Cat intelligence is determined by their among other things ability to adapt to new environments and cognition. The affectionate nature of ragdoll cats can make them appear to be more intelligent than other breeds but how smart are ragdoll cats really?
How Smart Are Ragdoll Cats? While ragdoll cats have shown feline intelligence by their ability to get trained and their communication skills, they are less intelligent when it comes to survival and hunting instincts compared to other breeds. They are intuitive when it comes to showing affection, companionship, and articulating their needs.
Let us show you in which areas Ragdoll cats are pretty smart and what you can expect from them.
The brain of a Ragdoll cat
The domesticated cat like a ragdoll has a brain that is 0.91% of its total body mass. It is two inches long (5cm) with a cerebral cortex that takes up 13 in².
The cerebral cortex in ragdoll cats functions in the same way it does in humans; determines intelligence and personality, processes touch and other sensory information and aids in motor function among other things.
Because animal intelligence is gauged by the instinctive behavior of the animal’s breed, it is not realistic to judge the intelligence of a ragdoll cat against the intelligence of an American Shorthair.
The ragdoll is intelligent when it comes to communicating with its owners and other pets as well as interacting with children and the elderly while the American Shorthair is a survivor that can do well outdoors.
Just because the ragdoll does not chase mice and hunt other little prey but prefers to spend time with their owner doesn’t mean they have less intelligence than other breeds.
They are just more intuitive to human needs which is not surprising because the brain structure of a cat and human are very similar.
Areas in which a Ragdoll cat is smart
Cats have a different intelligence skill set compared to dogs and even amongst themselves. The ragdoll cat is smart in the following ways
Ragdolls are among the most social cats you may find. They are demonstrably affectionate like meeting you at the door when you come home, finding a favorite spot where they can rest next or on you, and talking to you to communicate their needs to you.
Communication and memory
Ragdolls are not the savviest hunters, but they know how to communicate their food needs to their owner. Being house cats, they are able to stay unattended to for long hours as their owners are out of the house.
(Although you should not leave them alone too often, read our article on that here to learn why.)
They are able to access their food and ration it to eat just what they need.
The cats also know their feeding schedules and will only go to their plates to feed at selected times. They are so sensitive to their feeding and sleep schedule that they will become visibly upset when these schedules are disrupted.
Ragdolls are capable of showing emotion from happiness and anger to frustration and sadness. They are also capable of showing favoritism by responding more to the person or animal they interact with the most.
When you make changes to the cat’s beddings, or even rearrange furniture and move their favorite seat around in the house, your cat may show its lack of approval by stalking about in the original place where the seat was before going to where it is currently located.
Ragdoll cats will not participate in activities that do not reward their effort. Even their playtime is meant to spend time with you and is a sign of their affection.
Unlike dogs which will do anything to get a pat or approval, a ragdoll will not perform tricks for you. It is a straightforward animal that gives affection to show love and expects it in return.
Can you make your Ragdoll Smarter?
Brain games can make your cat smarter. Cats like human beings and dogs need a chance to improve their intelligence, and some games can increase their smarts. Here are three popular ones.
Teach it to look for food
Without leaving your ragdoll cat outdoors, you can teach it to find food. Begin by placing its food in a hidden place and let the cat look for the bowl until it finds it. You can also buy your cat foraging toys to help it grow and hone its hunting skills.
Alternatively, place your raggie’s food in a cardboard box and let it find a way to get to the food within the box.
Use boxes and papers during playtime
You can use the above cardboard box for playtime. Ragdolls, like other cats, not only love the rustle and sound of the paper and cardboard, they love being able to find their way in and out of them.
The challenge helps them increase their cognitive behavior, and for kittens, they develop these functions even better.
These types of games also help to grow the animal’s tolerance since ragdolls tend to have an impatient disposition.
We created an article on the best toys for Ragdoll cats and found 15 great toys for them – these also include interactive toys. Have a look at our article here!
Build your cat an obstacle course
Ragdolls love to plop on their favorite recliner and relax. To pique their interest and make their playtime more interactive build an obstacle course for them.
Using an interactive toy you can get them to run through, jump over, and find other ways around to get to the toy. This helps the cat stay healthy and alert while bringing the fun factor for your pet.
Invest in interactive toys
Interactive toys not only challenge the cats but they also give them something to focus their energy on. With an interactive toy, your ragdoll will learn to depend on itself for entertainment without getting quarrelsome when you do not give it attention.
Enjoy some water games
Ragdoll cats, unlike other breeds, love to play in the water. Put some toys in their bath water and let them swim and splash about. As they try to retrieve their toys, they get their exercise and learn to survive in water.
Which are the smartest cat breeds?
Among the smartest breeds of cats, you will find the Abyssinian at the top of the list. Other breeds include the Turkish Van Cat, Scottish Fold Cat, Siamese cats, Tonkinese cats, Burmese cats, Bengal cats, and Cornish Rex cat. These cats can be trained to open the door, enjoy an obstacle course, and much more.
If you want to learn more, have a look at these articles:
What are the personality traits of ragdoll cats?
Ragdoll cats were bred for being very affectionate and laid back. They are known for being cuddly, and they also enjoy sitting on their owner’s lap. A ragdoll rarely gets angry, and they love humans. They are known for getting along with other cats and even dogs easily.