We know you love your Ragdoll Cat (Maybe more than your kids? Don’t worry, we won’t judge!). You want him looking and feeling his best throughout his life. Diet is essential to your cat’s health. You could spend a small fortune feeding him the highest quality, locally-sourced, raw fish, but don’t worry – you don’t have to! Many choices are nutritionally balanced and won’t break the bank.
All cats need certain elements in their diet, including:
• Fats and fatty acids such as arachidonic acid
• Amino Acids such as taurine and arginine
• Vitamins and Minerals such as Vitamin A and Niacin
All foods specifically designed for cats will contain an adequate mix of these elements. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has determined minimum requirements. Check for their stamp on food labels.
Some brands market foods specifically for Ragdoll Cats, but research suggests these foods don’t make a significant difference in your pet’s health.
If you thought that the 2016 political race was fraught with arguments, get ready for the debate on cat food ingredients!
The good news: all food must meet certain standards. When choosing food, consider your values, your budget, your Ragdoll cat’s preference, and the advice of your vet.
Protein is the most important ingredient, especially for a large breed like the Ragdoll Cat. Most vets agree that animal proteins such as meat, chicken, and fish are preferable to plant proteins.
Budget allowing, you should opt for food that includes real protein sources over those that contain “meal” or “by-products.” Many pet owners like to feed their pet a grain or gluten free diet, believing that these ingredients are bad for a Ragdoll cat’s digestion. Don’t worry, Garfield – this isn’t necessary if your Ragdoll cat doesn’t have a grain or gluten allergy.
And don’t forget taste! Even the highest quality foods aren’t worth it if your Ragdoll cat won’t eat it.
Wet Vs Dry Food
Whether you feed your Ragdoll cat wet or dry food is also a matter of preference.
- Dry foods are easier to prepare than wet foods and allow a Ragdoll cat to use his teeth.
- Wet foods have a higher moisture content. This is important for Ragdoll cats that don’t drink as much on their own and to maintain proper kidney function as your Ragdoll cat ages.
- A mix of wet and dry food will ensure a right balance for your Ragdoll cat.
Stage of Life
Just like humans, Ragdoll cats require different nutrition at various stages of life. Your sweet baby needs different food than your seasoned feline in his golden years.
- You should feed your kitten a formula designed specifically for kittens. This will meet all the nutritional needs for your growing friend.
- Because Ragdoll Cats reach maturity later than other breeds, you may want to keep your cat on kitten food longer. Most cats make the switch around 4 to 5 months, but some vets suggest keeping Ragdolls on kitten food up until 9 months. Discuss this with your vet.
- Senior Ragdoll cats also have different needs. Many companies make food specially designed for older cats which you might consider depending on your Ragdoll cat’s health.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Cat
Indoor Ragdoll cats will typically not get as much exercise as outdoor Ragdoll cats and will need fewer calories per day to keep those love handles at bay. Many companies market food especially for indoor Ragdoll cats, but these foods Ragdoll can contain fillers and lower-quality proteins.
Regardless of what you chose, make sure your Ragdoll cat is getting the proper amount of food to encourage a healthy weight. Refer to the package instructions or ask your vet how much you should be feeding your pet.
While there are many options for feeding your pet, the choice doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The most important factor is choosing a nutritionally balanced food that fits your budget and your Ragdoll cat’s taste. Your vet can help you decide what food is best for your Ragdoll cat’s specific needs.