Ragdoll cats--are they really genetically programmed to be as affectionate as they claim?

I went to a cat show for the first time and learned that:

  1. people who display their pets at formal cat shows are pompous oafs, way too serious, and generally unpleasant.
  2. there is a breed of cat known as ragdoll,which are beautiful animals.

And they have a reputation as gentle, affectionate pets,* because they have been genetically bred that way.*

Now, I’m a kitty lover.
But I’ve never had (or wanted) a fancy pedigree cat.*
I’ve never believed any of the theories that a certain breed behaves in a certain way. I’ve known too many cats, and seen every variation of behavior/personality, across many different breeds.

Of course, all the Ragdoll fanatics and the websites devoted to them, claim that it’s a special breed, with a genetic tendency to be gentle, and go limp when you pick them up, and are just perfect pets.

Does anybody have experience with ragdoll cats? Ancetodal evidence gladly accepted!

This is GQ–and though I doubt we can prove the genetic basis to their demeanor, maybe we can at least gather some facts about ragdoll behavior .

  • I’ve always had simple tabbies of no particular breed. I just want something soft and furry that purrs on my lap,(and maybe even lets me have half the mattress to myself at night :slight_smile:

I have a ragdoll named Jerry. He is very affectionate with the family. He does not like strangers. He is not aggressive and will walk away from guests, he just knows who belongs in the house and who does not.

The dog, as far as Jerry is concerned, does not belong in the house.

obligatory link to Jerry

The woman who developed the breed was a nut, but they are supposedly more docile on average than cats in general.

Hah! So true. It’s weird, because it’s not the same for other species at all.

The Ragdolls I have met haven’t all been usually affectionate (I have an affectionate cat - he’s almost aggressive), but they are very mild, laid-back individuals.

I had one. He just died of renal failure. He was only 5 years old. He was not a very affectionate cat but he was very docile.

The ragdolls I have known have been mellow, shy and reserved. Not super lovey

Everything you need to know about Ragdolls. The front cat in the last picture isn’t a Ragdoll, but I thought I’d show a picture of all three of our animals to show how affectionate they are in general.

Based on my experience with these cats they are placid, but will nip, lick, and or nuzzle you until you get them what they want. They’re certainly not placid when it comes to things they don’t want to do, like taking pills or having their claws clipped. The cat in the first picture has always been the alpha male of the group. For the first couple of years of his life we used to let him out, and he seemed to be a fairly dominant cat in the neighborhood. I never saw him hunt, but he had no trouble defending his territory.

“Knowing” vs. “owning” is a key difference. Ours are very shy of strangers, but highly demanding of attention from us.

But Maine Coons are similar- affectionate to their owner, even following them around. But shy with strangers.

This describes cats.

Hah. That describes some cats. Our two current ones love us and everybody else, too. I have to warn guests that the cats will snuggle them relentlessly if they are not careful. Chutney has been known to crawl into ladies’ purses and men’s backpacks to nap during a visit. Neither one has ever met a stranger.

But that’s the thing with cats - their individual personalities run the gamut, just like with people. I was curious to see if ragdolls actually lived up to their reputation. I await further posts from those who know.

MY most favorite cat ever (who died several months ago :frowning: ) would hop up on the lap of the cable repair guy and go to sleep. :slight_smile: Not a ragmuffin…just a run-of-the-mill looking tabbie.

I’d say it describes most cats, at least to some degree.

My theory is that personality variation within a breed is greater than personality differences between breeds, so breed is not a reliable indicator of personality.

Our first ragdoll cat was easily the most laid back cat we’d ever owned. I wouldn’t say he was overly affectionate, but he was very easy to be around, not demanding, quiet, and loved to be handled. Best cat ever.

We just got a ragdoll kitten last weekend, and she is much more active, vocal, and playfully aggressive, but still a very sweet cat. She’s not really exhibiting the “ragdoll” habit of going limp when you pick her up yet, but she is also easy to carry.

MHO also. As opposed to purebred dogs which have been bred for many, many generations for certain behavioral attributes.

And as I don’t think there is any way to factually quantify the OP’s question, I suspect that is going to be as close as we get :).

I’ve owned 2 Raggies for 9 years now. One is a 22 pound area rug, very laid-back and affectionate. His brother is Mr. Mischief! He patrols the house, opening doors and cupboards and looking to fuel his paper fetish. He adores paper. Eats it, every chance he gets. He’s even munched on the newspaper while I’m reading it, and as a kitten he ate a 20-dollar bill.

Two distinct personalities, and they are litter mates. You do need to shop for a good breeder as heart defects can run in the breed. If you want a big beautiful cat, you can’t go wrong with a Ragdoll, or a Maine Coon.

I concur that the woman who started the breed is a right nutter.

FWIW my wife and I have a ragdoll that is both very affectionate, very friendly with strangers, and very talkative. She just likes attention and doesn’t care who it’s from!

Of course, we only ever hear about the affectionate ragdolls. The violent psychopathic ones get swept under the rug.

I suspect that it pales in comparison with regard to its purr! :smiley: