Cat food can be classified into dry, wet and semi-moist food. Each has its advantages, and Ragdolls need various types of food at different stages. Kittens need whole breast milk and wet food, while adults need more protein and dry food. Pregnant Ragdolls have special dietary needs that also change during pregnancy.
Ragdoll kittens should only nurse for the first four to five weeks. Cat milk includes all the nutrients necessary for the kitten’s growth, including antibodies that help prevent disease. Breast milk also transmits other antibodies that the mother produced to fight previous illnesses.
More food should be given after four to five weeks, as the kitten needs more nutrients to support its rapid growth. The introductory meal should be easy to digest. Mix canned food with warm water or kitten replacement milk until a loose paste forms. DO NOT use regular cow’s milk as it is too heavy for kittens and could cause indigestion.
After another four to five weeks, your kitten should be ready for dry food. To make the change easier, moisten dry food with a little warm water for the first few feedings. Choosing high-quality supplements for dry foods is also essential, and some of the good brands are Iams®, Science Diet®, and Nutro Kitten®. Science Diet Feline Growth® is popular with Ragdoll kittens. Supplements can be provided twice a day with food in the morning and in the evening. You can switch to adult foods after about 12 months.
Choosing and preparing kitten food
Ragdoll kittens have fragile stomachs, so be especially careful when choosing kitten food. Food should always be warm or slightly above room temperature. Throw away all food that has been left out for more than 30 minutes, especially in summer. Bacteria grow rapidly in hot, moist food and can possibly upset your kitty’s stomach or even lead to food poisoning. To stop wasting food, just watch how much your kitty eats at a time so you know how much to prepare for food.
House flies can easily contaminate kittens’ food, so keep your feeding area as fly-proof as possible. Wash the feeding bowl daily with hot soapy water and return the water to the drinking bowl several times a day. Wash the drinking container at the same time and refill it with clean water.
Table scraps can be given from time to time, but don’t eat regular meals with them. Cooked human foods do not contain the necessary nutrients for your kitten to grow. Generic cat food from grocery stores is better, but Stellarhart recommends high-quality food from specialty pet stores. Also, cats don’t like the smell of plastic and metal containers, so use only glass drinking bowls.
Dry vs wet food
Dry foods are generally best for your Ragdoll, except in the early and lactating stages. They work your kitty’s chewing muscles and help keep her teeth white. Dry foods consist primarily 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 foods should contain around 9-10% moisture, 8% fat, and 30% protein.
Wet foods contain approximately 75% moisture and equal amounts of fat and protein. Not all wet foods are the same, some are exclusively meat or fish, while others are a mixture of meat and vegetables. The former should not be used for regular meals, as your cat may become addicted and refuse to eat other foods. Small cans of mixed food are usually meat or fish. As with kitten food, wet food should be warmed to room temperature before serving.
Semi-moist foods are approximately 35% water, 27% protein, and 7% fat. Most of them are nutritionally balanced, very tasty, and can be left to snack on, but they spoil faster than dry foods.
Treats for kittens
Occasional kitty treats won’t harm your kitty, but be careful not to fill them up so they can still eat regular meals. The treats should not provide more than 10% of your kitty’s daily caloric intake. Look for hard chew treats to help improve your kitty’s dental health
B. Feeding the adult Ragdoll
Rag dolls are not very active, so they gain weight faster than other cats. Don’t let them get obese give them just 70 calories per kilogram of body weight. Many of the foods that people think are cat favorites are really harmful. Here are some of the most common myths about cat food:
Fish can be good for cats, but it cannot meet all of their nutritional needs and many 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 lead to yellow fat disease (steatitis).
Milk is rich in water and carbohydrates, but many cats are lactose intolerant and have digestive problems within hours of 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.
Cats love the smell of catnip leaves, but it can lead to short-term changes in behavior. Catnip is a hallucinogen and possibly puts your cat in a state close to delirium. Some effects include rolling, rubbing, chasing ghost mice, or just staring into space. Although not addictive, catnip has no place in your cat’s diet.
It might be more convenient to feed your cat and dog the same dish, but it is 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 diet rich in meat. A shortage of these nutrients can make your cat seriously ill, and an overdose can have the same effect on dogs.
Low ash diets
A popular belief among cat owners is that low-ash diets can help discourage urinary tract infections. But that is only partially true. Ash is not a single nutrient, but is actually a group of minerals that include calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Lower levels of magnesium keep urine in its normal, slightly acidic state, but reducing other minerals will have no effect.
Other foods to avoid
Alcohol can be toxic and cause fatal complications.
Many baby foods contain onion powder, which can be harmful to the blood.
Fish bones and meat.
Small splinters 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 lead to an upset stomach and vomiting.
Animal fats can cause pancreatitis.
Don’t feed your cat greasy cooked meats, or at least cut off the fat first.
Grapes and raisins.
These contain a toxin that can damage the kidneys.
Human supplements of vitamins and iron.
Excess iron can damage the liver, kidneys, and the lining of the digestive tract.
The liver is safe in limited amounts, but too much can cause vitamin A toxicity.
The unknown toxins in macadamia can damage the muscles, digestive system, and nervous system.
Marijuana can cause vomiting, depression, and an irregular heart rate.
Some fungi 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 anemia. They are harmful to both cats and dogs, but cats are more vulnerable.
Persimmon seeds can clog the intestines.
Potato, tomato and rhubarb.
These can be harmful to the nervous, digestive and urinary systems. The leaves and stems could also be toxic.
Raw eggs can damage your cat’s hair and coat.
Salty and salty foods can cause an electrolyte imbalance, a potentially fatal condition that affects the heart and nervous system.
Strings of beans and other vegetables may not be digested, which can cause blockages.
Sweets are high in empty calories, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, and dental problems.
Yeast can expand in the stomach during digestion, causing it to break down.
Once you’ve educated yourself on the unique requirements of ragdoll cats, you will instinctively know what is good or bad for your cat.