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 breed was first imported into the UK in 1981 and has since become really popular. These large and beautiful cats 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 15+ years
How much £400+
Size 23-28 cm
Weight males 6.8-9 kg; females 4.5-6.8 kg
Grooming regular grooming required to prevent tangles
Temperament affectionate, placid and intelligent
Exercise they’re fairly laid back so need an average
amount of exercise


Ragdoll kittens are born white then develop light-coloured coats with Siamese ‘pointing’.

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 can help cover the cost of vet bills.

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

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance

Sainsbury’s Bank Ragdoll insurance can be taken out as soon as your pet is 8 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. Giving you one less thing to think about.

How to care for a Ragdoll

Ragdolls cats need regular grooming but are easy to look after. Make sure that they have a balanced diet and lots of exercise to keep them in tip-top condition.

Ragdolls 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, they 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.

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

Ragdolls have a semi-long, silky coat and large blue eyes. They are 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

Colourpoints have the same markings as a Siamese cat with traces of white on their bodies. Mitted 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-colours 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.

Ragdoll cats are relaxed and laid back, but they still love to play - especially when they’re kittens. And most like playing fetch. They enjoy having a scratching post and should be given plenty of toys to keep them entertained.

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. 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

Ragdolls 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 (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.

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 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.

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 Bengal. 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.

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Content provided from Vetstream’s Vetlexicon

Vetstream Ltd (online)Ragdoll. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/freeform/ragdoll.

Serena Brownlie, Phil Fox, Philip K Nicholls, Penny Watson (online) Heart: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/treat/felis/diseases/heart-hypertrophic-cardiomyopathy.

Martha Cannon, Rachel Korman (online) Kidney: autosomal dominant polycystic disease. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: https://www.vetstream.com/clinical-reference/felis/diseases/kidney-autosomal-dominant-polycystic-kidney-disease.