Buying a pet

Ragdoll: Cat Breed info and health advice

Date updated: 15 02 2018

With those big blue eyes and all that bunny fur, the Ragdoll is the ultimate spooning partner. They’re known for being super affectionate, and their obsession with following you around and willingness to learn new tricks has earned them the name “puppy cats”. But this soppy nature can make them a little needy - and they don’t like being left to their own devices for too long.

Ready to welcome a Ragdoll into your home? Here’s what you need to know…

Average lifespan: around 12 years - but some live well into their teens

Weight: Males: 6.8 to 9 kg, Females: 4.5 to 6.8 kg

Colouring: These guys come in lots of colours including cream, lilac, seal, blue and tabby (their true colour develops from around 13 weeks) 

Grooming requirements: moderate (that long fur needs lotta love)!

Average purchase cost: around £500 to £550 for a kitten


Bet you didn’t know…

  • They’re newcomers on the cat scene. The first ever Ragdolls were bred in the 1960s by a Californian breeder of Persian Cats and were probably the result of a Persian queen and Burmese Tom pairing. 1981 saw the arrival of the Ragdoll to the UK. Since then, they’ve shot up in popularity!
  • They’re gentle giants. They might be long, muscular cats - but they definitely live up to their name. They go famously floppy when picked up; like a ragdoll.
  • They love the water. While the garden sprinkler or kitchen might send most cats running, Ragdolls seem to love it. Don’t be surprised to find your buddy jumping up to the kitchen sink or following you into the shower.
  • Hunting isn’t their thing. With most cats, “special” presents (aka half-eaten mice) are something that comes with the territory. But a Ragdoll’s low prey drive means they’re definitely lovers not fighters.

Great for…
Whether it’s a busy family home or just you and your buddy, a Ragdoll will soon settle right in. They love being picked up and cuddled - and this easy-going nature makes them a natural playmate for the kids. Just make sure children know the difference between playtime and teasing! Even the most laid-back Ragdoll can lash out if their nap’s rudely interrupted or if someone bothers them while they’re eating!

These guys love to socialise, and are likely to get on well with other pets - especially if they’ve grown up in the same house. In fact, having a playmate around can reduce the likelihood of pining if you’re at work all day. Always take the time to introduce your buddies properly and make sure they get along well before leaving them alone together, and everything should be fine.

Temperament and behaviour
Low aggression levels and a low prey drive might be good news for your local bird population, but it also means that a Ragdoll doesn’t make a very good outdoors cat. Apart from the traffic risk, bear in mind that these guys can sometimes be too ‘nice’ for their own good - making them targets for more aggressive local moggys.

While they generally cope well with the hustle and bustle of a busy home, these guys also like an element of routine. So feeding should ideally be at the same times each day, and you should also make sure there’s a special quiet place for your buddy to slip away to, come nap time. Regular playtime and interaction helps to keep your Ragdoll stimulated. It also reduces the likelihood of furniture scratching and other types of destructive behaviour.

Blue eye Rag Dog cat staring sat on curtain ledge staring at the camera

A Ragdoll’s dense, silky coat is something to be proud of - and keeping it looking fresh needs a lot of attention. A daily comb and brush helps keep tangles and knots at bay - and ramp it up to twice a day in Autumn and Spring when shedding is at its heaviest. As well as helping you to keep hoovering to a minimum, brushing also helps stop fur balls. Unlike some other breeds, Ragdolls are happy to sit on your lap for their daily grooming sesh.

If the coat feels greasy or stringy to the touch, it’s time to give your buddy a bath. For a typical indoors cat, this could be once every two to three months. If the coat turns greasy quickly after bathing and there’s no obvious reason why, it could be a sign of an underlying health condition, so it’s worth having a word with your vet.

Once a week, wipe around the corners of the eyes with a soft damp cloth - and do the same for the ears. This is to clear out any debris and to reduce the chances of infection. Redness and discharge are signs that infection has set in, so report this to the vet if detected. A Ragdoll’s nails generally need trimming back every couple of weeks.

Common health issues to watch out for...

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (heart disease). Relatively common in Ragdolls, this condition causes thickening of the muscle walls around the heart, making it work less efficiently. Early symptoms can include very fast breathing and lethargy. Although there’s no cure, if it’s picked up on early by a vet, there’s a much greater chance of working out a treatment plan to help control the heart rate and to help your cat live a happy life.
  • Bladder stones. Symptoms of these rock-like deposits in a cat’s bladder include blood in the urine, straining to urinate and the sudden passing of urine in unusual places. Appropriate treatment can range from a special medical diet through to surgery.
  • Feline infectious peritonitis is a fatal viral disease that leads to a breakdown of a cat’s immune system. Although there is no cure, supportive treatment is possible, sometimes involving immunosuppressive medication.
  • Feline mucopolysaccharidosis. A collective term for various metabolic disorders caused by impaired function of certain enzymes. Symptoms can range from dwarfism, degenerative joint disease through to enlarged liver and eye cloudiness. Specialist medical input is essential both for diagnosis and for working out a management plan.
  • Traumatic injury. Ragdolls are both smart and curious; a combination of traits that can sometimes lead them to suffer all manner of scrapes and tumbles in and out of the home. X-Rays, surgical fixes, medication, physio, follow-up consultations… any or all of these might be needed for getting your buddy back on their paws again.