Beyond Nine Lives: What You Need to Know About Ragdoll Cats

Beyond Nine Lives

This is a sponsored post by Dr. Elizabeth Arguelles, veterinarian and owner of Lake Anne Plaza’s Just Cats Clinic. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Thanks to their distinctively adorable appearance and friendly temperament, Ragdoll cats have become a sought-after breed. Known for going limp or turning into a “ragdoll” when picked up, Ragdolls are big, affectionate and cuddly sweethearts. It’s no wonder they are such a fan favorite!

What do Ragdolls look like?

"Flame point Ragdoll" by Cássia Afini/Creative Commons With their long, luxurious fur and distinctive coloring, Ragdolls are beautiful cats. Known as a “pointed” breed, Ragdolls are lighter in color on their bodies than their faces, legs, tails and ears (the areas known as the points). Probably the best known pointed breed is the Siamese, and indeed, Ragdolls look somewhat similar. Just like the Siamese, Ragdolls also usually have blue eyes even as adults.

Though all purebred Ragdolls are considered pointed, there is some variation in the color and pattern of their coats. Generally speaking, Ragdoll coats come in four distinct patterns. They can be bi-color, where the torso is white and the “mask” on the face has a notable “V” shape; mitted, where white fur on the paws makes the cat appear to be wearing mittens; and color point, with no white fur anywhere on the body. Most cats of this breed get full color definition in their coats by the age of two.

Ragdolls have moderately long fur with little undercoat, which means that their coats are less likely to mat or shed. Nonetheless, their fur should be combed with a steel comb on a regular basis to remove any lose hairs or tangles.

As was mentioned above, Ragdolls are also generally very large. Adult males will tip the scales at approximately 15-20 pounds at full maturity, while females will weigh between 10-15 pounds. It takes a while for Ragdolls to reach these sizes, though. They usually keep growing until the age of four.

What kind of personality does a Ragdoll have?

Ragdolls are considered “puppy-like” in nature because of their laid-back and sweet personalities. They adapt well to different situations and don’t generally have trouble fitting in with all types of families. Ragdolls are extremely affectionate and make great indoor cats because they like to be around their human parents so much. They bond so well with their owners, in fact, that they often follow their humans around and run to greet them at the door when they come home. Unsurprisingly, Ragdolls are good for families with children, as they are very sweet and gentle.

Ragdolls are also extremely playful. They usually retain their kitten-like behaviors well into adulthood. For example, Ragdolls love a good game of fetch. Fortunately for their owners, though, these giant felines tend to keep their claws in when horsing around! They are generally not jumpers, preferring the floor to higher vantage points.

What health issues do Ragdolls have?

Like many purebred cats that come from shallower gene pools, Ragdolls tend to be more susceptible to certain maladies. Some of the most common include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and calcium oxalate bladder stones.

HCM: The most common heart disease affecting cats, HCM is a progressive disease that can ultimately result in heart failure. Fortunately, owners can preemptively test for the specific mutation associated with this disease. So if you decide to get a Ragdoll, it is wise to consult your veterinarian about testing services as soon as the new cat moves into your house.

Calcium oxalate bladder stones: One of the two most common types of bladder stones affecting cats, these are rock-like deposits of minerals, crystals and organic materials that accumulate in the bladder. If they grow too large, they may rub against a cat’s bladder walls and cause inflammation.

Ragdolls can make a great addition to any home, but the health risks they face are very real and can require a lot of long-term care. So if you are planning to adopt one of these beautiful, friendly and playful cats, be sure to talk to your vet first about what owning a Ragdoll can entail.

Photo: “Flame point Ragdoll” by Cássia Afini/Flickr, Creative Commons

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