Cats have long been the pet of choice for animal lovers with a busy lifestyle. With a nickname like “puppy cat”, it’s no wonder to me that cat lovers are sometimes concerned that Ragdolls may not be well suited for long days alone.
Can Ragdoll Cats Be Left Alone? Like all cats, Ragdolls are resourceful and can fend themselves for much longer than your average dog. No cat should be left alone indefinitely, and a Ragdoll will likely have an even lower tolerance for solitude due to their affectionate nature.
It’s hard not to fall in love with the congenial personality and silky fur of the Ragdoll cat, but you should consider if they’re the right match for you before bringing one home. Ragdolls can be left at home while you’re at work, but they are less tolerant of it than other breeds.
Luckily for Ragdoll lovers, there are some things you can do to keep them happy while you’re on the go.
How Long Can Ragdoll Cats Be Left Home Alone?
On the conservative side, cat experts suggest that you avoid leaving your cat alone for more than 24 hours without someone checking in. This is mostly a precaution to check for injuries, spilled water, or other unpredictable circumstances and may not be applicable to everyone.
If you feel confident in your set up as well as your cat’s overall health, he can be okay if left alone for a whole weekend. Your typical Ragdoll, on the other hand, may not tolerate the same length of time alone so well.
These cats are so social that some Ragdoll breeders will only sell them in pairs to ensure that they will never be completely alone.
Before leaving a Ragdoll cat alone for more than a workday, think about what he may be experiencing. Are there other pets around or people who could check in on him? Is there anything toxic or dangerous that he could gain access to?
This is just the beginning of a long mental checklist you should be reviewing.
The same actions that land cats in shelters for “behavior issues” are textbook signs of depression, which could be the result of leaving a social cat alone too long.
Some of these behaviors include
- More scratching or general restlessness
- You may also see extra neediness when you get home
- Increased nocturnal activity
- Litter box issues
- A loss of the cat-human bond which attracts so many to the breed
- Constant meowing
If you want a Ragdoll, but are afraid that you’ll be away too often, you should either consider a more independent breed or take extra steps to ensure that he’s not lonely.
If you do your research and are willing to prepare accordingly, both you and your cat can be happy. You might even want to a less clingy version of the Ragdoll – the Birman cat. Here is the difference between them!
If becoming a multi-pet household, hiring a pet sitter, or creating puzzles for your Ragdoll sound crazy to you, you may not be the proper home for these wonderful cats.
How To Help Keep Your Ragdoll Cat From Getting Lonely While You’re Away
Due to the Ragdoll’s particularly affectionate and curious nature, they may not fare quite as well when left alone as compared to other cats. Luckily for lovers of the breed, there are some ways you can help make your cat’s alone time a bit more bearable.
Above all else, Ragdolls should never be only pets.
A Companion – Doesn’t have to be a cat!
Another feline companion would be ideal, but even a dog would help your Ragdoll cope with your absence. Some cats may play or cuddle with other pets, while others may simply enjoy being in the presence of another furry friend.
Introducing cats to any other animal should be taken seriously. While not a concrete rule, cats of opposite genders tend to be faster friends. Slow, supervised introductions are always best.
It may not be possible for everyone, but a visit from a friend or family member during the day could make a world of difference to your Ragdoll. While it might lessen your chances of finding a volunteer, it would be best for the visitor to also do a quick litter scoop.
You can also use apps like Rover to schedule visits with your pet for a reasonable fee. (Still, make sure to get to know the person before trusting them. Not all sitters are good.) While most cats will hide from houseguests, Ragdolls are known for allowing strangers to hold them, making them the perfect candidate for sitters.
In addition to other living companions, your Ragdoll may be soothed by things that remind them of you. Some owners leave clothing out or even stuff a pet bed with items that may hold their scent, so that their cat feels like they are nearby.
Turn On The TV
You can play music or videos to calm your cat and keep them company too. As hilarious as it sounds, some cats have favorite shows, while others may prefer classical music.
Get Some Awesome Toys!
Not all cats will want to play while you’re gone, but you can help keep your cat busy with interactive toys. Continuously rotate them in and out of use to make the toys even more mentally stimulating to your cat. Here are 15 great toys for Ragdoll cats – interactive toys included!
A Window Throne For Your Ragdoll
Your Ragdoll might be more interested in surveying the kingdom than playing with toys, so make sure he’s got a window available. If there’s no nearby ledge for him to relax on, there are plenty of low cost and DIY options available.
Invest in a cat tower, or even more affordable floating shelf or suction cup cat hammock to give him an instant source of entertainment. We highly recommend getting this cat perch – it’s pure awesome sauce!
It’s easy for a busy human to forget how routine based their cat’s life is. If your schedule has an abrupt change like a new shift at work, it’s best to ease your cat into it. Try to at least begin the shift mid-week so that your cat experiences less of a shock before the next block of off days.
Can I Leave My Cat Alone Longer Once He’s Older?
Every cat is different, but you can use his age as a guideline for how much attention he needs.
From the time you bring your Ragdoll kitten home (usually 8-12 weeks) through about 6 months old, he will typically want to play almost as much as you’ll go along with it.
Playing is a way for your cat to learn and develop skills, so it’s important to expose him to things he might experience later in life. You will want to spend as much time with your Ragdoll during this period as possible.
At about 7 months, most cats calm down a bit, but this is the same time that your Ragdoll should start gaining confidence in meeting other animals, climbing, and getting into trouble!
You may want to reconsider what you deem “safe” to leave your cat alone with while you are away once he hits this phase.
During the adult life stage, your cat is generally more independent and calm but also does not have the health concerns that often come with old age. Cats are best equipped to be alone at this stage.
At 11 years and up, cats are typically still independent but may lose interest in their usual activities. While some decline is expected, don’t assume that aloof behavior is just age! Make sure your senior cat is healthy with regular health checkups.
Remember that no two cats are the same. You should always consult your veterinarian and use your best judgment!
How Can I Prepare My House Before Leaving for a Longer Than Usual Time?
If you’re planning on being gone longer than usual, here are a few ways to prepare.
Extra Litter Boxes
One of the biggest disruptions you can subject a cat to is letting their litter box get dirty! The best way to prevent this while you are not home is to add more litter boxes into the rotation. This litter box is great for a big cat breed like the Ragdoll cat.
Fresh water is another of your cat’s few basic requirements. Ensure that your feline has water at all times by buying an inexpensive gravity bowl that dispenses more water to the bowl as it’s being drunk. If you want to pamper your cat, you can even upgrade to a refrigerated version!
You can get those gravity bowls here!
Put Away Valuables/Temptations
If there are items that your cat just won’t leave alone, or that could possibly pose a danger, make sure they are secured.
Prop Doors Open
It won’t matter how many supplies you have in the house if your cat accidentally gets stuck in one room.
These days, you can get a camera for under $50 and quickly check on your cat from everywhere. You can spare yourself some piece of mind. Plus if there is an issue, you can ask a friend to stop by. You can even get a webcam that gives your cat treats – have a look at it here!
As long as he has the companionship of another person or animal along with a thoughtfully designed living space, your Ragdoll can be perfectly happy without your constant presence.
Just remember to constantly assess him for changes in behavior that could hint at unhappiness, and be prepared to take action if needed.
Should I leave my Ragdoll cat inside or outside?
Many owners consider leaving their Ragdoll cat outside while they are away from work, especially in mild climates. They hope that this will help keep their cat entertained and that she will be happy to roam and chase things all day long.
Unfortunately, this is usually a very serious mistake. Ragdoll cats, unlike most other felines, have little or no hunting skills and absolutely no killer instinct.
While this makes them wonderful house pets and allows them to interact with a great variety of other species of pets safely, it also means that the great outdoors is not where they belong.
Ragdoll cats tend to be very sweet and mild-tempered, so they would be completely unable to defend themselves from other cats, stray dogs, or even people. Leaving them outside would pose quite a great risk to their safety.
We have created an entire article on that here and we highly recommend reading it if you are thinking about letting your Ragdoll cat outside: Can Ragdoll Cats Go Outside?
Do Ragdoll cats need a companion? Because of their affectionate nature, Ragdolls are happiest with a companion. Ragdolls can get lonely, even more so than most other cats.
If you are thinking about getting a companion for your Ragdoll cat, you should read our article on that here.
What are some ragdoll behavior problems? One common behavior issue in the Ragdoll breed is marking outside of the litter box. This can be for many reasons, including territorial or attention-seeking behavior; or it could even be a symptom of the bladder stones which they are prone to.
Can I have a Ragdoll cat and work full time? You can have a Ragdoll cat and work full time as long as the cat has other companions. It is best to have another feline friend for your ragdoll.