An important part of keeping your ragdoll cat fit and healthy is ensuring they have the correct diet.
Ragdolls can be particularly fussy when it comes to their food – just like we all can, from time-to-time – so it’s crucial to know which flavours and tastes they like to ensure they get the nutrients that need.
Ragdoll cats should eat a mix of wet and dry food. Whole-meat-based canned food provides the fats and proteins your ragdoll needs to stay strong, while dry food gives them the carbohydrates required for energy. You can also occasionally throw in some dental biscuits to maintain dental hygiene.
Of course, there will be variations to this diet based on your ragdoll’s preferences (e.g. some may prefer seafood flavour over chicken, while others may enjoy a greater proportion of wet food over dry food).
In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about feeding your ragdoll including what they should eat, how much you should feed them and how often you should feed them.
What should ragdoll cats eat?
A ragdoll cat’s diet should mainly consist of two things – wet food and dry food. These are the essentials that will keep your kitty healthy and happy. You can also add some dental biscuits into the mix every few days to prevent plaque building up on your ragdoll’s teeth. Water, of course, is also a must.
Ragdolls, due to their larger size, require more protein for muscle maintenance than many other cat breeds so it’s important to feed them wet food that is whole-meat-based rather than processed as it is packed with far more nutrients.
While ragdolls don’t often behave like your standard cat, they should have a diet that reflects a natural feline – that being 60% protein, 30% fat and 10% carbohydrates.
Below, I’ll go into a few more specifics about the type of foods to feed your ragdoll.
1. Wet food
Wet food should form the bulk of your ragdoll’s diet as it’s the most protein-packed option.
Protein is extremely important for muscle maintenance and health – so much, that you should feed your ragdoll two grams of protein for every pound of body weight.
Considering the average female ragdoll cat weighs anywhere between 10-15 pounds and males between 15-20 pounds, they should be consuming roughly 20-40 grams of protein every day (which they typically get from one tin of canned wet food).
Regardless of whether you choose seafood, chicken or beef flavour, each option should have enough protein to meet your ragdoll’s needs.
2. Dry food
Dry food, usually in the form of small pellet-type biscuits known as kibble, should be another essential part of your ragdoll’s diet.
Cost effective and able to last a long time, you can leave a bowl full of dry food for your cat alongside their serve of wet food – essentially giving them choice, and allowing them to graze whenever they’re hungry.
Dry food comprises mainly of carbohydrates, so it’s important that you don’t overfeed your ragdoll with them and use them sparingly alongside wet food to ensure balance.
You should also check to make sure that the dry food you use isn’t excessively high in sugar, as this may cause your cat to gain an unhealthy amount of weight.
3. Dental biscuits
While you shouldn’t add this to your ragdoll’s plate more than 1-2 times each week, dental biscuits should be included in their diet.
Ragdolls, like other cats, can develop plaque build up on their teeth as, unlike humans, they can’t take care of their own dental hygiene.
A great way to combat this is by using dental biscuits, which are specially made to protect your cat’s teeth (while also tasting delicious).
Our ragdoll, Poppie, loves these snacks and it takes little effort on our part to scatter them through her regular bowl of dry food 1-2 times each week in order to keep her teeth healthy.
Wet food or dry food – which is better for ragdoll cats?
Ragdoll cats’ diets should comprise mainly of wet food due to the nutritional value it provides (e.g. healthy fats and proteins). Dry food is made from mostly carbohydrates and should be used more sparingly to ensure your cat gets the nutrients it needs to remain healthy.
While there are some opposing opinions online about whether or not you should feed your ragdoll dry food, I’m firmly in the ‘yes’ camp – provided it is done in moderation.
We’ve always kept a small bowl of kibble available for our cat to graze on throughout the day when home alone and it usually takes her a week or more to get through it, mainly because her daily can of wet food keeps her content.
Best wet food option
When it comes to wet – or canned – food, we like to feed our ragdoll Purina Fancy Feast.
Our cat is particularly fussy when it comes to her choice of flavour and won’t eat anything that isn’t seafood.
Thankfully, Purina Fancy Feast offers a 30-pack of Seafood Classic Pate flavours, which we like to get – for cats who like more of a mixed bag, there is the option of the Variety Pack.
Each can is 3 oz, or roughly 85 grams, in volume and is 100 percent balanced and gourmet.
This will give your ragdoll all the necessary proteins and fats they need to keep them hydrated and healthy.
Best dry food option
There are so many dry food options available for your ragdoll that it can be hard to choose the right one – however, for consistency, we again like to stick with Purina Fancy Feast for our cat.
There are so many different flavours on offer – from chicken, turkey and seafood to filet mignon or natural – giving you plenty of options to test if your ragdoll is a little fussy.
Purina packs its dry food full of healthy vitamins and minerals, making it a great choice, however remember – dry food should only form part of your ragdoll’s diet, with wet food making up the greater portion.
A standard 3kg bag should last you weeks, possibly months, if your cat isn’t a guzzle guts (and if it is, you need to pay close attention to how much it’s eating and implement dry food rations if necessary to avoid them gaining huge weight).
I’ve written an article on how you can check if your ragdoll is over or under weight that you may find helpful.
Best dental biscuit option
Dental biscuits are essential for keeping your ragdoll’s teeth free of plaque.
While you don’t want to overload your cat with these treats – once or twice a week is plenty – they are crucial for maintaining their dental health.
The brand we use is Greenies, which are incredibly popular and widely recognised as an excellent option when it comes to dental biscuits for cats.
Their crunchy texture cleans your ragdoll’s teeth by reducing tartar build up and keeping their breath smelling fresh at the same time (there’s nothing worse than a smelly meow right in your face).
I’d certainly recommend you incorporate these treats into your cat’s diet if you haven’t already.
How much should you feed your ragdoll cat?
For the average ragdoll cat, one standard 3 oz (85 gram) tin of canned wet food daily will provide them the nutrients they require to stay fit and healthy. It’s also recommended to give your cat access to a bowl full of dry food that they can access at their leisure.
Some bigger ragdolls – especially larger males – may require two tins of wet food each day (morning and night), however this is rare.
In most cases, one serving of wet food – coupled with dry food and a twice weekly serving of dental biscuits as well – should be plenty to keep your ragdoll at a healthy weight.
The main thing is that your cat receives their 20-40 grams of protein each day, depending on their size, to maintain muscle mass, along with some healthy fats.
How often should you feed your ragdoll cat?
Most ragdoll cats only need to be fed once per day, usually in the mornings. If you have an especially large ragdoll, you may need to consider feeding them twice per day, however this is a rarity. Typically, one canned tin of wet food and some dry biscuits once per day will be plenty.
I cannot stress how important it is to avoid overfeeding your cat.
While you may think you’re doing them a favour – especially if they relentlessly pester you to be fed – you’re actually doing the opposite.
Ragdolls are susceptible to a range of different health conditions including feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (thickening of the heart’s walls), dilated and restricted cardiomyopathy (dilated or weakening of the heart muscles), blood clots and gum disease.
Being overweight places extra strain on your cat’s heart and other organs and can put them at risk of these illnesses.
If you’re unsure about how much your ragdoll should weight to be considered in a ‘healthy’ range, read here.
Do ragdoll cats need a special diet?
Ragdoll cats require whole-meat-based foods rather than processed foods as they can be sensitive with their diet. You certainly want to avoid filler ingredients, such as grains, or anything high in sodium. Sticking to healthy, high moisture foods is best for your ragdoll.
If you’re currently feeding your ragdoll processed wet food that simply describes the contents as ‘meat’, rather than actually distinguishing what the meat is, then it’s time to change.
Whole, named-meat foods – such as chicken, tuna, beef or even organ meats – are best for keeping your ragdoll healthy.
They will provide the 60% of protein your cat should be eating in their diet, along with the 30% of good fats.
Ensuring your ragdoll also has access to dry biscuits, such as the Purina Fancy Feast kibble, will give them their necessary serving of carbohydrates, too.
What you feed your ragdoll cat is extremely important, as their diet has a significant influence on their health.
Provided you stick to canned wet food that comprises whole meats, small servings of dry food and the occasional helping of dental biscuits – and avoid overfeeding – then your ragdoll should stay happy and healthy for a long time to come.