Ragdolls are renowned as one of the largest cat breeds in the world – so, naturally, when a kitten doesn’t grow to their expected size, it can be cause for alarm for owners.
At their biggest, Ragdolls can weigh up to 20 pounds but can be as light as 10 pounds upon reaching adulthood, especially if they’re female.
But what are the main reasons behind some Ragdoll cats being ‘small’? And should you worry about it?
If Ragdoll cats grow to be smaller than normal, it’s often the result of either genetics, diet, health issues or their environment. As long as your Ragdoll is healthy, is being fed regular nutritious meals and has a comfortable, safe environment to live in then you shouldn’t worry about their size.
Like all species, Ragdolls will vary in weight, length and height and some may be smaller than others despite being perfectly healthy.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the possible reasons for your Ragdoll’s small size, what you can do to help them reach a healthy weight, and when you should be concerned and seek professional advice.
What is the average size of a Ragdoll cat?
The average Ragdoll cat is typically 17-21 inches (43-53 centimetres) in length and weighs between 10-20 pounds (4-9 kilograms), with males tending to be larger and heavier.
Of course, this will vary between individual cats – some may be larger and heavier than this, while others could be smaller and lighter.
I’ve written a complete guide about Ragdoll sizes in another article, which I definitely recommend you read.
Reasons why a Ragdoll cat might be small
There are several explanations for why a Ragdoll cat may be smaller than average. Below, I’ve listed the most common reasons.
One of the most common reasons for stunted growth in Ragdoll cats is due to health issues.
Some potential health issues that can affect your Ragdoll’s growth and development include:
Dental problems: If your Ragdoll is experiencing pain or discomfort while eating, they may not be getting the nutrition they need to grow and thrive.
Parasites: Intestinal parasites can cause your Ragdoll to lose weight and appear smaller than they should be.
Chronic diseases: Chronic diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease can affect your Ragdoll’s appetite and lead to weight loss.
If you suspect your Ragdoll cat may be experiencing health issues that are causing them to be smaller than average, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian.
They can help diagnose any underlying health issues and recommend appropriate treatment.
Another factor that can affect your Ragdoll’s size is genetics.
Ragdolls come in a variety of types, including Seal, Mink, Lilac, Blue, Flame, of all which have slightly different characteristics to one another – size being one of them.
Additionally, if your Ragdoll’s parents were particularly small or large, this may influence how big they will grow as they enter adulthood as well.
A Ragdoll’s diet can also influence their size and weight.
If your cat isn’t receiving adequate nutrition, they may not grow and develop as they should.
When it comes to feeding your ragdoll cat, it’s important to choose a high-quality, balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs.
Your veterinarian can also recommend an appropriate diet based on your cat’s age, weight, and activity level to give them the best chance of growing to their expected size.
The environment in which your Ragdoll lives can also affect their growth and development.
Cats that are stressed or anxious may not eat or drink enough, which can lead to weight loss.
Additionally, if your Ragdoll isn’t afforded enough space or stimulation – which can be the case if you live in an apartment, and don’t provide them the right toys and comfort items – they may not grow and develop as they should.
To help your ragdoll cat reach a healthy size, it’s important to provide them with a suitable and enriching environment.
This includes plenty of space to play and exercise, as well as toys and other forms of stimulation to keep them mentally and physically active.
Should you be concerned if your Ragdoll cat is small?
If your Ragdoll cat is healthy and active, and their small size is not due to an underlying health issue, there’s likely no reason to worry. However, if you’re concerned about your cat’s size or weight, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian.
They can perform a physical exam and run any necessary tests to ensure your Ragdoll is healthy and not experiencing any underlying health issues that may be contributing to their small size.
Ways to help your Ragdoll cat reach a healthy size
In almost all instances, you can’t influence how big your Ragdoll cat will grow – it’ll be determined by their genetics.
However, there are some steps you can take to give them the best possible chance of growing up healthy and strong, and reaching their full potential.
I’ve outlined them below.
Provide a balanced and nutritious diet
Choose a high-quality cat food that is appropriate for your Ragdoll’s age, weight, and activity level. Feed them the recommended portion sizes, and avoid overfeeding.
Ensure plenty of exercise
Encourage your Ragdoll to play and exercise regularly to keep them active and healthy. Provide them with toys, scratching posts, and other forms of stimulation to keep them mentally and physically engaged.
Monitor their weight and body condition
Keep an eye on your Ragdoll’s weight and body condition to ensure that they’re healthy and not underweight or overweight. I’ve detailed some methods to assess your cat’s body condition in another article that I recommend you read.
Provide a comfortable and enriching environment
Give your Ragdoll plenty of space to play and exercise, as well as comfortable places to sleep and relax. This will help develop their muscles and coordination as they grow.
In summary, there are many reasons why a Ragdoll cat might be smaller than average, but for the most part it simply comes down to genetics – and if your cat is happy and healthy, there’s nothing to worry about.
If you’re concerned about your cat’s size or weight, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian.
Otherwise, it might just be time to accept your Ragdoll’s smaller size and love them for how they are, regardless if they’re the ‘runt’ of the litter!