Ragdoll vs Birman Cats: Similarities And Differences Explained

Ragdoll and Birman cats are super similar in appearance and personalities, which can make it hard to decide which one is right for you when buying one.

But they do have some key differences, which are important to recognise.

In this article, you’ll learn what separates Ragdolls and Birmans when it comes to:

  • Personality
  • Appearance
  • Size
  • Health/Diet
  • Cost

Hopefully by the time you’ve finished reading, you will have greater clarity about which cat will better suit your lifestyle and needs.

What are the main differences between Ragdoll and Birman cats?

In short, Ragdolls and Birmans are two of the most popular breeds of domestic cats. Their main differences are: Ragdolls have slightly longer fur than Birmans; Ragdolls are marginally bigger in size than Birmans; while Birmans like to climb more than Ragdolls. They both have similar personalities.

Generally, these cats are more alike than they are different.

I’ve owned one of each at various points in my life and to be quite honest, the only real distinction I could make is that Birmans like to climb more than Ragdolls.

Similarly, I’ve found Birmans are a little less vocal than Ragdolls and keep to themselves more.

However, this is from an extremely small sample size – some other owners may disagree, but I’m writing from my own personal experience.

Either way, what most people would agree on is that Ragdolls and Birmans are incredibly similar when it comes to personality, appearance and even size, and that their differences are negligible.

Personalities of Ragdoll vs Birman cats

Ragdoll and Birman cats are both known for their affectionate and friendly personalities, with very little differences in behaviour. Ragdolls and Birmans are both laid-back and relaxed, however can be energetic and playful when they want to be.

Ragdolls are renowned for their docile demeanour – they are naturally very affectionate and love to be with their owners, often following them around the house and seeking attention.

They are also known for their calm and gentle disposition, which is what makes them such great lap cats (they’ll happily curl up next to you and watch a movie).

Birmans are very similar – they are also very intelligent and curious cats; they love to investigate their surroundings and learn new things; but they also like chilling out.

They’re are also very social and loving, and enjoy being with their owners and other people.

Both Ragdolls and Birmans enjoy playing, exploring (both indoor and outdoors), and climbing when they’re in the right mood.

When it comes to personality, these two cat breeds are very alike.

Appearance of Ragdoll vs Birman cats

Ragdolls and Birmans, to the untrained eye, look almost identical. Both have color points on their face and ears – ranging from seal, blue, chocolate and lilac – and beautiful blue eyes. One of the main distinctions is Ragdolls can grow to be slightly larger than Birmans.

Ragdoll and Birman cats are both known for their beautiful, long-haired coats and distinctive physical features, as described above.

Both breeds have long, fluffy fur that is soft to the touch and requires regular grooming to keep it looking its best.

They also have distinctive ‘pointed’ patterns, with darker colors on their face, ears, paws, and tail, and lighter colors on their body.

Ragdolls and Birmans also have medium to large sized ears that are wide at the base and taper to a rounded point.

In my experience, Birmans also have slightly darker blue eyes than Ragdolls, however this may vary between each individual cat.

Overall, it would be hard for the average person to distinguish between the two breeds, due to their similar appearances.

Size of Ragdoll vs Birman cats

Ragdoll and Birman cats are similar in size and generally only separated by a few pounds or kilograms.

Ragdoll cats are considered a medium to large breed, with males typically weighing between 15 and 20 pounds (6.8-9 kilograms) and females between 10 and 15 pounds (4.5-6.8 kilograms).

For Birman cats, by comparison, males usually weigh between 12 and 18 pounds (5.4-8.2 kilograms) and females between 10 and 12 pounds (4.5-5.4 kilograms).

I’ve written other articles on how much a healthy ragdoll cat should weigh, and how large they grow to that I certainly recommend you read.

While there may be some overlap in size between the two breeds, on average, Ragdoll cats tend to be slightly larger than Birman cats.

Individual cats within a breed can always vary in size, however, so these numbers are more a guide than a hard-and-fast rule.

Health/diet of Ragdoll vs Birman cats

Ragdoll and Birman cats generally stay very healthy, provided you feed them a good diet, groom them regularly and take them for scheduled veterinary check-ups.

But there are some health issues which both breeds are more susceptible to than others.

This can include:

Heart problems: Ragdolls and Birmans are both prone to a genetic condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which causes thickening of the heart muscle and can lead to heart failure.

Kidney problems: Some Ragdolls and Birmans may develop kidney disease or kidney failure, usually due to congenital defects, which can be serious or life-threatening.

Bladder problems: Both breeds may also be susceptible to urinary tract issues, such as feline lower urinary tract disease, which can result in as bladder infections or stones.

Dental problems: Both Ragdolls and Birmans can develop dental problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease, caused by a build-up of plaque.

Obesity: Both cats are at risk of obesity due to their laid-back, relaxed personalities. It is important to monitor their diet and activity levels to prevent excessive weight gain.

While congenital or pre-disposed health conditions can’t be avoided, the other possible health issues that affect Ragdolls and Birmans can be avoided largely through proper dieting and care.

A mixture of whole-meat-based canned food and dry food, coupled with occasional dental biscuits will help take care of each cats’ dietary and dental health (provided they are served in the appropriate portions).

Similarly, regular grooming – including weekly brushing, and monthly clipping of nails and cleaning of ears – can prevent other less serious health complications such as improper regulation of body temperature, toe infections or nail infections.

It is also imperative to regularly visit a veterinarian to help prevent or manage these health issues, should they arise, regardless of whether you own a Ragdoll or Birman cat.

Cost of Ragdoll vs Birman cats

Generally, Ragdoll and Birman cats will cost anywhere between $400 to $2000 USD. Factors that will influence their price include the age of the cat, it’s breeding line (e.g. if it is purebred) and whether it is intended to be used in show competitions.

If you’re buying from a reputable breeder who has a history of produce award-winning Ragdoll or Birman cats, you can certainly expect to pay more than if you were to buy from a less-decorated breeder.

Similarly, purebred cats are always going to fetch a higher price than crossbreeds.

If you’re not intending to show your Ragdoll or Birman in competition, you can likely get one cheaper – and closer to the $1000 range.

Regardless of what you’re paying, it’s important to do your research and find a reputable breeder who takes good care of their cats and screens for health problems.

Any breeder worth buying from will have clear, accredited documentation showing the vaccination records and breeding history of the cats they sell.

Also keep in mind that the initial purchase price is only a part of the overall cost of owning a Ragdoll or Birman and you will need to budget for ongoing expenses such as food, litter, vet care, and other supplies.

Are Ragdoll cats better than Birmans?

Ultimately, the answer comes down to your personal preference. Ragdolls and Birmans both make excellent pets and companions who will bring you love and joy with their laid-back, friendly natures.

There are few differences between both breeds, with Birmans being slightly smaller in size and often marginally cheaper to buy.

Final message

No matter which breed you choose, Ragdolls and Birmans make wonderful pets – take it from someone who has owned one of each cat.

While there are very few differences between the breeds, hopefully this article has given you enough information to help you make an informed choice if you’re considering buying either a Ragdoll or Birman.

Regardless of your final decision, what I can guarantee is both breeds will bring you plenty of happiness and quickly become a valued member of your family.