Ragdoll cats are globally renowned for their crystal-blue eyes, cloud-like fur, and striking pointed colors. But there is so much more that makes these cats special, aside from their beautiful physical appearance.
Despite being fairly large in size, their relaxed and gentle nature makes Ragdoll cats wonderful apartment companions. Ragdolls are also unusually vocal and have a higher than average life expectancy of 15 to 20 years, making them excellent long-term family pets.
Their silky coats make them just about irresistible; but while they love to be stroked and petted, they don’t always enjoy being picked up or carried around.
Brief History of the Ragdoll Cat Breed
Ragdoll cats are undoubtedly a favourite breed for a huge number of cat lovers. So, where did it all begin and why are we so drawn to them?
The Ragdoll cat was first registered in 1966, making it one of the more recent popular cat breeds. The breed was created by Ann Baker in the early ‘60s, but the true story of how the breed came to be has varied accounts. What we do know to be true of this breed is that all legitimate Ragdoll cats come from a line that began with a cat named Josephine and her two sons that were bred for their striking features.
Ragdoll cats originally got their name from going limp when picked up, but not all Ragdolls are quite so happy to be picked up. They were bred especially for their gentle personalities and ability to get along with children and other pets.
Ragdoll Cat Breed Overview
Ragdoll cats stand out for their large size, soft coat, blue eyes, and pointed colors. These colours come in a wide variety of shades, both light and dark.
Ragdoll Cat Personality
Ragdoll cats are extremely loyal cats and are said to be almost dog-like in nature. These gentle giants are known for their ability to learn how to play fetch, come to you on command and carry their favourite toys in their mouths. Ragdoll cats are also one of the few longer haired breeds with no undercoat, making them more suitable for those with allergies. These unusual traits make them extremely endearing and has contributed to the overwhelming love for the breed.
Ragdoll cats love to cuddle up with their humans and are considered to be docile, relaxed, and easy going cats. They are not known for being extremely active but do need to be kept physically fit to reduce obesity risks. Their exercise needs can be easily met with a game of fetch, making them ideal apartment cats.
Ragdoll Characteristics & Attitudes
Ragdoll Cat Breed Care
Although Ragdoll cats do not shed excessively, they should be groomed once or twice a week in order to avoid knots and mats forming, as well as to reduce the risk of hairballs. Other grooming care that a Ragdoll owner should consider include regular teeth brushing to help avoid dental issues, as well as gently cleaning their kitty’s ears with cotton on a weekly basis.
These gorgeous cats pick up weight quite easily and this extra weight can be easily disguised under their long, silky coats. This means that Ragdoll owners need to be extra vigilant about ensuring that their beloved felines maintain a healthy weight and get enough exercise through play and daily activities.
As a popular indoor breed, Ragdolls thrive off “catification”. Cat trees, climbing shelves, and interactive toys will go down a treat for these kitties and can be easily incorporated into your living space.
Common Health Issues in Ragdoll cats
One of the most common health issues experienced by Ragdoll cats is obesity. Although this breed doesn’t have any specific exercise requirements, they are notorious overeaters and as such, their food intake should be closely monitored.
Ragdolls are also known for their sensitive stomachs and can present with gastrointestinal issues. Fast intervention from a veterinary practitioner will generally lead to a full recovery.
Being medium to long haired cats, Ragdoll cats can also suffer from hairballs caused by ingesting hair when grooming themselves. This is why it’s important for owners of this breed to keep on top of grooming and also to ensure their beloved felines are getting enough moisture in their diets.
Feline Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, although a fairly common cardiac problem among domestic cats, is of particular concern for certain breeds including the Ragdoll. This condition is more often seen in older males and is characterised by the thickening of the heart's walls. This decreases the efficiency at which blood is pumped throughout the cat’s body, and can ultimately lead to blood clots. Fortunately, this condition can be treated, but Ragdoll owners should be mindful of symptoms including difficulty breathing and lethargy.
Other health issues to be mindful of include urinary tract issues such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones and cystitis. Owners can limit their cat’s susceptibility to these conditions by providing a high-moisture diet and monitoring kitty’s water intake.
Due to being prone to overeating, Ragdoll cats should be fed high quality food to reduce the urge to snack frequently. Ragdolls require a diverse diet with both proteins and vitamins, including a defined source of meat. The food you feed your ragdoll should have as close to no cereal content as possible and should consist of mainly protein.
A Ragdoll’s food should also contain a high percentage of moisture. Cats are renowned for not drinking enough water as they biologically expect to be getting 90% of their fluid intake from their food.
If you’re the proud owner of a Ragdoll kitty, try to avoid food that is chock full of grains and instead stick to foods high in protein (at least 60%). Raw food such as quality minced beef can also be considered a good option for your Ragdoll.
Foods to avoid adding to your Ragdoll’s diet include highly processed meat, filler ingredients such as carbohydrates, foods high in sodium, and milk. Feeding dry food alone should also be avoided, as wet food will help you kitty to get the moisture that they need.
Lastly and worth noting is that Ragdoll cats can be considered to be quite fussy eaters. They are also known to develop allergies and may have food sensitivities which may require special diets. Complex proteins like duck and lamb are a good option for fussy or sensitive cats.
Ragdoll Cat Pros & Cons
The pros of owning a Ragdoll cat are seemingly endless, although this might be a slightly biased opinion coming from someone with a real soft spot for them. These are just a few of their stand-out factors:
Final Thoughts on Ragdoll cats
Despite being a relatively new breed, Ragdoll cats have fast become a household favourite for families across the globe. Renowned for their soft fur, beautiful colors, and piercing blue eyes, these gentle giants are undoubtedly striking and equally charming. If you’re in need of a loving companion to enjoy for years to come, Ragdoll cats are an excellent choice. Not only are they relatively low maintenance, they also make for fantastic apartment cats and will suit just about any family or home.
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