideal for families with children and other animals as they are well-known to bond with cat-friendly dogs and other cats.

They’re also highly intelligent. Through positive reinforcement, they will be able to learn any trick you try to teach them. They love playing games, fetch, and going for walks on a leash. Match this with their large size, and they’re practically a fluffy, flexible-bodied dog.

Main Highlights

  • Ragdoll cat lifespan is quite long. The longest-living Ragdoll was Rags, who lived until he was 19 ½ years old.

  • A common myth is that Ragdolls are resistant to pain, which is not true. Despite their pliant, flexible body, they do feel pain, hurt, and discomfort.

  • Ragdolls love to be around humans. They’ll follow you, play games such as fetch, and will even walk on a leash like a dog.

  • Their nickname is “puppy cats” as they frequently build friendships with dogs.

  • The Ragdoll is the second most popular cat breed right after the Bengal cat.

  • Ragdoll kittens are completely white when born. However, after they are 10 days old, they start to develop their patterns.

  • They’re slow at developing and usually peak at around 4 years of age.

  • They’re also slow at developing their coat color and length, which takes around two to three years to develop fully.

  • They’re not climbers but rather enjoy hanging out on floor-level or couch-level heights.

  • Ragdolls come in four patterns: bi-color, van, mitted, and colorpoint.

  • They also come in six colors: blue, lilac, red, cream, seal, and chocolate.

  • When you hold a Ragdoll, they collapse in your arms.

  • If outside, Ragdolls have been known to hunt squirrels and bugs.

Breed History

The Ragdoll is an American-native breed which originated in Riverside, California in the 1960s. The breed was created by a woman named Ann Baker who owned a domestic, long-haired white cat called Josephine.

Baker chose cats who had a gentle and laidback personality to breed with Josephine. Once bred, Baker ended up with a cat she called the Ragdoll for its noticeable characteristic of flopping into the arms of anyone who holds it.

It’s possible that Birmans, Burmese, and Persian cats were also added to the Ragdoll’s initial breeding program. However, Baker started making outlandish claims about the Ragdoll—stating that it had alien influence, infusions of human genes, and was a part of CIA experiments. Though, no evidence has ever been found of this.

Ragdoll Cat lying on bed on his back

Those who also started to breed Ragdolls broke away from Baker and formed the Ragdoll Fanciers Club International with the goal of standardizing the Ragdoll breed and receiving acceptance by cat registries.

The Cat Fanciers’ Association started registering the cats in 1993, with the Ragdoll receiving full acceptance in 2000. Today, almost all registries accept the Ragdoll breed—including The International Cat Association and the American Cat Fanciers Association.


Ragdoll cat size is one of their many defining features. The breed is one of the largest in the cat world. Females—typically smaller than males—can range in weight between 10 and 15 pounds while males range between 15 and 20 pounds.

However, the Ragdoll cat is extremely slow at maturing and doesn’t reach full size until around four years of age. They’re also large in height—ranging from 9 to 11 inches tall. Add their bushy coat on top of their height and weight, and you have one big cat.

Ragdoll-Kitten lying down and resting

They’re sturdy and muscular in build, so they’re able to handle their weight quite well. They’re described as having a strong neck with a long and broad body. Their paws are tufted, and their ears are medium-sized with rounded tips that tilt slightly forward.

Personality and Character

Ragdoll cat personality is unlike any other breed. Their most quirky and unusual trait is that they collapse into the arms of whoever is holding them—allowing you to cradle them on their back.

In addition, they also love affection and attention from people. They’re known to greet their owners at the door and follow them around the house wherever they go. If you take a seat on your couch or are watching a movie, expect your Ragdoll to hop on to you and snuggle up with you for some one-on-one attention.

Though they’re known as quiet and laid-back cats, it doesn’t mean that they’re inactive and lazy. Actually, they’re quite active. They’re highly intelligent and love playing games and interacting with people. If you train them properly, they’re able to play fetch with you and retrieve whatever you throw their way. Through positive reinforcement, they’re able to learn quickly.

Ragdoll blue point kitten playing with his mother

Though they’re not talkative cats, it doesn’t mean they won’t voice their opinion if they feel something isn’t right. For example, if you’re late with feeding them, they’ll let out a small voice to let you know that you’ve forgotten it’s dinner time. Overall, they’re very well-mannered and are highly adaptable to any home.

You’ll usually see your Ragdoll on the floor or the couch, but never higher than that. They’re not a fan of heights and prefer to stay on the same level as people rather than on the highest shelf in the room.

Health and Potential Problems

It’s important to know that both pedigreed and mixed-breed cats are subject to health problems. The health problems typically depend on the genetics they have. Common Ragdoll cat illnesses include the following:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: a form of heart disease that’s commonly inherited in Ragdoll cats. The good news is, a DNA-based test is available which can identify if your cat carries the mutations that cause this disease or not.

  • Bladder stones

  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP): a rare disease which primarily affects young cats under two years of age and older cats over 10 years of age. It’s caused by the feline infectious peritonitis virus which is spread through an infected cat’s saliva and feces. FIP is incurable and almost always fatal with symptoms that are relatively muted.

Care Features

You’ll want to make sure you do a weekly brushing of their teeth. Also, check their ears weekly. This will prevent unnecessary infections or health issues from occurring.

You need to make sure their litter box is kept spotless as they’re very picky when it comes to hygiene. In addition, since they have multiple growth spurts, make sure that their litter box is large enough for them to grow into.

Adorable Ragdoll Cat looking up to the camera

The Ragdoll is highly affectionate and loves being around people. Thus, it’s important that you give your cat a minimum of 15 minutes a day of bonding time. If you have other animals, that’s even better as they love to socialize.

If your Ragdoll is going to be an outdoor cat, make sure that you have proper tagging as this is a desirable cat for people to steal. If your cat’s an indoor one, make sure that you provide them with an ample amount of room to run around and enough toys to keep them occupied.

Feeding Schedule

Like all other cats, the Ragdoll is an obligate carnivore, which means you’ll need to keep your cat on a diet which is high in fats and protein. Stay away from carbohydrates as cats are not able to properly digest them.

In general, the feeding schedule of a Ragdoll will depend on a couple of things such as whether or not they’re spayed or neutered, if they’re an indoor or outdoor cat, and whether or not they have any health issues.

Two Ragdoll Kittens playing together

Though, typically, a healthy Ragdoll loves to eat small meals and snacks throughout the day. For a more specific feeding schedule, we highly recommend that you consult the vet. The vet will also be able to recommend food which may be specific to your cat. They could need a special type of food especially if your cat has underlying health conditions.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

Ragdolls are large cats with a semi-long pointed coat and bright blue eyes. For domestic cats, they’re one of the largest breeds. The Ragdoll has a light-colored body; the color of their hair is usually darker around the face, legs, ears, and tails.

They come in bicolor, mitted, van, and point patterns. Though, they’re slow at maturing, meaning you won’t see their fully developed coat until they’re around four years of age. They also come in six colors: red, cream, lilac, chocolate, seal, and blue with points that can be in solid, tortie, or lynx.

A Ragdoll’s long fur coat has little undercoat—meaning that their coat is less likely to mat and shed. However, this doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to combing and grooming. You’ll still need to comb them twice a week to remove dead hair which can cause tangles. Make sure that you comb their coat thoroughly, specifically in areas around the legs.

a Ragdoll male cat sitting

After a session with a steel-toothed comb, use a rubber brush to remove any loose hairs and to smooth out their coat. Ragdolls love being groomed, so, take your time. Their coat changes throughout the seasons and is also affected by hormonal ups and downs. However, as usual, the thickness of their coats peaks in winter.

When it comes to bathing, you can bathe your Ragdoll as needed—which can range from every couple of weeks to every couple of months, depending on whether you keep them as an indoor or outdoor cat. If you notice that their coat is greasy, then it’s a good indication that they need a bath.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

The Ragdoll is the perfect cat if you’re looking for one to join your family. They’re extremely docile and laid back—rarely showing their claws while playing. The Ragdoll doesn’t mind being played with by children and will join a tea party or get dressed up like a doll.

Either male or female is ideal for families with children. However, males may be better due to their larger size. Of course, you’ll want to supervise your kids to ensure that your Ragdoll is being treated respectfully.

Grey And White Ragdoll Cat relaxing in the yard

Because of the size of the cat, you’ll need to show your children how to properly hold them—one arm underneath the front legs and one underneath the hind legs. You never want to hold a Ragdoll with the hind end hanging down.

The Ragdoll can live contently with other animals such as dogs, so long as they’re cat-friendly. Ragdolls are known to be “puppy cats” as they usually develop bonds with the dogs around them. Though, you’ll want to introduce the Ragdoll to your other animals slowly so they can adjust.

Wrap Up

The Ragdoll is a lovable and quirky breed who loves to socialize with anyone they come in contact with. They love to spend time with their owners—snuggling up against them while hanging out on the couch or in the bed. They make exceptional companions due to their docile demeanor.

They love attention whether it’s coming from an adult, a child, or an animal—so long as they get the chance to play and be petted. Thus, if you have other animals in the house or children, this is a breed that’ll adapt quickly and will make friends with everyone—so long as the other pets are cat-friendly.

ragdoll cat lying on the kitchen floor

If you enjoy combing your cat, then you’ll love the Ragdoll as they love being combed just as much. Their bushy fur—though it looks intimidating—comes with no undercoat, so you don’t have to worry about shedding. Plus, their giant bodies will make a great tummy warmer.

Do you think the Ragdoll is the breed for you? If, instead of a cat with a laidback personality, you think you’ll get along better with a chatty and cutely bossy cat, take a look at this other breed. Let us know what you think in the comment section below! If you already have a Ragdoll, we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences about this breed!

About the author
Martha Harvey
Martha Harvey

Martha Harvey is a skilled veterinarian and a member of American Veterinary Medical Association from Greeley, Colorado. She has 20 years experience of working in Animal Hospital. Martha loves all of her patients, but her favorite one is the Russian Blue cat Stitch, who lives with her.