Why do Ragdoll Cats go limp?

Why Do Ragdolls Go Limp When Picked up?

By Jennie @ Ragdoll Cats World

January 9, 2022

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Ragdolls are an increasingly popular cat breed. They are one of the largest cat breeds and are known for their soft, plush coats, blue eyes and distinctive, sweet personality. They’re gentle, loving, and affectionate – a total contrast to the stereotype of the typical cat. The Ragdoll breed is famous for their “Ragdoll flop” when they are picked up. They become very calm and relaxed, spread their legs, go limp in your arms, and expose their tummies- a sign that they trust you unconditionally. The question many people ask is ‘Why do Ragdoll Cats go limp?’


Why are they called Ragdoll Cats?

The Ragdoll Cat breed originated in California, USA in the 1960s by cat breederĀ Ann Baker. The story goes that Joesphine, a longhaired domestic cat, was hit by a car when she was pregnant, and the resulting kittens were born with a docile, calm nature and had a tendency to go floppy when picked up, just like a cloth doll – hence the name Ragdoll.

Ann Baker


Why do Ragdoll Cats go limp when picked up?

Many people assume that a Ragdoll’s floppy nature comes from a docile personality. But actually, there’s a scientific explanation for why these cats go limp in your arms.

When a cat is touched by someone they recognise as an owner or caregiver, they release hormones called oxytocin and prolactin into their bloodstreams due to being petted. This action causes them to feel calm and relaxed. As kittens, cats relax each time their mother carries them by the scruff, thus allowing themselves to be carried around easily. The laidback Ragdoll cat goes limp when picked up because they have retained this reflex that reminds them of their kittenhood. Most cat breeds lose this reflex as they enter adulthood.


Do Ragdoll Cats like to be picked up?

Most Ragdoll cats enjoy being picked up and held by their owners. This cat breed is affectionate, gentle in nature, and enjoys companionship with humans. They are lap cats at heart who thrive on human company which helps explain why most of them enjoy being cuddled or carried around!

Ragdoll Cat Floppy

Do all Ragdoll Cats go limp when held?

Not all cats will do the famous flop as it completely depends on the individual cat’s personality and temperament. Some Ragdolls may go limp for the entire time that you are holding them whereas some Ragdolls may never flop at all. If you have a timid Ragdoll, they will likely never reach that relaxed state that allows them to go limp. One of my Ragdoll Cat’s, Violet, is pretty timid around people and does not enjoy being picked up and has therefore never gone limp in our arms. The ‘flop’ is also not unique to the Ragdoll Cat, many other breeds of cats will also exhibit the same trait when relaxed. I think my Maine Coon kitten is actually more floppy than my two Ragdolls!

Maine Coon Limp when picked up


Other interesting Ragdoll Cat Facts

Ragdoll Cat Facts

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Written by Jennie @ Ragdoll Cats World

I'm Jennie, the creator of Ragdoll Cats World. I have been owned and loved by Ragdoll Cats for almost twenty years after getting my first Ragdoll kittens, Huey and Choo-Choo back in 2003. They lived to the grand old age of 18 and 17 and they even made the move from London to Australia with me! We now have two Ragdoll cats, Violet and Ocean, and a Maine Coon cat named Eddie, and we love sharing our knowledge of all things related to Ragdoll Cats with you at Ragdoll Cats World!

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