Everyone knows that Ragdoll cats are a wonderful, gentle animal. But if you’re thinking about becoming the proud owner of one of these flopsy miracles, you may be wondering: just how much attention do they really need?
Do Ragdoll Cats Need A Lot Of Attention? Ragdoll cats, while being quite low maintenance, will actually demand a good amount of socialization from you, and tend to prefer companionship to independence. They love spending time with their human family and can be quite in-your-face about it.
This doesn’t mean that getting a Ragdoll cat means the end of getting any work done around the house. Read on to find out what to expect, how to be prepared, and other useful tips to manage your little attention seeker!
How much attention will my Ragdoll cat demand?
There aren’t any blanket rules that apply to every single cat, not even those of the same breed. However, there are some things you can expect from almost any Ragdoll cat.
While most cats are content to spend all day napping in a sunny spot, and some never even give you the time of day, that’s certainly not the case for the sweet Ragdoll. It’s quite safe to expect that as long as you are in the house, this highly social animal will be close to you.
While often it’s only a matter of getting a good balance of play, cuddles, and strict rules, sometimes it can seem like too much.
First-time owners realize this very quickly. It’s often been said that a Ragdoll cat is much more similar to a small, companionable dog than to a cat.
They will follow you around the house, they wait outside the bathroom door, and they definitely vocalize until you pay attention to them.
They are almost always classed in the top three of any “most affectionate cats” list alongside Birman and the Scottish fold. This should give you some hint as to the fact that we’re not talking about an average cat!
How much time per day do I have to dedicate to my Ragdoll cat?
This issue tends to be a sore point with most people who are looking into getting a Ragdoll kitten for the very first time. The answer, quite simply, is this: much more than you imagine.
Be prepared to spend a good twenty to thirty minutes of playtime with your cat before leaving for work. Then, the same again when you get back home. Double that if it’s a very young cat or if you have very long hours.
Most of all, be prepared to have your cat near you constantly, and on you whenever you are sitting down. This may not always be the case with all Ragdoll cats, but there's a good chance.
While it can seem daunting at first, what actually happens is that after a while you get used to it. Petting your cat with one hand while typing an email with the other becomes second nature.
Having cat beds and blankets right next to all the major areas where you spend time is a good idea if you don't want to be the cat bed yourself.
Is my Ragdoll kitten always going to be this needy?
Ragdoll kittens are a particular sort of nightmare, lol. If you have a normal working schedule, the first six months after you get your new kitten can be quite stressful.
It may seem like you sink every free minute into playing with your Ragdoll kitten, and yet nothing you do is ever enough.
There are two bits of good news. One is that this extreme behavior will subside. As your kitten matures, so will her relationship with you. A Ragdoll adult is still affectionate, but their level and methods of attention seeking become much more manageable.
Even if it seems impossible at first, chances are you will be the one seeking your cat’s attention before long.
The other great thing is that even as a kitten, there are ways in which you can manage this behavior.
While it’s normal that a Ragdoll kitten will be all over you all the time, this doesn’t mean that your life has to revolve around her. Setting rules and boundaries from a very early age is a good idea.
Don’t be afraid to use a time out as a discouragement for bad behavior.
Most of all, don’t ever give in to your kitten when they are displaying undesired behaviors in order to get your attention, such as excessive meowing, scratching, or biting.
The more you give in, the greater the chances are that your Ragdoll will use the same tactics next time it wants to play.
What can I do to get my Ragdoll cat to leave me alone?
While cats jumping on you might be cute, it’s not always the greatest thing if you’re trying to work from home, cook dinner or even just watch a movie. It’s even worse when the scratching begins!
However, there are very clear steps you can take to prevent, discourage and deflect this needy behavior.
Preventing bad habits from forming is always better than having to cure already formed ones. Every time your Ragdoll kitten meows or scratches you for attention, and you obey her, you're encouraging her to continue.
Ideally, you want to begin by preventing this behavior from happening as much as possible. Be sure that your cat is well fed, has water, and has been well exercised before going to work.
Exercise her again as soon as you get home.
Don’t underestimate the amount of exercise that will really get your cat into a relaxed state! A few jumps up and down the couch are not even close. Chasing toys tied to strings outside, or in large carpeted rooms is always a favorite activity of Ragdoll owners.
Get some awesome toys for your Ragdoll cat and switch them up from time to time to keep your Ragdoll entertained. We created an article with 15 great toys for Ragdolls. Have a look at it here!
Finally, remember to offer attention whenever you can, before your Ragdoll cat has a chance to demand it! A minute of petting now can save you an hour of meowing later.
While they are naturally a very vocal breed, some unfortunate owners have gotten to the point in which their Ragdoll cat simply never stops meowing at them.
Whenever this happens, the blame almost exclusively falls on the owner: responding to the meows over and over again turned that behavior into a habit.
So if we can’t always give our Ragdoll cat attention when she behaves badly, what can we do? Well, the first thing we can do is discourage her from that kind of attention-seeking behavior.
A gentle “no” followed by a few minutes of time-out in another room is a very effective way of explaining to your cat that this behavior will not work.
It’s always great to be able to deflect your cat's attention from you and onto something else every now and then.
While each individual cat is different, most of them have some sort of toy or activity that they can use by themselves and will keep them content for a little while. These toys can help give you a break, but will not replace proper exercise and socialization!
Some cats will enjoy a climbing tree, however, be sure to place it strategically near a window with a view. It’s unlikely they will form the habit of using it unless they have a reason to.
Other cats spend hours on food puzzle toys, trying to get every single treat out. Get a variety of simple, cat-safe toys and see what works!
Most Ragdoll cat owners sooner or later consider the option of distracting their needy cat with the addition of another cat!
While this depends very much on your situation and resources, it does genuinely work and is often prescribed from cats that are suffering from loneliness.
If I get a second Ragdoll cat, will they need less attention?
While most people would agree that two cats are better than one, in this case, there are advantages and disadvantages to having two Ragdolls in your home.
- They will keep each other company and possibly demand a little less attention from you
- They are less likely to bother other pets or elderly cats you may have
- When you do decide to cuddle, there’s more love to go around.
- The cost of maintaining them will double
- They may still both demand exactly the same amount of attention from you
- There will be double the amount of meowing.
Always keep your cat's well-being in mind when you make major decisions that might affect her. We recommend getting a second cat for your Ragdoll. Here is why.
Most of all, set aside the same amount of time, patience and love that you would for a toddler. There’s no doubt that however great the effort, you will be rewarded.
What are the most affectionate cat breeds?
Some cats just need to be with you all the time. Famously, the most loving and affectionate cat breeds include: The Burmese, the Siamese, the Sphynx, the Scottish Fold and the Ragdoll.
What breed of cat is very independent?
If you're worried about how much time you have and want to find a cat that can share your space without overpowering your life, you can't go wrong with a Norwegian Forest cat. This breed is independent, smart and more than capable of entertaining themselves.