- Weight — 10-15 pounds (female), 15-20 pounds (male)
- Coat characteristics — Plush, silky, medium- to long-haired fur coat. Ragdoll cats come in six different colors, including bi-color, mitted, or colorpoint patterns. All Ragdoll kittens are born white and may begin to gain color at 8-10 weeks of age.
- Enrichment needs — Average
- Intelligence — High
- Vocalizations — Infrequent, soft, and musical
- Life span — 12-18 years
- Temperament — Gentle, affectionate, and calm
- Hypoallergenic — No
- Origin — California, USA
Ragdoll fun facts
- The name “Ragdoll” comes from the cat’s tendency to fall limp when picked up. Breeder Ann Baker gave the breed its name after noticing some of the original breeding stock would go limp when she picked them up.
- Ragdolls are one of the most popular cat breeds in the world. In 2022, the Cat Fanciers Association named the Ragdoll the most popular cat breed worldwide. Other popular breeds include the exotic Devon rex and the Persian.
- They all have blue eyes. Though kittens of many cat breeds are born with blue eyes, Ragdoll kittens keep their icy blues through adulthood. If your Ragdoll has a mix of yellow or green or other colors in their eyes, they’re most likely not purebred.
- Some consider Ragdolls dog- or puppy-like cats. Because of the Ragdoll’s tendency to follow their humans around the house, people-pleasing behaviors, and general laid-back personality, these cats are often quite similar to dogs.
Ragdoll temperament and characteristics
Ragdolls are calm, floppy cats who love their people. In fact, it’s not uncommon for them to greet family members at the door, sleep with you, and follow you around the house. They’re known to be docile, gentle, even-tempered and make for great family pets and companions to other animals, including dogs. Though Ragdolls crave human time like dogs — and leaving them alone frequently for long periods can make them depressed — you probably won’t hear a Ragdoll loudly demanding your attention. Often, just a few of their soft and sweet meows will surely win you over.
One thing to note about these ultra-social and trusting Ragdolls is that they’re likely to make friends with nearly everyone they meet. So if you’re taking them outdoors, keep them on a leash and close by to avoid escapes.
Common Ragdoll health problems
Ragdoll cats are generally healthy, but the breed is prone to a few health conditions you’ll need to monitor with your veterinarian.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM, marked by thickening of the walls of the left ventricle, is the most commonly diagnosed feline heart disease. If left untreated, this condition can lead to elevated blood pressure and heart failure.
- Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). Overweight, diabetic, male, and older female cats are all more prone to contracting urinary tract infections (UTIs), a condition or bacterial infection that affects the cat’s bladder or urethra. Pay attention to your Ragdoll breed and its bathroom habits. If you notice changes, reach out to your veterinarian.
- Obesity. Severe weight gain in cats can lead to more serious conditions like diabetes and cancer, but even a little extra cushion can put a damper on your Ragdoll’s quality of life.
🚨Male neutered cats are susceptible to urinary tract infections (UTIs), which can become fatal if left untreated. Make an appointment with the vet immediately if you notice that your cat is having accidents.
Cost of caring for a Ragdoll
Ragdoll cats are a relatively low-maintenance breed, but it’s important to be aware of the basic costs involved in caring for your cat. Common health issues such as FLUTD, HCM, and obesity range between a few hundred per month to a few thousand to diagnose, treat, and manage.
Dr. Erica Irish
The average mild UTI costs $100 to $300 with exams, tests, and antibiotics. HCM is more like $500 to $1,000 for diagnostics but the heart meds are relatively inexpensive ($100 to $200 a month, depending on what you need). Obesity is managed with diet or a prescription diet, $70 a month unless you have to feed a bunch of cats!
When it comes to buying a purebred Ragdoll from a breeder, you can expect to spend up to $2,000 from a reputable breeder. The average cost of adoption from a rescue is $100-$150 for a kitten.
History of the Ragdoll
Ragdolls are believed to have first been bred in the 1960s by Ann Baker, who lived in Riverside, California, and worked in a laundromat. When Baker’s boss introduced her to a group of semi-feral cats living on their farm property, one pregnant white domestic longhaired cat — Josephine — stood out.
When her kittens were born, Baker was moved by their gentle nature, large size, and long, silky fur that didn’t seem to mat easily. She eventually took in three of Josephine’s kittens and began breeding kittens of docile, affectionate temperament — along with the tendency to go limp when picked up. In 1971, Baker set up the International Ragdoll Cat Association (IRCA) and patented the name “Ragdoll.” The organization, albeit smaller now since Baker’s death in 1997, still exists today.
Laura and Denny Dayton purchased Baker’s first recorded pair of Ragdoll kittens in 1969. The Daytons would go on to breed Ragdolls for 13 years but eventually cut business ties with Baker, who wanted total control over the breed franchise. The Dayton duo’s Ragdoll standard eventually became the breed standard widely accepted by the world’s major cat registries.
Caring for your Ragdoll
Ragdoll cats are fairly low maintenance, but being a responsible pet owner means being proactive. This begins with vaccinations and should continue with proper health and wellness maintenance throughout your furry friend’s life.
Ragdoll cats are susceptible to many diseases, including distemper (feline panleukopenia ) and parvovirus. Your vet will likely recommend your cat receive the common FVRCP vaccine, which protects against rhinotracheitis (herpes virus), calicivirus, and panleukopenia, which is caused by feline parvovirus. There is no single vaccine for feline parvo. The American Association of Feline Practitioners also recommends vaccinations against rabies and feline leukemia.
Because Ragdoll cats don’t have an undercoat — making them more suitable for those with cat allergies — their long, fur coats don’t require as much grooming attention as you might expect. But that doesn’t mean you should skimp on regular grooming habits!
- A brush routine is key. Stick to brushing your Ragdoll about twice a week with a soft comb. You’ll want to start early in your feline’s life to make the experience enjoyable for everyone involved.
- Don’t ignore dental hygiene. When it comes to feline dental hygiene and dental disease prevention, routine dental care is key. Bring out a finger toothbrush (or a toothbrush safe for human babies) and some pet-friendly toothpaste a few times a week.
- Trim those nails . You should trim your Ragdoll cat’s nails every 2-4 weeks to help minimize damage to your home (and to you!) Overgrown nails can curve around into the paw pads, ultimately leading to infection.
- You probably won’t need to bathe your Ragdoll. Remember, healthy cats don’t need baths because they tend to groom themselves. However, if you brought in a stray or your cat needs a bath due to health or physical issues, refer to our cat-bathing guide.
Diet and nutrition
The majestic Ragdoll requires a high-protein diet due to its large size. When it comes to cat foods, canned food tends to have more protein than dry alternatives. Always refer to your vet’s advice when adding to or changing your cat’s nutrition plan. In general, female Ragdolls should eat about 180-300 calories each day versus around 250-400 per day for male Ragdolls. As your Ragdoll ages, your vet may recommend monitoring their diet to prevent obesity.
It’s important to remember that all cats also need proper hydration to stay healthy. However, most cats struggle to get the water they need. To get a cat to drink more water, consider adding wet food to their diet and investing in a clean water fountain.
Enrichment and environment
Ragdolls thrive in small and large environments, but there are a few ways to make their home feel more comfortable.
- Add vertical spaces. Though these cats are known to not gravitate toward vertical spaces like other breeds, a sturdy, vertical cat tree with an equally sturdy scratching post can give your Ragdoll a safe space to let loose and relax.
- Invest in toys. You can also keep your Ragdoll enriched with feathers on a string, catnip-filled toys, fabric mice, and other mentally stimulating toys.
- Hang out at home. Ragdoll cats are known to be incredibly loyal and want to be around their humans as much as possible, so avoid being away from home frequently and for long hours if possible.
- Keep cool in the summer months. Like all cats, Ragdolls don’t sweat like humans, making them more vulnerable to heat-related illness and injury. These long-haired beauties can overheat without a cool place to rest in the summer months.
- Train them to play fetch. That’s right; Ragdolls can be trained with positive reinforcement to retrieve toys and often enjoy doing so!
Breeds similar to the Ragdoll
Not quite sure that a Ragdoll is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:
- Ragamuffin. Once considered a variant of the Ragdoll, the Ragamuffin is another fun cat breed full of personality and thick with fur.
- Maine Coon. Bred in Maine, this friendly, large cat breed is lovingly known as “the gentle giant.”
- Birman. The fluffy Birman has a beautiful, silky coat and deep blue eyes to go with its gentle, charming personality.
Frequently asked questions
Do all Ragdolls have blue eyes?
Yes! Purebred Ragdolls keep their icy blues through adulthood, making it a hallmark of the breed.
Why do people say Ragdoll cats have dog-like personalities?
Because of the Ragdoll’s tendency to follow their humans around the house, people-pleasing behaviors, and general laid-back nature, these cats are often considered to have qualities similar to dogs.
How expensive is a Ragdoll kitten?
The average cost of a purebred Ragdoll kitten purchased from a reputable breeder ranges from $2000-$2500.
Are Ragdolls hard to take care of?
Ragdolls are actually quite low maintenance. In fact, because they don’t have an undercoat, their grooming needs are about average for cat breeds.
Do Ragdoll cats like to be held?
Yes, many Ragdoll cats generally like to be picked up, carried, and cuddled.