If you are a cat lover looking for a new pet to join your family, you might already have considered a Ragdoll, for its placid and gentle nature. These blue-eyed fur-faces are not only beautiful; they are also more affectionate than many other cat breeds, making them a popular choice among cat lovers.
Aside from their affectionate temperaments, these giant cats are also among the best cuddle companions you could have, thanks to their irresistibly fluffy coats – it is almost like hugging a teddy bear! Hence, a Ragdoll is a great choice if you are yearning for a cuddly, lovable feline friend.
Read on to get a closer look at this breed’s amazing character.
Are Ragdolls affectionate?
The short answer is yes – Ragdolls are affectionate cats. In fact, the breed is known for being among the friendliest, most loving pets. Here are some reasons for this:
1. They are called ‘Ragdolls’ for a reason
Ragdolls are attuned to their humans’ emotional needs, a trait that makes them some of the most perfect furry companions. With their dog-like behavior, Ragdolls show devotion to their favorite humans by following them around the house. They are sociable, gentle, and enjoy being held, hence the name ‘Ragdoll’ – they flop like ragdolls in the arms of their owners when picked up.
2. They are tolerant and child-friendly
Another reason Ragdolls make perfect furry family members is their docile nature. These giant fluff-balls are good-natured and tolerant, even of a kid’s demands to hug, pet, or pick them up. When attacked by other pets, a Ragdoll remains calm and will not respond with aggressive behavior.
At times, they can also be a little mischievous and might check out every nook in the house to see what there is to play with. Overall, then, these giant cats are not boring, lazy furballs, but great family companions that everyone can enjoy.
3. They are gentle giants
Ragdolls might be bigger and heavier than an average cat, but do not be deceived by their size: rest assured they are the most gentle, well-behaved cats you will ever meet. A male Ragdoll can weigh about 20 pounds, while a female will be around 14 pounds. Despite their massive size, they will not resist being handled and held; just make sure you have enough upper-body strength to carry these giant teddy bears! With all of this in mind, it comes as no surprise that Ragdolls are some of the best cuddle partners you could have.
4. They are loyal and loving
Ragdolls are known for their loyal and loving personalities. They quickly form a strong emotional bond with the people who take good care of them. They like being around their humans and will never get tired of following them around. They love greeting their owners at the door and are quite attention-seeking. No wonder they have a reputation for being ‘puppy cats’!
Also, Ragdolls are talkers! These intelligent creatures will meow if they notice something out of the ordinary. They remember your routines and, like most cats, will voice their concerns over any changes that make them feel uncomfortable. Fortunately, they have sweet little voices that most cat owners love to hear.
5. They make the best playmates
Although Ragdolls are known for their placid nature, they can also be mischievous and playful when the mood is right. Their non-aggressive, docile personalities make them a perfect playmates even for young children and other household pets. And, because they are highly intelligent cats, you can train them to play fetch as well as hide-and-seek. They also enjoy interactive toys that challenge their mental capabilities.
How Ragdoll cats show their affection
Ragdolls may be known for their dog-like behavior, but they show affection to their owners in slightly different ways than their canine counterparts. Here are some of the surprising ways these furballs say ‘I love you’ to their humans:
1. Slowly blinking their eyes
If your furry friend is staring at you intently, do not be alarmed. Staring and slowly blinking at their owners is just one of the many adorable ways that Ragdolls (and other cats) show affection. You can even return the gesture by slowly blinking back – your cat is sure to receive the message and understand that he is loved and safe with you.
2. Wrapping their tail around you
Like most cat breeds, Ragdolls tend to wrap their tails around their humans to express their love and devotion. In the cat world, this sweet gesture is similar to holding hands, and is a sign that your feline is comfortable with you. So, the next time you find your cat wrapping his tail around you, be appreciative – he truly loves you!
3. Licking and grooming you
Licking and grooming, especially of their owner, is an obvious sign that a cat is feeling calm and comfortable. If a cat licks you, it could also mean that he is trying to clean you or bond with you, just like he bonded with his mother cat and siblings as a kitten. Other reasons cats groom their owners include wanting to be petted, seeking attention, or wanting to play.
4. Head bunting you
Head bunting (also called head-butting) is one of the obvious ways for Ragdolls to communicate their love to humans. A head bunt also allows your cat to leave his scent on you, which is a unique way of telling the world that you are his favorite human.
5. Rubbing their cheeks against you
Another way for a Ragdoll to show trust and closeness to his human is by rubbing his cheeks against you. You might notice this sweet behavior when you arrive home or while you are preparing his food in the kitchen. Like bunting, it is also a way of leaving his scent on you – a clear sign that he is showing affection.
6. Showing their bellies
Just like a dog, a Ragdoll will only expose his belly to people he trusts. But do not get too excited about rubbing his belly or you may get clawed. Many cats do not appreciate belly-rubs, although some might let you rub their bellies depending on their mood and temperament. The most important thing to know is that placing himself in such a vulnerable position can only mean your feline trusts and loves you.
7. Purring or meowing when you are near
Purring is often difficult to decode: Does he want to be petted? Is he feeling lonely? Or hungry?
Surprisingly, purring is also one of your cat’s unique ways of showing his affection for you. It is a clear sign of happiness, meaning he is happy being around you.
8. Sitting and relaxing beside you
Ragdolls often enjoy the company of their humans by sitting beside them and watching every move they make. They love your presence and the warmth of your body. So, if your Ragdoll loves spending time with you, count yourself lucky – he loves you!
Why some Ragdolls are less affectionate
Ragdolls are an incredibly affectionate and gentle breed of cats. They are trusting and loving toward their humans, and their tendency to go limp when held is likened to the floppiness of a rag doll. If one of these cats does not live up to their name, there might be something wrong that needs to be addressed right away. The reason could be any of the following:
- The cat might be suffering an illness or pain, causing the change in his behavior. Take him to the vet for a check-up as soon as you can.
- The cat might be feeling bored or under-stimulated. Although Ragdolls are docile by nature, they do need exercise and playtime to have an outlet for their predatory instincts. Make sure to provide enough interactive toys to keep your cat challenged, such as this electric cat feather toy by BENTOPAL.
- The cat might show destructive behavior, such as scratching your furniture, as an outlet for stress, excitement or boredom. These cuddly teddy bears need to sharpen their claws, too. In this case, a scratching post will provide an outlet for when he feels the urge to scratch.
- The cat might not be properly trained. In this case, you can use positive reinforcement by rewarding him for good behavior. Set healthy boundaries and let your cat know you are the ‘boss’ without using physical punishment.
- Not all Ragdolls enjoy cuddling. Some simply prefer a more solitary life, and that is also fine! Continue showering your furball with love and eventually he will reciprocate your affection, but perhaps not in the way you would expect. Let the cat come to you on his own terms.
How to make Ragdolls more affectionate
There could be several reasons why a Ragdoll may be less affectionate than others of his breed. Often it has something to do with how they are raised or a traumatic experience with previous owners. If you are planning to buy a Ragdoll kitten or adopt a Ragdoll cat from a rescue center, there are ways to help the cat become more affectionate and gentle around his human companions.
1. Create a relaxing environment
Ragdolls, like many other pets, thrive in a calm, relaxing environment. In fact, every pet, whether a Ragdoll or not, deserves a loving and peaceful home. This is considered a basic necessity in order for our furry companions to develop into healthy, happy cats.
Additionally, the home should allow your cat to have enough space and freedom to play or just be himself. Cat perches or trees are great accessories you can add to a dedicated room where he can spend time alone or take an afternoon nap.
2. Keep your cat away from loud noises
Cats have a superior sense of hearing – even the slightest noise can reach their little ears. Imagine, then, how loud noises such as fireworks, loud televisions, or loud door knocks would sound like to these sensitive ears. Hearing loud and strange sounds can send your cat’s anxiety skyrocketing, just as humans would probably react to sudden loud noises such as gunshots.
One way to help your cat become affectionate and loving is to reduce his exposure to things that frighten him. If possible, provide a quiet room for your cat where he can relax and hide from noises.
3. Socialize your cat at the youngest possible age
Many Ragdoll owners believe that socializing a kitten with other people and pets will help them become more accepting of new environments when they grow older. That is because it is easier to build trust during the first few months of a kitten’s life, making this the most critical period of their social development. However, it does not mean that adult cats cannot be trained to socialize – the only difference is the time required.
4. Schedule your cuddle times
Cats love routine, and if you stick to a regular time for cuddles and play sessions, your cat will likely appreciate and look forward to these bonding moments. He will also be more accepting of your other pets and will gladly jump on your lap to ask for your attention.
5. Be sensitive to your cat’s needs
Know your cat’s needs and moods – this is essential to create a strong bond between the two of you. Aside from providing food, water, and comfortable home, you might also need to make adjustments according to his individual preferences. For example, there will be times when he does not feel like being cuddled. In that case, let him go and be somewhere else. Otherwise, he will only develop negative associations with time spent with you (or with other humans).
6. Use treats as rewards
Cats cannot resist a tasty treat, so use this to your advantage to teach your cat good behavior. Rewards are the best tools to get your furball to repeat the desirable actions rather than the inappropriate ones. Giving the cat your attention is another great way to reward good behavior. And, while you pet him, talk in a reassuring, gentle voice.
7. Keep your cat healthy
Cats that are healthy, happy, and comfortable are likely to become more affectionate toward their owners than those who are not well-cared for. Hence, these basic needs must be met to encourage affection from your furry friend:
- Provide well-balanced, high-quality food and clean drinking water.
- Bond through play sessions.
- Provide fun, interactive toys.
- Keep the litter box clean.
Wrapping it up
Ragdolls are one of the best and friendliest cat breeds in the world. That is because of their laid-back, gentle nature, which makes them easier to handle than many other breeds. They also tend to form a deep bond with their human companions and are always in the mood for a cuddle. So, if you are seeking a cuddly, floppy furry friend to have around your home, then the Ragdoll might be the best cat breed for you.
Image: istockphoto.com / Kenneth Chow