If you have a Ragdoll cat at home, chances are you have asked yourself at some point whether another cat will be good for your kitty.
While it is true that Ragdolls are independent and can live as a single pet in the household, these cats do crave feline companionship. Aside from their humans, cats can develop close bonds with their peers, too.
So, do Ragdoll cats need a companion? Yes, definitely! Bringing home another kitty will save your resident cat from loneliness, especially if you have a nine-to-five job and are only home in the evenings to bond with your pets.
Can a Ragdoll cat be left alone?
Unlike some cat breeds, Ragdolls are not very demanding and can be left alone. You do not have to worry about leaving them at home, since they are easy-going and highly independent. If you are a busy fur parent, then leaving them some form of entertainment, as well as food and water, is usually sufficient to keep your feline friend happy and content.
However, like any cat, Ragdolls can benefit a lot from having their own furry companion. It makes them feel less lonely, especially if you are a person who travels or works a lot.
Another thing to know about owning a Ragdoll is that, depending on the cat’s personality, they can also suffer from separation anxiety. Just like humans, our furry friends can get upset and anxious if they are deprived of attention for too long. Imagine being left alone the whole time with no companions and nothing to do! Anyone in such a situation would feel depressed, too.
How long can a Ragdoll cat be left alone?
Many cat parents have this question in mind – how long can Ragdolls be left alone?
If you are like most people, you probably have a full-time job, leaving your home in the morning and returning in the evening. This daily routine could make you worry about whether leaving your furry companion alone for so many hours a day might make them lonely.
Ragdolls are usually fine being left alone, as long as you give them your time and attention as soon as you return home in the evening. These cats are independent and are not very likely to resort to destructive behavior. But, if you are constantly traveling and leaving your furry friend alone for days on end, then there is a good chance that your Ragdoll will struggle with loneliness.
Having a friend, family member, or pet-sitter look after your cat is always a good idea if you are going to be away for a few days. This will keep your pet less lonely and ensure that they have clean water and food while you are traveling.
Do Ragdoll cats need a companion?
Despite being undemanding and independent, your Ragdoll does need a companion.
Docile and affectionate, these fluff-balls thrive best in the company of their humans. They do not need a lot of outdoor activity like the higher-energy breeds; for them, sitting by your side is more than enough to live a happy and contented life.
On top of their human friends, however, cats really do best with an animal companion to socialize or play with. This will also prevent them from developing behavioral problems which usually arise in cats that are frequently left alone for too long.
Contrary to what many people might think, cats are social creatures and, in most cases, will benefit from another feline friend. Bonded pairs of cats are usually happier, healthier, and better adjusted. This is why most cat breeders recommend having Ragdoll cats in pairs. Others might even refuse to sell their kittens if they are not purchased in pairs.
Signs your Ragdoll is lonely
While cats are not pack animals like their canine counterparts, they do require constant affection and socialization with their owners or other pets to stay happy. Otherwise, they can become vulnerable to depression which can lead to many health and behavioral issues.
So, how can you tell if your Ragdoll is feeling lonely? There are some tell-tale signs, as follows:
1. Destructive behavior
A Ragdoll’s happiness is all about staying close to its human companions. These cats do not even demand a lot of playtime, activities, or enrichment. Ragdolls are generally content just watching a movie with you, following you around the house, or snuggling with you as you read your favorite book.
But, just like other cats or puppies, Ragdolls can suffer from boredom without your constant presence. If you leave them alone for too long without a companion, it can often result in destructive behavior like scratching your furniture, aggressive kneading, digging in your potted plants, and running around the house at night, among other things.
2. Excessive vocalization
Ragdolls are generally not as vocal as some other breeds like the Siamese. So, if your Ragdoll is yowling more than normal, it is probably depressed. Your cat’s crying episodes can happen at the most inappropriate times of the day (or even at night), which can be frustrating and concerning.
Aside from depression, excessive yowling can also be a sign of pain or cognitive dysfunction. In any case, make sure to take your cat to the vet to rule out any serious health problems.
3. Rushing to the door every time you leave
Have you noticed your Ragdoll rushing toward the door every time you leave for work in the morning? This behavior can be a sign of loneliness. Your feline friend has somehow learned that, if you walk out of the door, you will be gone for some time and they will miss your presence.
4. Becoming overly clingy
Ragdoll cats can become particularly clingy if they are feeling bored or struggling with separation anxiety. This is another strong reason to get a feline companion for your kitty, especially if you are not always by her side. Some tell-tale signs of a “velcro kitty” include sulking every time you leave the room, vomiting, eating too quickly, and showing too much excitement every time you arrive home.
Depending on the cat’s personality, some Ragdolls might show aggression toward their owners, other family members, or other pets to express their loneliness. Keep in mind that Ragdolls are normally docile, affectionate, and calm cats. Hence, any signs of aggression could mean a behavioral issue or an illness.
6. Litter box issues
Cats are typically very clean, and do not urinate or defecate in random places. When they use the litter box, they make sure that their excrement is covered well.
If your Ragdoll is urinating or defecating outside the litter box, then something is obviously wrong. We recommend taking your cat to the vet for a proper diagnosis. If your furry friend comes out with a clean bill of health, then the litter box issues are probably behavior-related.
7. Excessive grooming
While cats are typically fastidious groomers, excessive licking can be a sign of depression and loneliness. Compulsive grooming can cause sores, hair loss, or bald patches on the skin.
Most owners might not notice their cat’s overgrooming habits as they tend to be relaxed in front of their humans, so there is no need to comfort themselves by licking at that time. However, as soon as you are out of their sight, a stressed Ragdoll might feel uncomfortable again and resume its compulsive grooming to soothe itself.
But if you do catch your Ragdoll licking excessively to the point of self-harm, do not punish them. Instead, you will need to take your cat first to the vet to rule out certain medical issues, and then also try to investigate your cat’s anxiety. If this has something to do with loneliness, you will need to address the issue right away to help ease the overgrooming behavior.
How to keep a Ragdoll cat happy
Most of us cannot leave our full-time commitments to stay with our pets and that is completely understandable. Thankfully, there are ways to help ease your cat’s loneliness while you attend to your other activities.
Here are a few tips to keep your Ragdoll happy while you are away:
- Get another cat. As the common saying goes, two heads are better than one – and it will definitely be more fun to have two Ragdolls to cuddle at home. Since they are naturally docile and friendly, a resident Ragdoll should happily accept the company of another feline.
- Hire a pet-sitter to look after your cat while you are away. Unlike other cat breeds, Ragdolls are generally friendly and accepting of strangers. Make sure that your sitter is properly introduced to the cat, and try to ensure that the same person looks after your pet every time. This will keep your Ragdoll more comfortable as they have become familiar with each other.
- Add environmental enrichments such as toys, puzzles, scratching posts, catios, and window perches to keep your Ragdoll entertained throughout the day. Ragdolls are generally not as active as some other cat breeds, but these entertainments will help prevent boredom. Some cat owners might even install a pet camera at home which allows them to talk with their kitty while away from home.
- Invest in interactive cat toys, such as a feather wand. Even docile cats like Ragdolls will find interactive play irresistible. It allows them to chase, pounce, and catch, which is greatly appealing to their strong predatory drive.
When it comes to companionship, Ragdolls are no different from any other cat breed. They, too, thrive when bonded with other cats or even puppies. Should you decide to give your Ragdoll a playmate, we highly suggest getting another Ragdoll cat, as the two are most likely to get along perfectly.
Besides, having two fluffy Ragdolls will not only double the love, but also double the fun. You will get to witness them grooming each other, sleeping next to each other like a pile of clouds, and tumbling and chasing each other around the house. By giving your resident cat a playmate, you will no longer feel burdened by the guilt of being away during the day, and life will be more enjoyable for both you and your pets.
Image: istockphoto.com / VYCHEGZHANINA