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07.05.2022

Everything you should know about the Ragdoll cat

There’s a reason why Ragdoll cats are among the most popular breeds in the UK. The gentle giants have so many agreeable qualities that make them the perfect feline companions. But how do you know if a Ragdoll will fit into your household?

If you’d like to learn more about the lovable Ragdoll cat, we’ve prepared a detailed guide! You’ll get the full scoop on the breed’s main characteristics, including:

  • Where do Ragdolls come from?
  • Why is a Ragdoll cat called a Ragdoll?
  • What’s a Ragdoll cat's personality like?
  • How do you take care of a Ragdoll cat?

Basic info on Ragdoll cats: origin and breed characteristics

Ragdolls originated in 1960s California, and the robust felines have an interesting lineage, inheriting genes from Persian, Angora, Birman, and Burmese cats.

They were introduced in the UK in the 1980s by Pat Brownsell and Lulu Rowley and officially registered by the Governing Council of Cat Fancy soon after. The floppy cats quickly gained popularity and became one of Britain’s most beloved pets, along with the quintessential British Shorthair

The breed is often lovingly referred to as “gentle giants” because of their above-average size and demure disposition. Besides the muscular physique and endearing personality, other notable Ragdoll cat characteristics are listed in the table below:

Traits

Ragdoll cat characteristics

Lifespan

12–17 years

Weight

Male Ragdolls: 6–9 kg

Female Ragdolls: 4–7 kg

Fur length

Semi-long

Colour

Seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, and cream

Patterns

Bicolour, mitted, colour point; lynx and tortoiseshell

Eye colour 

Blue

What are Ragdoll cats like?

The name “Ragdoll” was inspired by the breed’s docile and sweet temperament. When picked up, the robust felines tend to go floppy (like a ragdoll), almost dissolving in the embrace!

Ragdolls are notorious cuddlers who enjoy being pampered. They’re also incredibly affectionate and have many “puppy-like” traits. The gentle giants are known to follow their humans from room to room, seeking attention. They also don’t like being left alone in the house for longer periods.

While a tad clingy, Ragdolls are well-mannered, so you won’t have to deal with incessant meowing. They may gently remind you lunchtime is approaching with a small “meow,” but apart from that—they’re not too chatty.

Ragdolls have a reputation for being inapt hunters with questionable survival skills (the friendly felines are more likely to befriend the mouse than catch it). Because they’re not particularly dexterous, Ragdolls aren’t suited to be outdoor cats.

The gentle giants are devoted family members whose idea of a great time is quietly sitting in your lap or playing fetch. They make excellent companions for children and are quick to make friends with other animals. 

When are you getting home, human? I hate it when you’re away.

Source: Megan Lee

Are Ragdolls easy to train?

Ragdolls are clever and easy to train. The gentle giants respond well to voice commands and can also pick up on non-verbal cues. Ragdoll kittens and cats are quick to adopt basic training, like learning where to go potty and how to use a scratching post.

While they can adapt to different teaching styles, the mild-mannered felines respond best to positive reinforcement. A combination of treats and praise will bring out their natural intelligence and lovable personalities. 

Ragdolls can go above and beyond when it comes to learning new tricks. They love dynamic games—like playing fetch—where they get to interact with their humans. When stimulated properly, the floppy cats can play for hours on end.

Do Ragdolls need to be groomed? 

Being a semi-long-haired breed, Ragdolls need regular grooming sessions. The floppy felines have a gorgeous, silky coat that should be tended to multiple times per week.

A Ragdoll cat’s hair length varies depending on the body part. The fur around their face and shoulder blades tends to be shorter, while the tail is adorably fluffy. They also have a beautiful ruff around their necks that becomes more prominent as they mature.

Unlike Maine Coons and other long-haired breeds, Ragdolls don’t have an undercoat, so matting isn’t a pressing concern. They tend to have good hygiene and don’t require intricate care, like baths, trimming, or shaving—at least not frequently.

Here are some tips for grooming a Ragdoll:

  1. Brush or comb your Ragdoll at least twice a week 
  2. Use a slicker brush. Avoid steel combs since they can irritate the feline’s skin
  3. Make sure to brush the areas with longer fur thoroughly (e.g. where the legs meet the body)
  4. Finish with a rubber brush to smooth the fur and remove remaining loose strands

Keep in mind that seasonal changes are a contributing factor when it comes to fur. A Ragdoll’s coat naturally thickens during winter and may require extra care. 

Since they are infamously cuddly, Ragdolls will most likely enjoy the experience. If not, you can always bribe them with a turkey slice or any other snack they enjoy.

The snuggly feline will probably enjoy being brushed.

Source: Isabela Martin

What are the common health problems in Ragdoll cats?

Ragdoll cats are more vulnerable to certain disorders because of their low genetic diversity. They’re pretty healthy as a breed but can struggle with the following genetic and acquired diseases:

  1. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)—HCM is a cardiac disease brought on by a congenital heart defect. The inherited condition affects the ventricles, causing a thickening. Ragdolls that develop HCM have a higher risk of thromboembolism and heart failure 
  2. Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)—Ragdoll kittens with the so-called PKD gene are born with pockets of fluid on their kidneys. The cysts grow bigger over time and can eventually cause renal disease and kidney failure
  3. Urinary tract disease—Ragdoll cats are prone to urinary problems, mainly cystitis, bladder stones, feline lower urinary tract disorder (FLUTD), and various infections. Besides genetics, poor nutrition and old age can also contribute to the onset of these diseases
  4. Irritating hairballs—Ragdolls ingest a substantial amount of hair each time they tend to their luscious fur. The loose strands collect in their intestines, forming a clump. Hairballs aren’t inherently dangerous but can sometimes cause digestive problems, such as constipation, diarrhoea, vomiting, and bloating
  5. Feline obesityWeight management can be a problem since these robust felines eat more than the average cat. Ragdolls are also indoor-only pets, so they have limited physical activity outside playtime. A healthy appetite and leisurely lifestyle can result in feline obesity, which can provoke other health complications (e.g. heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and more)

What’s the best diet for Ragdolls?

Like all cats, Ragdolls are obligate carnivores who need the following nutrients to stay healthy:

  • Animal protein—Essential for muscle and tissue growth, amino acid synthesis, energy provision, and vital organ function
  • Water—Aids blood circulation, digestion, waste removal, and nutrient absorption
  • Fatty acids—The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in lean meats (e.g. fish and chicken) are beneficial for the fur and skin
  • Natural vitamins and minerals—Bioavailable vitamins and minerals in meat strengthen the feline’s immune response and support enzyme function

Ragdoll cats should enjoy daily servings of wet food for optimal nourishment. Wet products have more than 50% animal protein and 70% moisture on average, so they’re much closer to what cats eat in the wild

A dry diet isn’t suitable for the floppy cat because of their weight management issues. Ragdolls who have kibble for each meal consume more calories than necessary and tend to plump up. Also, with an average 10% water content, biscuits aren’t nearly hydrating enough for a breed that struggles with urinary issues.

Dry recipes contain various “bulky” ingredients, like green peas, corn, cereals, rice, or sweet potatoes that increase the calorie content. Cats like Ragdolls don’t need more than 3% carbohydrates in their meals, especially if they’re prone to obesity. 

How much to feed a Ragdoll

Blink and you’ll miss it! Ragdoll kittens experience incredible growth spurs in the first few years.

Source: Polly Alexandra

Ragdoll kittens go through frequent growth spurts until they reach maturity. During that time, they may need more calories to sustain their development. 

Check out the table below for an approximate weight-to-calorie ratio in the first four years:

Ragdoll kitten weight 

Recommended daily intake 

1 kg

163 kcal

1.5 kg

227 kcal

1.9 kg

272 kcal

2.4 kg

327 kcal

2.8 kg

369 kcal

3.2 kg

422 kcal

3.6 kg

459 kcal

4.1 kg

505 kcal

4.6 kg

543 kcal

Many cat parents make the mistake of overfeeding their pets after the growth spurts end. Once a Ragdoll is around four years old, their weight will naturally stabilise, so they won’t need extra calories for energy.

Full-grown Ragdolls shouldn’t eat more than 40 kcal per one kilo of current body weight, or they’ll start piling on pounds. For female Ragdolls, the recommended allowance is between 160 and 280 calories, while males should eat between 240–380 kcal per day.

Untamed—a five-star menu for your Ragdoll cat 

Untamed is a proponent of an all-natural feline diet that’s:

  • Rich in protein—We deliver twice as much animal protein as the industry standard 
  • Made with whole meat—Our products are made with high-quality poultry and fish 
  • Vet-formulated—Untamed recipes were formulated in collaboration with vets to best cater to the feline’s biological needs
  • Ethically made—The whole meat in our recipes is ethically reared, and our fish is dolphin-safe and sustainably caught
  • Fussy eater approved—Our food can make the pickiest eater go wild even if they normally dislike wet food

We try hard to preserve the nutritional qualities of our fresh, natural ingredients and gently steam each meal for optimal results. The effects of our human-grade, whole meat diet are mirrored in your cat’s overall health. Based on the feedback from our loyal customers, here’s what you can expect after switching to Untamed:

Timeline

The Untamed effect

Within a week

The first few servings of Untamed food should improve your cat’s digestion, ensuring a tidier litter box

After two months

After two months of eating our food, your cat’s gorgeous fur should become shinier and fuller, with less shedding

Within four months

Four months on the Untamed diet should help your cat remain at a healthy weight and reduce the number of hairballs

Long-term benefits

Cats who are part of the Untamed clowder have healthy eating habits and suffer fewer GI issues and dental problems

Where’s the grub? I want seconds!

Image (c) Untamed

We’ll help you create a personalised meal plan

If you want to design the ideal meal plan for your pet according to their food preferences, sensitivities, and life stage, you can do so by completing a quick-and-easy online quiz. Our five-star menu is packed with delicious gravy and jelly recipes, each made with premium 

  • Chicken breast 
  • Chicken liver
  • Duck breast
  • Lean ham
  • Salmon fillet
  • Tuna steak
  • Sardine and mackerel fillet
  • Shrimp

All Untamed products are entirely free from sugar, grain, vegetable protein, animal derivatives, and other questionable ingredients. Our food is free from all known allergens, and we also offer two hypoallergenic recipes made with a single source of protein—Tuck-in Tuna in Jelly and Chocka Chicken in Jelly!

Surprise your cat with a tin of Untamed’s Tuck-in Tuna!

Image (c) Untamed

How to sign up 

You can join our wild bunch in a few clicks! Order a trial pack with twelve delicious meals by following these steps:

  1. Visit our website and take the Try Now quiz 
  2. Describe your cat’s eating habits
  3. Select the desired Untamed products
  4. Place the order

From then on, you can kick back and relax until the first meal box is delivered to your door. Once your cat goes through the starter pack, you’ll get monthly supplies of selected Untamed products. Remember that you and your cat are the ones calling the shots when it comes to our cat food delivery subscription! You can always make changes to the schedule and adjust the meal plan.