Skip to main content

A Beginner's Guide to Ragdoll Cats

Stephanie has had many ragdoll cats over the years and has learned tips about their personality, care needs, and quirks.

The Ragdoll Cat Is an Affectionate Breed

Ragdoll cats have striking looks and a cuddly personality that have made them one of the most sought after breeds. Their name reflects their personality since, when picked up, they usually go limp in your arms like a ragdoll. Sometimes, they will even flop spontaneously at your feet in hopes of attention. They are also one of the biggest breeds of cats, often reaching 15-20 pounds.

Over time, I have had many ragdoll cats. They have all been remarkable and gorgeous. They are like the cat version of a dog, always wanting to be close to their people. If you want an affectionate kitty, this breed is definitely for you.

The ragdoll cat is a relatively new breed, but you wouldn't know it from their popularity. They have quickly risen through the ranks to become one of the most sought after cats. Once you meet a ragdoll, it's impossible not to fall in love and want one of your own.

Ragdoll Cat History

Compared to other cat breeds, ragdoll cats haven't been around for very long. Though scientific evidence is somewhat lacking, the popular belief is that ragdolls originated in the 1960s from one cat, Josephine. She was hit by a car and upon recovering, became extremely docile. At the time of the accident, she was pregnant, but the vet who treated her was able to save her kittens. She had had several litters of normal kitten prior to the accident, but all of her litters afterward shared her new temperament. It is a truly strange occurrence, but one that I am extremely thankful for since it led to such wonderful pets.

Ann Baker, who lived behind Josephine's owner and was an already established cat breeder, purchased several of Josephine's new kittens upon hearing of their passive personalities. She knew they were unique and took the opportunity to breed them, paying special attention to their temperaments. After a lot of hard work, the result is the now common ragdoll cat breed.

However, there is a great deal of controversy surrounding Baker's breeding of ragdolls. She established a monopoly on the breed, not allowing anyone to breed them unless they followed very strict rules. She also made some preposterous claims about her cats, stating (falsely) that they did not feel pain. At one point, the rumor that ragdoll cats came from aliens even emerged. Fortunately, the breeding of ragdoll cats has since stabilized. There are now many breeders around the world.

Ultimately, the birth of the ragdoll cat breed is likely just a fluke that has carried on through the generations since Josephine.

Cat Trees Are Essential

Ragdoll Cats' Temperment

The defining characteristic of a ragdoll cat is their tendency to go limp when picked up. Of course, they do not do this every time. If they are nervous or irritated, they will act like any other cat. But generally, they are very content to be handled by their owners and will be relaxed in your arms. In addition to this, I have seen ragdolls flop over in the middle of the floor in the hopes of attention.

To go with their ragdoll habit, the breed is known to be gentle and loving. Again, they can still have their days when they are in bad moods, but they are almost always happy to be near people and have often been compared to dogs because of this. It is common for ragdoll cats to be at the door to welcome their family home after a long day. Some people actually complain that their ragdoll cats are too clingy, so if you are planning to get a ragdoll, make sure you are prepared for your own personal shadow!

Ragdoll Cat Claims: Fact or Fiction?

There are many claims out there concerning ragdoll cats. As with anything, some of these are true, but I've personally found many of these myths to be false. While I won't pretend to be an expert, I have looked around on the internet and used my own experience to give my opinion of these myths.

Claim: Ragdoll cats have a bone or muscle deformity that makes them floppy.

  • False: Ragdoll cats are completely normal in their physiology. They do not have any deformities. They just are very relaxed. Also, while it is a very common characteristic of the breed, not every ragdoll will flop.

Claim: Ragdolls are indoor cats only.

  • True: Ragdoll cats should NOT be outdoor cats. They are far too trusting and can be easy prey for both animals or humans. They will also lie down in the road and expect that a car will stop for them. Ragdolls can go outside on a harness, though you should train them on it from kittenhood.

Claim: Ragdolls dislike high places.

  • False: Any of our ragdoll cats are quite happy in high up places. Nicky in particular was quite the adventurer and managed to get on top of the buffet, which is only a foot from the ceiling.

Claim: Ragdoll cats do not shed, do not matt, and require little grooming.

  • False, in my opinion: This is based on just our experience. Every site or book I've read agrees with this myth, but I have never found it to be true. All of our ragdolls get horrible matts, often within a day or two of being groomed. They also shed quite a bit because of their long coats. They should be combed every day, or every other day to maintain their coats.

Claim: Ragdoll cats do not feel pain.

  • False: While they may show it less than other cats, ragdolls most definitely do feel pain. Their docile personalities probably mask what they are feeling. However, their nervous systems are the same as any other cat and they feel pain on the same level.

Claim: People with allergies are not bothered by ragdoll cats.

  • False: While I disagree with the notion that ragdolls do not shed, it's actually irrelevant on this matter. An allergic reaction to cats is caused by a protein that is in a cat's dander and saliva. It has nothing to do with shedding. Ragdolls have this protein just like other cats, so unfortunately they are not suitable for people with allergies.

Playful Kittens

There's so many cute videos of kittens playing. Here are a few adorable ragdoll kittens having fun. It's amazing how much energy kittens have and just what can amuse them!

Toys for Your Furry Friend

They can be big cats!

They can be big cats!


Ragdoll cats are notoriously large. Females weigh between 8-15 pounds and males weigh 12-20 pounds, though some have been known to weigh even more. Since they're such cuddly cats, this just means there's more of them to love!

Whether you're looking to get a ragdoll cat, already have one, or just love cats, let me know what you thought of my page! Or share your own cat stories, ragdoll cat or other breed. I love to hear about any kind of furball.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Do you have a ragdoll cat? Share your experiences here!

Stephanie (author) from Canada on March 12, 2015:

They really are wonderful, aren't they? They just love to be with their people. It's rare to go more than a half hour without our ragdolls popping up.

Lee on March 12, 2015:

Our very first Ragdoll is now 7 months. We can't imagine being without her!

JAZMYN is a love! Affectionate, very social, and a "shadow"! She follows us from room to room. So happy we did research on breeders and found this precious cat!

Shinichi Mine from Tokyo, Japan on November 09, 2014:

My friend would love this page as she just loves cats.

Stephanie (author) from Canada on October 30, 2014:

Their faces really are striking, although I find that about any breed of cat. Glad to see you, too!

Judy Filarecki from SW Arizona and Northern New York on October 29, 2014:

These cats are so beautiful I love their faces. Good to see you again here on HP

Loretta Livingstone from Chilterns, UK. on October 06, 2014:

I really do have hopes of that, one of these days. :-)

Stephanie (author) from Canada on October 06, 2014:

Lol, I can imagine he might not react well! At least, not yet. Just think of all the progress you've made with him. You may find yourself picking him up one day. :)

Loretta Livingstone from Chilterns, UK. on September 20, 2014:

Hello again. I'm a sucker for your beautiful cats and cat videos. Buster sends his love. He's just been having a cuddle. Now that's something I never thought I would say. But still, it would be nice if he managed to acquire the temperament of a Ragdoll. I can't see the day ever coming when I would risk picking him up, or stroking him when he hasn't put in a stroking request.

Laurel Johnson from Washington KS on August 06, 2014:

Loved the page and your cats!!

Laurel Johnson from Washington KS on August 06, 2014:

Loved the page and your cats!!

marktplaatsshop on July 24, 2014:

Don't have ragdoll cats but love all cats, and other animals.

as they say here in The Netherlands I own two "home garden and kitchen cats"

Stephanie (author) from Canada on June 29, 2014:

@SteveKaye: Lol, I think all furniture becomes the same color as the cat's fur eventually!

Stephanie (author) from Canada on June 29, 2014:

@soniabaad lm: Thank you so much! Cats really are beautiful and remarkable creatures, aren't they?

Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on June 26, 2014:

I don't have pets, but the ragdoll cat sure is adorable!

SteveKaye on June 23, 2014:

Not yet. Maybe someday I'll have a ragdoll cat who's fur is the same color as the furniture. Meow.

soniabaad lm on June 18, 2014:

Gosh I am going crazy over your lens. You have got no idea how mad I am for cats. I feel they are the most beautiful animal present on this planet. I am definitely not concerned of what breed they are. I just love them like a maniac. Thank you soo much for a wonderful lens like this. You made my day.

DavidMoses1986 on June 13, 2014:

I don't have ragdoll cat, but these cats looks so cute, love them, nice lens :)

Stephanie (author) from Canada on May 31, 2014:

@CherylsArt: It's definitely possible. The lines haven't been as closed as some breeders would like to pretend. You're very lucky if your cat has some ragdoll :)

CherylsArt on May 31, 2014:

My daughter has mentioned that she thinks one of our cats is part rag doll.

Stephanie (author) from Canada on May 25, 2014:

@BodyHairRemoval: Cats really are wonderful if you're able to have one. Some people don't give them enough credit.

BodyHairRemoval on May 25, 2014:

Very beautiful! Love cats, I'd like to own one.

VspaBotanicals on May 19, 2014:

one, but I wish I did. They are beautiful!!!

VspaBotanicals on May 19, 2014:

one, but I wish I did. They are beautiful!!!

Stephanie (author) from Canada on May 19, 2014:

@tazzytamar: Thank you! They really are wonderful cats. They just love to be around people. I'm glad Garfunkel found a good home. :)

Anna from chichester on May 18, 2014:

I love ragdoll cats - they're perfect for pretty much any family. I rescued an old ragdoll named Garfunkel who was 8 years old and he was one of the most affectionate kitties I've ever had. Great lens and your cats are beautiful

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on May 10, 2014:

What sweet kitties. The story is amazing.

Fay from Cornwall, UK on May 02, 2014:

No I don't have one but they sound adorable and loving.

Tanya Jones from Texas USA on April 19, 2014:

No, but if I ever have a cat again, I might try this breed. My one big issue with getting pets again is the fur thing. I've been fur free for over 10 years. Don't like cleaning it and don't like finding it everywhere. But, a ragdoll is tempting. Perhaps I can train it to clean its own fur? Great lens.

CampingmanNW on March 31, 2014:

No, I have a Russian Blue and he is an older cat. I have had him since my kids brought him home from Safeway on a Saturday. Since that time, my Wife of 27 years and both of my black labs are gone, Kids have all grown and moved away and it was just me and Bill for several years Thanks for an excellent lens. Well written and well deserving of the Purple Star award. Congratulations

Stephanie (author) from Canada on January 24, 2014:

@Loretta L: I'm glad Buster is becoming more affectionate. It's nice to have a furball around, even if he doesn't live with you. Hugs to you :)

Loretta Livingstone from Chilterns, UK. on January 24, 2014:

No, as I have a cat allergy, but you know all about my Ollie, and now Buster, who is becoming increasingly affectionate. He would be so upset if we got a cat of our own, even if I didn't have an allergy. I just love the sound of Ragdolls though, and yours sound like real characters. It was lovely to catch up with you on my lens. Thank you for thinking of me on Ollie's 1st anniversary. Hugs.

Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on January 14, 2014:

The Ragdoll is a cool looking cat.

norma-holt on December 25, 2013:

The daddy of one of my queens was a Ragdoll and his babies were too fluffy for me. Gem, however, the one I kept is not quite that bad. Nicely done lens and its great to see another cat loving person on Squidoo.

Judy Filarecki from SW Arizona and Northern New York on December 17, 2013:

I've never had one but those blue eyes are sure an attraction.

Giovanna from UK on December 07, 2013:

I have never heard of this breed of cat! Isn't that remarkable. They are very beautiful - their eyes are as blue as my husband's!!

TommysPal on December 04, 2013:

All three of my kitties are domestic short hairs. All very special to me. I've never met a ragdoll but have read about them and how can you not fall in love with the breed. I hope to be owned by a ragdoll some day.

sierradawn lm on December 04, 2013:

The ragdolls' blue eyes are very delicate and super susceptive to eye infections. I have found using a vet's recommendation of applications of neosporin to clear baby eyes right up. Ragdolls also seem hypersensitive to stress, which manifests itself in colds and sneezing. Following vet's advice I have had much success giving dissolved capsules of L-Lysine in drinking water fortify kitty's immune system and ward off illness.

sierradawn lm on December 04, 2013:

Many ragdolls are so quiet that you can barely hear them, and they do clicks. I thought one of my first ragdolls to have damaged vocal cords, and that kitten fell behind a catty corner bookcase. She could not cry loud enough to call for help so was there all night before I found her. (So no more catty corners in my home after that. Wonder if that is why they call it "catty corner"?) Lots of my kittens turned out quiet kittens and lots turned out real talkers.

sierradawn lm on December 04, 2013:

I was deeply touched with your story, Stephanie36. I have had felines as my closest companions ever since I can remember remembering. I just turned 63 so I have experienced the grief and loss of many of my these, my cherished friends. Last month I just lost my own first Ragdoll, Mystik Blue. He was the Patriarch of my private ragdoll cattery: "Dawn's Celestial Dolls". It is grievously hard to let go of one's precious baby. I send you my love and blessings. Nicky sounds very much like my own big sweet Guardian Companion, Orion. I have 2 Ragdolls left from my retired cattery, Orion and Mama Cat, Celestial Dawn. Celest is still whole as I need to let her produce one more litter at some distant time in the future before she grows too old.(She is 5 years old).---This is because I still have 1 promised grand-niece on my cattery waiting list to supply a "Celestial Doll" to. If the future shines bright for this, I have on this waiting list only one name, hers. I would be honored to add your name to this waiting list. The cattery where Celeste was born was Love Ragdolls. She has a 5 generation pedigree and is registered with TICA. I plan to have her artificially bred when the time comes, from a King from Love Ragdolls. I do not sell my kittens. I breed them and adopt them only to fill the special needs they were brought into this life to fill. To see my Mama Cat and all of our kittens, we have our "Dawn's Celestial Dolls" Squidoo lens.

Dancing Cowgirl Design from Texas on November 24, 2013:

Such cute kitties!

Blonde Blythe from U.S.A. on November 17, 2013:

Fantastic, very well-done lens! I really enjoyed it! Ragdolls are so adorable!!!

ChristyZ on November 17, 2013:

When I was young my mom would take me to cat shows with her and I remember how cool this breed of cat was, I was completely fascinated by how they would just flop in the judges arms while most cats had to be held down! They are a wonderful breed. Thanks for sharing and sorry about Nicky and Simon (and your dog Daisy), it's always hard to lose a special pet.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on November 17, 2013:

I never knew much about ragdoll cats before. Enjoyed reading all about them and learning something new. They're beautiful!

WriterJanis2 on November 10, 2013:

These are such beautiful cats. I love the coloring and the fluffiness.

RoadMonkey on November 04, 2013:

We have a tabby cat at present. The first cat I ever had around was my parents' cat who was a Manx cat (born with no tail) he was a great cat. We have had several cats over many years but all were strays or from unwanted litters, we have never gone out looking for a cat, they have always found us!

tonyleather on October 25, 2013:

Goergeous Beasts!

PriyabrataSingh on October 15, 2013:

Great pictures. Thanks for the digging the history regarding the "Ragdoll Cats".Cheers.....

grrbtn on October 15, 2013:

Great lens with loads of useful information. I had not heard of ragdoll cats before, but after seeing the images on this lens i now realise I have seen some before. Well done for creating such an informative lens.

Aladdins Cave from Melbourne, Australia on October 14, 2013:

Sorry, don't have a cat.

Cheers from DOWNUNDER

anonymous on October 14, 2013:

Not a huge cat person, but if I was, these are just adorable!

KarenTBTEN on October 14, 2013:

I have not had a purebred ragdoll, but I had a cat whose appearance and personality suggested ragdoll: a big, blue-eyed 'pointed' cat who would let me sleep with my arms wrapped around him like he was indeed a rag doll. He showed up mysteriously as a kitten.

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on October 14, 2013:

I'd never heard of a ragdoll cat. They're so pretty!

sousababy on October 14, 2013:

I love cats and dogs - I think they give us unconditional love and are wonderful companions. Love your photos.

Carolyn Bennett from Longview, Washington on October 14, 2013:

Great lens. I would love to have a Ragdoll, but living with a wonderful GSD right now..

Meganhere on October 08, 2013:

No, I don't have a ragdoll cat and I don't really like cats. But . . .

MarcellaCarlton on October 03, 2013:

No. I have a rescued Dog. He is the love of my life, a purebred cutie-pie, and an urban wolf. He would never tolerate another animal in our lives, but Toby sounds like a blast! Lovely lens, dear!

Takkhis on September 05, 2013:

I don't have it but I hope I will have one in the future. I am sure my GF would love to have a ragdoll someday :)

Fay Favored from USA on August 28, 2013:

What beautiful creatures. Lucy and Toby are so cute, I'm sure they are the best pets. This was very informative, thanks.

steadytracker lm on August 24, 2013:

Cats can be some of the best pets ever. We qalways ahd one, or two or three or four when I was growing up. Thanks for sharing this great information on ragdolls

Shelly Sellers from Midwest U.S.A. on August 23, 2013:

I have never held or know anyone with a ragdoll cat, but I have heard how big they get. Thanks for sharing your photos of cats :)

Valerie Smith from New Zealand on August 19, 2013:

No I don't have a ragdoll cat but I do have two cats that follow me wherever I go, and it says in the video that ragdoll cats do that so they must be related!

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on August 18, 2013:

Sharing with my friend who is a cat lover. The Ragdoll looks like a great pet.

Snakesmum on August 12, 2013:

They look like a beautiful cat, but I got my cat from a shelter, and she's beautiful too. :-)

Stephanie (author) from Canada on August 12, 2013:

@dwillar: That's so cute! My nephew is 2.5 years and does the same thing with our kitties. He's obsessed. Thanks for the visit!

dwillar on August 12, 2013:

My two year old daughter loves this lens! She climbed on my lap and keeps saying "Ooooh, a kitty!" They're adorable for sure. :)

Stephanie (author) from Canada on August 04, 2013:

@happy-birthday: Thank you very much! They really are gorgeous cats.

Birthday Wishes from Here on August 04, 2013:

No, but they are very beautiful! Thanks a lot for sharing another beautiful lens!

Stephanie (author) from Canada on July 30, 2013:

@Tom Maybrier: They're wonderful cats! I love to get shelter cats, but if you're going to get a purebred, ragdolls are the way to go.

Tom Maybrier on July 30, 2013:

No, but I'd sure like one!

Stephanie (author) from Canada on July 27, 2013:

@sierradawn lm: They're fantastic, aren't they? :) Thanks for coming by!

sierradawn lm on July 27, 2013:

My Ragdoll cats rock my world!

Stephanie (author) from Canada on July 14, 2013:

@Lorelei Cohen: That's wonderful! I think it's great to give shelter cats a much needed home. I'm reluctant to get a shelter cat if I already have one, because I've heard a couple of bad stories, but my kitty now is from the shelter and my sister/we had another from the shelter.

Lorelei Cohen on July 14, 2013:

Had not heard of this breed but I will stick with cats who truly may otherwise not acquire a home.

electrolion on July 12, 2013:

Thanks for the information about the Ragdoll cat. The blue eyes are gorgeous!

thingz1 on April 22, 2013:

I've never heard of this kind of cat before. Good to know since I would prefer a cat that is cuddly versus the aloof kind.

Delia on April 22, 2013:

I don't have a Ragdoll, but it would be cool to own feral Kitty is almost like a rag doll in allowing me to handle her, laying on her back in my arms...most cats don't like that.

Stephanie (author) from Canada on February 19, 2013:

@HSP Connections: Very true. I'll need to add that in :) Thanks for stopping by!

Peter Messerschmidt from Port Townsend, WA, USA on February 19, 2013:

I used to have a Ragdoll cat named "Bear," he was very sweet natured. I'd say the other defining characteristic of Ragdolls is their amazing blue eyes.

Oneshotvariety LM on February 15, 2013:

Cute cats. I'm sure my twins would like one soon. Great lens!

Sara Krentz from USA on January 23, 2013:

I'd heard of ragdolls, but I did not know anything about them. Thanks for this informative lens.

Dancing Cowgirl Design from Texas on January 23, 2013:

Such pretty kitties. never heard the name Rag Doll cat before. very interesting.

SteveKaye on January 19, 2013:

These are beautiful cats. Thank you for publishing this lens.

Stephanie (author) from Canada on January 17, 2013:

@verymary: Thank you! All kittens are cuties :) I haven't found one yet, radgoll or not, that I don't love.

Mary from Chicago area on January 17, 2013:

don't have one, but have 2 kittens we adore .... one is fluffy like a ragdoll! nice work :)

Mary from Chicago area on January 17, 2013:

don't have one, but have 2 kittens we adore .... one is fluffy like a ragdoll! nice work :)

Stephanie (author) from Canada on January 15, 2013:

@junecampbell: Oh wow, you're so lucky! I've recently read that they don't necessarily live as long as other cats. Two of ours are almost 11 and 12, but lost our 6 year old exactly a year ago tmorrow.

June Campbell from North Vancouver, BC, Canada on January 15, 2013:

Yep, I have a ragdoll. He is almost 13 years old. Before him, I had a ragdoll who lived to be 21. I bought my first ragdoll in the eighties. They are lovely animals.

Stephanie (author) from Canada on January 08, 2013:

@savateuse: Oops! I still have a lot of fixing up and adding to do to this lens...I will add that to my list! Lol. Thanks for the like! Ragdolls are awfully sweet. :)

savateuse on January 08, 2013:

Hi Stephanie. Nice lens, I love ragdolls!

You have a typo in one of your headings... it should be "history".

Keep writing!