If you're looking for a purebred feline, both the Persian and the ragdoll make good housecats. Which breed suits you best depends on various factors, especially how much time you can devote to grooming. While the Persian cat's history goes back hundreds of years, the ragdoll dates from the 1960s.
Perhaps the most obvious difference between the Persian and ragdoll concerns the coat. Persians are the classic long-haired feline breed, with grooming requirements to match. Ragdoll coats can be either short or range between medium and long. However, even a long-haired ragdoll's fur texture differs from the Persian, with a non-matting coat. This means the ragdoll's coat maintenance demands are far less than the Persian. The latter needs daily brushing to keep his coat free of mats and tangles.
If color is crucial to you, ragdolls can be problematic. Ragdoll kittens are born white and the full coloring doesn't come in until age 2. Although the breeder should be able to tell you what color a kitten will be, things could change. Common coat patterns include tabby variations, cream, red, blue and sealpoint, and tortoiseshell. Persians come in solid colors, tabby patterns, bi- or multi-colors and smoky shades. The eyes of the Persian might be yellow, green or blue, while the Ragdoll has blue eyes.
Ragdolls don't fully mature until about the age of 3. A mature ragdoll is a big kitty, with males reaching up to 20 pounds and females about 15 pounds. However, the ragdoll standard calls for a muscular cat, so the cat should not appear fat. While overweight Persians might get that big, the breed has a more medium build with shorter legs.
Ragdoll aficionados describe their cat's personality as "dog-like." That's supposed to be a compliment, because it's not a good thing when a canine is called "cat-like." Less independent and more social than average cats, the ragdoll makes a good choice if you, or your significant other, want a cat that bonds like a dog. The term "ragdoll" comes from the cat's propensity to go limp when picked up. The more independent Persian is calm and enjoys affection and attention, but more on his own terms. He's a cat -- you are there to serve him.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.