With their piercing blue eyes, soft and fury coats and docile characteristics, Ragdoll cats are loved and adored by many feline fanatics. However, successive generations of inbreeding have led to major health issues in this lovable breed, including heart and kidney abnormalities.
Thus, Ragdoll Cat Food needs to have certain properties that do not aggravate pre-existing ailments.
These are the essential guidelines one must remember whilst making their Ragdoll’s diet plan
1) ALL CANNED FOODS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL
Whilst canned foods must be added to a Ragdoll’s diet, many canned foods come with harmful ingredients such as butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and melamine. Research has shown that these ingredients can cause kidney and liver damage, and since Ragdolls are already genetically prone to kidney ailments, such ingredients should be completely avoided.
Many foods are also packed with starchy fillers such as cornmeal, and since most Ragdolls have sedentary lifestyles, high-starch diets can make them obese.
As far as Ragdoll Cat Food is concerned, products with at a NAMED protein source, e.g. chicken, turkey, lamb etc. are a must. The product must be at least 80-90% protein, and if carbohydrate fillers are unavoidable, they must be grain free and as unprocessed as possible. Also it is advisable to avoid foods with high-sodium content, as this may aggravate congenital heart problems which are common in Ragdolls.
2) AVOID DRY CAT FOOD (as much as possible)
Since Ragdolls are genetically prone to renal disorders and abnormal bowel movements, one should avoid feeding dry kibble to these cats as much as possible. Dry cat food is usually packed with synthetic ingredients and high-starch carbs, which can lead to chronic issues such as UTIs, struvite crystals and obesity.
If dry cat food has to be given in emergencies which lead to food shortages, e.g. hurricanes and floods, one must ensure it is moistened with water or broth. This makes it more digestible and reduces the risk of gum diseases, which Ragdolls are genetically prone to as well.
3) RAW FOODS CAN BE BENEFICIAL, BUT….
Raw foods are beneficial for Ragdolls as they are more nutrient-dense and easy to digest, especially bones. However, a major concern with raw meat products is the prevalence of pathogens such as salmonella. Whilst wild cats have acidic digestive tracts to deal with such pathogens in their food, Ragdolls may be prone to serious infections if they are exposed to such foods, due to congenital gastrointestinal issues.
One must take necessary precautions before exposing their Ragdolls to such food items. Raw meat products must not be left in the open at room temperature for more than a few minutes. It’s recommended to freeze raw meat products and feed them to your cats the moment they are defrosted sufficiently. Frequent sanitisation of feeding and water bowls is also a must.
For pet-owners looking for convenience, there are many pre-packaged raw Ragdoll Cat Food options in the market as well which can be considered. The best options are the ones which are batch-tested for bacteria and salmonella.
4) ADD SUPPLEMENTS IF REQUIRED
Ragdolls usually have sensitive stomachs and gastrointestinal issues. This may make it difficult for them to digest essential nutrients, and it may also cause irregular bowel movements.
To avoid such issues, it is advisable to add a pro-biotic supplement to your cat’s diet to keep their digestive tract fully functional. Other nutrients that can be added to Ragdoll diets include omega 3, digestive enzymes, anti-oxidants and taurine. One can also look for Ragdoll Cat food that is enriched with these nutrients.
5) IRREGULAR DIETARY CHANGES MUST BE AVOIDED
Cats tend to have very sensitive digestive systems. Ragdolls are especially prone to upset stomachs when they are exposed to dietary changes. In such instances, keeping a 10 day transition period, with a slow and gradual shift from old foods to new foods, can help avoid digestive ailments. Ragdolls are also incredibly picky eaters, so patience is key when it comes to feeding them.
6) HYDRATION IS A MUST
Due to chronic kidney issues, it is essential for Ragdolls to be properly hydrated in order to avoid UTIs and kidney stones. Unfortunately, these adorable cats are notorious for dehydrating themselves. Fortunately, there are many tips and tricks that can be used in order to ensure that your Ragdoll is properly hydrated.
One solution is to add a portion of bone broth or unflavoured stock to your Ragdoll’s cat food. This will regularise its fluid intake, and give it essential nutrients such as essential amino and fatty acids. Pet-friendly flavour enhancers can also be considered. Addition of ice into water bowls will also make the water refreshing and encourage your cat to drink more frequently. One can also experiment with different drinking bowls and water fountains.
As always, one must consult with a qualified medical professional before making any changes to their pet’s diet. Thank you and we are open to feedback.