As a ragdoll cat owner, deciding whether or not to bring a dog into the mix can be a big source of angst.
Similarly, if you already own a ragdoll cat and are planning to get yourself a new dog, it can be an equally stressful decision.
This brings us to two important questions: do ragdoll cats like dogs? And can they get along together?
In general, ragdoll cats will get along with dogs due to their friendly, calm and loving nature. Ragdolls will usually feel less threatened by dogs – big or small – who are relaxed and will give them space. Ragdolls won’t like dogs who are loud or pester them constantly.
Unfortunately, every animal is different so it’s impossible to say for certain that your ragdoll cat will get along with dogs.
However, as long as the dog isn’t aggressive; doesn’t repeatedly invade your ragdoll’s personal space or commandeer their favourite toys or sleeping locations; and doesn’t play rough, then you shouldn’t have too many problems with them getting along.
In this article, I’ll answer some more questions about whether ragdoll cats like dogs, along with some pros and cons about keeping them together under the same roof.
Do ragdoll cats get along with dogs?
Yes, ragdoll cats get along with dogs in most cases, provided they both have calm, playful personalities and are willing to share their personal space from time to time. If you own a dog that is loud, aggressive, and intrusive, your ragdoll cat may feel threatened and intimidated.
How well your ragdoll cat and dog get along highly depends on the breed of dog you get – particularly, what size they are and how they behave.
While you may think it’s better to get a smaller dog, that’s not always the case as smaller dogs such as Shiatzus or Jack Russells can be extreme pests and constantly invade your space – something that ragdolls hate when they’re not in the mood to play.
Bigger dogs, such as Golden Retrievers or Kelpies, may frighten your ragdoll due to their size, however often they have calm, friendly demeanours that may actually be better suited to your cat.
In an ideal world, it’s always best to purchase or adopt your ragdoll cat and dog at the same time – when they’re a kitten and puppy – so that they can grow up together and become friends at a young age, which they can continue into adulthood.
Which dog breeds do ragdoll cats get along with best?
Ragdoll cats get along best with dog breeds that are gentle, tolerant, low-key and most importantly, friendly. The size of the dog is irrelevant – what matters most is that they have a personality that will cope with sharing their home with another animal.
American Kennel Club has listed seven dog breeds that they believe get along very well with cats, based on their behaviour traits (note that each of these dogs are different in size and appearance).
Their top choices include:
- Basset Hound
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
Provided the dog is well-trained and responds to commands – and is calm and non-threatening – your ragdoll cat should have no problem getting along with them.
Should ragdoll cats be introduced to dogs as kittens?
Absolutely. It’s always best to introduce your ragdoll cat to your dog as a kitten, however it should always be done under supervision. The earlier your ragdoll can get acclimatised to living with a dog, the better their relationship is likely to be. As dogs can be intimidating for ragdoll kittens, you should always keep a close eye on the pair when they’re together.
If the opportunity presents itself to raise your ragdoll cat and dog together from a young age, you should absolutely take it.
While most domesticated dogs are gentle, there are a few who may decide to play a little rough with a kitten – or worse, attack them – should they have already reached adulthood by the time you decide to introduce a baby ragdoll cat into the mix.
For the best chance of having your ragdoll get along with your dog, you should attempt to bring them together from an early age, under close supervision.
Three reasons why ragdoll cats and dogs can co-exist
There are many reasons why ragdoll cats can co-exist with dogs. I’ve outlined three of them below.
1. Ragdoll cats are very friendly
Most of the time, ragdolls will get along with just about anyone due to their laid-back demeanour – and that includes dogs.
While mixing cats and dogs can be a risk, you’re likely to get a good result with ragdoll cats because of their docile personalities.
2. Ragdoll cats act like dogs
Speaking from personal experience, ragdoll cats behave like dogs in many ways – from playing fetch, to roaming around outdoors.
For this reason, there’s a good chance your ragdoll and dog will get along like a house on fire, and enjoy playing together.
3. Ragdoll cats understand personal space
One of the ragdoll cat’s best characteristics is their ability to know when you’re had enough of their company.
Unlike other cat breeds who may be overly clingy, ragdolls know when they’ve overstayed their welcome, and will understand when it’s time to leave their canine companion alone.
Three reasons why ragdoll cats and dogs can’t co-exist
Just as there are many reasons why ragdoll cats and dogs can co-exist, there are some also some reasons why they can’t in certain situations. I’ve listed some below.
1. Dogs can be physically aggressive
While most household dogs are trained to be well-behaved and gentle, throw a cat into the mix and sometimes they can’t help but see them as a target.
In most cases, your dog will be perfectly fine if you introduce a ragdoll into your home, however nothing is certain – and there is a risk they may act physically aggressive towards your cat if they don’t play nice together.
2. Ragdoll cats can frighten easily
Ragdoll cats are the gentlest, most docile cats you’ll ever come across – they’re also a little timid and slow to warm to new people, or animals (which is why they’ll often climb to the top of shelves or cupboards, to avoid others).
It may take a while for your ragdoll to acclimatise to sharing their safe space with a dog, and during this period of transition, your cat may feel stressed and frightened (however, this is usually only temporary).
3. Some ragdoll cats like being alone
Ragdoll cats love their own space and are a very independent breed – it’s rare you’ll get longer than a 10-second cuddle before they’ll decide they’ve had enough and strut off into another room.
Because ragdolls enjoy their alone time, throwing a dog into the mix may unsettle your cat and make them unhappy.
How do I get my ragdoll cat and dog to like each other?
The best way to get your ragdoll cat and dog to like one another is with supervised play time. When you are first getting them acquainted, it’s important to keep an eye on them to ensure your dog doesn’t act too rough or aggressive towards your ragdoll cat.
As mentioned earlier, it’s best to raise them together from a young age where possible, as that way they’ll develop a closer bond as they grow older.
If this isn’t an option – and you have no other choice but to introduce your ragdoll cat to your dog when either animal is older – a great way to make them comfortable together is via supervised play time.
This could include them sharing some toys together, or simply spending time together in the same room.
If you’re worried about your dog being overly exuberant or physically intimidating towards your cat, or vice versa, you can erect some barriers between them to prevent them coming into contact (yet still get used to sharing a space with one another).
Is it better for ragdoll cats to be around small or big dogs?
Ragdoll cats can happily spend time with both big and small dogs provided they aren’t loud, aggressive or physically intimidating. Ragdolls, due to their meek, docile personality, don’t enjoy being around loud noises or being pestered – so if you have a dog that is loud and annoying, there’s a good chance your ragdoll won’t like being around them.
Ultimately, the size of the dog is largely irrelevant – what matters most is how they behave.
If they act in a manner that is intrusive to your ragdoll cat’s personal space, it’s likely they won’t get along very well at all.
Can ragdoll cats go outside with dogs?
It’s not recommended to allow ragdoll cats outdoors while dogs are present. The open-spaced environment makes it very difficult to control both animals and leaves your ragdoll susceptible to being bullied or attacked by your dog, should it get overexcited and decide to play rough.
While ragdolls don’t typically spend much time outside due to them being largely household cats, they do enjoy the opportunity to roam around outdoors in the fresh air on occasions.
However, because they aren’t used to the outdoors, sometimes they can be overstimulated by birds flying overhead or other sounds – and adding a dog into an already sensitive situation for your ragdoll can be a recipe for disaster.
To avoid your ragdoll getting frightened – or worse, your dog lashing out at your ragdoll – it’s best to let them outside one at a time (or place your dog on a short leash before allowing your ragdoll to venture outdoors).
This will help keep both animals as safe as possible, while still allowing them to enjoy time outside.
While ragdoll cats are a very independent breed that likes their own space, they can do well sharing their home with dogs provided the dogs are well-trained, behave themselves and don’t play rough.
Ideally, it’s best to raise your ragdoll and dog together from a young age – but if this isn’t possible, it’s advisable to get them acquainted via supervised play time.
That way, your ragdoll and dog can let their friendship blossom over time, in a safe environment.