Why Ragdoll Cats Like To Climb (And Why You Should Let Them)

Cats are notorious for climbing – but does this apply to the ragdoll breed, known for their laid-back, easy-going and docile attitude?

The short answer: yes, it absolutely does.

Ragdoll cats love to climb. You’ll often find them happily perched high up on shelves, counters or bed heads – and they can stay in this position for hours. Ragdolls value their independence and climbing up high is a way for them to escape noise or distractions happening at ground level.

You would be amazed at some of the locations we’ve found our pet ragdoll, Poppie, nestled in from time-to-time.

From climbing onto our bed head and somehow balancing there while we watch movies, to climbing right to the top of her tall scratching post, she definitely loves spending time above ground.

But why is this? Is there a reason why ragdolls – who are some of the most well-behaved, calm and friendly cats going around – like to climb?

In this article, I’ll explain exactly why ragdolls love climbing and answer some related questions, including whether there’s anything you can do to stop them from doing it.

Why do ragdoll cats like to climb?

Ragdoll cats climb to get away from noise and distractions happening at ground level. Ragdolls love solitude, so climbing to the top of a shelf or cabinet is a way for them to escape human interaction – either from adults or children – and enjoy some alone time.

Some owners may mistake their ragdolls climbing with bad behaviour, but nine times out of 10 this is not the case.

Ragdolls don’t climb furniture because they’re naughty – they do it to get away from people and to rest.

Despite being the best lap cats, ragdolls do enjoy spending time alone every now and then.

Like as you and I enjoy relaxing in front of the TV after a long day of work (without needing to talk with others and, simply, to unwind), ragdolls climb high onto shelves or cabinets to switch off, chill out, and avoid unwanted attention.

Ragdolls can’t communicate with words – obviously – so they let their actions do the talking for them.

If you notice your ragdoll cat perched high up, please don’t go grabbing them and cuddling them – they are telling you that they want some time alone, and will come down when they’re ready for attention.

Do ragdoll cats like sitting in high places?

Yes, ragdolls love sitting in high places. They do this to avoid unwanted interactions with adults, children or other animals. Perching high on furniture is a way for ragdolls to unwind and have some alone time – they also do it because they love climbing.

It’s not uncommon for ragdolls to spend hours sitting in high places, whether it’s on a shelf, cabinet or window ledge.

Our cat, Poppie, regularly does this – especially if we have guests over for lunch or dinner, or when I’m vacuuming the floors (which we do weekly to keep on top of her hair shedding).

Ragdolls are generally very happy cats, but like their own company – climbing to a high location is a way for them to escape the hustle and bustle happening at ground level, which is why they love doing it.

How high can ragdoll cats actually jump?

Ragdoll cats can jump anywhere between 5-6 feet into the air (based on the fact cats, on average, can jump up to 4-5 times their body lengths). Ragdolls grow anywhere between 1.2-1.5 feet in length, depending on the breed, which we used to calculate how high they can jump.

Of course, this is the absolute maximum a ragdoll cat can jump and it’s rare you’ll ever actually see them do it – usually, it’ll likely be at the lower end of the height scale.

Ragdolls are domesticated house cats and, as such, their natural instincts are somewhat supressed – if you compared their ability to jump to that of a wild outdoor tabby cat, there would be no contest.

A cat living in the wild – which needs to jump high to catch prey or avoid predators – will always out-jump a domesticated cat, such as a ragdoll.

That being said, ragdolls are still excellent climbers without the vertical jumping ability other breeds may possess.

Do ragdoll cats climb on counters?

Yes, ragdoll cats love climbing on counters, so you’ll need to train them not to do it. If you don’t teach your ragdoll from a young age not to climb on counters, it’s likely they’ll continue doing it into adulthood. This can be extremely annoying for you as an owner.

There is nothing worse than trying to eat dinner and having your pet ragdoll jump up onto the kitchen table or counter and interrupt your meal.

Sometimes, you may even notice your ragdoll climbing up onto the counter to try and lick running tap water, which they absolutely love doing.

Every time you spot your ragdoll climbing up onto a counter or eating space, quickly shoo them off – they’ll soon learn these areas are ‘off limits’ and will soon find somewhere else more appropriate to climb.

You can positively reinforce good behaviour by giving them a treat or offering them a toy to play with, and doing this well help them learn even faster.

Can you prevent your ragdoll cat from climbing?

You shouldn’t try to stop your ragdoll cat from climbing unless they are damaging household items by doing so. Ragdolls climb furniture to get some alone time away from humans and unwanted interactions, so preventing them from climbing may be detrimental to their mental wellbeing.

Imagine this scenario: you’d had an awful day at work and have been copping a million questions and phone calls from clients and co-workers; all you want to do is come home, put on some headphones, listen to some music and tune-out for an hour to relax.

Now, imagine I came to your house and confiscated your headphones, destroyed all your records and deleted your Spotify account.

How would that make you feel? Pretty unhappy, I imagine.

Climbing is one way that ragdolls can escape unwanted attention and enjoy some much-needed alone time away from children or adults – similar to you putting on a pair of headphones and listening to music – and preventing them from doing so will upset them.

Unless your ragdoll is breaking things when they climb (which is unlikely, because they’re extremely good at it and are very light-footed), it’s best to just let them do it.

Final message

In summary, ragdoll cats love to climb, but they do it for a very good reason.

If you spot your ragdoll perched high up on a shelf, cabinet or bed head, leave them be – it’s likely they’re just seeking some alone time away from others for the time being.

When they’re ready for attention, they’ll climb down and curl up next to you for a cuddle (one of the reasons why they make such great lap cats).