Read the part ‘What to buy before the kitten’s arrival’
The Ragdoll is quite easy to care for. It is a healthy cat. It requires a little high quality care and lots of affection to keep it fit and happy.
1) Brush regularly once or twice a week using a ‘rake’ type comb with rounded teeth, revolving or without sharp tips. During moulting – spring and autumn, brush every day. Brushing your Ragdoll from a young age is a good way to get it used to seeing this as a pleasant moment to share. The Ragdoll has semi-long hair with little undercoat which is not difficult to maintain (compared to Persian cats). They can sometimes have knots under the armpits, between the thighs or behind the ears. An excellent product to untangle knots without hurting your cat is silicon professional spray, spray bi- phase by French company Anju Beaute or the powder by ‘Baldecchi’ (I prefer spray).
2) During moulting a product to free the intestines from fur balls created through licking (ex. Malt-soft-extra paste by Gimpet ).
3) Clean the ears with specific cleaning products which do not irritate the animal’s skin (ex. Otoprof).
4) Ragdolls will not tolerate a dirty and smelly litter tray. It is a clean cat and is fussy about the cleaning of its litter tray. It should be cleaned daily, it is better to use a litter that absorbs odours. Clumping litter is convenient because it allows for less frequent changes. A fine but not dusty litter is better. There are some varieties on sale which are natural and can be flushed down the toilet. These are often used by breeders because of the kitten’s habit (up to 2 months) of tasting everything. Therefore the natural litter rather than the clumping one (which if eaten can be fatal) is preferable.
The litter tray must be large enough otherwise the cat may not want to use it. If you have other cats in the house you may want to buy a new one for the kitten. The Ragdoll is not territorial like other cats and will often, once he feels at home, share the litter tray with another pet. At the beginning however it is preferable to buy a large, new tray (especially if you have a male which can grow up to be quite big). Before buying the tray ask your breeder what the kitten has been using.
TO AVOID ACCIDENTS : IF THE KITTEN DOES ITS BUSINESS OUTSIDE THE LITTER TRAY
– The tray is too small.
– The type of tray is wrong (open or closed).
– Position is wrong : at the entrance of the house/flat, in a draughty area, in a nosy area, near the washing machine (makes noise).
– The litter is dirty.
– In a closed tray, the door makes a noise.
– A trauma which has occurred in the tray (a child has pulled its tail, another cat has attacked it etc.).
– The type of litter, the Ragdoll has its own likes and dislikes. A strongly perfumed litter which the owner likes may be unpleasant to it.
– The grain of the litter. Ragdolls are heavy and a coarse grain (especially silicon) could irritate the pads on their paws .
However due to its tolerant nature the Ragdoll will usually accept all types of litter and of tray wherever it is placed. Episodes of accidents with the tray are rare and are usually caused by the owner. Normally when the kitten arrives at home it is sufficient to pick it up and place it in the tray and it will understand what it has to do.
5) Claws need to be cut regularly. As the Ragdoll lives indoors it cannot use ‘outdoor’ surfaces to keep its claws worn down. Scratch poles do not remove the outer, old layer from the nail. Long claws are irritating and can get stuck in toys during play, this can be painful, if it cannot retract them it may risk losing a claw or at worst a toe. The Ragdoll’s nails are sensitive up to about half of the length and if cut too short may bleed and cause pain. Only the transparent part should be cut, very carefully. It is best to be shown the procedure by a vet, even if it is quite simple.
6) Bathing, occasionally in water or with dry shampoo using products specifically for cats.
7) Vaccinate regularly as a follow up every year. If your cat is always indoors and you do not take it out for a walk on a lead, then a triple vaccine once a year is enough (herpes virus, clacivirus, panleucopenia-parvovirosis). If instead you have other cats which go outside or you take your Ragdoll outside, then it will also require a yearly vaccine against FeLV (feline leukaemia).
If you live in an area at risk of rabies and you take your Ragdoll outside then also do a yearly anti-rabies vaccination.
8) The Ragdoll should be wormed regularly against internal parasites even if it is always indoors. You may ask why it is necessary if the cat does not go out ? because when we come in from outside we bring in on our shoes material which the cat can come into contact with.
Products: spot on Stronghold, Milbemax, Drontal, Panacur to avoid Giardia, …
Read the chapter : “What to buy before the kittens arrival.
For any other specific health problems with your Ragdoll ask your vet.
Read the chapter : “What to buy before the kittens arrival“
Each breeder has their own way of feeding kittens and adult cats. We can however follow some basic guidelines. Ask the breeder what he was feeding the kittens, during the first few days it should follow the same diet. The change in diet must be gradual mixing a small portion of the new food with the usual one and then gradually increasing it. If the changeover is too quick, the kitten may have digestive problems which could affect its health. The diet should consist of both dried and wet food and water(room temperature) which are always available. Cats prefer running water and if you want to encourage it to drink more you could buy a drinking fountain for cats that can be found in specialist shops.
Never try to make savings by compromising on the quality of the food you give your cat.
Do not buy food at the supermarket. This type of food is made up by meat derivatives (including bone, skin, feathers all minced up) and of carbohydrates (which cats need very little of) to fill up the animal. Also it contains colouring, preservatives and flavour enhancers that can be dangerous. Do not be deceived by the fact that your cat may prefer low quality food, they are full of ingredients aimed at being appetising but not healthy. An excellent dried food, nutritious, balanced and easily digestible which keeps your Ragdoll healthy you can find in specialist shops, especially those online. Producers : Royal Canin, Hill’s, Animonda, Farmina, Trainer etc.
Always read the ingredients. Cats are carnivores and on the label it should say minimum 50% meat.
The cat’s digestive system is not designed to digest vegetables (as opposed to dogs who can digest rice).
Some of the best makers divide food according to growth phases. Remember that the Ragdoll is a cat that develops very slowly and is mature at 3-4 years. Usually dried food is recommended for KITTENS (ex. Royal Canin) advisable until one year of age (according to manufacturers). However at one year your Ragdoll is still a kitten (compared to other breeds)and should continue with this food until 1 ½ – 2 years of age, even if it is sterilised. If you give a 1 year old sterilised Ragdoll ‘LIGHT’ dried food it could get under-nourished, on the other hand by giving it adult food it could have a negative effect on the liver. Good quality dried food has many advantages it is balanced, convenient and easy to use and helps to maintain the cat’s oral hygiene (removes tartar from teeth). However feeding just with dried food even if high quality is not the best choice. A cat that only eats dried food must drink a lot of water to keep hydrated, however cats are not usually big drinkers so this diet could lead to urinary tract problems.
WET FOOD (pouches, tins or meat)
There are excellent pouches and tins available. They are balanced, digestible and nutritious. Personally for my own cats up to 1 ½ – 2 years of age I give KITTEN pouches and KITTEN dried food of Royal Canin. Feeding your cat with wet food but not also dry food can cause diarrhoea. If you like cooking and have the time you can give your Ragdoll meat : turkey, chicken, lamb, veal or beef DO NOT EVER GIVE PORK MEAT. Lightly cook the meat in a little water – with no salt or spices, leave it to cool at room temperature then cut into little chunks and serve with a little cooking liquid. Meat is an excellent source of protein but your cat should not just eat meat it could give rise to problems of intolerance to certain proteins and a lack of vitamins and minerals.
BEST FOOD SOLUTION : HIGH QUALITY DRIED + WET FOOD
I suggest that you do not continually change your cat’s diet. Cats are not like humans and frequent changes could give gastro-intestinal problems.