a close up of a ragdoll cats face


Ragdoll cats get their name from their tendency to go limp when picked up. They do, however, enjoy being picked up and cuddled often. These cats are very good with adults, children, families and other pets. 

Desiring attention, the breed is known to follow their owners around the house, looking for affection. The Ragdoll is a large breed with a sweet and gentle disposition.

The Ragdoll is a very attractive breed with striking blue eyes, pleasing coloring and a docile temperament. It is important to know that this breed does have a relatively short (10 years) lifespan. 

Best suited to living indoors, this breed is not tolerant to extreme temperatures. Their grooming and exercise needs are considered to be in the low range. With these characteristics, Ragdolls would be very suitable for seniors or those wanting a therapy animal.

Ragdolls Information

  • Average Height: 9 to 11 inches
  • Average Length: 17 to 21 inches
  • Average Weight: 10 to 20 pounds
  • Coat Type: Medium length
  • Coat Appearance: They have a medium, silky, and soft coat
  • Coat Colors: Six color points – seal, red, cream, chocolate, lilac, and blue
  • Grooming Needs: Low
  • Shedding: Low
  • Brushing Requirements: They need to be brushed once a week
  • Sensitive to Touch: No, they love being picked up and carried around 
  • Excessive Meow: No
  • Good tolerance to Heat and Cold: No, they need a moderate climate. 
  • Good Pet: They are kind, affectionate, and kid-friendly, so yes!
  • Safe with Children: They get along very well with children, so yes!
  • Good with Other Cats: Yes
  • Good with Other Pets: Yes
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Moderate
  • Suitable for First-Time Cat Owners: Yes. 
  • Exercise Needs: Low 
  • Weight Gain: High
  • Health Concerns: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Cryptococcosis, Calcium oxalate urolithiasis, and Feline infectious peritonitis, and some dental diseases. 
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 12 to 17 years

Physical Appearance of Ragdolls

The Ragdoll has a medium to large-sized body with heavy bones. The body is muscular and solid with a somewhat rectangular shape. They have a full chest and a thick neck. The shoulders and the hindquarters have an equal length.

The hind legs are slightly longer than front legs and the coat length of the hind legs is also shorter. The paws are large and rounded. They have a long and fluffy tail.

The head is proportionately large and broad, having a wedge shape that is balanced from all sides. The snout is slightly long and gently rounded. They have medium-sized ears that are round and slightly bent in the forward direction. The cats have large blue eyes in an oval shape.

They have a moderately long and silky coat that feels fluffy and soft. The fur on the face and the shoulder blades are shorter than on the rest of the body. Most cats of this breed have a cream to white shade on the coat with four distinct style patterns – bicolor, van, mitted, and color print. 

All the patterned coats have color points on different parts of the body, prominently on the ears, eyes, paws, and face. There are six color points found in the cats – seal, lilac, chocolate, red, cream, and blue. These point colors can be solid, lynx (or tortie-lynx), tortie, or torbie. As they grow the color points get darker. 

a ragdoll kitten playing with a toy

Temperament of Ragdolls

The Ragdoll cats are affectionate and gentle. They are relaxed and have an even-temper which makes them an excellent pet for large families. The cats are friendly and form strong bonds with their owners. As the name suggests the cat likes to be held and carried around in the hands of the family members. 

They are medium energy cats and like to spend a great part of the day sleeping. But small, frequent sessions of play with the family members is something they definitely enjoy. The Ragdoll is a quick learner and loves to play different games with its owners. If you have puzzle games for them to get treats, they will figure them out fairly quickly

They are not very vocal and are generally well-mannered cats. Ragdolls are calm and can stay put for a while. Jumping and running around the house is not their thing. 

a ragdoll kitten laying in some flowers

Training a Ragdoll

These cats are intelligent and easy to train. As long as you have a litter box that gives them some privacy, and is big enough for them to comfortably fit inside you should have no problems with them using it.  Just remember to keep it clean as this is the main reason why a cat may not use the litter box.

You may see a few accidents in the beginning but do not punish them. Give them praise and treats whenever they use the litter box. This will help them to understand what kind of behavior is expected of them. 

To take care of their scratching habits, set up scratching posts around the house. Whenever you see them scratching your furniture or any other object, pick them and take the cat to the nearest scratching post. This will take care of their scratching habits and also prevent damage to your furniture. It may take time for them to get used to it in the beginning but eventually, they will learn.

If you already have pets in your home then there are some basic steps to take to teach the new cat how to interact with the existing pets.  After you’ve introduced the new cat to each pet, observe their behavior.  If the new cat is doing things that the other pets don’t like, you should step in and tell them no.  You want to do this before an existing pet tells the new one for you.

Clicker training is becoming more popular now. Make a noise with the clicker when the cat does something which is considered good behavior. It will let them know that this is something that you like and hopefully will do it more frequently.

Their Compatibility with Children

The Ragdoll cats are kid-friendly and love spending time around them. They love being cuddled or carried around by children. They have good tolerance towards kids and can be quite forgiving when kids don’t play with them as nicely as they should. 

Since the Ragdolls are heavy, some younger children may not be able to hold them without hurting the cat. If they are big enough to carry them, teach them to keep one hand between the hind legs and the other between the front legs. 

Have someone supervise the cat when they are playing will toddlers. While the cats can be quite forgiving, their fur can be quite sensitive to being pulled. Being around them will help to keep an eye on their interactions and prevent accidents from occurring.

Best Climate for Ragdolls

The Ragdoll is an indoor cat and room temperature is best for them. They can also adapt to most climates because of their snout. Because they have a slightly longer snout they’re better able to regulate their body temperature than other breeds.

In the spring they will shed most of their winter coat and summer heat won’t be terrible for them.   In the winter months they are fine with a cooler temperature in the home because of their thick silky coat.  

a ragdoll laying down and watching something in the distance

The Attention a Ragdoll Needs

Ragdolls need a lot of attention.They really like it when you spend time with them and show your affection to make them feel loved. Though they are not active, to get your attention they can follow you around the house. You can also find them greeting you at the door when you come back home. They like cuddles and being picked up and held fondly. 

Ragdolls should not be left alone for long periods of time. They do not like being left alone and can start feeling lonely or even become depressed. If you have a family that is busy and away for most of the day, Ragdolls are not for you. Ragdolls need to interact with their family members. Playing with them or letting them sit on your lap is what will keep the Ragdolls happy.

a ragdoll laying down

Health Issues

Periodontal disease is a common tooth and gum condition found in Ragdolls. It becomes serious when the plaque build up in the mouth enters the bloodstream. This can further lead to kidney and liver diseases. To take care of this brush their teeth regularly.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a hereditary heart condition that causes thickening of the heart muscles. It impacts the efficiency of the heart and common symptoms are lethargy and seizures. 

Though it is a common heart condition in many cat breeds, it is more prominent in Ragdolls. It is thought that 10-15% of the cats can have this condition.  You should get your cat examined by the vet once every other year to check if your cat has this disease. 

Calcium oxalate urolithiasis is a common acquired disease found in the Ragdolls. This is caused by high levels of oxalate in urine that can lead to the formation of crystals. These crystals can stick together to form kidney stones (solid mass). 

Affected cats need to be fed with a prescription diet suggested by the vet. This will help to regulate the pH level of the urine.

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is also a disease that some Ragdolls can have. It is a type of viral disease caused by the virus FCov which attacks the intestinal walls. Initially, there would be no visible symptoms but as the infection spreads, it can cause respiratory gastrointestinal conditions. 

If you see these symptoms in your Ragdoll, take them to the vet immediately. The sooner the diagnosis starts the better would be the chances of the cat living a healthier life ahead.

The cats can also have a lung infection called Cryptococcosis. The infection usually happens by inhalation of a fungus. Gradually it can spread and also affect the brain.

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

Ragdoll cats have low maintenance needs. Their coat sheds moderately and needs to be brushed once a week. As they have a silky coat, you should only use a soft bristle brush. Brush the areas near the legs thoroughly as most mats occur in these areas. This will help to remove the loose hair and also maintain the soft texture of the coat. 

Clean the area under the tail with water frequently. The dense fur in this area can have bits of poop stuck to it. You need to give them a bath only if they need it. If you feel their coat has become dirty or too oily, bathe them using a high-quality animal shampoo.

To maintain good dental health, brush their teeth two times a week. Use a toothpaste recommended by your vet. To keep the ears clean, check it once every week for dirt or wax build-up. If it needs cleaning, use a small cotton cloth to wipe only the visible area of the ears.

Like other cats, they can also have teary eyes. Use a moist cotton cloth to softly wipe the stains.

Trim their nails every other week. This will prevent damage to your furniture and also accidents from happening while the cat is playing with your family. Check their coat weekly, along with paws, eyes, and ears for signs of redness of infection. If there are any signs of redness or infection, call your vet immediately. 

a ragdoll cat laying in the grass looking at something in the distance
a large pile of multi colored cat food

Feeding A Ragdoll

An adult Ragdoll cat needs ⅓ to ½ cup of high-quality cat food daily. This should be divided into two meals. Since the Ragdolls can gain weight quickly, avoid serving them table food. 

The food that you feed should contain taurine which is an essential nutrient that every cat needs. It is an amino acid that nourishes the brain, eyes, and also helps to improve the immune system of the cats. Consult your vet to find out if the food that you serve has the necessary nutrients. 

If your cat has calcium oxalate crystals, you should only feed them the specified prescription diet recommended by your vet. A balanced diet will help to prevent increasing the severity of the disease.

Related Questions:

Are there any differences between male and female Ragdolls?

While most of the Ragdolls are loving and affectionate, the males are somewhat more open and outgoing in comparison to the females. The females tend to be selective about making friends and approaching other animals. Also, in terms of physical appearance females are considerably smaller than males.

Are Ragdolls a mixed breed cat?

Yes. The cats were first developed by Ann Baker, a breeder from California in the 1960s. She used a domestic longhair in the beginning by carefully selecting even-tempered and large-sized cats. 

This resulted in a cat that would flop joyfully when picked up in arms, hence the name Ragdoll. In the later years, Persians, Birmans, and Burmese also contributed to the breeding of Ragdolls. What resulted is the present day Ragdoll cats.

Do Ragdoll kittens mature slowly?

Yes, Ragdolls are a slow maturing breed. They can take up to 4 years to reach their adult size. Kittens are born pure white. The color points on the coat come gradually and it can take up to two years for it to become fully visible.

C&R Family Pets logo
Quick Links