The Ragdoll Cat is an Affectionate Breed
Ragdoll cats have striking looks and a cuddly personality that have made them one of the most sought after breeds of cat. Their name reflects their personality since, when picked up, they usually go limp in your arms like a ragdoll. Sometimes they will even flop spontaneously at your feet in hopes of attention. They are also one of the biggest breeds of cats, often reaching 15-20 pounds.
The ragdoll cat is a relatively new breed, but you wouldn't know it from their popularity. Once you meet a ragdoll cat, it's impossible not to fall in love and want one of your own.
Over time, I have had three ragdoll cats. All three have been remarkable and gorgeous cats. It's quite common for us to trip over one because they have decided to become our own personal shadow. Lucy will often wander into the room and flop over on her side, wanting attention. Toby frequently chases after us so he can be nearby and Nicky used to love curling up beside one of us on the couch or bed. Ragdoll cats are a bit like the cat version of a dog.
Images are author's own unless otherwise credited.
Below image of playful ragdoll is by Antti
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Ragdoll Cat History
A little about their roots
Compared to other cat breeds, ragdoll cats haven't been around for very long. Though scientific evidence is somewhat lacking, popular belief is that the ragdoll originated in the 1960s from one cat, Josephine. She was hit by a car and upon recovering, became extremely docile. At the time of the accident, she was pregnant, but the vet who treated her was able to save her kittens. She had had several litters of normal kitten prior to the accident, but all of her litters afterwards shared her new temperament. It is a truly strange occurrence, but one that I am extremely thankful for since it led to such wonderful pets.
Ann Baker, who lived behind Josephine's owner and was an already established cat breeder, purchased several of Josephine's new kittens upon hearing of their passive personalities. She knew they were unique and took the opportunity to breed them, paying special attention to their temperaments. The result is the now common ragdoll cat breed.
However, there is a great deal of controversy surrounding Baker's breeding of ragdolls. She established a monopoly on the breed, not allowing anyone to breed them unless they followed very strict rules. She also made some preposterous claims about her cats, stating that they did not feel pain. At one point, the rumor that ragdoll cats came from aliens even emerged. In present day, the breeding of ragdoll cats has stabalized, with many breeders around the world.
Ultimately, the birth of the ragdoll cat breed is likely just a fluke that has carried on through the generations since Josephine.
Photo by big-ashb and used under Creative Commons liscence.
Beautiful Cat Necklace
This gorgeous necklace may not be ragdolls, but these cats are too cute not to include. If you love cats or know someone who does, this elegant cat necklace is a perfect gift. The different sizes makes it appear to be a mom (or dad) and kitten, which is a very sweet image. The color contrast is nice and and the quality makes this a wonderful necklace.
Unique Cat Trees for your Ragdoll Cat
Since ragdoll cats shouldn't be outdoors unless supervised, they miss out on a lot of climbing opportunities. Despite what some experts say, ragdoll cats enjoy high places just as much as other cats. They need the chance to climb and jump indoors, and you certainly don't want your furniture to be their playground! Try giving them their own personal cat tree or cat house which they can climb, scratch, and play on to their heart's content. These are some of the best cat trees out there and your cat is sure to agree.
Their floppy personalities
The defining characteristic of a ragdoll cat is their tendency to go limp when picked up. Of course, they do not do this every time. If they are nervous or irritated, they will act like any other cat. But generally, they are very content to be handled by their owners and will be relaxed in your arms. In addition to this, I have seen ragdolls flop over in the middle of the floor in the hopes of attention.
To go with their ragdoll habit, the breed is known to be gentle and loving. Again, they can still have their days when they are in bad moods, but they are almost always happy to be near people. It is common for ragdoll cats to be at the door to welcome their family home after a long day. Some people actually complain that their ragdoll cats are too clingy, so if you are planning to get a ragdoll, make sure you are prepared for your own personal shadow!
Image by fragment fi under the Creative Commons liscence
Ragdoll Cat PicturesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Meet 50 cats who work! This book gives the stories of 50 cats who have had all sorts of jobs, from acting and modelling to nursing or even a Reiki treatment cat. I got this book for my mom for Christmas and she loves it! It's adorable and interesting at the same time. I definitely recommend this book for any cat lover.
Ragdoll Cat Myths - Fact or fiction?
There are many myths out there concerning ragdoll cats. As with anything, some of these are true, but I've personally found many of these myths to be false. While I won't pretend to be an expert, I have looked around on the internet and used my own experience to give my opinion of these myths.
- Ragdoll cats have a bone or muscle deformity that makes them floppy. FALSE.
Ragdoll cats are completely normal in their physiology. They do not have any deformities. They just are very relaxed. Also, while it is a very common characteristic of the breed, not every ragdoll will flop.
- Ragdolls are indoor cats only. TRUE.
Ragdoll cats should NOT be outdoor cats. They are far too trusting and can be easy prey for both animals or humans. They will also lie down in the road and expect that a car will stop for them. Ragdolls can go outside on a harness, though you should train them on it from kittenhood.
- Ragdolls dislike high places. FLASE.
Any of our ragdoll cats are quite happy in high up places. Nicky in particular was quite the adventurer and managed to get on top of the buffet, which is only a foot from the ceiling. (We're still not sure how he even got up there, especially without knocking the whole thing over!) Lucy will happily sit on the front ledge and Toby once tried to climb a tree (unsucessfully).
- Ragdoll cats do not shed, do not matt, and require little grooming. FALSE.
This is based on just our experience. Every site or book I've read agrees with this myth, but I have never found it to be true. All three of our get horrible matts, often within a day or two of being groomed. While Lucy and Toby do not shed excessively, they defintely do shed (Toby more so) and Nicky managed to shed more hair than our other five cats put together.
- Ragdoll cats do not feel pain. FALSE.
While they may show it less than other cats, ragdolls most definitely do feel pain. Their docile personalities probably mask what they are feeling. However, their nervous systems are the same as any other cat and they feel pain on the same level.
- People with allergies are not bothered by ragdoll cats. FALSE.
While I disagree with the notion that ragdolls do not shed, it's actually irrelevent on this matter. An allergic reaction to cats is caused by a protein that is in a cat's dander and saliva; it has nothing to do with shedding. Ragdolls have this protein just like other cats, so unfortunately are not suitable for people with kitty allergies.
There's so many cute videos of kittens playing. Here's a few adorable ragdoll kittens having fun. It's amazing how much energy kittens have and just what can amuse them!
Ragdoll cats are notoriously large. Females weigh between 8-15 pounds and males weigh 12-20 pounds, though some have been known to weigh even more. Since they're such cuddly cats, this just means there's more of them to love!
Cat Toys for your Furry Friend
Every cat loves to play and needs their own toys, especially for when you're not around to play with them. My cat absolutely loves the Cat's Meow toy. The toy is designed to spin a "mouse" (it's really a wand) around the track. A plastic cover hides the "mouse" and it's movements are random, so your cat can spend hours stalking, chasing, and pouncing. Of course, this toy can run itself, but don't forget to set aside some time each day for interactive play with your kitty.
Ragdoll cats are known for their remarkable blue eyes. This is linked to their pointed coat pattern. However, solid ragdoll cats actually have green eyes.
Breeder or Shelter?
Adopting a cat from a shelter can be such a rewarding experience. I've had two shelter cats and both have been sweethearts. Unfortunately, if you want a ragdoll, there is very little chance of getting one unless you go to a breeder. Would it be worth it to you to go to a breeder for a ragdoll cat or would you go to a shelter?
Would you go to a breeder or a shelter?
Ragdoll Books - Learn more about them
Take look at this video and learn a bit more about the ragdoll cat and what they're all about. Are they right for you?
Our first ragdoll cat was Lucy. I don't remember exactly how it happened, but somehow my mom found out about the breed and became interested. I was in high school at the time, so I didn't always pay attention to everything that happened around the house. The next thing I knew, I was told we were getting another little kitty. We already had Pixel, a Maine coon, who had come home with my sister after her first year of university. I recently found out that he was a bit of an accident and she never agreed to adopt him, but there was a miscommunication and suddenly, he was hers. However, he was currently off with her at school. We also had Max, a tabby cat from our local pet store/shelter. We also had a little 10 year old Yorkshire terrier. I was used to animals and was quite thrilled to be adding to the brood.
Lucy came from a ragdoll cat breeder just over an hour away. We went to visit her shortly after she was born and she was the cutest little bundle of fur. A few weeks later, she was old enough to take home. My dad was the one who went to pick her up and believe me, she didn't make that an easy task. He says she meowed the entire way home and I completely believe him. She is incredibly vocal when she's unhappy. He picked me up on my way home from school and she meowed the entire rest of the trip.
That was the spring of 2000 and she hasn't changed a bit. She's the only female cat of the bunch and she acts every bit the princess. When she knows what she wants, she won't give up until she gets it. This includes meowing incessantly, banging on doors, or starting fights with the other cats. She also "hits" us with her paws as we're walking by if she wants attention. She's crazy, but we love her anyway.
Next came Toby. He was from the same breeder, and is actually Lucy's nephew, but is the polar opposite of her in personality. For one thing, he's very quiet. We are pretty sure his vocal chords are damaged (don't worry, he doesn't seem to notice or care) because he has never been able to properly meow. He communicates by squeaking, instead. Now, while he can't meow, these squeaks can be pretty loud if he's especially upset. He also makes a clicking sound if he's hunting a bird.
He's also very passive an easy going. He rarely conflicts with the other cats and actually loves to play with strange cats. Our neighbour's cat would sometimes come into the yard and he was always curious rather than upset. He was also best friends with our cat Simon and we often called them the twins because they were always together.
Toby is generally the most playful of all our cats (though Simon gave him a good run for his money). However, he's not your typical ragdoll. He had colitis and an eye infection as a kitten, so had to be given a lot of medicine. He became very finicky about being handled and generally shied away from any touch. He eventually began to warm up to us, but only in the bathroom. He's obsessed with the bathroom and it's his favorite place in the house. For a long time, he would trip us up trying to get in the door. He would roll over on the floor wanting attention and insist on drinking out of the bathtub. He's better about accepting, and even wanting attention in other rooms of the house now, but the bathroom is still his favorite room.
In July of 2005, we lost our longtime Yorkie, Daisy. She was 14 and had lived a good, long life, but it was still difficult. After a couple of weeks, we decided to get another kitty. Our old ragdoll cat breeder had disappeared (I'm still a little suspicious of her in general, but that's another story), but my mom had been looking around and had fallen in love with a little kitten a few hours away. We decided to adopt him. He was still a newborn, so it was a couple of months before we could take him home, but he already had a name: Nicholas.
My mom was worried that no one would actually call him Nicholas, which was what she preferred. She figured everyone would shorten it to Nicky. She was mostly right. She was actually just as bad for it as everyone else. I was the only one who ever called him by his full name (though I usually said Nicky, too).
Thanksgiving of 2005, we drove to pick Nicky up and brng him home. Unlike Lucy, he was quiet and slept most of the drive. When he finally did arrive home, he was anything but reserved. I was away at school, but I heard about the trouble he got in to. He knocked over a vase and shatter it in his first week home and while things generally stayed in one piece otherwise, he loved to get into anything he could.
Nicky was the truest of our ragdolls. I love Lucy and Toby, but they don't quite fit all the characteristics (hence my suspicion of the breeder). Nicky, however, was a stereotypical ragdoll cat. He was huge, weighing in a nearly 20 pounds. He would go completely limp in our arms. I could even drape him over my shoulder and just let go. He loved attention and would curl up on the couch next to us.
In July 2011, Nicky began to get sick. He threw up several times and lost weight. We took him to the vet numerous times, did tons of tests, but no one could figure out the problem. He had different foods, a few different medicines, but nothing worked. In January 2012, the vet finally found a tumor on Nicky's kidney. It was too late, though, and treatment wasn't a realistic option at that point.
We still miss Nicky (and Simon, who we lost in February 2013), but I feel blessed for the time we had.
Here's our new little kittens, Sasha and Georgie. They're half sisters (same father) and are eight weeks apart in age. Sasha arrived home a month earlier than Georgie. When they met up again, it didn't take long for them to remember each other and start playing!
Whether you're looking to get a ragdoll cat, already have one, or just love cats, let me know what you thought of my page! Or share your own cat stories, ragdoll cat or other breed. I love to hear about any kind of furball.