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-- Caring for Your Ragdoll Cat

The Ragdoll cat breed is often referred to as the low maintenance cat breed. Ragdolls need to be cared for like any other cat; however, they do not suffer problems other purebred cats frequently encounter. Ragdoll cats have a thick coat that you might think caring for a Ragdoll would be a lot of work; however, because the cats do not have an undercoat, grooming is a snap. Unlike the Persian and Himalayan breeds, their fur does not mat and only requires brushing to remove loose fur. Regular brushing significantly reduces shedding on your furniture and the frequency of hairballs on your hardwood floors. Ragdoll cats are a hearty breed and generally do not have any medical problems. Some breeders do not recommend giving your Ragdoll cat live vaccines; however, you should consult your veterinarian before making a decision against vaccination. Ragdoll cats are trusting to fault; because this could lead to injury it is extremely important to keep your Ragdoll cat indoors at all times. Cats that live exclusively indoors have been proven to live longer and have better health than cats that are allowed to venture outdoors. Keeping your cat indoors can add as much as ten years to your Ragdoll’s life. Letting your cat go outside exposes him or her to cars, dogs, parasites, and evil children.

-- Common Myths

Fairy tales and folklore tell us cats love to dine on milk and fish, and that any cat worth her whiskers needs at least one catnip mouse to chase when the live ones are not around. Although these century-old stories always stir up warm images of contented cats, many of these "truths" about feeding and nutrition are myths. And, some are downright harmful to your Ragdoll companion.

Myth: Cats Crave Fish

Fish is a good source of protein and other nutrients, but too much fish in a cat’s diet can be harmful. Tuna is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and requires substantial amounts of vitamin E to preserve the fat. Cats fed a diet containing excessive amounts of tuna can develop steatitis, also known as yellow fat disease.

Myth: Cats Need Milk

It is a heart-warming image: It’s cold outside, a warm fire is blazing in the fireplace and your cat is lapping up cream from a saucer. But milk products may cause digestive problems a few hours later. Milk is a good source of water and energy-producing carbohydrates, but it does not contain all the other nutrients a cat needs to stay healthy. Many cats are lactose-intolerant - they don’t have the enzyme that digests lactose, a milk-sugar component of milk. Drinking milk can cause loose stools and diarrhea, which strips liquids and nutrients from you cat’s system. Milk does not have a place in a cat’s diet and should be avoided.

Myth: Dogs & Cats Can Eat the Same Foods

It’s a common feeding situation - dogs and cats sharing the same household and eating out of each other’s dishes. However, dog foods are developed for the nutritional needs of dogs - not cats. Cats are strict carnivores and they require a higher percentage of protein, B-complex vitamins, preformed vitamin A, taurine, and arachidonic acids. A cat can become seriously ill if its diet is deficient in these nutrients. Dog foods and cat foods are not made equally, and therefore, should not be shared.

Myth: Diets in Low Ash Can Prevent Lower Urinary Tract Disease

"Ash" is an umbrella term that covers a number of minerals - including magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, copper, and zinc - that every cat needs to maintain good health. The misconception is that decreasing the amount of ash is what helps prevent urinary tract diseases . . . but what is really known, is that only the reduction of magnesium may be effective.

Myth: Cats Need Catnip

The smell of catnip leaves - an herb that grows throughout North America and Europe - can arouse intense interest in about half of all cats. Catnip is not essential to your cat’s diet or well-being, though. Catnip is actually a hallucinogen that can induce short-term behavioral changes like sniffing, chewing, rubbing, rolling, meowing and near delirium in those cats that like its smell. Some cats chase phantom mice in the air or just sit around and stare into space. Catnip is not addictive, and is not really harmful to your cat; but, it’s not needed to keep your cat healthy and happy.