Are Ragdoll cats good with dogs?

People thinking about adopting a purebred cat want to know whether Ragdoll cats are good with dogs and the answer at root comes down to whether an individual Ragdoll cat is socialised to dogs in general. What I mean is whether an individual Ragdoll is used to being around dogs because they were introduced to safe and socialised dogs when they were kittens. It’s a two-way street, really. If both dog and cat are socialised to the other species then they’ll be good with that species.

Ragdoll meets large dog for the first time and gets along because they are socialised to the other species of animal
Ragdoll meets large dog for the first time and gets along because they are socialised to the other species of animal. YouTube video screenshot.
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Many interspecies friendships

You see this between other species not just cats and dogs. You’ll see all kinds of animals making friends with entirely different animal species some of whom are unsuited to be friends, but friends they will be, because they are socialised to each other and they like being around and playing with each other. I seen a dog, an Alsatian, playing with a crow and horses and barn cats get along like a house on fire. Deer are good with cats too. It’s just a question of whether they are ‘acclimatised’ to each other’s presence, character and behaviour. The homes in which you see various animals of different species getting along well are those places where the young of the species are raised together, in contact with each other. They see each other as associates and friends from the get go. This overrides any predatory instinct such as seen when a dog chases a cat.

Human-cat relationship

The reason why domestic cats exist is because they are socialised to human beings. That is at the roots of the relationship. Without kittens being around humans in the first seven or so weeks of their lives they would not become adult domestic cats unless they were socialised later on which takes a lot longer. The same rules apply to other species of animal.

Angel a Ragdoll cat
Angel a Ragdoll cat

Ragdoll character helps to get along with other species

So a Ragdoll cat, in my view, won’t automatically get along with dogs unless they are socialised to dogs and vice versa. That said, a man who lives with two Ragdoll cats and who has created a website about his experiences tells us that the laid-back character of Ragdolls makes them more suited to getting along with dogs. I can understand that. If a cat is not that well socialised to dogs but is laid-back they are more likely to get along with a dog through adjustment and be friendly with each other. This man, Lucas, said that Ragdolls have the highest chance of all the cat breeds of getting along with a dog because of their personality.

Video – Ragdoll meets large dog

Please note that sometimes videos on this website stop working over a period of time for reasons beyond my control and if it has happened I apologise.

This beautiful Ragdoll is introduced to a Bernese mountain dog for the first time. Both the animals have been socialised to the other species otherwise this wouldn’t work like this. But it works out really well. The cat initially was a little bit cautious for obvious reasons and then gradually warms to the dog and they will be good friends.

Non-purebred cats

Of course, Lucas is referring to cat breeds. They represent about 5% of all the cats in America or perhaps less. Therefore we have to focus, in all honesty, on the random bred cats and, once again, we are fundamentally talking about whether a specific kitten has had the chance to play with a dog or a puppy who is socialised to cats. You’ll have to ask the breeder or the owner whether their Ragdolls get along with dogs – “Are they socialised to dogs?”. You shouldn’t take a risk and chance it. It is controllable through selective breeding and the breeder ensuring that her cats are raised underfoot and in a family home where there are other pets. That’s how you do it.

So I wouldn’t particularly ask whether Ragdoll cats are good with dogs. I would ask whether the Ragdoll cat that you would like to adopt has been socialised to dogs. That’s the key question in my view.

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