If big fluffy kitties are your thing, then a ragdoll cat will fill your cat cuddling needs nicely. There is a fine line between being a big cat and being a fat cat, though. Knowing the normal weight for your ragdoll and keeping him there also will keep him healthy.
Besides his long, silken hair and his gorgeous baby blues, one of the top characteristics that describe your ragdoll is his size. "Large" is exactly how the Cat Fanciers Association describes this mellow, loving breed. The normal weight for a male ragdoll can vary between 15 and 20 pounds, depending on the size of his frame. Females, although smaller than the males, still are larger than females of other breeds, weighing in at 10 to 15 pounds. The CFA notes that these big babies reach their full size and weight by age four.
Cats in general have the reputation for being finicky eaters. Your ragdoll cat might fit this description or may have a hearty appetite. Either way, providing an adequate supply of quality cat food as well as a constant source of fresh water are the basic necessities for feeding your big cat. In her book on ragdoll cats Karen Leigh Davis compares the value of canned versus dry cat foods for ragdolls, pointing out that dry food won't spoil like canned food can and can be left out all day to allow your ragdoll to eat whenever he feels hungry. However, Davis cautions that leaving too much dry food in your kitty's bowl may encourage him to overeat, resulting in a cat that is fat, not just fluffy. Her solution is to leave out only the recommended amount of dry food each day, based on the feeding guide on the food packaging. If you opt for canned food, whether because your big guy is picky about what he eats or because of a medical condition, remember to put the uneaten portion away after he finishes, storing it in the refrigerator and reheating it before serving it to His Majesty again.
Basic health care for your ragdoll is the same that you would expect for most cats. According to the Ragdoll Cat Guide regular visits to the vet and recommended scheduled vaccinations along with a healthy diet will go a long way towards keeping your ragdoll healthy. If your cat begins tipping the scales a bit more than he used to, taking measures to trim down his form is easier to accomplish sooner rather than later. The book "The Feline Patient" outlines manageable solutions to helping your ragdoll loose excess weight. Paying attention to the quality and quantity of food he eats is key, along with buying him reduced calorie food formulated for overweight cats and feeding him only the recommended amount. Limiting or eliminating extra snacks will cut the calories, too, and encouraging play to get your big boy to exercise will help burn stored fat.
Other Big Domestics
No matter where you look, ragdolls are on most, if not every, list of the biggest domestic cat breeds. "Cats for Dummies" lists them alongside impressive company, such as the Norwegian forest cat and the Maine coon. The CFA's Complete Cat Book notes that the Norwegian forest cat is a large, strongly built cat that can weigh up to 16 pounds. "Massive" is how the Maine coon is described coming in closer to the ragdoll's typical weight at 12 to 15 (and sometimes up to 20) pounds for males.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.