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Ragdoll cat breed

Ragdoll cat breed

Ragdoll cats are loved around the world for their affection and playfulness. If you have a Ragdoll cat, or are thinking of purchasing one, you can learn more about the breed below. We’ll cover everything from the size of Ragdoll cats to the average lifespan of your Ragdoll.

Ragdoll cat breed information and advice

The Ragdoll cat was first bred in California in the 1960s by Ann Baker, an American breeder. Ann crossed a white Angora-like queen with several neighbourhood toms. The resulting kittens were placid and affectionate. They also tended to go limp or became completely relaxed when picked up, just like a rag doll.

The Ragdoll breed was first imported into the UK in 1981 and has since become really popular. These large and beautiful Ragdoll cats come in a range of colours and have a docile, friendly and easy-going nature. They'll get on with everyone and make great companions for all households.

Ragdoll cat facts

Lifespan 12-15 years
How much £500+
Size 40-50 cm long
Weight 4.5-9 kg
Colours Ragdoll kittens are born white then develop light-coloured coats with Siamese ‘pointing’.
Grooming Twice a week
Temperament lively, active, fearless
Exercise regular, daily exercise

Ragdoll cat insurance

Although the Ragdoll is generally a healthy cat breed, you should still protect your cat or kitten with pet insurance. If your cat is diagnosed with an illness, Ragdoll cat insurance may help cover the cost of vet bills.

Ragdoll cat insurance can help cover the cost of your cat’s treatment, including any medication, vet prescribed complementary treatment or surgery.

Ragdolls can sometimes have higher insurance costs compared to other cats. Explore the common health conditions found in Ragdolls: 

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance

Sainsbury’s Bank cat insurance can be taken out as soon as your pet is eight weeks old, right up until their 10th birthday. And once you have cover in place, we’ll insure your Ragdoll cat for their entire life – as long as you renew your policy year after year. 

At Sainsbury’s Bank we offer a range of pet insurance so you can provide a level of protection that’s suitable for your Ragdoll cat. You can choose from different insurance types, like Lifetime, Time Limited or Maximum Benefit. If your Ragdoll cat isn’t the only pet in your home, we also offer Multi-pet cover to help keep everyone happy and healthy.

How to care for a Ragdoll

Ragdolls cats need regular grooming but are easy to look after. They’re happy to be fussed over, so feel free to pick up your Ragdoll cat and check they’re doing ok. Make sure that they have a balanced diet and lots of exercise to keep them in tip-top condition.

Feeding and nutrition

Ragdoll cats can take up to 4 years to become fully mature. Feed them a cat food that matches their age, size, activity level and  any specific health conditions. Your breeder should tell you when and how often to feed them. Ideally, use the same cat food to avoid any tummy upsets. Like many cats, Ragdolls like a routine so try to feed them at the same time every day.

They do love their food, so make sure they stay at a healthy weight by keeping to the guidelines on the food packaging. If in doubt, your vet will be happy to give you advice on the best food and how often to feed your Ragdoll.


Regularly grooming your Ragdoll twice a week with a cat comb will help prevent their coat from becoming knotted. As they enjoy spending time with their owners, they’ll love sharing grooming time together. Remember they’ll shed more often in spring and autumn.

The Ragdoll breed are well known for their semi-long, silky coat and large blue eyes. They’re a ‘pointed’ breed which means they have a pale body with darker markings on the face, ears, tail or legs. Their coat comes in six colours: seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red and cream – and can be tortoiseshell or tabby patterned. There are also three pattern variations – colourpoint, bi-colour and mitted.

Colourpoint Ragdolls have similar markings as a Siamese cat with traces of white on their bodies. Mitted Ragdoll cats have white feet and white on their back legs - and some also have a white blaze and a white tip to their tails. Bi-colour Ragdolls have more white in their coats, which can extend up their legs. They can also have a splash of white on their backs and undersides and an inverted white ‘V’ on their faces with a white tip to their tails.


Ragdolls are usually easy to toilet train as they respond well to positive reinforcement. Give them a treat every time they use the litter box, and they will soon learn. You can also try training your Ragdoll to play ‘fetch’.


Ragdolls are usually easy to toilet train as they respond well to positive reinforcement. Give them a treat every time they use the litter box, and they will soon learn. You can also try training them to play ‘fetch’.

Temperament and behaviour

A Ragdoll cat is playful but not too demanding. They are affectionate, laid-back, calm and sociable – characteristics that make them perfect companions. They’ll get on with everyone, including other dogs and cats in the household. The Ragdoll breed is known for being devoted to their owners, they have been nicknamed ‘puppy cats’.

Ragdolls are usually quiet and not particularly talkative. However, they can be vocal when interacting with their owner and they might meow or chatter when hungry or want attention.

An interesting quirk of a Ragdoll’s personality is their love for water – they’re fascinated with it. Whether it’s a running tap or a bath, you may very well find your cat already there. This will make bathing your cat easier, but as they’re naturally clean cats, they won’t need to be washed too often.

Common health problems

Unfortunately, the Ragdoll breed can be prone to a few health conditions, so it’s good to understand the symptoms and what treatment your cat could need. Making sure you have cat insurance for your Ragdoll will give you the peace of mind of knowing you’ll get a helping hand when it comes to vet bills.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (commonly known as HCM) is a severe heart condition that can lead to heart failure. Unfortunately, it’s very common in Ragdolls. If diagnosed with HCM, lifelong medication will be needed. A DNA test will diagnose this condition. You should check with your breeder that both parents have tested negative for the condition. Affected cats should not be allowed to breed.

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (AD-PKD)

Ragdolls can be at risk of this inherited condition. Kidney cysts will enlarge as your pet ages, leading to kidney disease. This ultimately leads to kidney failure.

Dental disease

Dental problems can affect many cats. Ragdolls should have their teeth checked regularly for any signs of gum disease. If your pet has bad breath or difficulty eating, then this can indicate dental problems. Brushing their teeth regularly will help prevent dental disease.

Pyruvate kinase (PK) deficiency

PK deficiency is an inherited disease caused by a deficiency in an enzyme called pyruvate kinase. The condition shortens the lifespan of red blood cells and results in anaemia. It’s caused by a genetic mutation so there’s no treatment or cure. However, the episodes of anaemia are usually mild and can be managed.

The condition can affect certain breeds of cats, including the Ragdoll. A genetic test can identify those affected. These cats should not be used for breeding.

What is a Ragdoll cat?

A Ragdoll is a large cat with a colour pointed coat and large blue eyes, known for having a placid and affectionate nature. The breed was developed in the US in the 1960s and came to the UK in the 1980s.

How long do Ragdoll cats live?

The average lifespan of a Ragdoll is between 14 and 15 years, but some can live up to 20 years if well cared for. It takes up to 4 years for Ragdolls to become fully mature adults.

How much is a Ragdoll cat?

You can expect to pay anything from £400 to £1,000 for a Ragdoll kitten. The cost depends on the breeder and breeding line. The price might also be higher if the Ragdoll has a rare or unusual eye colour or coat pattern. They are quite rare and in-demand, which is another reason why they can be quite expensive.

Can Ragdoll cats go outside?

Ragdolls love to explore outdoors and are very trusting - which can expose them to danger from other cats and dogs. Their high value can also put them at risk of being stolen.

Fortunately, they adapt well to being kept as indoor cats if they have company and lots of cat toys to keep them occupied. They’ll also need places where they can curl up for a cat nap.

So, is a Ragdoll right for you?

Ragdolls can make great companions for elderly owners, single people working from home and families with children. They enjoy company and interaction and will get along with any other pets you might have. They don’t like being left alone, so it would be good to consider getting a feline companion if you’re out at work all day. Ragdolls love cuddles and are happy to be a lap cat.

Frequently asked questions

Is a Ragdoll a good family cat?

Ragdoll cats make great family pets, their friendliness, playfulness and loyalty mean they’ll happily spend time with kids both young and old. If your children enjoy picking up their pets the Ragdoll is happy to be held. However, like all cats, they might not enjoy particularly heavy-handed toddlers or young children so be sure to keep an eye on all interactions.

How long do Ragdolls live?

Ragdolls live between an average of 12 – 15 years, though plenty have been known to live a lot longer. Things such as regular vet visits, getting enough exercise and eating healthily will all have long term effects on the life of your cat. Look out for common complications to try and nip any health issues in the bud.

Do Ragdolls make a lot of noise?

The amount of noise your Ragdoll cat makes can vary. Some people report having incredibly vocal Ragdolls while others say their cats are typically quiet. If your cat is going to chatter it’s likely going to occur around feeding time, or when they’re most excited.

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Content provided from Vetstream’s Vetlexicon

Vetstream Ltd (online)Ragdoll. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Serena Brownlie, Phil Fox, Philip K Nicholls, Penny Watson (online) Heart: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Martha Cannon, Rachel Korman (online) Kidney: autosomal dominant polycystic disease. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

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