Are Ragdoll Cats Smart? Their Intelligence May Surprise You

If you’re looking for a cat that’s sharp as a tack when it comes to intelligence, you can’t go wrong with a Ragdoll.

As someone who grew up as a ‘dog person’, I must admit I was a little apprehensive when my wife (a cat lover) said she wanted to buy a Ragdoll way back in 2017.

I didn’t know much about the breed and my initial impression of cats wasn’t too flattering – I viewed them as lazy, annoying animals that spent every waking minute rubbing up against your legs and demanding food.

However, after finally caving in and agreeing to get a Ragdoll, which we named Poppie, I’ve been incredibly surprised by how intelligent these cats are.

Ragdoll cats are super smart. They’re fast learners and retain information far better than other breeds, in my experience. Ragdolls are also quick to adapt their behavior when trained correctly, they recognise their owners, and they also adjust easily to new environments.

So in summary: yes, Ragdolls are very, very smart cats. And in this article, I’ll explain a little more about why this is the case.

Why are Ragdoll cats considered ‘smart’?

Ragdoll cats are considered smart due to their learning and problem-solving skills, memory, social intelligence and trainability. These are all hallmarks of feline intelligence and Ragdolls are at the top of the class in each field.

When discussing intelligence in cats, it’s important to understand what this means.

Unlike humans, feline smarts aren’t measured by academic achievement or being able to complete complex tasks.

Rather, it’s their ability to learn, problem solve, retain information, interact with other animals and people, and apply their training to real-world scenarios.

In this context, Ragdoll cats are incredibly intelligent.

Over the years, our Ragdoll, Poppie, has given us many memorable moments that have showcased her cleverness – some of which I’ve outlined below:

Learning and problem-solving skills

Poppie has quickly become a master climber. It’s not uncommon to find her hanging out in weird spots (such as on top of cupboards or our bed head) after learning how to scale tall objects with ease.

Social intelligence

Poppie can sense when I’m feeling tired, worn out or in need of a cuddle and will sidle up to me with a comforting purr. It’s as if she knows when I need a hug and senses the right time to offer it.

Memory and information retention

Poppie has an impressive ability to remember. She recognizes familiar faces, and she’s got her daily routine – like waiting by the door when my wife returns home from work – down pat.

She can even tell the difference between my and my wife’s car (and will only be waiting at the door for her, not me – yes, you can tell who the favorite is!).


It didn’t take long at all to teach Poppie a few tricks.

With some patience and a handful of treats, she quickly learned how to play fetch – and will often retrieve sticks or bark on command when we let her outside into the backyard to play.

Curiosity and exploration

I often find Poppie exploring nooks and crannies around the house or outside, engaging her curiosity.

It’s not uncommon to find her in the backyard sniffing flowers or nibbling on blades of grass, learning about the different tastes and smells nature has to offer.


When we go away on holidays, we normally leave Poppie with my wife’s mum, or with my parents.

Unfortunately, Ragdolls don’t love traveling, so the car ride to their house isn’t very fun for her and she’ll usually meow the whole way.

However, once she’s in her new environment it isn’t long before she’s out of her cat cage and happily exploring her new surroundings.

What contributes to a Ragdoll cat’s intelligence?

While there’s likely a genetic factor to Ragdolls’ intelligence, environmental factors also have an influence. Cats can thrive intellectually in a nurturing, stimulating environment. This can be achieved through exposure to a variety of stimuli including puzzle toys, interactive games, and plenty of social interaction with both humans and other animals.

Doing this has certainly contributed to our Ragdoll’s overall intelligence.

Moreover, good nutrition also plays a part, as a diet rich in essential nutrients can help support brain development and cognitive function – and we always ensure Poppie gets a balanced, high-quality mix of food each day.

How to make your Ragdoll cat smarter

Stimulating your Ragdoll cat’s mind is key to nurturing their intelligence. It’s not enough to provide physical toys; a cat’s environment should be mentally engaging as well.

Interactive toys and puzzle feeders are excellent tools for cognitive stimulation as they encourage problem-solving and can also slow down eating for those cats who are a bit too enthusiastic at mealtimes.

Training is another way to engage your Ragdoll’s mind and improve their smarts.

Poppie has learned a variety of commands, not just because it’s useful, but because the learning process itself is interesting and fun for her.

From simple toilet training to more complex commands like “fetch”, the training process strengthens our bond while keeping her intellectually engaged.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of social interaction.

Ragdoll cats are social creatures and engaging with them regularly promotes emotional well-being and cognitive health.

Poppie loves being part of our family activities – whether it’s watching movies or playing games – and her interaction with us, other animals and even visitors to our home offers mental stimulation that toys and puzzles alone cannot provide on their own.

Final message

In conclusion, are Ragdoll cats smart? With Poppie as my reference, I would say they’re an extraordinarily intelligent breed.

While they might not be able to solve algebra problems (I mean, who can), their problem-solving skills, social intelligence, memory and trainability are truly impressive.

Sharing your life with a Ragdoll cat is so much fun and their intelligence only adds to the myriad reasons to love this breed.

Of course, every Ragdoll cat is unique, and intelligence can vary. Still, the breed generally showcases a higher degree of smarts compared to others, making them fantastic companions.

So if you’re considering a Ragdoll, remember: they’re not just pretty faces – they’ve definitely got the brains to match!