Fluffy, affectionate, and relaxed, Ragdoll cats are beloved companion animals. Besides their beautiful coloring, sparkling blue eyes, and tendency to go limp like a doll, they’re a long-lived breed. They have a life expectancy of 12–15 years and can live even longer if they’re kept healthy. Due to this, the Ragdoll has one of the highest life expectancies among cat breeds. This guide tells you more about how long they live and what affects their life expectancy.
What’s the Average Lifespan of a Ragdoll Cat?
The Ragdoll cat is a relatively healthy breed and is often kept indoors due to their docile nature. They have a life expectancy of 12–15 years,1 though many have been known to live over 20 years. They’re one of the longest-lived cat breeds that you can find.
Why Do Some Ragdoll Cats Live Longer Than Others?
Diet plays an important role in your cat’s health. The higher quality and more nutritionally balanced their diet is, the healthier your Ragdoll will be. Make sure your cat’s food, wet or dry, is manufactured to meet AAFCO guidelines and uses quality ingredients. This will ensure that it is nutritionally balanced and will keep your cat healthy.
Nutrition also plays a part in your cat’s weight. A healthy Ragdoll will weigh between 10 and 20 pounds. Too many table scraps and treats and their willingness to take frequent naps can make them prone to obesity. You’ll need to carefully adjust your Ragdoll’s meals based on how active they are and how many treats they’re given during the day.
2. Environment & Conditions
Most of the time, Ragdoll cats are more than happy to spend their time cuddling with you or lounging around the house. They also prefer to remain at floor level rather than climb to the top of bookcases. Their preference for laziness over adventure, however, doesn’t mean they can’t get into trouble in your home if it’s not safe enough.
Make sure your cat can’t get out of the house when you open a window or the front door. Due to their quiet, relaxed, and placid temperament, a Ragdoll isn’t suited for outdoor adventures unless they’re supervised.
Despite their size, Ragdoll cats aren’t the most energetic breed. It’s a good idea to encourage them to get exercise through playtime to reduce the risk of obesity, but they don’t need much to keep them content. A gentle game of fetch in your living room is often enough for these cats.
Their docile temperament and happiness to lounge make them suitable for large houses, tiny apartments, and everything in between.
Part of your responsibility as a pet owner is to make sure your Ragdoll maintains a healthy weight. Fully grown, your adult Ragdoll should weigh between 10 and 20 pounds. If they’re under- or overweight for their age, they can have severe health problems.
Not eating enough puts them at risk of nutritional imbalance and starvation, or it could be a sign of a more serious health issue. However, obesity increases the risk of your Ragdoll developing diabetes and other illnesses. Both can interfere with your cat’s lifespan.
Your cat’s lineage is another factor to consider. Genetics plays an important role in how long your Ragdoll lives. A breeder will be able to tell you the health history of their cats, both the parents and the kittens. Reputable breeders will also screen for common health issues.
One of the biggest hereditary conditions that this breed can suffer from is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Most hereditary conditions, like HCM, can be screened for by breeders, and you should ask for a full health history when you buy a new kitten. That said, this doesn’t guarantee that your cat will never develop the condition.
Ragdoll cats are generally healthy, but this doesn’t mean they’ll never get sick at all. Fortunately, most health issues that Ragdoll cats deal with can be caught early by regular visits to a veterinarian. HCM and other health issues often show clinical signs before they become bigger problems, enabling you to either prevent or properly manage the condition. Routine checkups, a healthy diet, and regular exercise will all help keep your cat healthy.
The 4 Life Stages of a Ragdoll Cat
If you think that Ragdoll cats are adorable when fully grown, they’re even cuter when they’re kittens! Ragdoll kittens stay with their mother for 12–14 weeks before they’re ready to be adopted.
Until they’re about 12 months old, these kittens are inquisitive about the world around them while still showing the docile nature that the breed is loved for. As they grow, your kitten will learn how to react to you, your home, other pets, and strangers.
Most cat breeds are fully grown once they reach 12 months old, but Ragdoll cats take a little longer to properly mature. Ragdolls between 1 and 4 years old are still growing and may benefit from kitten food for longer than most other breeds. Also, for many Ragdoll cats, it takes 2 years for their fur color to properly develop and 4 years to reach their adult weight.
Between these ages, your Ragdoll’s kitten-like excitement will begin to mellow. They’ll start to settle into their maturity and begin cuddling with you as often as they can.
Once your Ragdoll has finished growing, they are considered a fully mature adult cat. It’s this stage that demonstrates how placid and easy-going the breed is. They’ll be more inclined to laze around rather than explore. They’ll still want to play with their favorite toys, though, and you should encourage them to do so as often as possible.
Once your Ragdoll hits 10 years old, they’re considered seniors. As a healthy breed, though, the Ragdoll is long lived and continues to be healthy long into their seniority. You should still encourage them to play, but be prepared for them to develop age-related issues like arthritis. Many Ragdoll cats live well over 15 or 20 years.
How to Tell Your Ragdoll Cat’s Age
If you don’t buy your Ragdoll cat as a kitten from a breeder, it’s nearly impossible to know for sure how old they are. Even if you go to a shelter to adopt your Ragdoll, there’s little chance that the establishment will know when or even where your new family member was born.
It’s relatively easy to determine a rough estimate for a kitten’s age, but for adult cats, there’s no real way of knowing how old they are. Still, your veterinarian might be able to help you estimate their age and determine what weight they should be. Knowing for sure is only possible if you get your cat from a breeder who keeps birth records.
Ragdoll cats usually live between 12 and 15 years. Healthy Ragdolls can live much longer, though, up to and beyond 20 years. Their lifespan depends on their diet, weight, environment, genetics, and healthcare. You can help your cat live longer by ensuring that they have a nutritionally balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, and receive routine healthcare.
Featured Image Credit: Serita Vossen, Shutterstock