When deciding on which cat breed to buy, most people want to know how clingy they are.
This is especially the case with ragdolls, as their loving, laid-back personas may give the impression that they are needy and require ongoing attention and affection 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
But is this actually true? Are ragdolls that clingy?
Ragdoll cats aren’t very clingy at all. Despite their friendly nature, ragdolls love their independence and are quite happy spending much of their time alone, away from people. While they still love cuddles and show plenty of affection, ragdolls won’t cling to you as much as other more needy cat breeds will.
This may come as a surprise to you, as the common perception is that ragdolls are these fluffy, cuddly, ‘puppy-like’ cats who will follow you around the house all the time.
However, in my experience, this isn’t the case and it’s a sentiment shared by many other ragdoll owners around the world, if some online forums are anything to go by.
Our ragdoll, Poppie, enjoys curling up on our lap from time to time – especially when we’re watching TV or laying in bed – however, she rarely, if ever, rubs up to our legs or constantly clings to us looking for attention.
The only time she’ll pester us is when she’s hungry (she’s quite vocal when she wants food).
In this article, I’ll explain more about how clingy ragdolls are and, hopefully, by the end you’ll see that they’re not as needy as some people suggest.
How needy are ragdoll cats?
Ragdoll cats aren’t particularly needy. Aside from them needing to be fed daily, brushed regularly and having their litter trays cleaned, ragdolls are very self-sufficient and happy being alone at home during the day. They certainly don’t cling to you like other cats might.
We’ve owned our ragdoll for more than five years and she’s been anything but needy – obviously, she was more reliant on us as a kitten, but as she’s grown into an adulthood there are very few things we need to do each day in order to keep her happy and healthy.
So long as we don’t leave her alone for more than 48 hours without food, water and clean litter trays, she’s quite OK to keep herself occupied (she’ll usually spend her time climbing onto things, or scratching her post).
Yes, you will need to regularly brush your ragdoll, as their long hair can get matted and tangled without being groomed.
But if you’re worried about ragdolls’ level of neediness, don’t worry; they’re very independent cats who won’t demand every second of your attention.
Do ragdoll cats get attached to one person?
Yes, ragdoll cats can get very attached to one person, especially if they’ve known them since birth. Ragdolls are very loyal, affectionate cats and will grow very fond of their owners and develop a close bond the longer they spend together.
I always tease my wife, saying that our ragdoll, Poppie, loves her more because she’s always in a cuddlier mood when they’re together compared to when I try to pick her up and hold her.
While I’m only joking, it’s definitely clear that my wife shares a closer bond with Poppie than I do – and the reason, I believe, is because my wife has raised Poppie since she was a kitten (when we weren’t living together yet).
Even though we now all live under the same roof, and I look after our shaggy little raggie as much as my wife does, it’s undeniable that the cat is far more attached to my wife than me.
So, if you’re contemplating buying a ragdoll, be prepared for them to become attached to you.
While they won’t cling to you and annoy you as much as other cat breeds might, your ragdoll will definitely show you more affection than it will to others.
Do ragdoll cats have separation anxiety?
Yes, ragdoll cats can get anxious if they’re separated from their owners for days or weeks. Ragdolls will usually be OK being at home alone for up to 48 with the correct provisions, however they will begin to miss their owner if separated for any longer than that.
Anytime my wife and I go on holidays, we usually leave out ragdoll with family or at a cattery.
And it’s guaranteed that when we return from our travels, Poppie will give us the cold shoulder and ignore us for hours, as if to punish us for leaving her on her own for so long.
While ragdolls won’t get separation anxiety after merely a few hours, they will certainly begin to pine for their owners if they are away from each other for extended periods of time (days, weeks or months).
How can you tell if your ragdoll cat has imprinted on you?
It will likely be obvious when your ragdoll cat has imprinted on you – signs include them waiting at the door for you when you get home; joining you on the couch or bed at night for cuddles; nestling against you while watching TV; gently headbutting you; showing a willingness to play games with you; and talking to you.
Imprinting is typically defined as when a cat forms ‘a strong bond with their favourite person, and when they see that person as their source of food, water and shelter’.
In our household, it’s clear our ragdoll Poppie has imprinted onto my wife, as their bond is very strong – they’re always having fun around home together and playing games.
In contrast, the cat won’t be as willing to play games with me unless she’s really in the mood to.
If your ragdoll does all the above, and displays plenty of affection towards you, it’s likely they’re imprinted onto you.
Can ragdoll cats be left alone?
Yes, ragdolls can be left alone overnight, for up to 48 hours, provided they have enough food, water and clean litter trays. Any longer than that and it’s recommended you leave your ragdoll with a friend or family member to look after, or take them to a professional cattery or retreat until you return.
I’ve written a detailed article about leaving your cat alone (including what you need to do to prepare) that I definitely recommend you reading.
But as a quick summary, ragdolls are independent cats and enjoy their own company, which means they’re perfectly happy being on their own for a couple of days.
So, are ragdoll cats clingy? The answer is no. While ragdolls will show you plenty of affection when they choose to, they’re often quite content with their own company.
Unlike some other cat breeds, ragdolls won’t follow you around the house every second of the day and will keep to themselves a lot of the time.
Because of their docile, gentle nature, when they do decide they want some attention, they don’t go about it in a forceful way – usually it’ll involve curling up next to you on the couch, rolling on their backs looking for a scratch, or quietly pawing at your leg or hand as a sign they want a cuddle.
If you want to avoid clingy cats, ragdolls are the perfect breed for you.