Do Ragdolls Like To Be Held? What You Need To Know

There’s no way of comparing all of the available, domesticated cats in terms of levels of affection. It’s one thing to be a very affectionate cat, and it’s quite another to enjoy being picked up. Ragdolls received their moniker because they go limp as a dead fish when you pick them up.

However, that doesn’t mean they don’t like to be picked up and held. Ragdolls may have a weird way of reacting to it being held. But for the most part, Ragdolls love to be picked up and held. They’re one of the most affectionate cat breeds for a reason. 

Now, there are always exceptions to the rule. And it may be that you’re reading this, and your own Ragdoll would rather you stop feeding it than dare to pick it up and hold it. 

Not all cats are the same, after all. However, for the most part, you’ll find that Ragdolls are more than happy to be held for extended periods. 

Do Ragdolls Like to be Picked Up?

You might think that one would go directly with the other. However, some cats really would prefer to jump up into your lap to hold them rather than you physically picking them up from the ground, so the question has some merit. 

The fact is, Ragdolls are starving for your attention daily. So the act of you picking them up is probably an immensely pleasing event for most Ragdolls, and they are probably more than willing to allow you to do so, even if they do go limp.

Of course, scooping up a Ragdoll when it never saw it coming is a good way to startle it. But once it realizes that it’s you, it will probably be alright. Ragdolls will likely bug you to death just trying to get you to pick them up and hold them.

The going limp stage is just a fascinating and peculiar aspect of their breed based on trust. There’s nothing to be concerned about on your or their parts since it’s normal.

Holding Your Ragdoll

As aforementioned, your Ragdoll will probably go limp while you are holding them. It’s a level of trust that your Ragdoll is handing over to you, so you should never take that trust lightly, even if you’re just joking or being playful. 

If you hold a Ragdoll the wrong way so that it is uncomfortable and irritated, it may not allow you to do so again. At least not in the near future. You’re probably well aware of that, but the problem is, kids aren’t so gentle all of the time. 

If you own a Ragdoll around your kids, then the odds are that they will try and pick it up at the first given opportunity. So it’s essential to teach them how to hold the Ragdoll, so they don’t immediately lose that level of trust. 

You may have seen a video on YouTube showing a child trying to pick up a Ragdoll by the scruff of its neck, or by its tail, or in some other extremely inconvenient or uncomfortable posture. This is the incorrect way to teach kids how to handle a cat. 

You want your kids and your Ragdoll to get along, and Ragdolls are known for their indulgent and affectionate tolerance towards children. So be sure to show them the right way so that there are no accidents in the future.

This video will show you the proper way to pick up and hold a Ragdoll cat.

Of course, Ragdolls can easily reach 20lbs in weight, so very little kids are likely going to lack the upper body strength to physically pick up a Ragdoll, much less stuff it in the dishwasher, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t try. 

Are There Times When Your Ragdoll Won’t Want You to Hold It?

There will always be times when your Ragdoll isn’t in the mood to be held. As with everyone and everything, we all have our bad days and our good days to one degree or another. 

  • Newly adopted Ragdoll
  • When it’s hungry
  • When it’s playful
  • If you’ve held it wrong previously
  • If it’s hurt

Despite the fact that Ragdolls are renowned for their affection and sometimes smothering love of their owners, that doesn’t always extend to an adopted Ragdoll, who doesn’t know you or your family at all. 

Newly Adopted

Don’t expect to be able to pick up and snuggle an adopted Ragdoll immediately. It will adjust to you and your family in due time and, because Ragdolls are so affectionate, it will likely do so very quickly. 

However, you will have to give it some time to get to know you and yours before you can start picking it up and comfortably holding it, especially for extended periods. 


When your Ragdoll is hungry, it will usually let you know by following you around incessantly—which they are known for doing anyway—and incessantly meow at you until you place a bowl of food under its face.

Until you do so, its rumbling belly may not be satisfied by being picked up and loved on when all it wants to do is bury its face in some cat food. 


If your Ragdoll is in an extremely playful mood—a rare occasion for such a laid-back personality—it may not appreciate being picked up and held. It wants to play, not lay limp in your arms while you coo at it. 

Past Experiences

If you’ve lost its trust because you previously mishandled it when holding it. Your Ragdoll may not be ready to trust you again, especially soon after an incident. For example, if you tripped over something while holding it and sent the poor cat careening through the kitchen at a high rate of speed, it’s going to take some time. 

It Is Hurt or Injured

Also, if your Ragdoll is hurt. It may be a slight thing, barely noticeable on its own, such as a bruise or a hurt leg. Picking it up might exacerbate the problem and just be uncomfortable for your Ragdoll. 

If you notice that it is meowing in distress. It might be worth a trip or a call to the vet to ascertain the extent of the problem. 

Drawbacks of Holding Your Ragdoll

You might wonder why holding your cat would be considered a drawback and, well, to each their own. However, there are a few reasons why you might consider some of the drawbacks of holding your Ragdoll. Especially if it becomes routine. 

Ragdolls have a lot of fur, and if you hold them often, you’re going to have a lot of fur. That’s just the nature of holding a long-haired cat. Also, you have to consider the fact that this is a highly affectionate cat. And you may turn a good thing into a very much overdone thing. 

Once your Ragdoll has enjoyed a few warm snuggles while watching Netflix on the couch, it may not be willing to give that up and will start incessantly trying to get in your lap every time you decide to sit down. It’s not much, but it is food for thought.

Final Word

Ragdolls are very affectionate cats, and, for the most part, they love to be picked up and held. So, if you want a cat that you can pick up and hold often and one that rarely leaves your lap. Then a Ragdoll is a cat for you. 

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