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Ragdoll - breed information and advice

The Ragdoll is often likened to a teddy bear with its blue eyes, super-soft fluffy coat and calm, friendly ways,. A large cat, the breed acquired its name due to its tendency to relax and go 'floppy' when held. The Ragdoll loves human company and is very trusting.
If you are the owner of a Ragdoll or are considering getting one, you can take a look at our cat insurance policies to ensure your pet will receive the care they need in the case of an illness or accident.

Breed information


Colour: Ragdolls are a pointed breed (meaning they have a relatively pale body with darker markings on the face, ears, tail and legs). Colours include seal, chocolate, blue and lilac, with three pattern variations.

Coat: The breed has a semi long-haired, 'plush', silky coat (similar to rabbit's fur) that requires regular grooming to prevent knots or tangles.

Life span: Full maturity isn't reached until four years of age and life expectancy is usually up to 15 years.

Mouth and gum disease

Like most breeds, Ragdolls may suffer from gum and dental disease during their lifetime. Gum disease occurs when some (or all) of a tooth’s deep supporting structures become inflamed. This begins when food, bacteria and minerals accumulate along the gum line, leading to the build-up of a brown scale known as tartar. When this undermines the gum the condition is called gingivitis. Eventually, small spaces can form between the gums and the teeth creating pockets of space for bacteria to grow, resulting in what is known as periodontal disease. The bacteria from infected gums can spread around the body and damage the liver and kidneys. This condition can be prevented with basic routine care such as feeding cats dry food and brushing their teeth, helping them to lead a normal, pain-free life.


Mouth problems are the third most common illnesses we see in Ragdolls

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Respiratory tract disorders

The respiratory tract is divided into the upper (the nose, nasal passages and windpipe) and lower (small airways and lungs) sections. Like all cats, Ragdolls can suffer from cat flu, which affects the upper respiratory tract and causes sneezing and a nasal discharge. It is an incurable viral condition, but it is easily prevented by vaccination and the symptoms can be managed. Ragdolls can also be affected by a lower respiratory tract problem known as feline asthma, which occurs when allergies and irritants cause the lower airways (bronchi) and lungs to become inflamed and sensitive. Symptoms include coughing and wheezing. While many respiratory tract disorders are not curable, they can be managed with various long-term medications, including tablets, injections and even inhalers.


Respiratory system disorders are the fourth most common illnesses
we see in Ragdolls

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Heart disease

Heart disease in cats refers to when the heart’s structures aren’t working as they should be. There are two categories of heart disease: congenital (meaning the cat is born with it) and acquired (meaning the disease develops later in life). Congenital heart diseases include defects in the wall of the heart, abnormal valves and blood vessels. Ragdolls are prone to a disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which can lead to heart failure. Whilst this condition is not curable, it can be treated with lifelong medication.


We paid £2,348 to treat Alfie the Ragdoll for heart problems in 2016

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Gastrointestinal disorders

The Ragdoll, like all cats, can suffer from problems affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract is a long, winding tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus, with various twists and turns along the way. Conditions such as gastroenteritis caused by infections (like feline enteritis), poisoning or an obstruction within the bowel (due to the cat eating string for example) commonly cause vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Treatment depends on the exact cause, but prompt intervention usually results in a full recovery.


In our experience, Ragdolls are most likely to need treatment for

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Kidney disease

Cats’ kidneys are responsible for filtering the waste products from their blood into their urine. Ragdolls may be affected by kidney disease caused by infections, blockages, tumours or toxins (especially licking anti-freeze) as well as age related changes. Chronic kidney disease occurs when the kidney function deteriorates gradually over a period of time. Treatment depends on the cause and the extent of damage, but usually begins by flushing the kidneys using intravenous fluids, followed by special diets and medications. Unfortunately kidney disease is irreversible, but with the right support many cats can enjoy a reasonably normal life.


We paid £1,874 to treat Razzle the Ragdoll for a kidney disorder in 2016

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