All the claims…
The question about what to feed a ragdoll cat is probably the most FAQ I receive. Our Masterpiece families are looking to provide a long, quality life for their new family member so it’s natural to want to give them the best.
Ragdolls are generally a hearty breed. There is one concern we hear about fairly regularly – obesity. Because they are not particularly active compared to other breeds and they are large-boned cats, they may put on extra weight as they begin to enter their senior years. As we know, obesity is troublesome for many of the body’s organs and systems.
I caution kitten owners not to be too concerned with this initially. Veterinarians who advise limiting calories of a kitten due to the potential for obesity are short-sighted. Kittens under the age of 12 months are more active. Even cats between 1-3 years of age may require additional calories periodically. Ragdoll cats are a slow-maturing breed so we will witness some ebbing and flowing of their preferences and needs.
For the first three years of life, a ragdoll should be granted leniency when it comes to caloric intake.
So, Let ‘em eat!
An 80/10/10 raw (or gently cooked) diet is ideal.
This means that your cat needs a meal composed of
- 80% muscle meat – 15% of this should be heart for taurine
- 10% bone content (many are fine with 5%)
- 10% organ meat, of which 5% is liver and the other 5% should be another secreting organ, i.e. kidney, spleen, brain, testicles, pancreas.
Ok, that’s a lot of math for the average pet owner, so we encourage families to turn to the marketplace for limited-ingredient foods.
Commercial pet food manufacturers understand the ratios, and work diligently to arrive at appropriate levels and many add in additional ingredients that may be helpful (probiotics) or detrimental (vegetable, fruit, extracts, alternative fiber supplements). When was the last time you saw a cat foraging for Rosemary Extract or pea protein?
I still haven’t answered your question.
A homemade, raw diet is the best cat food for a Ragdoll, but we don’t all have the capacity to DIY cat food.
Some of us are vegetarians. We don’t have meat grinders and designated raw meat refrigerators. Some of us struggle to source ingredients, mix them appropriately, and manage proper raw meat handling techniques.
Imagine your 3-year-old kissing the face of a recently smacking face still enjoying the juice of raw chicken liver.
Search for foods with limited ingredients. Spend a few extra dollars for a high-protein, limited-other-ingredient bag of kibble. Determine your cat’s texture-preference . Once you know what she likes, consider a bulk order of cans or packets. Check out Nulo! Nulo has a variety of textures and flavors in cans and packets sans the miscellany of many other products on the market.
Look for the following on cat food labels:
- Protein from high quality meat source. Cats get their energy from protein, not carbs.
- Healthy Fats – fats from specifically-named animal sources
- Fiber content – 5-10% is needed and fingers crossed it comes from something other than starches and miscelaneous veggies
- Moisture content – in the wild, cats capture their prey whose moisture content hovers around 70%. Kibble won’t have that much of course, but consider alluring water fountains and supplemental canned foods that are high in moisture.
Visit a local snooty foody pet food store. In the PNW, Mud Bay Pet Store staff can steer you towards the best cat food for a ragdoll cat/kitten. They offer excellent literature and sometimes even have free samples for your kitten to test out. The staff is passionate about nutrition and will share their research and wisdom with you for free!
Texture, consistency, and bite size all contribute to a food’s mouthfeel and can be factors in whether or not a cat accepts a new food.
– A Cat’s Eye View @ Mud Bay
There are many different brands competing for your attention. Look for what is fresh, too. Is the bag dusty from a long shelf life? Read ingredients lists online and order from home if the shopping experience is overwhelming.
Transition slowly to new foods. An abrupt change can cause GI distress.
Why is Elizabeth such a food snob?
When you have as many litter boxes as I have, you hope for “minimal variation in production.”
The best ragdoll cat food will yield fully-formed stools, easy to sift out of the box.
This is important for us as we seek to isolate digestive and intestinal conditions in kittens at an early age. What we discovered in breeding is that all the miscellany in commercially procured foods could induce litter box havoc. Even though fed high end food AND we presented fecal samples to the vet who ultimately found no parasites, we found our boxes to be a bit putrid smelling. So, we treated unverified bacteria on the off chance there was something there. Still, litterboxes were unpleasant. It was only when we began to control the ingredients consumed by our kittens that we could rule out food sensitivities, parasitic, or other nefarious agents. All kittens responded positively: quality coats, noticeable growth, and fewer, more tidy trips to the litterbox.
A clean environment is a healthy environment.
The best food for a ragdoll kitten might be different for us than for you. What works for us at the cattery might not work for you at home. We won’t judge you! We are here to support your lifestyle as you incorporate a Masterpiece in your every day life. We will be following up with a more focused blog that addresses common problem behaviors many cats face that are often related to diet and nutrition.