There seems to be debate amongst cat owners about whether or not it’s OK to let your ragdoll go outside.
Some people argue that ragdolls are indoor cats and shouldn’t leave the house, while others contest that their ragdolls love going outside and are perfectly able to do so.
So, which one is it? Can you – and should you – let ragdoll cats outside?
Ragdoll cats can go outside as long as they are properly supervised and kept within a fenced enclosure, such as a backyard. Before letting your ragdoll cat outside, be sure to plug any holes or gaps along the fence-line and check that there are no toxic plants that might harm them.
If you also own a dog, I would strongly recommend either putting them on a leash or moving them indoors before letting your ragdoll roam around outside as it may scare your cat or, even worse, chase it around the yard.
This is a worst-case scenario and could risk your ragdoll’s health and wellbeing.
So long as the environment is free of any dangerous plants, other pets and the perimeter is kept secure, there is no reason why you can’t let your ragdoll cat outside for a few hours.
In this article, I’ll explain more about why you should let your ragdoll cat go outside every now and then, and how to keep them safe when doing so.
Do ragdoll cats like going outside?
Ragdoll cats love going outside. Ragdolls relish the chance to explore nature when they’re allowed to as it presents a new, different environment than the one they’re used to indoors. They will enjoy sniffing plants, laying in the grass and discovering new things when given the chance.
We often let our cat Poppie roam around in our backyard when the weather is nice, and she absolutely loves it – she does get spooked by noises or birds from time-to-time as it can initially be a sensory overload, but it doesn’t take her long to get used to it.
Because ragdolls have behaviour traits similar to dogs, we’ll even play fetch with her every now and then – she loves returning pieces of bark to us!
I’ll usually leave the door into our house, from the backyard, open so that when Poppie gets sick of being outside, she can easily walk back inside at her own will.
Should you let your ragdoll cat outside?
Yes, you should let your ragdoll cat outside once every few days. While ragdolls are traditionally indoor cats, they are smart, intelligent and love discovering new things. Letting them outside once every few days gives them a chance to test their senses, while also getting some fresh air.
Many ragdoll owners may disagree with me on this, but from my experience our cat enjoys stretching her legs outside and soaking up some sunshine.
While ragdolls are domesticated cats, they are still animals and spending some time – even only an hour or so per week – outdoors can be good for their health.
The only real downside is if your ragdoll decides to roll around in the dirt or mud (which they love to do), meaning you may need to bath them afterwards.
Of course, you should only let your ragdoll outside once you’re certain the environment is safe – this includes patching up any holes in the fence line, securing other animals (such as dogs) if you own them, and removing or covering up any toxic plants.
Keep scrolling as I’ll elaborate more on the checklist you need to complete before letting your ragdoll outside.
Do ragdoll cats prefer being indoors or outdoors?
Ragdoll cats prefer spending most of their time indoors, but do enjoy the chance to explore outside when given an opportunity to do so. Typically, your ragdoll will get bored being outside after an hour and will walk back inside on their own accord.
Our cat Poppie will meow at the glass sliding door until we let her outside, however it usually isn’t long until she grows tired of roaming the backyard and makes her way back into the house without being prompted.
So, while ragdolls may enjoy going outdoors from time to time, they definitely prefer to spend most of their day indoors.
Things to check before letting your ragdoll cat go outside
As mentioned earlier, if you are planning on letting your ragdoll cat outside, there are a few things you need to do first to ensure their safety.
Below, I’ve compiled a short checklist you should tick off before allowing your ragdoll to explore the outdoors.
1. Secure the perimeter fence
The first thing to make sure of is that there are no holes in your fencing that could allow your ragdoll to escape your backyard.
While cats don’t typically dig as much as dogs, ragdolls certainly will if you let them – I recall one time Poppie dug under our fence and managed to escape into the parklands adjacent our house.
It gave me a huge scare and resulted in us reinforcing some of the vulnerable parts of the perimeter with chicken wire to stop her digging her way out again.
It’s also best to remove any objects that are located close to the fence, as your ragdoll may attempt to climb it in order to escape.
2. Remove or cover any toxic plants
Ragdolls are inquisitive by nature and will sniff and nibble at all the different plants in your backyard when you let them outside, so it’s important they are safe for animals and non-toxic.
A full list of the plants that are potentially toxic to cats can be found here in an article by Purina.
If you’re unable to put up barriers around these plants, or cover them with a sheet or rug, then it may not be a good idea to let your ragdoll outside – the last thing you want is for them to eat the plant and get sick.
And trust me when I say, your ragdoll will definitely nibble at all shrubs it comes across as they’re an extremely curious cat breed.
3. Lock up/restrain your other pets (especially dogs)
If your ragdoll cat hasn’t been outside before, you probably aren’t going to know how they will react.
There’s a good chance they may be overwhelmed, at first, by all the colours, noises and smells and the last thing you want is your other pets scaring them.
This is especially applicable if you own a dog, as they are unpredictable and may chase – or worse attack – your cat when being forced to share their environment for the first time.
The best thing to do before letting your ragdoll outdoors is to chain up any other animals you have, or put them inside, so that your cat can feel and be safe.
Can I take my ragdoll cat for a walk?
Yes, you can take your ragdoll cat for a walk, so long as you keep them on a leash. You may find your ragdoll is reluctant to wear a leash, or leave the house for fear of the unknown, and if this happens then it’s important not to force them to do it.
You really need to read your ragdoll’s body language – if they are visibly distressed when you try to put them on a leash, or take them outside, you must stop what you’re doing and leave them be.
Some signs of distress including loud meowing, visible shaking, clawing at carpet and not letting go, or attempting to escape your grasp.
If your ragdoll isn’t showing any of these signs, then you can attempt to take them for a walk.
Is it cruel to keep ragdoll cats indoors?
No, it’s not cruel to keep ragdoll cats indoors. Ragdolls are domesticated house cats who love spending time inside. They lack the natural instincts some other breeds have and if you tried letting them fend for themselves in the wild, it’s likely they wouldn’t last long on their own.
Ragdoll cats also crave companionship and affection, which is why they’re very happy spending their days inside, cuddled up on their owner’s lap or on the end of the couch watching TV.
It would be much more cruel keeping your ragdoll cat outside, as this is not their preferred environment (and it’s likely they would cry at the door until you let them back indoors).
Can ragdoll cats jump fences?
Ragdoll cats can jump fences if they are short enough. While ragdolls may not have the vertical leap of other breeds, they can still jump with plenty of height and are exceptional climbers. If you have small fences, you may need to keep an eye on your ragdoll if you choose to let them outdoors.
As I’ve written in another article, ragdoll cats love climbing, and love to hang out in high places.
For this reason, you need to be careful when letting your ragdoll outside that there are no beams or ladders leaning on your fence – or items stacked up next to your fence – as there’s every chance your cat will try to climb them and escape.
In summary, yes you can let your ragdoll cat outside as long as the environment is safe and secure – meaning there are no gaps in the perimeter they can escape through; no toxic plants they may accidentally eat; or no other pets, such as dogs, that may chase or scare them.
While ragdolls are mostly indoor cats, they do enjoy venturing outdoors every now and then, and it’s healthy to let them do so – just make sure you’ve completed the safety checklist I detailed earlier in this article before allowing them to roam your backyard.