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Feeding Ragdoll Cats
Cat food can be classified into dry, moist, and semi-moist foods. Each
one has its advantages, and Ragdolls need different types of food at
different stages. Kittens need mostly breast milk and moist food, while
adults require more protein and dry food. Pregnant Ragdolls have special
dietary needs that change throughout the pregnancy as well.
A. Feeding Ragdoll Kittens
Ragdoll kittens should be exclusively breastfed for the first four to
five weeks. Cat milk contains all the nutrients necessary for the
kitten's growth, including antibodies that help prevent disease. Breast
milk also passes on other antibodies that the mother produced to fight
Extra food should be provided after four to five weeks, as the kitten
needs more nutrients to support its rapid growth. Introductory food
should be easy to digest. Mix canned food with warm water or kitten
replacement milk until it forms a loose paste. Do NOT use regular cow's
milk – this is too heavy for kittens and may result in indigestion.
After another four to five weeks, your kitten should be ready for dry
food. To make the transition easier, moisten dry food with a little warm
water in the first few feedings. It's also important to choose
high-quality supplements to dry food – some of the good brands are Iams®,
Science Diet®, and Nutro Kitten®. Science Diet Feline Growth® is popular
among Ragdoll kittens. Supplements can be given twice a day with morning
and evening feedings. You can switch to adult food after about 12
Choosing and preparing kitten food
Ragdoll kittens have delicate stomachs, so take extra care in choosing
kitten food. Food should always be warm or slightly above room
temperature. Discard any food that has been left out for more than 30
minutes, especially in the summer. Bacteria grows fast in warm, wet
foods and may upset your kitten's stomach, or even cause food poisoning.
To keep from wasting food, just observe how much your kitten eats at a
time so you know how much to prepare per feeding.
Houseflies can easily contaminate kitten food, so keep your feeding area
as fly-proof as possible. Wash the feeding bowl everyday with hot, soapy
water and replace water in the drinking bowl several times a day. Wash
the drinking bowl at the same time and refill with fresh water.
Table scraps can be given occasionally, but don't make regular meals out
of them. Cooked human foods lack the nutrients necessary for your
kitten's growth. Generic cat food from groceries are better, but
Stellarhart recommends high-quality foods from specialty pet stores.
Also, cats don't like the smell of plastic and metal containers, so use
only glass drinking bowls.
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Dry vs wet foods
Dry foods are generally better for your Ragdoll Cat, except in the
breastfeeding and introductory stage. They work your kitten's chewing
muscles and help keep the teeth white. Dry food consists mostly of meat
and vegetables, and can be moistened or served dry. Serving them dry
allows your cat to nibble throughout the day, rather than eating one
large meal at a time. Dry food should contain about 9 to 10% moisture,
8% fat, and 30% protein.
Moist food contains about 75% moisture and equal amounts of fat and
protein. Not all moist foods are the same – some are all-meat or
all-fish, while others are a mix of meat and vegetables. The former
should not be used for regular meals, as your cat can get “addicted” and
refuse to eat anything else. The small “treat” cans of variety foods are
usually all-meat or all-fish. As with kitten food, moist foods should be
warmed to room temperature before serving.
Semi-moist food has about 35% water, 27% protein, and 7% fat. Most of
them are nutritionally balanced, highly palatable, and can be left out
for nibbling, but they spoil faster than dry food.
Occasional kitten treats will not harm your kitten, but take care not to
fill them up so they can still eat regular meals. Treats should not
provide more than 10% of your kitten's daily caloric intake. Look for
hard chew treats to help improve your kitten's dental health
B. Feeding Ragdoll Adults
Ragdolls are not very active, so they gain weight faster than other
cats. Take care not to let them become obese – give them only 70
calories per kilogram of body weight. A lot of what people believe to be
cats’ favourite foods are actually harmful. Here are some of the most
common cat food myths:
Fish may be good for cats, but it can’t cover all their nutritional
needs, and too much of the same nutrients can be harmful. Tuna is rich
in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which need vitamin E to break them down.
Too much tuna in your cat’s diet can cause yellow fat disease (steatitis).
Milk is rich in water and carbohydrates, but many cats are lactose
intolerant and get digestive problems a few hours after drinking milk.
Regular cow’s milk can cause diarrhea and loose stools, which can lead
to malnutrition and dehydration. If your cat likes milk, use replacement
cat milk instead.
Cats love the small of catnip leaves, but it can cause short-term
behavioural changes. Catnip is a hallucinogen and may put your cat in a
state of near delirium. Some effects include rolling, rubbing, chasing
phantom mice, or simply staring into space. Although it’s not addictive,
catnip has no place in your cat’s diet.
It may be more convenient to feed your cat and dog from the same dish,
but it’s not very healthy for either pet. Cats need more protein,
taurine, preformed vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, and arachidonic acids,
which they can get from a meat-heavy diet. A lack of these nutrients can
make your cat seriously ill, and an overdose can have the same effect in
Low ash diets
A popular belief among cat owners is that diets low in ash can help
prevent urinary tract infection. But that’s only partly true. “Ash” is
not a single nutrient, but is actually a group of minerals including
calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Lower levels of
magnesium keep urine at its normal, slightly acidic state, but reducing
other minerals will have no effect.
Other foods to avoid
Alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can be toxic and cause fatal
Baby food. Many baby foods contain onion powder, which can be
harmful to the blood.
Fish and meat bones. Small fragments can cut into the digestive
tract and cause bleeding.
Caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate). Caffeine can affect the cat’s
heart and nervous system.
Citrus oil extracts. This can cause stomach upsets and vomiting.
Fat. Animal fats can cause pancreatitis. Try not too feed your
cat fatty cooked meats, or at least trim the fat off first.
Grapes and raisins. These contain a toxin that can harm the
Human vitamin and iron supplements. Excessive iron can damage the
liver, kidneys, and the lining of the digestive tract.
Liver. Liver is safe in small amounts, but too much can cause
vitamin A toxicity.
Macadamia nuts. Unknown toxins in macadamia can damage the
muscles, digestive system, and nervous system.
Marijuana. Marijuana can cause vomiting, depression, and
irregular heart rate.
Mushrooms. Some mushrooms contain highly toxic substances that
can affect multiple systems and even cause death.
Onion and garlic (powdered, cooked or raw). These contain
disulfides and sulfoxides, which can cause anaemia. They are harmful to
both cats and dogs, but cats are more vulnerable.
Persimmons. Persimmons seeds can block the intestines.
Potato, tomato and rhubarb. These can be harmful to the nervous,
digestive, and urinary systems. The leaves and stems may also be toxic.
Raw eggs. Eggs can damage your cat’s hair and coat.
Raw fish. Raw fish can deplete the nutrient thiamine, which can
cause seizures, appetite loss, or even death.
Salt. Salt and salty foods can cause electrolyte imbalance, a
potentially fatal condition affecting the heart and nervous system.
String. Strings from beans and other vegetables may not be
digested, which can cause blockages.
Sugar. Sweets are high in empty calories, which can lead t
obesity, diabetes, and dental problems.
Yeast dough. Yeast can expand in the stomach during digestion,
causing it to rupture.
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