This is a question posed by many cat owners with more and more, people becoming reticent to open their doors and let cats roam.
Can Ragdoll cats go outside? Generally speaking, yes they can. What you really need to consider is should a Ragdoll go outside. Many owners believe Ragdoll cats are far too docile to go outside as they would be unable to defend themselves from the multitude of dangers they might face in the big wide world.
Ultimately, letting your Ragdoll outside is your call, but it should be an informed decision made after you have carefully considered the pros and cons.
Breeders often ask owners to sign a contract promising not to let their Ragdoll outside. Before you sign such a thing, ask them to elaborate on what they really expect the outcome of this to be.
If you ask owners for their opinions on this subject you will get mixed opinions, be furnished with pros and cons and probably be told some heartbreaking unhappy endings.
The aim of this article is to give you some facts and guidance to help you make up your own mind. You’ll find the best alternatives to free-roaming laid out and the best ways to give your Ragdoll a safe life that includes a healthy dose of outdoor life.
Outdoor dangers with a Ragdoll going outside
There are many dangers for Ragdoll cats to face if they are allowed to roam freely outdoors. Here is a list of the main things to consider but it’s not exhaustive, I’m sure:
- Road traffic
- Becoming lost
- General injury
- Predators such as foxes, dogs, coyotes
- Other cats
- Large birds of prey such as eagles
- Poisonous plants
- Deliberate poisoning
- Accidental poisoning from things in others’ yards
- Rough neighborhood children
- Cruelty from cat haters
- Becoming trapped in outbuildings or garages
- Contracting diseases
- Exposure to parasites such as ticks, fleas, and worms
Safe Outdoor Experiences for Ragdolls
Being outdoor affords such pleasures to a cat. There are so many sites, sounds and textures for them to experience that you just cannot replicate indoors.
Always have your cat micro-chipped and fully vaccinated regardless of whether it is going to be allowed outside or not.
There are many ways in which you can allow a Ragdoll to have a safe outside experience:
There are good and bad versions of these. I would not recommend those that are made of netting unless you are able to closely supervise the whole time. Cat’s have been known to claw their way out and predators can tear their way in.
A tiny catio is not great as all a cat can do is sti and look at what it can’t reach. Think of big cats in a zoo: they have huge cages packed with things to do.
If you are going to use a catio make sure it is huge with different levels, a cool shady area, things to climb and space to leap and run about.
Screened back porches
These are excellent as long as you use sturdy wire mesh and your Ragdoll cannot climb out anywhere. Make sure there is access to your house via a catflap or window at all times.
Ensure there is no way anyone can enter your yard and open the door to your screened porch, accidentally letting your cat escape.
Harness and leash
If you want to take any cat out on a harness and a leash, there are many things to consider first:
- You’ll have to introduce it to your cat at a young age and even then it may not like it
- You should walk in very quiet areas where nothing can surprise your cat as the harness will impeded its natural reaction to flea to a safe spot
- The harness should be secure and comfortable
- The leash should have a strong sturdy clip to secure it to the harness
Fenced in yard
The best way to give your Ragdoll an outdoor life is to full fence in your yard with very high fences that a cat can’t climb up and over. I recommend 8-foot high link fences with a barrier at the top.
These should then be lined with a special mesh that is difficult for cats to climb.
Ideally, you should try to supervise outside time because there are some very wiley predators around. Also trees near fences provide excellent escape routes.
Dangers of Ragdolls as hunters
All cats hunt, Ragdolls included – some are more successful than others. You may have to deal with prey being brought home to you as presents. You may also have to deal with issues that can occur when cats decide to consume their prey such as upset tummies or parasites.
It can be quite upsetting to others in your neighborhood if they spot your cat killing wildlife which can sometimes lead to them retaliating by being unkind to or even harming your cat.
Though it is wild and stray cats that wreak the most havoc to wildlife such as birds, voles and mice, domestic cats do add to this problem to an extent.
If you keep a Ragdoll cat indoors you know it’s safe but you do have to be extremely careful at all time to ensure it doesn’t accidentally get out.
Doors might have to be kept locked, windows prevented from opening more than a crack. All guests will have to be made aware that the cat must not go out.
Here are the main thing you will have to combat or deal with if you have an indoor Ragdoll.
You will need a large litter box, plenty of litter and must clean it throughout the day. Cats hate to use a dirty pan and sometimes hate to share, so two cats often mean more than one litter box is necessary.
Indoor cats can become easily bored so make sure you don’t allow this to happen. Bored cats often overeat and sleep too much. This leads to lethargy, weight gain and the health issues associated with this.
You should give an indoor cat plenty of attention and play with it several times a day for 10 or 15 minutes each time.
Lack of exercise
Not being allowed outside prevents cats from having a good run. Ensure you allow an indoor Ragdoll as much space as you can to ensure it can have a zoom about. Access to a staircase is great if you have one. Leave as many doors as possible open so it can explore as much as possible.
If you coup a Ragdoll up indoor in a small space it will get bored and depressed so make your home as interesting for it as possible. One side of boredom is excessive shedding, so keep an eye out for this.
Make sure it can see out of several windows with different views. This may sound strange, but setting up a birdtable just outside a window gives a cat something it will intently watch for hours.
If you have enough space, get your Ragdoll a large indoor climbing tree with space to perch, climb, scratch, hide and sleep.
Place plenty of cat toys around your house, some with catnip. Empty cardboard boxes are always fun as are pop-up tunnels.
A window perch is a lovely idea – especially if it overlooks that birdtable!
Can Ragdoll cats go outside? – Conclusion
Try to give your Ragdoll cat a safe outside experience if at all possible. If you can’t, don’t take any risks. Instead, make your home as exciting as possible for your cat so it doesn’t know what it’s missing.