The Birman vs Ragdoll cat choice is not an easy choice to make! After all, both the Birman and Ragdoll are super cute and both can make great pet cats.
Often, this makes your choice of a Birman or Ragdoll cat one of simple personal preference.
In other words, you just need to know what the major differences and similarities are between these two wonderful cat breeds so you can decide which cat is a better fit for your lifestyle.
Ragdoll vs Birman
The Birman and Ragdoll cats are similar looking cats, but there are quite a lot of differences. Ragdolls are large compared to the Birman’s medium size. The Birman sheds less and requires less grooming. They are both relaxed and loving, though the Ragdoll is often happier to be petted and fussed over for longer.
Ragdoll vs Birman Similarities
The Birman vs Ragdoll comparison begins with certain similarities.
For instance, it is thought that the Birman cat hails from the country of Burma (now Myanmar) and certainly this cat’s name sounds a lot like its country of origin!
The Ragdoll cat, in turn, can trace its lineage back to ancient Persia (now Iran).
What this means is that both of these cat breeds first arose in Asia (albeit thousands of kilometers apart) before emigrating to other parts of the world.
There are other similarities as well, as you will see in the following sections here.
After reading through each section, you will have the knowledge you need to choose between a Birman cat vs Ragdoll cat!
What is the difference between Ragdoll and Birman cats?
Size is often the first difference cat lovers notice when comparing the Birman vs Ragdoll cat. Other differences can include coloration, personality, health issues, grooming needs and temperament.
It can also be helpful to learn about some important differences in Birman vs Ragdoll personality and temperament before you make your final choice.
Birman vs Ragdoll size
Let’s take a minute to talk specifically about differences in Birman vs Ragdoll cat size.
The Birman cat is considered to be medium in size. This cat can weigh anywhere from just six pounds to 12 pounds in adulthood.
It is not uncommon for adult male Birman cats to slightly outweigh females. This cat breed can take up to three years to fully mature.
In contrast to the Birman, the Ragdoll cat is considered a large cat breed.
While most Ragdoll cats will weigh between 10 and 20 pounds as adult cats, it is not unheard of for a Ragdoll cat to weigh 25 pounds or more (this can especially be true for unneutered males).
To keep things exciting, Ragdoll cats also take longer to mature (around 4 years), which can keep you on your toes guessing how large your Ragdoll cat will grow!
Birman cat vs Ragdoll shedding
You will find some important differences in Ragdoll vs Birman cat shedding.
The Birman cat is not a “true” hypo-allergenic cat breed (sadly, there is not really any such thing), but it comes a lot closer than the Ragdoll cat!
This is because the Birman cat does not have an insulating undercoat beneath the medium-long, silky top coat and so it tends to shed less than many other cat breeds.
But what the Birman cat doesn’t shed out, the Ragdoll cat will more than make up the difference for!
These large, long-haired cats may not have a full insulating undercoat, but their top coat is quite thick and can shed profusely, especially during the changing of the seasons.
Ragdoll vs Birman cat grooming
Because of the breed differences in Ragdoll vs Birman shedding, your grooming chores will look slightly different from one cat breed to the next.
As we just learned here, not only does the lack of undercoat make grooming your Birman cat easier and faster, but it means Birman cats will shed less than some other cat breeds. Yay!
More importantly for your cat’s health, the lack of an undercoat can also mean your cat’s hair is less likely to create mats and tangles, especially if you commit to frequent brushing and grooming.
However, the Ragdoll cat can shed quite a bit, and the fact that this cat breed has long, silky hair can make the shedding look even more profuse than it actually is.
So, if you bring home a Ragdoll cat, regular brushing, combing and grooming is a must to keep mats and tangles from forming and to keep unexpected shedding to a minimum.
Birman vs Ragdoll cat temperament
While both the Birman and Ragdoll cats are born and bred to be companion cats to humans, the Birman cat has a slightly longer history of serving in this role, at least according to official cat breed registries.
The Birman cat was officially recognized as a purebred cat breed as early as 1925.
Birmans have reliably loving, laid-back and even personalities that make them awesome for families with young children as well as individuals and couples.
The Ragdoll cat was first recognized as a purebred cat breed in 1966.
This cat breed gets its name from its tendency to lazily “flop” when picked up. Suffice it to say these cats love to snuggle!
Ragdoll cats also love people and – oddly – other cats as well. They are quite tolerant of young children, making them a great pick for families with kids.
We find their sweet and friendly nature is especially inspiring for finding good Ragdoll names!
As you can see, the Ragdoll vs Birman temperament is quite similar in some ways, although Ragdoll cats are more tolerant of frequent handling than Birman cats, and quicker to forgive a accidental moment’s clumsiness.
Ragdoll and Birman cat health
Both the Birman and Ragdoll cat breeds live between 12 and 16 years. Some Ragdoll cats can live to be 17 years old.
The most concerning health issue for Birman cats is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
Geneticists suspect a gene mutation is the culprit, which means it is very important to choose your breeder with care!
Ragdoll cats can also struggle with HCM.
Other major health issues to watch for include bladder stones and feline infectious peritonitis, or FIP.
This is caused by the coronavirus, a common trigger for feline infections. Here again, your choice of breeder can greatly reduce the risk of your kitten contracting FIP.
Is the Ragdoll or Birman cat a better pet?
We hope you have found this article on the Birman Ragdoll cat similarities and differences informative and useful as you select your next feline companion.
The Ragdoll is a much bigger cat, and a bigger commitment in terms of grooming and clearing up shed fur too.
Both cats get on well with people, although the ultra-amenable Ragdoll has a better reputation with other pets.
The right cat for you might depend on the size of your living space, the other animals already sharing it with you, or some other factor of particular importance.
As you can see, it truly is a personal judgment call whether the Ragdoll or Birman cat will make a better pet cat choice for your lifestyle!
Both can make amazing pet cats and both have a large and growing fan base worldwide.
Which cat breed are you leaning towards and why?
Please drop us a comment – we love to learn from our readers!
Madden, A., “The Birman Breed/Birman Origins,” Birman Cat Club UK, 2018.
Hearn, L., et al, “Your Cat’s Heart,” The Birman Health Foundation, 2014.
DeWolfe, C., et al, “History of the Ragdoll/Description of the Ragdoll Cat,” International Ragdoll Fanciers Club, 2018.
Vapalahti, K., et al, “Health and Behavioral Survey of over 8000 Finnish Cats,” Frontiers of Veterinary Science, 2016.
Pierce, W., “Ragdoll History – the Beginning,” Ragdoll Historical Society, 2018.
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