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Ragdoll Cat With Dogs I Are They a Good Match?

Cats and dogs have suffered an unfair legacy when it comes to our perception of their relationships. As both became domesticated and learned to live with humans, we have interpreted their “conflict” as a natural mortal rivalry.

It is a rivalry, but not in the way most people assume. The fact is that most conflicts between dogs and cat breeds are mostly down to miscommunication. The two different species do not, essentially, speak the same language. They are also technically in competition for their pet owners attention, food and attention, and sharing the space in our homes.

But they are also just as easily able to become “family” or pack members of the family. The key, really, is about how they socialize and whether or not the individual animals in question are suitable. 

Ragdoll cats, in particular, are known to be especially amenable to other pets (and certain types of dogs especially) in our homes. Let’s look into why this is and a ragdoll cat with dogs can be a good combination.

Side note: If you’re considering getting a dog, Sporting dogs and toy dogs are the best dogs for pairing up with a Ragdoll cat. At least on paper, they have the right combinations of size (a small dog can be less intimidating) and personality to complement this particular breed of cat.


Photo by David Yu 

What Is a Ragdoll Cat

Ragdoll cats are a fairly common breed of cat, noted for their color points. That means that their bodies are usually one color, with their ears and faces showing another, often darker marking. And they usually have blue eyes. 

The patterns and colors are strictly defined, so either your cat will be classified as being in a part of the Ragdoll breed or it will not, according to official associations like the Cat Fanciers’ Association

These cats are fairly large in size and have silky coats of semi-long strands. Their bodies are long, and they are strong. Common fur colors include blue, chocolate, and lilac. They get along exceptionally well with people and are happy to live in houses as well as apartments. Their friendly personalities and docile nature mean they are fairly well suited to multiple pet homes. 

ragdoll cat with dogs


There is some debate over the exact origins of the Ragdoll, but it emerged in the 1960s as a breed from the USA, gaining popularity over the years. The first recognized Ragdoll was named Josephine.

Josephine’s parent breeds are not 100% confirmed, though some suggest Persian, Birman, and Burmese. The cat was given the breed name “Ragdoll” by her original breeder because of her tendency to seemingly go completely limp when held in arms. 


Image by Monika from Pixabay 

Ragdolls Seem to Get Along With Everyone

The Ragdoll cat is so beloved by their owners that many claim the cat is attuned to their emotions. Ragdolls are notoriously devoted to their humans, delightfully calm, and not especially territorial. 

This is partly what makes them ideal candidates for sharing homes with other pets, including dogs. Usually, territorial instincts in cats cause some conflict when others are seen to intrude. 

Ragdolls tolerate strangers and children more than most other breeds do, too. Moreover, they are not too upset when routines are disrupted, as they are quick to settle back into a calm demeanor. 

The ragdoll cat owner has been known to refer to their cats as puppy cats. The Ragdoll’s playful nature and attachment to their humans make them seem more like dogs at times. Some have even been taught to play fetch — to the amusement of the internet. 

Ragdoll Cat with Dogs: Some Potential Issues

Realistically, whether or not a Ragdoll (or any cat) can co-exist peacefully with a dog has to do with socialization, breeding, and history. Ragdolls may be easy-going, but some dogs may not be a good fit.

It is the unfamiliarity with each other’s body language that may become a flashpoint.Incompatible energies and personalities may also play a part, but that is down to the individual animals in question.

For example, a playful high-energy dog may annoy the cat to the point of aggression or fearful defensiveness. On the other hand, an aggressive cat may strike out violently when confronted with a scary situation. Some dogs exhibit strong prey instincts, which may lead to chasing and injury around the home. 

Bear in mind also that any traumatic experience in a specific pet’s history will adversely affect the reception of another pet or person. 

Introducing Dogs and Cats to the Home

There is a lot that we can do to help animals come to terms with each other in the home. While considering the below, try to have as much patience as you are able. Sometimes the introduction process can take longer than initially expected. 


Image by Václav Závada from Pixabay 

The Best Case Scenario

Young ragdoll kittens and puppies are ideal potential playmates. While they are still full of wonder and curiosity, they are unlikely to consider the other an enemy. In doing so, they’ll likely find ways to play together, becoming used to each others’ presence in the process, and even develop strong bonds. 

This is the best case scenario: Adopt both at the same time when they are young. Keep an eye on their initial interaction, and conitnue supervising until you are confident that they are perfectly comfortable with each other.  

What to Do When They Are Adopted at Different Times

We can’t always provide the ideal situation, and most times, pets are adopted at different times. They may even be adults by the time you adopt them. So what should you do to make the process as smooth as possible with a new pet? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Start Slowly and Keep Separate Areas

Introducing a new animal into the home can be traumatic, especially for one that has already been living there for a while. Though Ragdolls may not be as territorial as some other cats, the instinct is still present.

The first thing you will need to do is to keep the pets apart for at least a few days or weeks — especially if they are adults. Safe space for each pet is very important. One reason is that suddenly seeing a new animal may raise defensive actions, chasing, or even aggression.

Scent is important to animals. Allow your pets to be aware of the other’s presence without actually having to interact with or see them. Giving them time to smell each other’s presence is one way to familiarize them slowly with each other. They can also hear the other’s noises, which is another sense of “break-in.” 

Separate Food and Feeding Space

Food is one of those things that all animals compete for. In the home, it may not be different. If you plop the cat food and dog food down in the same space, you may start a war over it, so to speak. 

Also bear in mind that dogs tend to be rambunctious eaters. Cats mostly approach their food with a lot more deliberation and awareness of their surroundings. 

It is better to feed them in completely separate rooms, at least for a while. Even after they become accustomed to each other, separate feeding areas are a good idea. And keep your cat’s litter box in a separate area. If you don’t have separate rooms try using baby gates to create separate spaces, and/or invest in a couple of cat trees.

Training Is Essential

Training is essential, especially for a dog you bring into the home (with or without a cat). At the very least, your dog should be adequately socialized into responding to your commands. A proper introduction of the new dog or new cat to each other is critical. 

With luck, your dog will have had some experience with people and other pets as a pup. Training in this regard should commence as early as possible, ideally from 6-8 weeks. The later you start with training and socialization, the harder it will be to instill discipline in your pup. 


Image by Natalia Lasowicz from Pixabay 

Slowly Allow Them To Interact

At a suitable time (some recommend when they can eat on opposite sides of a door without incident), slowly allow them to see each other. At first, ensure it is through a screen if possible. The best way is to keep your dog on a strong training leash and provide an escape route for your cat in case you see signs of aggression.

Do not physically hold onto either animal, as this could cause injury to either of you. Employ a positive reinforcement technique by rewarding your dog with a treat when it exhibits calm positive behavior when seeing your cat. 

You may be able to distract your cat from the dog’s presence by letting it play with a stuffed cat toy or similar.

Rinse and Repeat

You will need to do this for some time, so be patient. It may take several days or weeks before you see tangible results. If necessary do seek professional help, especially if it does not seem to be working. 

Eventually, you may want to see what happens when you let them loose in the same room. At this time, it’s important to closely supervise their interactions, even if they seem to be okay. If in doubt, keep your dog on a leash for an extended time. With a bit of luck, they’ll be used to each other by now, enough to co-exist calmly and exhibit good behavior.

Note: A cat is likely to be more comfortable if it has a high space from which to observe your dog. Cats feel safe in high spaces, so invest in a good, tall cat tree that your dog cannot reach, if possible. At the very least, provide access to a high space for your cat to retreat to. 


Image by Monika from Pixabay 


Ragdoll cats, in general, are great with dogs. But bear in mind the caveat that every animal is different. A lot will depend on that individual cat’s experience as a kitten. 

Further to that, the same applies to any dog you choose to adopt. Personality, experience, and puppy socialization all play a major part in determining whether integration will be easy or troublesome.

Lastly, a proper approach to introducing the two pets will play a pivotal role in securing a happy environment for all concerned. You’re very likely to make it happen with a little patience.  

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