If you’re looking to buy a ragdoll cat, one of the key questions you want answered is: are they high maintenance?
Ragdolls, with their thick, fluffy fur coats and glamorous appearance, give off the impression that they’re a lot of work to look after.
But how accurate is this?
Ragdoll cats require a reasonable level of maintenance. The most time-consuming tasks you’ll need to focus on are regular brushing and grooming, along with vacuuming your floors every few days due to ragdolls shedding hair. Ragdolls also like affection, so regular cuddles are a must.
Personally, having owned a ragdoll for five years, I haven’t found her to be difficult to maintain at all – which may come as a surprise to people who assume ragdolls are high maintenance.
Yes, you will find yourself constantly having to keep your home free of cat hair – especially in winter, when your ragdoll’s coat thickens and tends shed a lot – but it’s minor in terms of time commitment.
In this article, I’ll elaborate further on all the tasks you’ll need to do to maintain your ragdoll, to help you decide whether or not they’re the right cat breed for you.
Are ragdoll cats hard to take care of?
No, ragdolls are not hard to take care of. While there are regularly weekly maintenance tasks you’ll need to complete – including brushing, grooming and vacuuming – most of the time your ragdoll will be content with their own company. They are certainly less clingy than other cats.
What I love most about our ragdoll, Poppie, is that unlike other cats I’ve come across, she’s very low maintenance.
She doesn’t constantly pester my wife and I for food, or rub up repeatedly against our legs as soon as we arrive home – instead, she’ll join us on the couch for a quick cuddle when watching TV, or roll around on her back in front of us to show off.
Really, the only things we do to look after her are brushing her once a week; vacuuming the house once every few days; ensuring she has the correct wet food and dry biscuits (including dental biscuits); getting her professionally groomed once every few months; and cleaning her litter trays when required.
You’ll find most of these tasks apply to all cat owners – especially those who have long-haired breeds – and none of them are very time consuming.
Are ragdoll cats difficult?
No, ragdoll cats are not difficult. While ragdolls can be a little fussy when it comes to food, or a little fidgety when it comes to grooming, generally they are extremely easy-going, laid-back, low-maintenance cats. They can, however, scratch furniture and carpet from time-to-time if you don’t train them from an early age.
Generally, ragdolls are well-behaved – however, like all cats, if you give them enough leeway, they’ll take advantage of it.
Our ragdoll, Poppie, has a tendency to claw our carpet when she’s bored or restless (thankfully, we taught her from an early age not to scratch our furniture), which can be somewhat of an annoyance.
She’s also a little bit picky when it comes to the flavour of wet food she likes to eat, however fussiness isn’t a behaviour trait that’s exclusive to ragdolls.
Below, I’ve explained in more detail the six tasks you’ll need to maintain when owning a ragdoll.
Six things you need to maintain with ragdoll cats
If you want your ragdoll cat looking tidy and presentable year-round, regular brushing and grooming is a must.
Ragdolls are a long-haired cat breed and without regular brushing, their fur will quickly start to get knotted and tangled (leaving many owners opting to shave the coat, even though there’s usually no reason to).
Usually, we’ll brush our ragdoll once a week and get her professionally groomed once every six months – which will include a more thorough brush and clipping of nails – and that keeps her looking fantastic.
Vacuuming every few days
This is arguably the most regular task you’ll need to complete when owning a ragdoll.
Because they naturally have thick, fluffy coats, ragdolls will tend to shed a decent amount (especially during winter when their coat thickens, and at the beginning of summer when it thins out).
Being a long-haired cat, ragdoll hair will cling to everything – from your carpet, to your couch – and will often be left all over your house, requiring a quick vacuum once every few days.
Cleaning of litter trays
Surprise, surprise, just like all other cat breeds, ragdolls poo and wee regularly.
It’s important to clean your cat’s tray as soon as it has droppings in it, otherwise you may find they’ll decide to go to the toilet elsewhere (our ragdoll Poppie has often left us little puddles on the laundry floor when her trays are already full of faeces).
I’d recommend providing more than one litter tray for your ragdoll (we have three) and it gives them options and leaves them less likely to run out of a clean place to go to the toilet.
Buying the right food
This may vary from cat to cat, but our ragdoll is particularly fussy about which wet food she’ll eat (she only likes gravy-based tinned food from Purr, which is a popular Australian brand).
Similarly, she’ll only eat specific dental biscuits and other dry biscuits.
It’s important to take note of what food your ragdoll likes and dislikes, as that way you can cater for their preferences and ensure they stay healthy by eating their meals.
Dental health shouldn’t be ignored
This one can be overlooked by owners, however is super important if you wish to avoid paying large veterinarian bills later on.
Unlike humans, cats can’t brush their teeth.
So, instead, what you can do is give them specially-made dental biscuits which help stop the build up of plaque or other nasty bacteria on your ragdoll’s teeth.
Not only will this keep their teeth health, it’ll also keep their breath nice – and you’ll be surprised how much your cat will love eating them.
Preventing naughty scratching
The only other high-maintenance task associated with ragdoll cats is scratching.
While this isn’t likely to be a massive problem, due to ragdolls’ docile temperaments, it can become an issue if left unchecked.
I’d recommend buying a scratching post for your home and training your ragdoll to use it through positive reinforcement (e.g. offering them a treat every time they use it).
The best scratching posts are the larger ones with multiple levels, as ragdolls enjoy climbing and perching on top of them.
On the flip side, it’s important to deter your ragdoll from scratching furniture by using a spray bottle, or special cat odour spray, to help them learn that scratching is not acceptable behaviour.
Can ragdoll cats be left alone?
Yes, ragdoll cats can be left alone for up to 48 hours provided they have enough food and water, along with clean litter trays. Ragdolls are quite happy to keep themselves occupied at home. However, any longer than two days and it’s likely your cat will need assistance.
As I’ve explained in another article, we’ve been perfectly fine leaving our ragdoll at home alone overnight – we simply stock up her dry biscuits and wet food, top up her water bowl and make sure she has three clean litter trays (which she normally fills up by the time we return home).
However, if you intend to be away from home longer than 48 hours – either for work or a holiday – it’s certainly recommended you transport your ragdoll to a friend/family member’s house or a professional cattery where they can be properly cared for.
What are the cons of owning a ragdoll cat?
There are very few cons of owning a ragdoll, however potential negatives are: they shed a little more than short-haired cats; they can be a little fussy with the food they eat; and they can’t be left alone for more than 48 hours as they are indoor cats, and aren’t safe to roam outside alone.
The only minor annoyance of owning a ragdoll is the regular vacuuming we have to do to ensure our home stays tidy and hair-free.
However, all these tiny perceived cons are greatly outweighed by the pros of owning a ragdoll cat, including: how affectionate they; that they’ll not cling to you or pester you 24/7; that they like their own space; and that they have an incredibly docile, loving, warm personality.
As someone who previously didn’t really like cats, and was more of a dog person, I can truly say that owning a ragdoll has been a fun, rewarding experience and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In summary, ragdoll cats do require a certain level of maintenance, however I wouldn’t call it ‘high’.
While there are regular daily and weekly tasks you’ll need to complete – such as brushing/grooming, vacuuming and cleaning of litter trays – in general, ragdolls are quite content with their own company and don’t need pampering.
Ragdolls are such fantastic cats to own that doing these small jobs each week to keep them happy and healthy is well and truly worth it.