What health issues do Ragdoll Cats have?

By Jennie @ Ragdoll Cats World

March 23, 2022

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Ragdoll cats are a domestic cat breed that originated in the United States in the 1960s. They are known for their long lives and low occurrence of health problems. However, there are a few health issues that can affect them.

What Health Issues are Ragdoll Cats prone to?

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a disease that affects the heart muscle. This disease causes thickening of the heart wall, which makes it harder for the heart to pump enough blood. Symptoms of the disease include anorexia (lack of appetite), lethargy (inability to move around) and difficulty breathing. Coughing, fainting and weakness in the legs are also common signs. However, some cats may show no symptoms at all. Cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy usually do not survive past 10 years old. Males are more likely than females to develop the disease.

Researchers have identified the genetic mutation responsible for the development of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in the Ragdoll cat. Breeders should remove cats with this mutation from breeding programs. Cats identified with HCM should be removed from breeding. Therefore it is important to buy your Ragdoll kitten from a registered breeder who screens for HCM.

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Ragdoll Cat Health

Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic Kidney Disease is a hereditary condition. It is much more common among Persian cats than any other breed. Ragdoll cats are also prone to this disease. However, even though it is very difficult to treat, it does not mean that it is impossible.

Cats with polycystic kidney disease usually suffer from frequent urination, lethargy, appetite loss, weight loss, and weakness. Diabetes is also a common cause of these symptoms.


Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

Urinary tract infections (UTI) are one of the most common diseases in cats. A urinary tract infection is an infection of the bladder, kidneys, or urethra. It can cause many symptoms including a fever, pain in the abdomen, and blood in the urine. Ragdoll cats have a higher incidence of this type of bacterial disease compared with other breeds. Find out more about Urinary Tract Infections in Ragdoll Cats.

Ragdoll Cat Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)


Ragdoll cats also have a higher incidence of obesity than other breeds of cats due to their sedentary lifestyle. As they are largely kept as indoor cats they may not get as much exercise as a cat that is free to venture outside. This can lead to obesity, which is a major health problem in cats. Obesity can increase the risk of many chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. A slow feeder and plenty of playtime help prevent cat obesity. Playtime is also important for preventing other conditions such as feline dementia.


Dental Disease

Ragdoll cats can have a high incidence of periodontal disease, which is a type of gum disease. Dental disease can lead to tooth loss and other health problems. Severe cases of dental disease can lead to life-threatening diseases in your cat such as heart disease, kidney disease and even issues with their lungs and liver. Find out more about caring for your Ragdoll’s teeth.

Ragdoll Cat Teeth


Bladder Stones

If your Ragdoll cat has blood in its urine, vocalizing or crying in the litter box, straining to urinate, or urinating outside the litter box, it may have a bladder stone. You can help your cat avoid bladder stones and other urinary infections by encouraging her to drink lots of fresh water and scheduling regular checkups with your veterinarian.

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Digestive Problems

Ragdoll cats are prone to a number of digestive problems, including pancreatitis, diarrhea, and constipation. These problems can be exacerbated by the cat’s diet, so it is important to provide a high-quality diet that is tailored to the cat’s specific needs. Some things you can do to help your cat have a healthy digestive system include providing plenty of fresh water, and feeding kibble that is low in fat and high in fiber. Ragdoll cats are likely to experience hairballs so it is important to regularly groom your feline friend.

Ragdoll Cat Health


Arterial Thromboembolism – Blood Clots

Ragdolls with heart disease can be susceptible to blood clots. Some cats may experience difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, lethargy and depression when they are afflicted with blood clots in the arteries. Treatment is available, but it is important to see a vet as soon as these symptoms appear in order to receive the best care possible.


Feline Mucopolysaccharidosis

Less common is a rare genetic disease called Feline Mucopolysaccharidosis (FMS). This disease is caused by a genetic mutation and results in the accumulation of mucopolysaccharides in the cat’s tissues. Affected cats often have difficulty breathing, suffer from joint pain and eye problems, and experience progressive liver and heart disease. There is currently no cure for FMS, but treatment options include aggressive medications and surgery.


Ragdolls make great pets and provide a lot of love and happiness to their owners. However, like any other cat, they can develop health problems. Although ragdoll cats have a lower occurrence of health problems, they can still be affected. If you notice any signs of illness or injury, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

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Written by Jennie @ Ragdoll Cats World

I'm Jennie, the creator of Ragdoll Cats World. I have been owned and loved by Ragdoll Cats for almost twenty years after getting my first Ragdoll kittens, Huey and Choo-Choo back in 2003. They lived to the grand old age of 18 and 17 and they even made the move from London to Australia with me! We now have two Ragdoll cats, Violet and Ocean, and a Maine Coon cat named Eddie, and we love sharing our knowledge of all things related to Ragdoll Cats with you at Ragdoll Cats World!

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