The Ragdoll cat is one of the cat breeds that have become considerably more popular in recent years, and if you’ve ever seen a cat that appears to go completely limp and dangle in the air the moment they get picked up, then it was likely at least partially a ragdoll – yes, this means that Quagmire’s cat in Family Guy is probably a ragdoll even though very few places have pointed this out.
This isn’t the only thing most people don’t know about the ragdoll breed, and until recently most people didn’t know about this breed at all – partially, this is just because the breed has only starting booming in more recent years since other associations were legally allowed to add the name “ragdoll” to their listing when the trademark for the name finally expired – but only in the year 2012.
Here are 15 fascinating facts about the ragdoll cat.
1. The ragdoll breed was first developed by Ann Baker.
The ragdoll breed of cat was first discovered, developed and named by a cat breeder named Ann Baker. While living on her own farm, she had seen that the cat for the first time on another farm behind hers – and her interest was grabbed immediately. She made one of these unique cats her own, and then started to breed some of their unique traits, which eventually led us to the cat we know today as the ragdoll.
Once this had been done, she set up the first association for ragdoll breeding and registered the name as a trademark – and the breed officially took off in many parts of the world, including the UK.
Marilyn Monroe said that if she ever came back she’d return as a white cat – maybe she spotted one of these cats herself and loved it so much that she decided that she’d like to come back as a completely carefree ragdoll cat.
2. They love other cats.
When you look at a ragdoll share a room with another cat – or sometimes even dog – you’ll wonder where the myth came from that cats can be antisocial at all. In the right environment, ragdoll cats are one of the most lovable ones you’ll ever see, and they happen to love other cats – in fact, they will cope best when you put them in a family of cats that manage to get along well.
They share their affinity for both cats and people, and ragdolls will usually stick close to their owners or go into hiding when their owners aren’t around: But when united with their owner again like after the end of a day’s work, they’ll be all over their owners at the drop of a hat.
But If they’ve picked a member of the family to hate, there’s not much you can do except for a slow re-introduction to the person or animal with time and a lot of catnip.
3. They’re true to the name.
The ragdoll cat gets their name from the fact that they go completely limp when they are picked up, which is the single characteristic trait that all ragdolls worldwide will share – and the one single characteristic that you can immediately use to find out if you’re looking at a ragdoll cat.
All ragdoll cats do this: You don’t have to worry that there’s something wrong with your cat when this happens, and you don’t have to run off to the vet to ask them why your cat is doing this if they appear to be otherwise fine – no, your cat isn’t sick, this is literally just what the breed is known to do.
These cats love being carried around, and they prefer spending most of the day in close proximity to their owners – especially if their owners actually do. Ragdolls are lovable, friendly and cope in most types of different environments.
4. Ragamuffin Breed
The ragdoll cats are the origin of another cat breed called the Ragamuffin breed, and the two breeds are extremely similar in temperament, appearance and habit – the ragamuffn also has the habit of dangling when picked up, and they love people just as much, but they are still considered to be a slightly separate breed that has been bred from the original ragdoll.
Because of the trademark issues with the ragdoll name, some associations that broke away from the original ragdoll breeding group couldn’t register the cats they produced under the same name – and had to come up with something else to avoid any further copyright issues with the name.
This later turned into the Ragamuffin breed, which has a few characteristics (mostly genetic ones) that sets them apart as a distinct breed from the ragdoll that has been bred into the Ragamuffin cat breed over some considerable time.
5. They’re one of the largest breeds
Ragdoll cats are one of the largest cat breeds overall, and they can become as much as 20 pounds and still be in completely healthy condition. Just because your cat is heavy, doesn’t mean that your cat is fat – and it’s always a good idea to check the breed of your cat first before you start to worry: If you aren’t sure which breed you have, asking your vet can usually help since they know the majority of breeds and their traits by heart.
When it comes to the ragdoll breed, you can expect the male cats to be considerably heavier than the females – although even the females can grow to be quite heavy, and can measure in at as much as 12 pounds for an adult female ragdoll.
Always be sure to keep their food intake controlled and healthy to avoid issues like fat or heart issues for your cat.
6. Ragdolls like playing fetch.
The ragdoll makes for one of the friendliest and most docile cat breeds in existence, and this makes them perfect for a family cat – or anyone who spends most of their time at home. Their friendly nature leads to several interesting traits for this cat breed, including the fact that you can teach a ragdoll to do tricks – something that most people would have you believe is completely impossible when it comes to cats.
Among other things, one of the traits that you should naturally notice with the ragdoll cat breed is the fact that they usually love playing fetch: If you want to practically train them to do this, the best way to do it is to encourage this trait when you see it with a treat and a scratch – eventually they will keep doing this, and it’s a cool level of interaction with your cat that people thought would never happen.
7. They need more regular grooming.
The ragdoll is known as a long-haired cat breed, and they’re especially known for their long-haired coat that gets everywhere if you don’t brush it regularly.
Just how regularly you have to do it will depend on your cat, and you’ll eventually develop a rhythm for how often your cat wants to or needs to be brushed – or if you really pay attention to your cat, they’ll tell you when they need a good brushing the most.
Their coat is less likely to trigger allergies than you might think, and in spite of their extremely fluffy coats, they’re one of the most popular cats for people who need a cat that’s close to hypoallergenic. At the same time, ragdoll cats can be known for their sensitive skins, so make sure that you don’t brush them too regularly either because it can hurt their skin, which will lead to a very uncomfortable, angry cat.
8. Sometimes the breed develops health problems
The ragdoll breed is generally considered to be healthy overall, but there are certain health issues that will more commonly affect cats that are full or partially ragdoll – and their owners should always know to keep an eye out for these common health issues and have their cats checked out by a vet if any of the signs or symptoms were to show during their cat’s lifetime.
Blindness can be one of the more common problems affecting ragdolls, and they can also be more likely to develop certain types of cancer if they spend too much time in the sun – always be careful with this, especially if you notice that your cat starts to develop what looks like eye or sinus problems: It could point to an underlying issue, and an immediate visit to the vet will be the best thing you can do for your cat in this case.
9. Heart disease is the most common health issue affecting ragdoll cats.
Heart issues are one of the most common health issues that affect cats of the ragdoll breed, and this is something that’s made its way into the bloodline through years of breeding with these cats – it’s something that cat breeders today are very well aware of, and a considerable amount of time and research has been put into ensuring that the gene responsible for the prevalence of heart disease in ragdolls gets identified and systematically changed so that it becomes less of a problem in future.
If you find that your ragdoll is starting to appear overly tired and out of breath, consider the fact that it could be their heart instead – and again, the best thing that you can do for your cat is to make an appointment with the vet to get it checked out. If your cat does have one of the common heart conditions affecting ragdolls, it’s good to know it’s treatable.
10. Its best characteristic isn’t necessarily best for survival.
The fact that a ragdoll will go limp when you pick them up is one of their best known characteristics and the one that every ragdoll cat (even a partial-ragdoll) will share – but there have also been more attempts to breed out this characteristic because of the way that it could affect the breed in the future.
This characteristic of the cat makes it extremely docile, but breeders of the cat are in agreement that this characteristic might also make them more docile than it’s healthy for them to be – and it could make them so tame that they eventually die out just because they’re unable to spot danger when they’re being picked up.
This is why it’s best for ragdoll cats to stick close to their owners – especially at times of year when cat disappearances are common in your area for whatever reason; it’s suggested that you train your cat to return home when called.
11. They’re available in six official shades.
The official ragdoll breed is available in six different shades, which are red, seal, chocolate, blue, lilac and cream – but you might have a ragdoll that’s just as pure as the rest and might not fit into the official classification, or you might even have a cat that’s only a partial ragdoll that shares some of the more common characteristics that have been mixed with that of another breed.
The one thing you’ll notice about the shade of your average ragdoll cat is the fact that they very seldom will come out completely white – there’s always a cream tinge to even the whitest ragdoll, even if it’s only a section of the tail that turns out to be cream while the rest of the cat isn’t.
Remember to brush your cat regularly if you have a ragdoll, but too regularly, because this can cause a lot of issues with their skin.
12. They can live for as much as 25 years.
The ragdoll can be expected to live for as much as 15 to 25 years, which sounds like a really long time for a cat, but is surprisingly one of the cat breeds that naturally have a slightly reduced lifespan to other cats – and all this really means for you and your cat if you have a ragdoll is that you have to take special care throughout their lives to monitor their health and ensure they’re as healthy as they can be.
If you want to ensure that your cat lives to the maximum possible lifespan, you have to take special care to make sure your cat is as happy as they can be and following a healthy diet that’s free of all the MSG, preservatives and additives that we put in our own food – and the more expensive cat food is usually (if not always) worth buying for your cat’s health.
13. There are very few officially registered ragdolls.
There are very few officially registered ragdoll cats according to most of the world’s ragdoll cat associations, but don’t think that’s because there aren’t many of these cats around at all – in fact, there are actually more ragdolls than you would think, but in reality not many of these were officially registered as such because of the fact that the name was under trademark for so long.
This meant that nobody but those registered with the official and first association for ragdoll cats was able to register their own cat and call it a ragdoll with any other associations, leading to a lower number of registered and so-called “official” pure ragdoll cats on the registry.
This is likely to change in recent years as there are now more new associations set up for the breeding and registering of official ragdoll cats – and they’ve experienced a sudden revival in recent years to a more popular breed of cat.
14. The Ragdoll trademark is separately registered.
The ragdoll was first registered in 1960 – though it’s important to note for the history of the breed that it was registered as a trademark by the original registrar, and this affected the rest of the breed until very recently in several different ways.
One of the most important effects this registration had on the breed is the fact that no other cats could be registered under the “ragdoll” name after the original registration happened – and this led to many cats that are actually ragdolls who just weren’t registered at all.
The trademark only expired as recently as 2012, leaving other cat associations open to register their cats as ragdolls if they now so wished – and there’s a massive drive by ragdoll associations in particular to make sure this breed gets the recognition and attention that they deserve.
The same associations are also trying to make the ragdoll a much healthier breed.
15. There used to be an extra myth attached to the ragdoll cat.
Cats have been subjected to more myths over the years than you could possibly imagine – and everyone has heard something they know to be absolute nonsense about a cat at least once in their lives: Some believe that black cats are bad luck, while in other parts of the world their luck is considered to be of the good variety instead – the same is believed for white cats in other parts of the world, and also the reverse.
So which is it? Neither.
Cat owners would jump at the chance to point out that all cats are likely good luck if anything, but the ragdoll cat has had one extra myth attached to it over the years: Because of the tendency to go relaxed and limp when picked up, it was long believed that ragdolls have a reduced pain sensitivity or don’t feel it at all.
Of course, this isn’t true – at all!