The UKRCC website is intended to provide general breed
information and basic care guidance only.
If you have a concern regarding the health or welfare
of your cat, please always consult a vet.
When you collect your new kitten the breeder
should provide you with a diet sheet, detailing the foods that
your Ragdoll has been weaned on. It is advisable to continue
to feed this diet for the first two weeks, at the very least,
as changes made too quickly, combined with the stress associated
with joining a new family, can result in a kitten with an upset
tummy. A kitten with diarrhoea can become dehydrated and
deteriorate very quickly, so if your Ragdoll has loose stools
for more than 24 hours you should always consult your vet.
If you decide you want to change your Ragdoll’s
diet, then do this gradually, by mixing a little of your chosen
food with your kitten’s usual food. If there is no adverse
reaction, then gradually increase the amount of new food that
is mixed with your kitten’s usual diet, until the switch is complete.
Kittens have very small stomachs, so need
feeding little and often. When your Ragdoll joins your family
at about 13 weeks old, they will need to be fed at least four
times daily. This can be reduced to three meals a day once
your kitten is about 18 weeks old and by the time they are six
months old, most kittens will only need two meals a day.
It is important to feed an excellent quality ‘kitten’ food, until
your Ragdoll is a year old, as these are specially formulated
to meet the nutritional needs of a growing kitten.
Once your Ragdoll reaches a year old, you can change to an ‘adult’
Fresh drinking water should be available
at all times.
Do not feed your kitten cow’s milk, as it
is likely to cause diarrhoea.
Feeding a varied, well balanced diet will
help keep your Ragdoll healthy. We feed a combination of
the following to all our cats:
A high quality complete dry food,
such as James Well Beloved, Hills etc. We tend to leave
dry food down at all times, so our cats can graze.
A good quality wet food, such as
Whiskas or Felix.
Steamed white fish, e.g. coley
Raw lean minced beef
An occasional treat of tinned fish,
such as tuna in spring water - avoid fish in 'brine' as this
contains too much salt for cats.
Ý Return to top
There is much said about the non-matting
coat of the Ragdoll and therefore the limited need for grooming.
However regular grooming, with a suitable brush and comb, for
all Ragdolls is essential to maintain a clear, silky coat. A Ragdoll
who is not brushed regularly will become knotty. Grooming removes
dead, loose fur, which reduces the risk of the formation of fur
balls and goes someway to limiting moulting onto furniture and
carpets! Grooming is a good way to bond with a new kitten and
is important in maintaining a good relationship with an older
Ý Return to top
Your Ragdoll kitten
should be fully vaccinated against cat flu and enteritis,
by the time they join your family. The breeder should provide
you with a vaccination record, indicating when your kitten’s booster
is due. It is important to maintain the protection that
vaccination affords, by ensuring that you take your Ragdoll to
the vet for an annual booster. Taking your Ragdoll for their
vaccination gives your vet the opportunity to give the cat a thorough
health check and the potential to diagnose any problems early
Observe your Ragdoll’s coat regularly for
any signs of flea infestation. Small black specks within
the coat are likely to be flea dirt, but if you are unsure,
place a piece of damp white kitchen towel beneath your Ragdoll
as you groom. Any flea dirt will drop onto the towel and
dissolve into dark spots of blood. If fleas are evident,
then use a suitable flea treatment from your vet, such as Front
Line. Your vet will also be able to supply a spray for use
around the home to kill fleas and eggs which may be living in
furniture and carpets. Regular preventative use of a flea
spray is advisable, as apart from the discomfort these visitors
cause to the cat, they are also intermediate hosts within the
life cycle of the tape worm. Infestation with fleas can
lead to infestation with tape worm.
Regular worming is another important part
in keeping your Ragdoll healthy. Indoor cats, that
never have access to the outside, should be wormed twice yearly,
with a product from your vet. Avoid using wormers available
from pet shops as they are not always as effective as veterinary
grade treatments. Cats which go out should be wormed at
three month intervals.
All Ragdolls which are not to be used for breeding
should be neutered at approximately 6 months old. Unneutered adult cats
both male and female may spray and once this habit is developed neutering
does not necessarily stop it. Neutering also prevents infections, tumours
etc. of the reproductive organs and general loss of condition in the
cat, caused by reproductive hormones.
Knowing Your Ragdoll
It is also advisable to give your Ragdoll
a thorough check over yourself, periodically and to become familiar
with what is normal for your cat. In this way, you are likely
to notice any early signs of illness or disease, which can lead
to early diagnosis and hence increase the chances of successful
treatment by your vet.
Check that your Ragdoll’s eyes are bright
and clean, with no discharge. Check the third eye lid is
not visible, as this is often a sign of poor health.
Look inside your Ragdoll’s ears and make
sure they are clean. Any small deposits of wax can be cleaned
away from the outer ear using damp cotton wool, but never penetrate
the inner ear. Observe for any signs of ear mite infestation,
which manifests as excessive production of thick, dark wax.
Check your Ragdoll’s teeth for any signs
of tartar build up, a particular problem in older cats.
Foul smelling breath and red swollen gums may indicate gum infection
or an abscess.
Gently feel over your Ragdoll’s body for
any lumps or swelling, paying particular attention to the neck
and high up under the front and back legs ( i.e the arm pits).
If you discover any problems or are concerned
for your cat’s health, then consult your vet immediately.
Ý Return to top
Indoor cats are safer cats and Ragdolls should
not be allowed to roam freely, as the risks to them are too high.
or death from road accidents
from garden chemicals e.g. slug pellets, garden plants etc.
from chemicals such as anti-freeze
with incurable, fatal diseases such as FIV (feline aids)
and FELV (feline leukaemia)
Territorial fights with other cats
in the neighbourhood, leading abscesses etc.
Ragdolls love to be in the company of their
human and are happy to stay indoors, so why put them at risk?
However there are hazards indoors too, especially
to a young kitten and so taking steps to keep your Ragdoll safe
in your home is very important. The following list is by
no means exhaustive and intended only as guidance.
are fascinated by water, so an inexperienced kitten is at risk
of drowning – keep the toilet lid down and take care when running
machines and tumble dryers may seem cosy, warm places to a kitten.
Always check inside before use.
fires must be guarded and be sure to use a guard which has a
top, as a kitten will climb and could easily fall. Hot
ovens and pans of boiling liquids are also a danger.
kittens may chew on electrical cables, so ensure they are not
needles or pins, plastic carrier bags, elastic bands, plastic,
polythene etc. etc. all pose a hazard to a kitten who sees everything
as a ‘toy’.
may become entangled in loose strings or cords, for example
the pull cords on blinds, leading to strangulation.
of thread, or similar are attractive to kittens, but if swallowed
can tangle in the intestine.
chemicals, such as dish washer powder, bleach, disinfectants,
anti freeze, human medicines etc. are all poisonous if ingested
by a kitten. Store all chemicals away from your Ragdoll.
Use cat safe disinfectants, such as Trigene or Vetasept, to
clean floors and trays etc. Phenol based cleaners (i.e.
those which turn water cloudy) such as Dettol or Jeyes Fluid
are toxic, even when diluted, if just licked by a kitten.
indoor plants are toxic and Ragdolls may chew on leaves if given
windows, upstairs, may attract the attention of a curious Ragdoll.
Once out on the ledge, a kitten may not be able to get back
in. Then the only way to go is down….a long way for a
small kitten and if the kitten falls it can result in horrific
Having a kitten in your home is like having
a toddler, perhaps worse, because kittens being so small, curious
and agile can find themselves in all sorts of trouble. Take
For more information about substances and
plants poisonous to cats and their effects please visit the following
Dangers of Plants
in the home
Attraction - common poisons exposed
- Hidden Dangers
Cats Poisons Guide
Ý Return to top