The Ragdoll is a pedigree cat breed that is very popular in the UK, and yet they’re not one of the breeds you might spot out and about in your local area on a regular basis, because this is a breed that is often kept as an indoor-only cat.
Ragdolls have a very interesting origin story and are quite a young breed, and they are very unique in terms of their personalities and core traits too. These sweet-natured and very pretty cats are very appealing to many different types of cat lovers, and every year, a significant number of Brits consider choosing a Ragdoll as a pet.
However, before you go ahead with the purchase of a cat of any type, it is vitally important to do plenty of research so that you will know what you’re getting into, and this article is designed to give you a head start. Read on to learn ten things you need to know about the Ragdoll cat, before you buy one.
All Ragdolls can be traced back directly to a non-pedigree domestic moggy called Josephine, who was all white in colour. The breed originated in the USA.
The kittens produced by the above-mentioned Josephine shared one incredibly unique trait that ultimately led to the breed’s development and formalisation – they tended to fall completely limp and relaxed when picked up – like a rag doll!
Not only are Ragdolls very chill about being picked up, but they have very unique natures in general for cats. They are very gentle, calm and affectionate cats that are reputed to be massively docile, and are kind, personable and generally lovely in nature, and very unlike any other cat breed or the average domestic moggy.
The Ragdoll’s hugely trusting and gentle nature means that they’re not streetwise like the average cat, and aren’t great at being vigilant for signs of danger, avoiding risky situations, or defending themselves against threats.
This means that life outside of a controlled environment can be risky for Ragdolls, and they don’t tend to have good road sense or understand instinctively to keep well clear of strange dogs.
Many Ragdoll owners don’t allow their cats unsupervised access to the outside world as a result of this, but may take them out on a harness and lead (which the breed is usually more tolerant of than most) or give them access to a securely enclosed garden.
Many cat breeds simply don’t take well to being confined to indoor-only life, even if they have been kept in this manner since they were kittens. However, the Ragdoll is a very notable exception, and as mentioned, there are also a lot of sound arguments to be made in favour of not permitting the Ragdoll unsupervised access to the outdoors.
This means that the breed is one of the better potential choices for people looking for an indoor-only cat, or that live in an apartment and are unable to provide access to outside.
Ragdoll cats are relatively large, with the average adult male weighing anything up to around 9kg or over, and females up to 7kg or so.
Their thick and relatively long fur also helps to add to their bulk, so cats of the breed have a fairly imposing physical presence, and they take up a reasonable amount of space.
On which note, the Ragdoll has a lot of long or semi-long coat fur, which needs daily brushing and grooming. Cats spend a lot of time grooming themselves, but this can lead to the ingestion of shed hair that can result in the cat coughing up hair balls or even suffering from tight impacted fur clumps causing internal blockages, and so regular grooming is vital for cats of the Ragdoll breed.
As a relatively new cat breed that originated from just one queen, the Ragdoll breed as a whole has a limited gene pool and there’s quite a high degree of inbreeding within the breed as a result of this. Some claims cite the Ragdoll’s rate of inbreeding as high as 40%, and hereditary health problems are reasonably prevalent within the breed as a whole.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the breed’s best-known health challenge, and the gene mutation that results in this condition is present in as high as 30% of all cats of the breed in the UK.
Assuming that you do your research, understand that Ragdolls have some health challenges, and bear in mind that cats of the breed aren’t very streetwise and need vigilance to keep them safe, the Ragdoll is generally considered to be a great pick for the first time cat owner.
However, they might not be a good pick for people with small children, dogs, or other cats of other breeds, as they are not good at defending themselves from threats or teasing.