To own a ragdoll cat is to have a piece of happiness. Their blue eyes captivate and hold the attention of cat fanciers and even non-cat people alike. They are playful and sweet, social and beautiful.
They are rightfully one of the most treasured and sought-after breeds. They are not too big, weighing in at about 10 to 15 pounds based on which gender you choose.
However, all that glitters are not gold, says the old cliché. This article aims to talk about the good and bad things about owning one of these beautiful cats.
Brief History of the Ragdoll
Known for having a silky and soft coat, and a certain fur pattern, these cats do really well in family settings. They enjoy hanging around on the floor which is atypical of cats who generally prefer being up high so they can see everything.
They also enjoy being around others and LOVE their family, unlike some other cats who tend to run and hide when visitors come over.
The breed originated in the 60s in California. A woman by the name of Ann Baker bred stray cats with other cats that she already owned, and so the Ragdoll originated from some interesting roots. Baker’s cat, Josephine, had a knack for birthing kittens that were so sweet in nature and calm-perfect family cats.
Baker bred Josephine for her amazingly tempered kittens and narrowed down the characteristics she found and got what we know now as the Ragdoll cat.
It was not until 1993 that the Cat Fanciers Association began to recognize Ragdolls.
Now that you know about the Ragdoll’s origination, let’s begin with the pros of owning these unique and special cats.
Pro #1: Personality
We have already touched on this briefly, but the personality of the ragdoll is second to none. They are so loyal and affectionate to their family members and are great for owners that could really use a friend. They are known to run up and greet you after coming home from work or errands.
If you are something of a busy person, a ragdoll is a good pet. They are easygoing and not overly demanding. They can be independent, too.
So, if you are gone for a good chunk of your day due to work and other responsibilities, you can rest easy knowing your ragdoll is not the type to tear up the house while you are gone.
Ragdolls do not usually extend their claws during play time. This makes them good for families with young children who love to play with and cuddle the cats.
While cat owners should always devote a small window of their day to exercising and playing with their cat, the ragdoll is not like some breeds which require you to play with them as a means of burning off energy.
Pro #2: They Are Super Smart
Ragdolls are known for being smart. After all, cats are smart animals-but ragdolls can be a real sight to behold when it comes to their brains.
There are stories of ragdoll cats being able to be trained to do some fun tricks using clickers and some treats for positive reinforcement.
Anecdotally, you can go onto YouTube and see several Ragdoll owners showing off the amazing tricks their cats have learned. One cat, Solo, is able to roll over, shake, sit, lay down and do more cool tricks.
Every ragdoll is different, but if you were to adopt one, you could likely teach him or her some tricks with patience and positive reinforcement.
Pro #3: Their Temperament is Gold
The name Ragdoll is derived from the fact that the original cats of this breed would flop over when they were picked up. This mannerism is a good indicator of their laid-back temperament.
These cats will absolutely enjoy lazing around, sitting in your lap, or next to you while you sleep.
They will also enjoy hanging around while you have friends or family over, and if you decide to adopt another cat, they will most likely get along with them.
Children do well with ragdolls, and the breed is very patient with young children. (It’s still a good idea to monitor children closely when they play with or pet animals).
Pro #4: Their Grooming Needs Are Easy
You need only brush your Ragdoll once or twice each week using a good quality steel comb to keep their fur from getting matted and tangled. This will help them get rid of loose hairs they might otherwise swallow and turn into unwelcome hairballs.
The coat of the ragdoll is a pleasure to pet and touch and is not prone to a lot of health problems. Good grooming of your cat will keep their coat looking beautiful as ever.
And grooming will be a fun thing for you and your cat to experience. After all, ragdolls enjoy spending time with their owners and are so easygoing that combing them will not be troublesome.
You should begin the grooming process when they are kittens, so they are used to it throughout their life. And, combing is important because it feels good for your cat, aside from keeping them looking neat and clean.
Pro#4: Shedding Is Moderate
The shedding of the ragdoll is not as bad as some cats. Of course, you will notice more shedding taking place during the changing of the seasons, but normally, your cat will not shed a lot so long as you keep up with regular grooming.
Now that we have covered all the wonderful things about the ragdoll breed, let’s take a look at the cons you should know about.
Con #1: They Shouldn’t Go Outside
Letting your cat go outside is seen as a good thing in some circles. After all, your cat can enjoy some fresh air. They can climb trees, scratch without being scolded, and chase bugs around as they are wont to do when they get into the house.
After all, they tend to stare out the window, sometimes going nuts when a robin or other small bird comes into their line of view. Why shouldn’t we let these animals go outside and indulge their primal instincts?
The ragdoll is a breed that really should not go outside. The intentions of owners are good-exercise and boredom busting are two main reasons pet owners let their cat out-but it’s not always the best idea.
The ragdoll is not like other cats in the sense that it tends to be a bit too friendly for the outdoors. These cats have such gentle attitudes that they don’t really have the same fighting spirit as some other breeds.
These cats are not territorial. Another cat could walk up to them and pick a fight, leaving them open to contracting a disease or even a worm/other parasite from that cat. They may even be stolen by somebody looking to sell them.
Con #2: They Cost A Bundle
If you are serious about owning a ragdoll, chances are you looked at price first before all else. And yes, these cats really do cost a pretty penny.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $800 to $2000 when it comes to your ragdoll kitten, which is what you will typically be buying. Occasionally you may find adult cats for sale, which are sold at a lesser price than kittens.
Aside from this, you also have to consider any travel time and expenses you have to expend in order to reach the cattery you plan on buying the kitten from.
The price of kittens in a cattery will not vary all that much in terms of pricing. After all, too much discrepancy could upset the market. If you are in this to show your ragdoll cat, you can expect to pay more as you will need to buy show rights.
Furthermore, only purchase from a reliable breeder or adopt from a shelter. Pet store animals do not have the same documentation and pedigree that animals bought from a breeder do. A ragdoll you can adopt gets a new lease on life and costs less.
Con #3: They Are Prone to Certain Health Problems
Usually, we find that ragdolls are pretty healthy. They will live a long life if properly cared for. But, as typical of purebred breeds, health problems can plague ragdoll owners. Here are the top conditions you should know about.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM): This is when the muscle of the heart becomes thick as a result of a thyroid that is highly overactive. Your ragdoll, and other breeds of cats, like to hide their sickness. The condition could be serious by the time you notice it.
This is marked by blood clots that form and paralyze the back legs as well as the tail. You may also notice your ragdoll becoming lethargic, not having much of an appetite, and breathing rather quickly. You must call the vet right away if this is the case. Ask your breeder if either of the parents of your ragdoll had HCM.
Cons #3 Continued
Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)- Sometimes known as the coronavirus, most cats do carry this disease. The virus can be dormant and not pose a threat to your feline. But you should always be wary: If the right mutations take place, the disease can harm the cats that have weak immune systems.
There is no cure for this affliction. It is fatal. Blood tests do exist, but these tests can’t tell if it is the dormant version or the fatal version. Therefore, there is no way to determine if the kitten you are interested in is void of FIP.
Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)-These are urinary conditions like bladder stones, blockages, and UTIs. This usually occurs in the form of elimination on cold surfaces, straining while urinating, crying while inside the litter box, or incontinence.
These need to be treated right away, as they are quick to deteriorate. Speak with a vet immediately for help.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
This one is the product of a defective gene that is part of the Ragdoll DNA. Kittens that are born with this gene have cysts in their kidneys and in some cases, the liver.
Over time these cysts get bigger and destroy the liver as well as the kidneys. This shows up at about age 7 and you will see signs like weight loss, thirst in excess, and general poor health.
You should ask for an ultrasound on your cat and a genetic test. A good breeder will not breed a cat with this defect.
This one is big in Siamese and in ragdoll cats. A fungus enters through the nose, and the lungs, brain and eyes all become affected.
You will notice symptoms like lethargy, weight loss, and mucus when your cat sneezes. Seizures, trouble breathing and lesions on the nose or even a swollen nose are the signs. Contact a vet right away.
Con #4: They Are Not Hypoallergenic
The Fel d 1 protein is what makes some people allergic to cats. Sadly, ragdolls are not hypoallergenic.
A true hypoallergenic cat produces less of the Fel d 1 protein. There are NO cats that do not produce this protein. Even cats branded as hypoallergenic simply produce less than other cats.
Indeed, if you or somebody in your home is allergic to cats, ragdolls are not for you.
As with any breed, owning a ragdoll is more rewarding than it is a pain. That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind when you do decide to purchase one of these beautiful cats.
They are just perfect for families, but should the cat develop health problems, will you be able to afford their care? Do you insist on letting your cat outdoors? Do you prefer a high energy cat or a low-key lap kitty?
The ragdoll can be the perfect cat for some, and for others, it will not be the right fit. Take this article and your own research into consideration as you shop.