Revealed: Why Ragdoll Cats Don’t Like Being Held For Long

Ragdoll cats are renowned for their friendly, laid-back demeanour, which leads many people to assume that they like being held and carried.

I can say, from experience, that this isn’t entirely accurate.

While ragdolls are great lap cats and will often cuddle up next to you on the couch or bed, they don’t enjoy being picked up, held, or carried for long periods of time. Ragdolls like their own space and holding or carrying them intrudes on their comfort zone, which can annoy them.

As someone who owns a ragdoll cat, named Poppie, sometimes I can’t help but sweep her up off the floor and give her a big cuddle – which usually lasts no more than about 10 seconds before she starts squirming and demanding to be released.

She enjoys it at first, but that tolerance quickly disappears.

And if you think that’s bad, trying to transport ragdolls via a cat carry bag or cage – whether it be for a trip to the vet, or to see family – is even more difficult, as they detest being in confined spaces (this is even harder for people who own more than one ragdoll).

In this article, I’ll explain more about holding and carrying ragdoll cats, offer some tips for transporting them and recommend some of the best carry bags/cages that will keep them most comfortable during car rides.

Do ragdoll cats like being held?

Ragdoll cats only like being held for short periods of time. If you hold a ragdoll in your arms, it won’t be long before they try to wriggle free. If you want to show affectionate to your ragdoll cat, allow them to sit next to you and scratch them under their chin or gently pat them.

Simply put, ragdoll cats like affection – so long as it’s on their own terms.

While they are a loving cat breed, ragdolls are very independent and like having their own space.

Your ragdoll will indicate that it’s in the mood for a cuddle by curling up next to you on the couch, or while you’re laying in bed, and this is a great opportunity to snuggle them and show them love.

When they’ve had enough, they’ll get up and leave.

What ragdolls don’t normally like is when you pick them up off the floor and hold them, when they were perfectly happy minding their own business and keeping to themselves.

Similarly, your ragdoll likely won’t enjoy being held when you groom or bath them, despite these activities being necessary and unavoidable in order to keep them healthy.

Do ragdoll cats like being carried?

No, ragdoll cats do not like being carried. If you’ve ever tried carrying a ragdoll, it’s likely you found it very difficult. Usually, ragdolls will become agitated when you attempt to carry them and do everything they can to escape your grasp.

While ragdolls will tolerate being held for a while, they don’t like being carried.

Of course, there are times where you need to carry your ragdoll cat – for example, when it comes time to groom or bath them, or take them to the vet for a check-up – but that doesn’t mean they’ll like it.

However, there are some specific ways you can hold and carry your ragdoll cat that will keep them happier for longer, giving you a few more precious seconds together before they try and escape your clutches.

How do you hold or carry a ragdoll cat?

There are two main ways to hold or carry a ragdoll cat. First, you can cradle your ragdoll in your arms like a newborn baby, as this keeps them nice and secure. Second, you can balance your ragdoll on your open palms and let their body flop over your forearms, as this relaxes them.

Personally, I use the first option whenever I need to hold or carry Poppie as I’ve found this, by far, to yield the best results.

Cradling your ragdoll in your arms, with their feet tucked in to their bodies, helps them feel safe and protected and will keep them calmer for longer.

Interestingly, the second option takes almost the complete opposite approach, yet still gets good results.

The term ‘ragdoll’ is given to ragdoll cats because of their tendency to go limp and ‘flop’ when you pick them up, and they enjoy being held in this way – you could consider it their ‘default’ position.

Balancing your ragdoll cat on your outstretched hands and arms may seem unnatural to you, but there’s a good chance your ragdoll will love it (at least until they get tired of it and try to wriggle free).

Do ragdoll cats like being carried in cat bags or cages?

No, ragdoll cats hate being carried in cat bags or cages. Ragdolls love their own space – more so than some other breeds – and keeping them confined to a small box stresses them out and makes them very uncomfortable.

There is nothing worse than hearing your ragdoll meow loudly due to stress or anxiety when you place them in a cat carry bag/cage in order to transport them to the vet, or other location away from your home.

While it’s often unavoidable – your cat needs regular check ups to maintain their health, and sometimes you need to drop them off at a family member’s house when you head away on vacation – it’s still not an enjoyable experience knowing your ragdoll is so unhappy in confinement.

There are, however, some cat carry bags and cages on the market that are better than others (I’ve recommended some later on in this article if you keep scrolling).

How to keep your ragdoll cat calm while transporting them

If the time comes where you need to put your ragdoll into a cat carry bag or cage, there are some things you can do to keep them calm during transportation.

I’ve listed some easy-to-implement tips below that I’ve found to be helpful.

Tip 1: Keep your ragdoll in the front seat of your car

When driving your ragdoll anywhere on your own – whether it be to the vet or a family member’s house – it’s best to keep them in the front seat next to you.

Firstly, you’ll be able to use the passenger side seatbelt to easily secure the cage, but second, your immediate presence will help keep your ragdoll calmer – and let them know that they’re not alone.

A moving car can be intimidating and frightening for ragdolls, so keeping your cat as close as possible to you on the journey is a great way to sooth them.

Tip 2: Bring a second person along to keep your ragdoll company

Ideally, when possible, it’s best to bring a second person along when transporting your ragdoll cat via car.

Whether it be a friend, family member or spouse, they can sit in the front or back seat and keep your ragdoll company while also ensuring the carry bag/cage is secure and not bouncing around all over the place.

Having someone talking to your ragdoll throughout the trip will definitely help keep them calmer.

Tip 3: Place a towel over the cat carry bag/cage

You may think this is cruel, but it’s actually the opposite and was recommended to me by a professional cat groomer.

Travelling in a moving car – with all the noises and bumps that accompany it – can be a sensory overload for ragdolls, which can stress them.

A way to combat this is by placing a towel over their carry bag/cage, as this will darken their environment and dull their senses somewhat.

I’ll be as if your cat is back at home under your bed, and feel safer as a result.

Tip 4: Use a carry bag/cage that’s comfortable

Whether you use a fabric carry bag or thick, plastic cage, it’s important that whichever one you choose is comfortable for your ragdoll.

This might include placing a blanket inside to help keep them warm and secure, or even adding one or two toys for them to play with on the journey.

In terms of soft carry bags, I like the Petisfarm Top Load Cat Carrier Bag as it comes with a comfortable carpet stitched into the base, has multiple openings and a strap for ease of transportation.

If you want something a little sturdier, the Amazon Basics 2-Door Top Load Hard-Sided Cat Travel Carrier is ideal – it’s affordable, 23 inches long (which will easily fit most ragdolls) and the top opening option makes it super easy to place your cat inside, rather than having to fit them through the front door.

Final message

In summary, ragdolls don’t mind being held for short periods, but will likely get restless very quickly and try to escape your grasp.

Similarly, they don’t typically like being carried – especially if it’s within the confines of a cat carry bag or cage.

If you do need to transport your ragdoll, follow our tips above for the best results – and if you want to show your cat affection, maybe let them come to you rather than scooping them up off the floor.

You may find your cuddles will last for longer by using that approach.