Ragdoll cats are specifically bred to be indoor cats. The draw to the Ragdoll, aside from their good looks, is their laid back personality. They have been bred to be completely non-aggressive and very trusting, which is why they make the perfect family friendly cat. This non-aggressive and trusting nature also means they lack the street smarts to survive out in the world of other cats, predators, traffic, and nefarious people.
There are many reasons why breeders are often insistent that Ragdolls be kept indoors or that they are outside only in an enclosed space or under direct supervision:
Non-aggressive = lack of instinct for self defense
Ragdolls have been specifically bred to have a low adrenaline response. They are very carefree, trusting and friendly. They typically play with their paws and not their claws. If they meet another cat, they will most often assume this strange cat is their friend, and do not understand that the other cat may be aggressive or territorial and want to fight. They do not fare well in cat fights because they don’t have a strong instinct to fight and protect itself, or even to run away! If the Ragdoll meets a dog, they will most often believe the dog also is their friend! They will not inherently consider that the dog may be aggressive or territorial or want to chase and/or kill it. They will be curious, open and friendly – hello dog! This is very charming when the dog is a family or friend, but not a good thing when the dog is a stranger. Again, the Ragdoll has been specifically bred NOT to be trusting and does not have a strong drive to defend itself. We can repeat this scenario when a Ragdoll meets a fox, a raccoon, a badger, or any other animal that roams around that may attack a happy go-lucky and unsuspecting Ragdoll, just for being in the wrong place and the wrong time.
Not the best athletes
All cats are amazing and agile compared to we humans, but Ragdolls can be a little clumsy. You ever see a cat jump up on a balcony railing and walk the course without a care in the world? This is not a Ragdoll. Ragdolls often loose their balance or misjudge the distances. Ragdolls are very lovable, and a little bumbling.
They are valuable and easy to steal
A Ragdoll wandering outside alone will be happy to make friends with anyone it meets. A kind, cat loving stranger will delight in this unknown cat rolling over on its back to receive a belly rub, a charming cat who will go limp in their arms they are picked up, a super friendly cat who may even decide to follow the stranger and have some company. A Ragdoll loves to love!
A not-so-kind non-cat person sees a beautiful, exotic looking beautiful blue eyed cat that is also an easy target. Unfortunately, there are people who steal Ragdolls to sell it for a quick buck.
They have no traffic sense
A “regular” cat who crosses the road often hides in the brush and peeks out, looking both ways to check for danger before darting across when it feels safe. Ragdolls often do not think much about their safety, because they are too easy going to worry about it. They can walk into the middle of a road without looking both ways. They can be close to a car backing up and assume that the big car means it no harm, even as it approaches closer and closer.
But all cats need freshair and sunshine! What can you do?
In order to provide your cat a long and happy life, it will want and need to breathe fresh air, to enjoy the sunshine, watch insects in the grass, gaze at birds in the trees. We all need this! Here are the ways you can allow your cat to enjoy nature:
- Train it to walk on a leash! Often times “going for a walk” with your cat doesn’t mean going for a walk, as it does with a dog. It means the two of you go outside to a park, and just enjoy nature together. The cat will be safe in a harness and you will be walking along side, one step at a time, while it sniffs around, finds bugs, munches some grass and soaks up the sun.
- Get an enclosure – aka a “catio” or cat run: An enclosure that you can set up outside in your yard is a great way to give your cat unsupervised time outside. A quick internet search will give you hundreds, if not thousands, of ideas. If you or someone you love is handy, you can build one yourself! If you’d rather save the time and invest in one, you can buy ones that are super easy to set up. Be sure that the enclosure has areas that provide protection from the elements (a roof to protect from rain, shady areas to protect from sun), and to give them access to a toilet (which also must be protected from the rain), fresh water, food, places to climb, and a perch with a cozy bed to sleep on.
- A cat net! For cat loving city folks with a balcony, a cat net on your balcony gives your cat the opportunity to go out side and relax on your balcony without you having any concern of your cat jumping (or falling) off. A cat net is an easy way to keep your precious cat safe from injury, getting lost or stolen.