The Ragdoll: The Docile and Affectionate Cat Breed

The Ragdoll is a sweet-tempered cat with a loving nature. Because of its affectionate personality, this breed makes a wonderful pet.

Apr 3, 2023By Katie Wickliff
facts on the affectionate ragdoll cat

If you’re looking for a beautiful cat with a calm personality, the Ragdoll might be right for you. This docile, friendly breed gets along well with children and animals, making the Ragdoll an excellent choice for many types of families. Read on to learn all about this popular breed.

Breed Overview

ragdoll cat on pillow
  • Adult Height: 9-11 inches
  • Adult Length: 17-21 inches
  • Adult Weight: 10-20 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13-18 years
  • Coat Length: moderately long to long
  • Coat Texture: Silky, soft, fluffy
  • Coat Colors: chocolate, white, cream, seal, blue, lilac, red
  • Coat Patterns: mitted, color point, bicolor, van
  • Affection: high
  • Shedding: low shedding
  • Origin: Riverside, California, USA

Characteristics of the Ragdoll Cat

ragdoll cat chocolate point

The Ragdoll is a large, heavily boned cat with bright blue eyes. Their coat ranges from medium to long, and their fluffy texture makes the Ragdoll look even bigger. Despite looking like they have an abundance of fur, these cats lack an undercoat. This makes the Ragdoll a lower-shedding breed, which is great news for many potential owners. However, they are not considered hypoallergenic since they still produce the Fel D 1 protein that causes allergic symptoms in humans.

These cats are slow to mature, often not reaching their full size until they are about four years old. They also retain kitten-like qualities for many years and enjoy carrying around a favorite toy, frisking around with other household animals, or playing fetch with their people.

While the Ragdoll is devoted and affectionate, this cat isn’t overly clingy. They can deal with their owners being away (for a reasonable amount of time) but will often wait patiently at the door for their return. Once home, a Ragdoll owner can expect to be followed from room to room by their fluffy companion.

Ragdolls have a docile temperament and are usually unbothered by changes in routine. They don’t mind the hustle and bustle of a busy household. They are also very quiet indoor cats, which makes them suitable for apartment living.

Caring for the Ragdoll Cat

gray ragdoll cat

The Ragdoll is a generally healthy cat breed with an above-average life span of about 15 years. One major concern for these cats is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a hereditary form of heart disease that causes enlargement of the heart muscle. But because researchers have identified the genetic mutation that causes the development of the disease, a genetic test allows breeders to screen their cats before breeding. A reputable breeder should have this genetic test done on any cats in their breeding line.

Like other large breed cats, Ragdolls can be prone to obesity. It’s important to keep these cats active by feeding them a healthy, well-balanced diet. If you have concerns about your specific Ragdoll, your veterinarian is a good resource for help and support.

Grooming the Ragdoll is relatively straightforward. Because these cats lack an undercoat, they don’t require as extensive grooming as other breeds. However, be sure to brush your Ragdoll at least twice weekly to avoid tangling and keep their coats in healthy condition. Regular nail trims are also essential. Luckily, the Ragdoll is an agreeable cat, which makes grooming easier.

History of the Ragdoll Cat

ragdoll cat on floor

The Ragdoll breed originated in Riverside, California, in the early 1960s. While the exact origin stories vary, a breeder named Ann Baker selected the original cats to develop the Ragdoll line. All Ragdoll cats today are descendants of “Josephine,” a white domestic longhaired cat of Persian/Angora type. The Ragdoll was recognized as a purebred cat in 1965.

Eventually, Ann Baker sold a breeding pair of Ragdoll cats to Denny and Laura Dayton. The Daytons are credited for preserving and further developing the Ragdoll breed. Today, the Ragdoll cat is a wildly popular breed, claiming the top spot for registrations in 2019, 2020, and 2021.

Fun Facts About the Ragdoll Cat

tortie ragdoll cat profile
  • Ann Baker named these cats “Ragdolls” for their tendency to go limp when picked up. Although each cat is an individual, many are so relaxed and docile that they love being petted and held.
  • The first registered Ragdoll, in 1965, was named Daddy Warbucks!
  • Because of their high demand, purebred Ragdoll cats can be extremely expensive. Depending on location and breeder, expect to spend anywhere from $1000-$2000 on a Ragdoll kitten.
  • All purebred Ragdoll cats have blue eyes, and kittens are born with pure white coats.
  • Ragdolls are incredibly y patient with children and most love to get dressed up in costume and hugged. Still, owners must teach their children how to handle a cat properly.
  • A unique Ragdoll appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2006. Due to a rare congenital disease called diprosopia, this Ragdoll had one body with two almost separate faces! Despite the issue, the cat lived to be 15 years old.
Katie Wickliff
By Katie Wickliff

Katie is a Colorado-based writer, educator, and animal lover who firmly believes life is better with a pet by your side. She currently shares her home with various creatures. In her free time, Katie loves to explore the mountains with her family and their Rough Collie, Story.