Ragdolls are supposed to be large cats. In fact, they are one of the larger breeds when it comes to cosmetic cats all over the world. The male Ragdoll can reach up to 20lbs, and while the female Ragdoll isn’t nearly as robust, she’s still a large cat compared to females in other breeds.
If your Ragdoll looks a bit on the small side, especially if you have a male Ragdoll. Besides the blatantly obvious issue of underfeeding, Ragdolls take a long time to reach maturity, and it’s entirely possible that you simply got the runt out of the entire litter.
Ragdolls fall under the medium to large breed category or, at least, that’s how the feline-minded at the Cat Fancier’s Association choose to classify them. So if you get one that is small for the breed, you may have been expecting a large cat and got a medium instead.
Reasons Your Ragdoll May Be Small
The average weight for Ragdolls is not precise but falls into a set of numbers. For instance, male Ragdolls have an average weight of 15-20lbs. However, there is a small number for known and/or determined weights as well.
For males, anything under 10lbs is considered to be small for a Ragdoll. For females, anything under 8lbs is considered small.
The runt of the Litter
There is no definitive classification for what is or is not considered a “runt” of the litter. Some would like to narrow the definition down to that of a “sickly” animal, while others simply stick with “too small” or “socially detached.”
If your Ragdoll doesn’t meet the standards in terms of the average weight of a Ragdoll cat. It might be considered the runt of the litter.
However, you and your Ragdoll’s vet can only ascertain if its size is directly related to a health issue or something deeper.
Health issues can stunt a cat’s growth. However, it’s not the most likely culprit, and the article discusses this more thoroughly below.
Newcomers to Ragdoll ownership may not realize that it can take up to five years for your Ragdoll to reach full maturity. So if yours looks a little small at two years of age, there’s nothing altogether worrisome going on, as it has simply not reached its full growth yet.
It all depends on the Ragdoll and how quickly your Ragdoll grows. Some Ragdolls may reach their full maturity quickly, say, two and a half or three years. Others may take every single minute and second of five years to get there.
If you’re a first-time Ragdoll owner, three years have passed, and you’re concerned about your Ragdoll’s growth, take it to the vet. Anytime you are concerned about something regarding your Ragdoll’s overall health and well-being, don’t hesitate to ask your vet.
That’s what they are there for, after all. If everything checks out, it just means that your Ragdoll is taking its time to reach full maturity. Or, it could mean that your Ragdoll will be on the small side.
While there could be something medically related going on, it’s not highly likely, or you would probably see other, more distressing signs that something is wrong. However, it’s also not something that you can write off.
A Ragdoll with a stunted growth rate will have medical challenges of its own, so it’s something that you should spend time relating to your veterinarian, and they will tell you what the best steps to take are.
Parasites are not generally going to cause any growth problems with your Ragdoll. However, parasites will reveal themselves in other ways, and you will discover that your Ragdoll has them if you routinely give its stool a look.
It’s hard to ignore your cat’s stool anyway, especially if you are the one that is scooping its litter box. You will typically find dead worms in the stool, blood, or dark and tar-like stool that indicate there are parasites in your Ragdoll’s gut.
The best way to deal with them is to talk to your veterinarian and likely follow up with a dewormer to kill and push out the nasty little invaders.
A Ragdoll’s diet should consist of around 75% to 80% wet food, with the remainder as dry food. They also eat more than once a day, as you should never feed them their entire daily food servings in one sitting. That’s a recipe for digestive problems.
Since cats are primarily carnivorous, though they will eat vegetables, their meals should consist primarily of meat, with plenty of protein, especially when they are younger and far more active.
You can tell if your Ragdoll has had its fill when you feed it for the last time. If it incessantly licks its bowl after you feed it, it is still hungry. On the other hand, if your Ragdoll moves on after its last meal for the day, then it’s satisfied.
Underfeeding your Ragdoll won’t necessarily stunt its growth, but it will potentially slow it down and cause other issues. Therefore, you should always feed your Ragdoll the appropriate amount of premium, healthy food each day.
What Do You Do if Your Ragdoll is Too Small?
The most important thing you can do is stay in contact with your vet.
You may have simply ended up with the runt of the litter and, although there isn’t much evidence that being a “runt” is a medical challenge for cats, make a routine out of going down and getting a semi-annual checkup.
Your Ragdoll’s health is always important, whether it has reached its full growth potential, so these routine checkups should be nothing more than what you usually do.
The occasional problem with runts is that their development has undergone some sort of deformation. But, of course, this is probably not something you could categorize as “runt” since it is a clear medical condition.
However, what most people would consider being a runt, also happens to have deformation issues, such as missing or fused organs that don’t function correctly. So if your Ragdoll ends up with this condition, it’s even more important to stay on top of its medical needs.
Missing organs means that there has to be something to replace what that organ would normally do, so your Ragdoll will probably be on some medication it will have to take every day.
A true runt that is deformed in some way will have a lot of challenges ahead of it, both medically and physically.
So it will be challenging to take care of one in the years ahead and will, in all likelihood, never reach its full growth potential.
For the most part, however, the problem with your Ragdoll’s size is probably the fact that it takes this breed so long to grow or that you have a female Ragdoll without the knowledge that females simply don’t get as big as the male Ragdolls.
It’s an especially concerning issue for first-time Ragdoll owners, and most likely, your Ragdoll is healthy and making its way, ploddingly, through to full maturity.