Now that you know you want a Ragdoll kitten, and are prepared to contact
a breeder, it’s a good idea to print this article off, and read it
carefully. Keep it handy for references.
Before you take your new kitten home, do you have a vet?
If not, ask around for referrals from your friends and relatives. Make
an appointment with the vet you choose (be prepared to pay for his time),
and talk to him about the care of cats and kittens. Ask him what he recommends
for food and vaccines etc. Your breeder will have certain ideas of how
he/she wants the kitten brought up, so make sure the breeder and the vet
have the same ideas about things. Vets are very good in diagnosing illness
and treatments, but sometimes breeders know more about raising kittens, especially
the breed they work with daily.
Ask him/her what he/she does to keep up to date with new discoveries in
feline medicine. Ask him/her to give you a tour of the entire hospital. Look
for overall cleanliness of the floors, counters, cages, and exam tables.
If you have any doubt, don’t use this vet. If you are in the same city
as your breeder, do use the vet the breeder does. Most times, a breeder will
have a good working relationship with their vet, and that vet will know something
about the breed.
Your breeder will have some instructions
for your kitten, as far as litter to use and food to feed. Please stick with
what the breeder is using. Changing food can upset kitty’s tummy and
cause loose stools. You don’t want the kitten to be confused about
the litter box, so use the same litter in his/her new home.
Litterbox: Buy a large size box, Your Ragdoll won’t stay small for
Food Dishes: Glass, stainless steel, or ceramic bowls
are the best. Plastic is not easy to clean, and may cause chin acne.
Medium Size Cat Carrier: It is VERY important
that you never take your cat/kitten out of the house, except in the carrier.
A scared cat can get away from anyone. The cat may be perfectly calm
as you leave the house, but if a car should backfire, or a dog bark close
by, it could startle the cat and the cat will panic.
ALSO, leave the cat in the carrier while driving in the car. A roaming
cat can get under the pedals of the driver, and cause an accident. If you
should be in an accident with your cat in the car, the cat will be safer
in the carrier.
Remember to use the carrier for bringing him/her to the Vets office.
Please do not let other people in the waiting room touch your kitten. They
are probably there with a sick animal. You don't want them to pass the
germs on to your kitten.
Put the carrier in the room with the kitten, and leave the door open so
the kitten can go in and out. If he/she sees the carrier all the time, and
is familiar with it, it won’t be such a hassle getting him/her in
it to go to the vets office, or other places.
Toys and Playtime: Playtime for a kitten is not only fun,
but also necessary for them. Ragdoll are very smart cats. He/she will need
things to keep him occupied when you are not there. While you are there,
he will probably be happy following you around, and "helping" you with your work. However, if
a kitten gets bored, they can find fun in the wrong places.
Cats are usually the most active first thing in the morning, and again
in the late evening. The favorite toys seem to be small, lightweight toys
they can carry in their mouths. Ragdolls learn to fetch easily. Take a small
toy or ball, and sit down on the floor with them. Shoot the ball about 3
feet away from you and when he runs to it, encourage him to bring it back.
If he doesn't, reach over and bring it back in front of you. Place it on
the floor and shoot it 3 feet away again. Soon he should get the idea.
Another favorite toy is DA BIRD. This is a stick with a string on the
end. Attached to the end of the string are three or so feathers on fishing
lure. When you wave it around, it spins, and sounds like a bird flying.
Please put this toy out of the reach of the kitten/cat when you are not
there to supervise play. Toys on strings can get wrapped around the kitten/cat
neck, and they can choke to death.
Bringing Kitty Home: For the first day or two, confine your new kitten
in one room of the house with his/her food and water bowls, as well as a
litterbox. Make sure the litterbox is as far away from the food dish as
This room should be where you want the kitten to feel most comfortable
in, preferably where you would always keep the litterbox. The kitten should
feel safe and secure, with lots of attention and re-assurance that he/she
Please do not invite the neighborhood in to see him the first day. It
is a big change for the kitten to leave his brothers, sisters, and Mom.
He may be a little cautious at first. Talk to him im quietly, and encourage
him to explore his surroundings. Put him in the litterbox every 15 minutes
or so and let him walk out of it himself. That way he will learn where it
is in relation to the room.
After this initial period, let you kitten explore the rest of the house,
but close doors to spare rooms, and bathrooms. You do not want to overwhelm
your kitten with too big a space to explore. Eventually, as and when he/she
gains more confidence, you can introduce other rooms for inspection.
Introducing Kitty to Your Other Pets: If you have other pets, such as
cats and dogs, you can expect a some fireworks at first. It is usually
not the kitten doing the hissing or growling, but the resident animals.
Naturally they are hesitant towards a "newcomer" in their home.
After your new kitten has been in it’s room for a while, take him/her
out, and let the other animals in. They can then sniff and get familiar
with the smell of the newcomer, without the threat of actually seeing it.
This will help somewhat when you are ready to introduce the kitty to them.
The time the kitten spends in his/her room, will also help him to pick
up the smells of your house, and not be so alien smelling to the other
When you are ready to bring the animals together, make sure you are with
them. Most adult cats that are not around kittens all the time are actually
afraid of the kitten, so most won’t attack the kitten as long as
the kitten doesn’t get too close. With dogs, you will have to be
careful, especially with the bigger ones, so they don’t overwhelm
the new kitten with their sniffing and large friendly tongues.
Feeding the Kitten: Most breeders will tell you to leave a bowl of dry
food and a bowl of water out all the time. Then, two or three times a day,
put out a dish (flat plate or saucer) of canned food if the breeder recommends
it. Start with just a few tablespoons at first and increase it if the kitten
seems to want more. Do not leave it out for more that a few hours. Kittens
will eat more one day than another, so don't worry if he turns his nose
up at it sometimes. They seem to eat more just before they go through a
It is important that you keep your kitten on a premium cat food. His/her
health, coat, and activity level will be much better on a good food. The
premium foods cost a bit more, but the kitten actually eats less of it,
because it is more nutritious. They also have smaller stools, (and less
smelly) because the food is being used, and not just going in one end and
out the other.
Do not change his food suddenly, or he/she will get diarrhea. If you HAVE
to change his/her food for some medical reason, do it gradually, adding
a little of the new food at a time.
Be sure to clean and refill the water dish at least daily. If you don't
wipe it out, it will get slimy on the bottom. It is best to keep the dishes
close to the kitchen sink. That way you will see it often, and can refill
it as needed.
Do not give your cat or kitten milk. It will cause stomach upset and diarrhea
in cats. Cats should drink water once they are weaned.
Litterbox Placement: If you want to take you kitten to bed with you at
night, you may need another litterbox for in your bedroom, if it is too
far away from the regular litterbox (especially if the bedrooms are on the
Kittens are like little children, and they may hold it as long as they
can, and then have to run for the box. You don’t want any mistakes
because the kitten was frightened to go downstairs alone.
It is best to keep it on the main floor of the house instead of down the
basement. A half bath or laundry room off the kitchen is best, or even a
back hall or den. If the litterbox is down the basement, it is too easy
to forget to scoop it out daily, and change it at least once a week. If
it is handy, you can go in and scoop it whenever you see the cat using it.
Also, by the time the smell of the box gets up to you from the basement,
it is pretty much throughout the house. If it is close by, you can smell
it when it first happens, and scoop before the smell spreads.
It is very important to keep the litter clean. Scoop the solids at least
once a day, and change the box at least once a week. Many people choose
to leave less litter in the box, and change it more often. Cats are very
clean animals, and the most common reason for litter box mistakes is that
the litter box is dirty.
Kitten Proofing Your Home: Take the time to go over your house much like
if you were going to bring a toddler into your home. Look for pins and
needles, very small; sharp objects, and most importantly, string and rubber
bands. Any kind of string is very dangerous to cats. Cats have little barbs
on their tongues, which point backwards, and help push everything down
their throats. If they start to swallow string, they can't spit it out
again. If they swallow enough of it, it can get tangled up in the cat’s
intestines, and the cat may have to have surgery to remove it.
Houseplants: are another thing to watch out for. Most plants are poisonous,
or at least an irritant to cats. Please move them to a room the kitten
can't get into, or hang them, being careful to watch for fallen leaves.
How to Tell if Your Cat is Sick: When kittens are new to a house, they
very often will sneeze quite a bit. They were raised in one environment
and only exposed to the allergens in the breeder’s home.
Kittens may sometimes play very hard one day, and sleep a lot the next.
It is the same with food. Some days you will not be able to fill them up,
and the next day they won't eat much. This is normal. If your kitten seems
very lethargic when he is awake for a while, or won't eat for several meals,
or if his nose is running and his eyes puffy or crusty, then something
is wrong with the kitten. Take his temperature if you know how, otherwise
ask the vet to show you how. Sometimes this is the only clue you have to
whether the kitten is sick.
At times your kitten may have loose stools. 99% of the time it is something
he ate. It could be a food he isn't use to, or it could be part of a plant
or a piece of a toy...the tails on the small furry mice you can buy in the
pet store are a favorite. I pull them off before I give them the toy. This
may also make him throw up a few times. If he does it, watch him for the
rest of the day. They can usually get it out of their systems in a few hours.
If it continues for 24 hours or more, you should take him in to the Vet.
If you have any questions or doubts, don't be afraid to call the breeder
before you take him to the vet. Sometimes it is something simple, and I
can save you a Vet. Bill.
Vacations: It is much better and easier on a cat to be left at home when
you are on vacation, then to be taken to the Vets, for boarding. It is
even better than taking him to grandma's house, or a friend place. Cats
don't adjust to new places as easily as dogs do. If you take your cat regularly
to grandmas, or your friend’s house, and he is comfortable there,
then that is fine. But for the most part, cats are happiest at home. If
you don't have someone who can come in and check at least once a day, then
ask your Vet if he can recommend someone to you. Or you can look in the
yellow pages under PET SITTER. They are getting easier and easier to find.
We hope you enjoy your Ragdoll Kitten.