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Ragdoll vs Norwegian Forest Cat: Pictures, Differences, and What to Choose

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By Chelsea Mortensen

Ragdoll vs Norwegian Forest Cat ft

If you’re trying to identify a fluffy giant feline, Ragdolls and Norwegian Forest Cats are both possibilities. With stunning coats and sharp intelligence, these cats are sometimes mixed up, and it’s not hard to see why. With big frames and long, shaggy fur, these cats can look pretty similar at first glance. But appearances can be deceiving—there are actually some pretty significant differences between the two breeds, especially when it comes to temperament. There are also some clear visual differences in build and coat colors that might help you narrow down what you’re looking at.

In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the main similarities and differences between Ragdolls and Norwegian Forest Cats.

Visual Differences

Ragdoll vs Norwegian Forest Cat side by side
Image Credit: Left – Ragdoll (Peredniankina, Shutterstock); Right – Norwegian Forest Cat (Elisa Putti, Shutterstock)

At a Glance

Ragdoll Cat
  • Origin: California, USA
  • Weight: 10-20 pounds
  • Lifespan: 9-15 years
Norwegian Forest Cat
  • Origin: Norway
  • Weight: 10-15 pounds
  • Lifespan: 15-20 years

Ragdoll Overview

flame point ragdoll cat
Image Credit: Carolyn R, Shutterstock

If you ever meet a Ragdoll, you aren’t likely to forget it. Between their stunning coats and their affectionate, friendly temperaments, they stand out! Some people say that Ragdolls act more like dogs than cats, at least when it comes to needing attention.

Characteristics & Appearance

Ragdolls are some of the biggest cats out there, with stocky frames and weights to rival any other breed. They have long fur and a colorpoint pattern, with darker fur on her face, paws, and tail. Many Ragdoll cats have white spotting genes that give them white noses or feet, although their face and legs will still be partially dark.

Ragdolls tend to be short and stocky for their size, with thick legs and wide faces. This combined with their long coats can make them look even bigger, even if they are at a healthy weight.


Ragdoll cats are most famous for their sweet and outgoing personalities. Just like the name suggests, Ragdolls are usually soft-tempered, relaxed cats. They grow very attached to their owners and love to be right in the middle of things, ready to share their affection. They make great family pets because of this, even in hectic households with young children. Ragdolls are big lap cats that love to cuddle right next to a friend.

Norwegian Forest Cat Overview

blue smoke Norwegian forest cat
Image Credit: Elisa Putti, Shutterstock

Norwegian Forest Cats are equally stunning, but they are a bit more aloof. They somehow manage to feel massive and dainty all at the same time, and they are some of the most intelligent cats out there.

Characteristics & Appearance

Norwegian Forest Cats are big cats too, but they aren’t usually quite as big as Ragdolls, at least when it comes to weight. Norwegian Forest Cats tend to be long and leggy, with daintier frames than you’d expect from their size.

Norwegian Forest Cats have long, plush fur. They don’t have any specific color or pattern—in fact, they are found in more than 60 colors. Dark-colored tabby (striped) coats are common, as are white or white-spotted coats.


The Norwegian Forest Cat’s temperament varies from cat to cat, but in general, they are a calm, laid-back breed. They are affectionate to the people they love most, but they are usually neutral towards strangers and they need some alone time as well.  They are highly active cats that love games, toys, puzzles, and active play. They can be a great choice for families, but they do need a safe place to retreat to when all the hustle and bustle becomes too much.

What Are the Differences Between Ragdolls and Norwegian Forest Cats?

Ragdolls and Norwegian Forest Cats might look similar at a glance, but they have some pretty big differences too.


Ragdolls are usually stocky and more heavily built, even when they are a healthy weight. Norwegian Forest Cats have longer, more slender frames underneath all their fur. Both Norwegian Forest Cats and Ragdolls have long fur, but Ragdolls always have colorpoint coat patterns and blue eyes, while Norwegian Forest Cats can come in any color.

Attachment Styles

Both breeds are generally relaxed and adaptable, but Ragdolls are much more social. Norwegian Forest Cats like some affection and attention from those closest to them, but they also like alone time. Ragdolls are highly affectionate and sometimes clingy, and they are often very friendly to strangers as well. Both can do well in families with children, but Ragdolls will put up with a lot more noise and affection.

Activity Levels

Ragdolls and Norwegian Forest Cats both need exercise, but Norwegian Forest Cats are much more active. They love climbing and scratching and need significant space in the form of scratching posts and cat trees. Ragdolls are much more likely to be lap cats—their love language is cuddling more than playtime.

Which Breed Is Right For You?

In conclusion, Ragdolls and Norwegian Forest Cats share some similarities, but their personalities are pretty different! Ragdolls want owners who spend lots of time at home. They love to sit on their owner’s lap and be close to them. If you get a Ragdoll, you have to be prepared for clingy behavior, since Ragdolls don’t always like to spend time alone.

Norwegian Forest Cats are just as laid back and are happy around kids, but they need a little more space. They’re more likely to want to play than cuddle, and they have a lot more energy. They also don’t like to be around people 24/7—if you have a Norwegian Forest Cat, expect more alone time. Whichever breed of cat you choose, though, one thing is for sure—there are few things more striking than a big cat with long fur, and you’re sure to fall in love with either one.

See also: 

Featured Image Credit: Ragdoll (Aaron Zimmermann, Shutterstock), Norwegian Forest Cat (Joanna22, Shutterstock)

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