Breed-related disease: Ragdolls

In the family of cat breeds, Ragdolls are among the younger siblings. The cats were first developed by breeder Ann Baker who wanted to develop a beautiful cat with a loving, gentle personality, and she started with domestic longhairs of unknown ancestry. Josephine, the foundation cat, was white with Siamese-type markings, and in her genes she carried a seal mitted or black tuxedo pattern. The Ragdolls of today descend from Josephine and her son, Daddy Warbucks, as well as other unknown domestic longhair males. The Cat Fanciers Association began registering Ragdolls in 1993, and they achieved championship status in 2000.

Ragdolls are sometimes nicknamed “puppy cats” because of the way they follow their people from room to room, sometimes even taking your privacy from the bathroom. Unlike many cats, Ragdolls are notable for collapsing into the arms of anyone who holds them, even if they are cradled on their back. They love their people, greeting them at the door, following them around the house, and leaping into a lap or snuggling in bed whenever given the chance. They often learn to come when called or to retrieve toys that are thrown for them.

All cats have the potential to develop genetic health problems, both pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. Problems that may affect the Ragdoll include the following:

  1. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy : which is a condition in which a portion of the heart becomes thickened without an obvious cause. This results in the heart being less able to pump blood effectively. Symptoms vary from none to feeling tired, leg swelling, and shortness of breath and even sudden death.


  1. Blood clots: Ragdolls can be susceptible to blood clots in the arteries. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, lethargy and depression. Some cats may also faint. Treatment is available, but it is imperative to see a vet as soon as these symptoms appear.


  1. Dilated and restricted cardiomyopathy : Dilated cardiomyopathy is caused by the dilation of the heart muscles. Restricted cardiomyopathy is caused by weakened elasticity of the heart muscles. Both can be fatal and need to be detected and treated as soon as possible.