Does Your Feline Friend need a Companion?
I have two ragdolls, but I have often wondered do ragdoll cats need a companion?
My Senior cat is 23 and I need to think about what I’ll do for the other cat in the future. The majority of the reason that I have cats and not a dog is because of my ridiculous schedule. I work a lot, and it’s never 9-5. Cats are much easier to manage for people like me that have inconsistent schedules.
Cats are great on their own, they are well adapted to solitary lifestyles and do quite well. Like all animals however, you need to monitor your pet and figure out what is best for its personality. The answer to the question does a ragdoll cat need a companion is tied closely to the social signals that your cat is giving you. Ragdolls are significantly more social and need more attention than regular cats. For this reason, your consideration of a companion is significantly higher with a ragdoll cat.
What are the social signals a cat will give you?
Cats communicate in a variety of ways. The thing you need to pay attention to the most is a change in behaviour. Any significant change in behaviour will be a sign that your cat is trying to get your attention. Your job then is to try and figure out why it is trying to get your attention.
If you have been away
If you have been away for any length of time there are a few things to look out for. These behaviours are usually just a response to your absence and will likely not last, however it is something to monitor.
- Vomiting. Cats vomiting is not really a problem, but you need to watch for placement and frequency changes. This could be a sign of stress from being lonely, or from over grooming from stress. Usually, it will go back to normal when you are around like normal.
- Vocalization. Again not something out of the ordinary, but if frequency and volume are different your pet is trying to tell you something.
- Marking. Especially with male cats, but even the girls will stop using their litter box in order to try and get your attention.
- Aggressive behaviour including destruction. If your cat is starting to be more aggressive and ruin things and this is not normal it could be a sign. Ragdolls don’t normally scratch furniture so this could definitely be a sign.
All of these signs are part of the communication that your cat is trying to give you. The important thing is that your pet is telling you it doesn’t like it when it is alone for a long period of time. These are really great signs that your pet needs a companion.
Ragdoll cats are the same. I have had ragdolls that love being alone and don’t skip a beat when I am away, and sometimes I think they are more upset that I came home. Ha. I have had others though that respond significantly to me being away and I found that a companion be it a dog or another cat works really well to make them feel better.
If you are home on a regular schedule
If your schedule is fairly regular you may still be wondering if your ragdoll cat could benefit from a companion. Many different types of pets benefit from having another pet around. My mom’s dog blue was suffering from quite a bit of anxiety, panting, drooling and being very upset when she left. So she got another dog to be with him during the day while she was at work, and it has changed everything. She was even able to take him off of any medication as well.
Again as with the other things listed above you are really looking for changes in behaviour and signals that the cat is trying to communicate to you. The signals above all belong in this category as things to watch out for, but there are a few more that you can also pay attention too.
- Grooming Habits. Does your cat groom less than normal, and what is the quality of their fur? Sometimes upset cats will start to look ragged and unhealthy. This could be a sign for a number of different things but loneliness could certainly be one of them.
- Sleeping Patterns. I know for sure that anxiety and stress cause interesting sleeping patterns for cats. They are nocturnal by nature but because of their increased human behaviour, cats are more crepuscular now. This simply means they are more active during dawn and dust. I can attest to that. However, if there is a change in sleeping behaviour especially if they are sleeping significantly more this could be a sign.
- Litter Box Problems. This is probably one of the most important signs from a cat. Usually, this is them trying to tell you something. It doesn’t always mean that they are lonely, but it could certainly be in the mix. Have you considered a cat carrier litter box combo?
How Long can you Leave Them Alone?
One of the most important things to know about ragdolls is that they are typically much more clingy and affectionate than another cat breed. They need a higher level of interaction and connection. Both of my cats will take turns following me around the house and, they literally always want to be where I am.
I have left them for multiple days on their own and they have been fine. I have owned all kinds of different cats and most of them have been fine on their own. They definitely don’t need as much supervision as dogs do. However, I think that it would be a good idea to have someone check on them if you are going to be away. Water and food are the most important issue.
Do ragdoll cats get along with other cats
Yes! Ragdoll cats are great with other cats. The real issue here will be that the ragdoll will usually be the more docile, less feisty cat. They typically do not stand up for themselves very well.
So if you are going to introduce another cat to the mix you’ll just need to watch to make sure that the ragdoll isn’t getting beaten up. Or that the other cat is not preventing the ragdoll from getting its cuddles and pets from you. Some cats will become territorial over the owner.
Ragdolls as with other cats come in a whole variety of colours. My two are seal point ragdolls and it’s always nice to have variety.
Ragdoll cat talking is the Best
Both of my ragdolls talk quite a bit. Especially grandma cat. My experience with ragdolls is that they will use their voice to communicate things.
Introducing a puppy to a ragdoll cat
If you are going to introduce a dog into your cat’s life, that really would be a whole other blog post, but for now, I’ll list a couple of things here.
- Keep the puppy on a leash, to begin with. During the first encounter keep the puppy or dog on a leash so that the cat can control its distance. Typically the animals will want to meet and smell each other. Let that happen and see how it goes.
- Timing. You may need to let your puppy get used to the house before exposure to the cat. In this case, it may be best to keep them separate except for highly supervised situations. If everything goes well then you can begin to let them interact more.
- Private space for the cat. The biggest thing for the ragdoll cat is that is has a place it can run away to if it feels threatened or justs needs to get away from the puppy for a while. It’s good to have a space that the puppy can get to so the cat can escape.
dog-friendly cats for adoption
When it is the other way around and you want to introduce a ragdoll cat to an established dog most of the same things apply. Keep the dog on a leash and monitor the interactions.
It’s highly probable that the cat will hide during its initial time in a new environment anyway until it feels comfortable to come out and explore. As long as the dog is not chasing the cat they will get used to each other.
I have had a good amount of success introducing pets to each other and never really found it to be an issue. Even with pets that kinda don’t really like each other, with proper care and attention you can make it work.
Heres a great article from PetMD on what to do when leaving your cat alone.
Should they Be Alone?
As mentioned above yes Ragdoll cats can be left alone, but they will significantly benefit from a companion. You just need to feel out how your cat is doing. If its behaviour is completely fine on its own, then maybe just wait and see. But if you feel like it is anxious or not doing well another pet may significantly help.