Looking for a perfect cuddly pet for your family? You might find a Ragdoll an ideal home companion.
Ragdolls are a popular cat breed due to their friendly temperament and beautiful physical traits. These felines are the ideal playmates for young children and can also get along easily with other pets at home. When it comes to their looks, it is no surprise to see curious would-be cat owners completely taken aback at the beauty of Ragdolls.
However, there are some essential things you should know before getting a Ragdoll. Yes, they are stunning, playful, sociable and sweet, making them the purrfect companions. However, owning one can also come with costs and responsibilities. So, before you run off to the breeder, do check out the pros and cons of owning a Ragdoll to understand what you are getting yourself into.
A brief history of Ragdoll cats
Ragdolls were first bred in California during the 1960s by a woman named Ann Baker. She rescued a beautiful, longhaired cat named Josephine and immediately fell in love with the feline’s sweet nature and good looks. She was so amazed by Josephine’s temperament and beauty that she decided to breed her with the other stray cats she owned or had rescued.
She named the offspring Ragdolls due to their tendency to flop when held by humans. The new breed was officially registered in 1966 at the National Cat Fanciers Association. Baker later became very protective of her Ragdolls’ standards and decided to found the International Ragdoll Cat Association in the 1970s to regulate the number of breeders.
Later, passionate Ragdoll breeders Denny and Laura Dayton, along with other Ragdoll lovers, further popularized the breed with other cat registries. By 2000, Ragdoll cats were fully recognized by most registries, including the American Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association.
Today, Ragdolls have become one of the most sought-after cat breeds. They are not just adored for their beauty and tantalizing blue eyes, but also for their affectionate and laid-back personalities.
Pros of owning a Ragdoll cat
Planning to add another furry member to your household soon? Then you are sure not to regret bringing an adorable Ragdoll home. Here are just some of the many positive traits that cat owners appreciate about Ragdolls:
1. Good temperament
Ragdolls are naturally docile felines. They are known to be relaxed, affectionate and easy-going cats. If you are a busy person, you do not need to worry about leaving your Ragdoll at home; they are not super-hyper cats that will ruin your furniture and carpets when left alone.
Because of their loyalty and devotion to their owners, Ragdoll cats have earned the reputation of “dog-like cats.” Unlike other cats, they are less aggressive and tend to be friendly to everyone, making them some of the best furry companions to have in the home.
2. Family-friendly cat
Ragdolls love to spend time with their favorite humans. Because they are large and sturdy cats, they can be perfect cuddle partners, especially when you are feeling blue. And when you arrive home, you will be happy to see your furry companion greeting you at the door.
Ragdolls are not overly demanding, but they can also play fetch or walk on a leash if you have the time. They love following you around the house, like a fluffy cloud watching your every move. And, if you have visitors at home, do not worry; Ragdolls do not discriminate and are extremely friendly to everyone, including your dogs!
Ragdolls can also tolerate playing with young children (as long as they do not get too rough) because they have a lot of patience and do not easily bring out their claws like other, more aggressive cats. However, it is still best to keep an eye on your children when they play or cuddle with cats.
3. Smart breed
Another reason Ragdolls are so loved is for their intelligence. From time to time, you might hear stories of owners being able to teach their Ragdolls certain tricks, like sitting, laying down, rolling over, and others. Aside from being smarty-paws, Ragdolls are also very submissive to their owners and willing to accept instructions, making them easier to train than other breeds.
If you like the idea of watching your cat do fun tricks, it shouldn’t be that hard to teach a Ragdoll. Your patience combined with positive reinforcement will soon have your kitty performing a host of cool tricks to wow your friends and visitors.
4. Easy to groom
Ragdolls are known for their fluffy, silky-soft coats that have been likened to a rabbit’s fur. However, they do need a helping hand from their owners to maintain this beautiful fur. Regular brushing helps get rid of dead hair that might otherwise be swallowed and turn into hairballs. Using a high-quality steel comb, brush your cat daily or even twice a week to prevent mats and tangles.
Luckily, Ragdolls enjoy being groomed. They love the feeling of being brushed as well as the attention you are giving them while grooming. It is highly recommended to introduce your cats to the grooming process while they are still kittens, so that they will be used to it when they get older.
5. Do not shed a lot
Unlike other longhaired breeds, Ragdolls only shed moderately. Expect more shedding during summer, which is normal for most furry animals. As long as you keep their coats healthy with the proper diet and grooming, shedding should not be problematic for you and your four-legged friends.
Cons of owning a Ragdoll cat
So you have finally been convinced to get a Ragdoll. Be prepared to deal with these cons before taking a Ragdoll home:
1. It is not safe to allow Ragdolls outside
If you are planning to have a Ragdoll at home and treat him like your other, outdoor pets, then this adorable breed might not be the best choice for you.
As mentioned, Ragdolls are extremely gentle and easy-going animals. They are not territorial like the other cats and do not fight back when bullied by other animals. And, since Ragdolls are so beautiful and friendly, they can be easily stolen by anyone passing through your neighborhood.
Having said that, imprisoning your cats indoors full-time may also not be totally beneficial. Sometimes, it is good to let them enjoy the sunshine or explore the outside world where they can play or hunt. Being outside also provides exercise to keep them fit and beat boredom. So, if you do want to take your Ragdolls outside to breathe, make sure they are on a leash and never leave them outside unsupervised.
2. Ragdolls are vulnerable to certain diseases
Ragdolls, in general, have a long life span that can be up to 15 years or more with the proper care and diet. However, like other breeds, they can be susceptible to certain health issues. These include:
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
- Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)
- Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD)
- Polycystic kidney disease
The breed’s calm and laid-back demeanor could easily conceal pain or discomfort, making it difficult to diagnose early stages of health problems. Certain behavioral changes can also go unnoticed, but it is important not to overlook any changes that you do spot in your cat. Regular check-ups and good maintenance are a must for your Ragdoll’s health and to catch early symptoms of diseases.
3. Ragdolls are not hypoallergenic
People allergic to cats, in general, may not find Ragdolls a suitable pet since they are not hypoallergenic. This means that they have high levels of the protein Fel d 1, a type of protein found in a cat’s urine, saliva, and dander. When allergic people breathe this substance, they can develop reactions such as congestion, watery eyes, fever, rashes, and hives.
4. Ragdoll kittens are very expensive
A purebred Ragdoll can cost you between 700 and 3500 US dollars, depending on your location, the cat’s age, and your breeder’s price tag. This does not even include the other hidden costs of owning a Ragdoll.
So, if you are planning to take a Ragdoll home, be ready to cough up a significant sum of money. If you do have the extra budget to spare, then Ragdolls are definitely worth it. In exchange for a hefty price tag, you will enjoy the company of a beautiful feline with amazing traits that everyone envies.
Ragdolls possess adorable and unique traits loved by many cat owners. Their stunning coats, blue eyes, and sweet personalities are enough to captivate anyone looking for a furry companion. They are sociable, affectionate, and, most importantly, love to cuddle with their humans. No wonder this breed is so highly sought-after!
On the other hand, Ragdolls are not cheap. Owning a cat of this breed also comes with a few cons that you need to consider, and knowing these beforehand will help you understand whether this breed is indeed the right pet for your household.
Image: istockphoto.com / Nynke van Holten