1. Key Characteristics
- Weight: 15–20 pounds for males, 10–15 pounds for females
- Life Expectancy: 15–20 years, on average (if kept indoors)
Ragdolls are large cats, one of the largest of all cat breeds. They have a sturdy build and large blue eyes. The medium-length coat is pointed; the body is lighter in color than the face, legs, tail and ears.
The soft and silky hair comes in 3 patterns: colorpoint (no white), bicolor and mitted. Coat colors include chocolate, seal, blue, fawn, cinnamon, lilac, cream and red; there are also tortoiseshell or tabby variations.
2. Where They Came From
The Ragdoll cat breed began in Riverside, California, in the 1960s.
Ann Baker had a domestic, longhaired white cat named Josephine. The cat had normal litters of kittens — until, one day, she was hit by a car.
Baker insisted Josephine’s genes were altered when she received veterinary care because her later litters had personalities described as limp and more affectionate in comparison to her earlier kittens.
Baker’s eccentricity over the years became too much for the breeders who franchised under her to produce Ragdolls, so breeders Denny and Laura Dayton broke off and sought to preserve the affectionate cats. They were credited with getting the Ragdoll cat breed recognized by all major cat breed registries.
3. How Friendly Are They?
Ragdoll cats are so named because of their ability to lie limp or completely relaxed when they are picked up, similar to carrying a doll.
They are usually relaxed, happy, friendly, quiet and loving cats who enjoy cuddling. They are tolerant of other animals and children.
They are intelligent; you can teach them to fetch and to come. They are always willing to play; they often act similar to dogs in the way they will greet you at the door or follow you from room to room throughout the house.
4. Is This the Right Cat for You?
MEDIUM: Most ragdolls enjoy playing fetch, similar to Russian Blue and Manx cats. They should have a scratching post and be kept indoors.
Food intake should be regulated and monitored to prevent obesity. Ragdoll cats don’t have specific exercise needs in addition to those of regular cats.
MEDIUM: Ragdolls can be brushed or combed weekly with a steel comb. They do not shed much except for 2 times during the year on average (usually spring and fall).
Brush them more during periods of high shedding to prevent matting, with special attention given to the areas where the legs meet the body.
As with all cats, trim the nails and brush their teeth regularly.
Ragdolls who are spayed or neutered may not have significant fluctuations in shedding or coat changes. Bathe them, check and clean their ears regularly, and use separate cloths to clean each eye to reduce the risk of spreading infection.
MEDIUM: Common health problems that appear in Ragdolls cats include:
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (heart disease)
- Bladder stones
- Feline infectious peritonitis
- Feline mucopolysaccharidosis (a disease that can cause eye problems, joint difficulties or paralysis)
Testing is possible for some of these conditions.
Ragdoll cats can also experience growth spurts and should have food available at all times until they reach maturity (around 4 years of age).
This video shows a Ragdoll cat being held and going limp, something they are known for and named after:
5. Where to Adopt One
Purebred cats end up in shelters and rescues all the time. Check these resources first, and you can also use our adoptable pet page (select the “cat” tab).
Ask the breeder to provide health certificates, clearances or test results for the health conditions that normally affect Ragdoll cats.