Hey guys, did I mention I have a cat? I know Peggy is now more of a feature on the blog than I am, and with that comes a lot of comments along the same lines:
“Oh my God! She’s so cute! I need a ragdoll cat in my life!”
I do highly recommend ragdolls if you’re thinking about getting a cat, I’m not going to lie. They are crazy affectionate, beautiful, and very charismatic. They’re more puppy like than cat like, and very rewarding pets to have.
But whilst these may sound like cats that are too good to be true, there are a lot of drawbacks to having a small life to take care of. Whilst writing this post, I’m actually going through the motions of seeing if I can get a second ragdoll, a boy cat this time around. But I still only have Peggy right now.
First up, for those of you that I haven’t explained it to, here is my Peggy:
She’s 5 months old, is a seal colour point ragdoll, and is known in this household as The Fluffy Menace. She gets into everything, her favourite things in the world are (worryingly) plastic shopping bags, and her favourite game is chasing your feet.
Ragdolls were bred into existence in the 1960’s by a woman called Ann Baker. Only recently have very stringent breeding restrictions been lifted, and they have become easier to obtain. Ragdolls are named for their ‘floppy’ tendencies. They are characteristically affectionate, docile, happy cats, that react well to being handled (tell that to Peggy!) and cope well with children and most dogs (again, tell that to Peggy!).
I’m going to get the more negative things out of the way first, because if you stop reading, at least you’ll have a higher chance of reading what you should be considering more!
Ragdolls, especially pure bred, GCCF registered ones, are expensive cats. Peggy was not registered, but as one of her parents was, and she was gene tested, she still cost us more than £500. Rescued ragdolls are hard to come by, and even they will have a hefty adoption fee attached to them. They are very in demand cats, and as such, the high price justifies this, and makes sure someone adopting one won’t just give them back.
Ragdolls also hate being left alone. Whilst we have found that Peggy copes being alone for a few hours, she has started clawing the carpet in protest if we leave her for a full day. Half of the reason we want a second cat is so she won’t be alone during the day. They need company, and if you aren’t home all day, and can’t get 2 cats, a ragdoll will not do well with you. If you also like a cat to be independent, then you’re better off avoiding this breed!
If you hate the idea of indoor cats, then a ragdoll cat is definitely not for you. The ragdoll’s affectionate nature means it can’t go outside on it’s own. They are not territorial, as most cats are, and therefore will not defend themselves if another cat attacks them in a territorial dispute. Having taken Peggy out on a harness, I can definitely say she is not territorial – she was way more interested in getting into everything than establishing a territory. Ragdolls are also prime targets for cat thefts, as they are so beautiful, and will fetch a pretty high price if re-sold. Due to this, they are strictly to be kept indoors. If you want a cat that roams, you’ll need to look into another breed.
And despite their cuddly nature, they are still cats you still need to show them a great deal of respect. Males are much cuddlier than females, but still, a male ragdoll won’t appreciate you grabbing them whenever you want a cuddle. However, they tend to moan, more than get angry, and wriggle away rather than scratch. I have definitely been guilty of this one more than once (mostly because Peggy’s reaction is hilarious), but Peggy has only acted aggressively once, and I full on deserved it. If you’re in it for the cuddles, you need to let it be on your cat’s terms.
And now that I’ve talked you out of getting a ragdoll, let me convince you all over again!
Ragdolls are the biggest softies in the cat world, and even though Peggy doesn’t want to be cuddled all the time, she is super affectionate. Every morning, without fail, she’ll wake me up with a little meow and a paw on my shoulder, and then crawl onto my chest and start purring. Cat purrs are the most soothing sound in the world. And cat cuddles, especially with a cat as fluffy as a ragdoll, can’t be beaten by anything.
As kittens (I have no experience with an adult ragdoll), they are extremely playful and entertaining. You do need to dedicate more time to actually playing with them than any other cat breed, as they love human contact, but it’s worth it. Admittedly, Peggy’s more into playing with hands and feet than actual toys, but the bonding you get from playing is amazing, providing you can stand the cuts you get from the nipping…
I love my ragdoll, and am really looking forward to getting another one. They are very rewarding cats to own, and if you aren’t experienced with cats, or want a cat that’s more affectionate than the world makes you believe cats are, they are great to ease you into cat ownership.
If you are looking at getting a ragdoll, you are probably going to have to go through a breeder. As I said before, ragdolls rarely end up in rescues, although it does pay to have a look (and I’d always recommend seeing if there’s a cat for you at your local shelter before you decide on a specific breed). Be careful looking for breeders on the internet. If you have the money, I’d recommend going through the GCCF (the cat version of the Kennel Club) to find a registered kitten, but if not, sites like Pets4homes are best. We found Peggy on Gumtree, and were extremely lucky to find an amazing breeder. When you find one, always ask to view the kittens at the breeder’s home. Whilst there, ask to see at least the mother, and if the father is a stud rather than a family pet, ask them for information about him. Make sure the litter of kittens looks healthy, you can see them all, and that they are active. Ask about their weaning and litter training, and any vet procedures they will go through. Also, scope out the breeder’s home a little – the home should be a good environment for cats, and the kittens should be well socialised. A warm, family home is best, as the kittens will be exposed to children. Be wary of any breeder that avoids questions, seems keen to send the kittens out by a set date, and wants you to pay any veterinary costs. Before you take home a kitten, it should be fully weaned, fully litter trained, at least 8 weeks old, and fully flea treated and wormed up until the point of you bringing them home.
Another thing to consider is that, like all purebred cats, ragdolls are highly susceptible to genetic diseases. Ragdolls are at a much higher risk of developing Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). This can be tested for, and a good breeder should offer to have this done for you, and should at least have their breeding adults tested for it so they can give you a good idea whether or not your kitten will be susceptible to the disease. Ragdolls also have a high tendency to experience urine infections, and have one of the shortest lifespans of a cat breed (although they do live for around 15-20 years, so not too short amounts of time).
Peggy is a wonderful cat, a great companion, and (sad as it is) my best friend. I really do love the ragdoll breed, but like all animals, it’s not without it’s considerations.
Do you have a cat? Would you love a ragdoll? Let me know in the comments below!
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