Ragdoll cats are a super popular breed known for their large, fluffy size, striking blue eyes, and affectionate personalities.
They’re incredibly friendly and social cats who love attention and enjoy spending time with their owners.
But are they easy to train?
Ragdoll cats are considered easy to train due to their friendly and affectionate nature. They’re highly motivated by positive reinforcement, super intelligent and can learn a variety of tricks and commands. As with any cat, patience and consistency are key when training Ragdolls.
By starting early (preferably from when they’re a kitten) and being consistent in your training, it won’t take long to teach your Ragdoll cat to respond to commands, use their litter trays correctly and also demonstrate good behaviour – meaning no scratched carpet or furniture.
Keep reading, as in this article I’ll provide tips and tricks to help you successfully train your Ragdoll.
Ragdoll cats: intelligence and trainability
When it comes to trainability, intelligence plays a big role. Thankfully, Ragdoll cats are a super smart breed that can learn commands and behaviors. They are quick learners and respond well to positive reinforcement, which makes them incredibly teachable pets.
Compared to some other cat breeds, Ragdolls are highly intelligent – more so than the average cat (at least in my experience having owned one for many years).
They’re clever enough to recognize patterns and can be taught to do simple tasks like fetching toys or opening doors.
They also have excellent memories and can remember instructions that were taught to them even after a long time has passed, such as what they are and aren’t allowed to do.
For example, our Ragdoll used to scratch on our door and wake us up at 6am every morning – however, by us gently spraying her with a water bottle every time she did it (which she hated), she quickly learned not to pester us before 8am.
Now, we get to sleep in without being woken up prematurely – and our Ragdoll doesn’t cop a face full of water mist as a result.
Factors affecting Ragdoll cat training
While Ragdoll cats are generally easy to train, there are certain factors that can affect their teachability. Age, health, personality and prior experiences can all impact how well they respond to training.
Older cats may be more set in their ways, while younger cats may have shorter attention spans.
Similarly, Ragdolls that are sick or in pain may not be as receptive to training, and cats that have had negative experiences in the past may be more difficult to work with.
When training your Ragdoll cat, it’s important to take these factors into account and adjust your training methods accordingly.
For example, an older Ragdoll may need more patience and repetition, while a cat with a shy personality may need more encouragement and positive reinforcement.
Regardless of any difficulties with training, it’s important you push through and persist – because the benefits are certainly worth it, as I’ll explain below.
Benefits of training a Ragdoll cat
While training a Ragdoll cat may seem like a daunting task, there are many benefits to doing so. Training can help improve your Ragdoll’s behavior, increase their mental stimulation, and strengthen the bond between you both. It can also help keep your Ragdoll healthy and prevent behavioral problems like aggression or destructive habits.
Below, I’ve expanded more on the biggest benefits you’ll get from taking the proper time to train your Ragdoll.
Strengthens the bond between you and your cat
Training your Ragdoll cat establishes a positive and rewarding relationship between you as the owner, and your cat as the pet. This helps build trust and affection, leading to a stronger bond overall.
Provides mental stimulation and prevents boredom
Ragdoll cats are intelligent and curious creatures that thrive on mental stimulation. Training provides a fun and engaging way to challenge your cat’s mind and prevent boredom, which can lead to destructive behaviors such as scratching or chewing on furniture.
Reduces destructive behavior
By teaching your Ragdoll cat what is appropriate behavior, you can reduce unwanted actions such as scratching or biting. This makes your cat a more enjoyable and well-behaved companion, which is especially important if you have young children in your home.
Makes vet visits and grooming easier
When your Ragdoll cat is well-trained, they’re less likely to be frightened or aggressive during vet visits or grooming sessions. This reduces stress for both you and your cat, making the experience more pleasant for everyone involved.
Improves communication between you and your cat
Through regular training, you’ll establish a common language that allows for better communication between you and your Ragdoll. This leads to a deeper understanding of each other’s needs and moods – such as when you want cuddles, and when you want time alone – which also strengthens your bond.
Makes socialising easier
When your Ragdoll cat is well-trained, they’re more confident and comfortable in new situations. This makes it easier to introduce them to new people and pets, making your cat more social and outgoing.
Teaches proper behavior
Training teaches your Ragdoll crucial everyday life skills such as correct litter box usage and recall commands. These skills will stay with your cat throughout their life, making them a more well-behaved and self-sufficient pet.
How to train your Ragdoll cat to be obedient
Obedience training is an essential part of raising any pet, including Ragdoll cats. Positive reinforcement is the most effective training method for cats – it involves rewarding good behavior with treats, toys, or praise. Consistency and repetition are also key as cats, especially Ragdolls, learn best through repetition and routine.
When training your Ragdoll cat, it’s important to start with simple commands and work your way up to more complex ones as you go.
Below is a list of tips and tricks you can use to get the best results when training your Ragdoll.
Start training early
The earlier you start training your Ragdoll cat, the easier it’ll be to teach them new behaviors and commands. Ideally, you want to begin teaching them as kittens – especially when it comes to using litter trays correctly and stopping them scratching things they shouldn’t.
Use positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is the fastest way to get good results when training your Ragdoll cat. Reward them with treats, praise, or toys when they successfully complete a behavior or command as this encourages them to do the right thing.
Be patient and consistent
Training a cat takes time and patience. Don’t expect your Ragdoll cat to learn everything overnight. Take small steps and be consistent with your training, including using the same commands, rewards, and teaching methods every time to avoid confusing your cat.
Keep training sessions short
Cats have short attention spans, so it’s important to keep training sessions short and sweet. Aim for 5-10 minute sessions once or twice a day. This will be plenty and will quickly add up over time.
Use clicker training
Clicker training is a popular and effective way to train cats. Use a clicker to mark the desired behavior, then reward your cat with a treat or praise. You can read more about clicker training here.
End on a positive note
Always end your training sessions on a positive note, even if your Ragdoll didn’t master a behavior. Give them a treat or praise for their effort as this encourages them to pay attention and listen the next time you try to teach them something.
Punishment is not an effective way to train your Ragdoll cat. It can lead to fear and aggression, and damage your relationship with your cat. Never raise your voice or be rough. Be gentle, patient and calm.
Litter box training for Ragdoll cats
Litter box training is another essential part of training your Ragdoll cat. While Ragdolls are generally easy to teach in this area, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind that will help make things easier.
I’ve outlined the best ones below that you can refer to when toilet training your Ragdoll.
Choose the right litter box
First, make sure to choose the right litter box for your Ragdoll. The box should be large enough for your cat to move around comfortably, and be placed in a quiet, accessible location.
It should also have low sides to make it easy for them to climb in and out. You may also want to consider a litter box with a hood to provide your Ragdoll with more privacy, however this isn’t a necessity.
Choose the right litter
Pick a litter that your Ragdoll cat likes and is easy for them to dig in. Avoid scented litters or those that are too dusty, as they may irritate your cat’s respiratory system. You don’t have to spend a fortune on litter, either – often, the budget brands work just fine.
Choose the right location
Choose a quiet, private location for the litter box, away from high-trafficked and carpeted areas. A tiled room, such as the laundry, is best as it’s easier to mop up mess should your Ragdoll accidentally go to the toilet on the floor.
Ensuring the litter box is easily accessible and visible to your Ragdoll cat is a way to reduce the chances of this happening.
Show your cat the litter box
When you first bring your Ragdoll cat home, show them where the litter box is located. Gently place them in the litter box and let them sniff around.
If your cat has accidents outside of the litter box, clean up the mess promptly and avoid punishing them. Instead, try to identify the cause of the accident and adjust your training accordingly.
Use positive reinforcement
When your Ragdoll uses the litter box, reward them with praise and a treat. Positive reinforcement will help them associate the litter box with positive experiences and encourage them to use it whenever they need to go to the toilet.
Clean the litter box regularly
Scoop the litter box at least once a day – especially if there are urine spots – and completely change the litter every time your Ragdoll poos in it. Cats are clean animals and will avoid a dirty litter box, instead opting to use the floor.
Monitor your cat’s behavior
Watch your Ragdoll’s behavior to ensure they are using the litter box regularly and not having accidents elsewhere in the house. If you notice any issues, consult with your veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions and adapt their training accordingly.
How to socialize Ragdoll cats
When owning a Ragdoll cat, it’s important to teach them to socialize correctly – that includes with other animals and also humans. Ragdolls are naturally social cats that enjoy spending time with their owners, but they can also be shy or skittish around strangers or new environments.
To socialize your Ragdoll cat, start by introducing them to new people and animals gradually – preferably in an environment they are comfortable in and familiar with.
Watch your Ragdoll’s body language to ensure they are comfortable and not feeling threatened – if they start to show signs of fear or aggression, remove them from the situation immediately.
Again, it’s best to use positive reinforcement to reward them for good behavior and interactions.
If you’re looking to get your Ragdoll adjusted to new environments, apply the same tactics but always be patient.
Socializing a cat takes time and patience – don’t rush the process and be prepared to take it slow.
In summary, Ragdoll cats are generally easy to train thanks to their intelligence and affectionate personalities.
With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can teach your Ragdoll a wide range of commands, as well as improve their behavior and strengthen your bond with them.
Remember to take your cat’s age, health, personality and prior experiences into account when training them and always be patient, consistent and gentle.
With the right approach, training your Ragdoll can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your cat and lead to a healthy relationship that will last a lifetime.