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Are Ragdoll Cats Smarter Than Most Cats? Feline Intelligence Skills & More

Jeff Weishaupt

By Jeff Weishaupt

Ragdoll cat

Cats can be surprisingly intelligent. The smartest cat breeds in the world include the Cornish Rex, Persian, Scottish Fold, Siamese, and Abyssinian breeds.

While Ragdoll cats may not appear in the top five or even the top 10 list of smartest cat breeds, they’re still reasonably intelligent. That means they’re able to communicate their needs, adapt to different surroundings, and train for various tricks. Unfortunately, survival and hunting aren’t their strong suit.

If you want to learn about the intelligence of your ragdoll cat, keep reading for more on their habits, skill sets, and ways to make them smarter.

Are Ragdoll Cats Smart?

It’s worth noting that there’s no particular scale to determine the intelligence of a cat. The primary way you can determine the intelligence level of your cat is by gauging their communication skills and methods. Cats can’t communicate with us with words or gestures like a child would, so they improvise in other ways.

For example, your ragdoll cat may make a show of standing next to its food bowl and meowing when it’s hungry to let you know it’s time to feed them. This is a sign that your cat understands that you know where the food is and how to deliver it to them.

a beautiful male bicolor Ragdoll cat on a gray background
Image Credit: madeinitaly4k, Shutterstock

Ragdolls vs. Other Cat Breeds

In most cases, cats recognize their names if you use them frequently enough. This way, they’ll come when they’re called, and you can also use their names during the training process. Ragdolls are especially smart in that case, quickly learning tricks like stay, come, lay down, sit, and spin.

Other cat breeds, like the Exotic Shorthair or the Persian, may act aloof, showcasing no interest in learning your tricks. These breeds are typically known as the least intelligent ones, so your ragdoll’s ability to learn tricks quickly is a sign of their intelligence.

Ragdolls also outsmart these cat breeds in other areas, such as learning to share their life with their owner. That means they’ll go out of their way to include you in their daily activities, such as asking you to play fetch or wanting you to watch them eat.

Additionally, ragdolls are confident in their ability to protect themselves in unpredictable situations. As a result, they’re not scared when you have visitors, allowing pets and cuddles inside or hiding under surfaces.

flame point ragdoll cat
Image Credit: Carolyn R, Shutterstock

More importantly, ragdolls get along excellently with children, making sure to play gently and showcasing mother-like behavior. This can definitely be a heartwarming sight if you have children.

Lastly, if you dedicate some effort to assigning their sleeping and eating times, Ragdoll cats are quick to catch onto these patterns and follow them willingly. This means you won’t have to wake up at 3 AM to hear them meowing for food!

The best part is that these cats quickly learn how to use the litter box, so their bathroom training process only takes a day or two. While these cats aren’t as talkative as other breeds, this can also be a sign of their intelligence, as it means they know how to communicate without meowing.

Top 3 Intelligence Skills of Ragdoll Cats

Each cat breed is intelligent in its own way, having different skill sets according to its brain structure and personality. Although some breeds may have a broader skill set, here are a few ways in which your ragdoll is the smartest.

1. Memory

Ragdolls aren’t known for their savvy hunting skills, but their ability to communicate their needs to their owners is quite incredible. These intuitive cats understand that they don’t need to hunt as their food comes from a capable and consistent source.

After recognizing their owner as the source, these cats communicate their hunger in various ways. As long as you keep their food supply steady and consistent, these cats will have no trouble staying indoors for extended time periods.

While you shouldn’t leave them alone too often, these cats are capable of staying entertained and happy when you leave for work. They’re quick to learn their eating schedules, so they’ll gauge the amount in their food bowl to eat just what they need.

If you feed them at a specific time every day, you can expect them to memorize this schedule and show up at their food bowl before you even pour in the kibble. However, this means you may upset and irritate them by disrupting their eating and sleeping schedule when necessary.


2. Socialization

Ragdoll cats are pretty sociable, which is ideal if you want a cat that shows affection now and then. Their appreciation may show up in various forms, such as greeting you at the door, following you wherever you go, resting next to you as often as they can, and occasionally meowing to communicate.

young woman with ragdoll cat on couch
Image Credit: rock-the-stock, Shutterstock

3. Participation

Although ragdolls are quick to learn tricks, they definitely won’t participate if there’s no reward. Their playtime is a sign of affection, but you’ll need to leverage treats and other prizes to make them perform tricks.

The 5 Ways You Can Make Your Ragdoll Cat Smarter

Much like human beings, your ragdoll cat needs a chance to improve its intelligence. With some help from their owners, they can become more intelligent than most other cats of the same breed, so it’s best to keep your ragdoll stimulated and thinking.

Here are a few methods to help you make your ragdoll cat smarter:

1. Boxes and Papers

If you have boxes and papers lying around, the best way to utilize them is during playtime with your cat. Ragdolls love the rustling sound of papers and cardboard, which is why they’ll hop in and out to repeat the sound.

If you manage to create a fort, you’ll be able to trigger their cognitive behavior as they find their way in and out of the maze. If your ragdoll is still a kitten, it’ll develop these functions even faster.

Ragdolls can be somewhat impatient, which is why these games are a great way to improve their tolerance.

ragdoll cat in the cardboard box
Image Credit: Snowice_81, Shutterstock

2. Working for Their Food

Your intuitive ragdoll will quickly understand that they don’t need to hunt for food since you always provide it for them. This leaves no room for survival and hunting skills, making them quite sedentary.

You can teach your cats to work for their food by placing their bowls in hidden or hard-to-reach areas, allowing them to work on their foraging skills. You can also scatter the food in a box and watch them find a way to eat it all.


3. Water Games

Unlike most other cat breeds, ragdolls love playing in the water. It can be a great way to get some activity in without making them uncomfortable.

While bathing them, you can leave some toys to help them swim faster to catch the toy. This can also help your ragdoll learn to survive in water.

ragdoll cat walking through water
Image By: whitejellybeans, Shutterstock

4. Interactive Toys

The occasional fetch game can be entertaining for both parties, but your ragdoll needs interactive toys to improve its intelligence. These toys can challenge your cats in various ways, allowing you to keep your cat entertained and thinking even when you’re busy.


5. Obstacle Course

Finally, you can create an obstacle course for your cats. Most homes don’t consider cats in their interior design, allowing your cat to get lazy as they only have one favorite spot in the house. By placing various platforms around the walls in your home, you can create a makeshift obstacle course for your cat and keep them active.

If your cat isn’t interacting with the obstacle course, you can use an interactive toy to keep them healthy and alert.

Final Thoughts

Ragdoll cats are definitely far from dumb since they can communicate and learn tricks better than most other breeds. However, their lack of survival skills and hunting instincts prevent them from getting a spot in the top ten.

However, with some stimulation and attention, you can help your ragdoll become smarter than most others in its breed.


Featured Image Credit: madeinitaly4k, Shutterstock

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