Ragdoll Cat Color Changing Problem For Dr. Jenn and Floppycats.com Readers

Ego, August 2010
Ego, August 2010

Meet Ego.  He’s a Chocolate Lynx Point Ragdoll cat from Australia that now lives in Hong Kong with Ian.

Ego, September 2010
Ego, September 2010

Ian wrote to Floppycats.com and said, “My 2 year old baby is fading. Kis “points” were very dark. Then he moulted and shed a lot of hair (middle of summer). But now his points are being and not dark chocolate brown. He is otherwise healthy and happy and eating etc. The vet couldnt find anything wrong, No fleas or diseases. He scratched under his chin but not a lot. Any help most welcomed.”

So I forwarded his message to Dr. Jenn, who replied: “Theres probably some dilute gene in his pedigree coming through. They continue to shade for up to 3 years. Jenn”

Then I asked Ian to please forward photos.

When Jenn saw the photos, she replied, “Hmm- thats really dramatic. Did he mention what hes feeding? Jenn.”

Ian got a lot of responses from various folks on our Yahoo! Group and others:

“Its is probably hormone related or stress related…..Cats can shed extra and change color also from heat and weather.”

“He might have a low grade fever”

Ian is looking for additional suggestions if anyone can help! Please leave a comment below for Ian!

Here are more details.

Ego 24 Aug 2010
Ego 24 Aug 2010

He came from Australia in June where its winter – when it is 10 C (50F) there. His new owner had him for a month in June but he attacked her resident matriarch excessively so that’s why she decided to find him a new home. He was in an animal shelter for a few days before Ian got him. They also neutered him at that time and vaccinated him (routine procedure).  So it looked like this:

Breeder in Australia -> quarantine –> 1st HK carer and home –> Animal Shelter –> Ian (final and forever home).

I adopted him in the middle of July and he was fine for a month. Then in the middle of August he started to shed hair.

In Hong Kong, the summer really hots up in July and August to 33/34 C (91.4F/93.2F).

Ego - 14 Sep 2010 - Lost hair on Neck
Ego – 14 Sep 2010 – Lost hair on Neck

He started shedding a *lot* of hair (carpets covered in it). He lost loads of hair around his neck and was scratching and that’s why Ian thought frontline would be good for him (and the other 2 – though they have never had a problem with fleas). I took him to the vet a week after that and the vet gave him the all clear health wise but suggested changing his food to “hypoallergenic”. He didn’t really like that at all!

Ian took him to the vet a week later (as he was getting even paler) and they could find no pests or spot any sign of ill health – only his fur was wrong. That’s when Ian changed his food to another hypo allergenic type.

He has vomited some large fur balls – one was 3″ long and another about 4″ long. They were white, matted fur. Ian put him on fur ball temptations which also has a Vit B12 supplement in it.

Ego - Sep 20 - Neck Lost Hair
Ego – Sep 20 – Neck Lost Hair

He seems to have lost his “ruff” and a lot of hair around his neck and face. This fur went very “hard” and wirey but is growing back now and is very fluffy. His coat has taken on a beige appearance though his “points” are more gray than chocolate brown.

The two little ones do fight quite roughly and Ian also wonders if that has anything to do with his hair loss (from the trauma – though they are both clipped and there is never any blood or visible soreness even)

Ego - 14 Sep 2010 - Playing
Ego – 14 Sep 2010 – Playing

Since then he seems to have grown some fur back and his body is darker (beige instead of white). His ears still look “naked” and he has lost his ruff. Other than that he is happy, eating, drinking, sleeping and generally playful (well a lot playful really!). His “sister” Cha is 1 1/2 and they chase around the house playing tag, playing ball and fighting. They are really close and have started grooming each other which is so sweet.

Ian hopes the cool weather brings some resolution to this. His breeder says he will get darker and stay darker when he gets to the age of 4.

Ego 29 August 2010
Ego 29 August 2010

Ian is not so bothered about his colour but rather his health.  He wants him to be healthy and strong and live forever since he loves him immensely.

Thoughts?  Ideas?  More Questions?  Please leave a comment below for Ian!

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Mary Griffith Eldred says:

    my six year old ragdoll is doing the same thing. Nothing has changed in his life. I am worried sick!

  2. Hello,
    I moved Leopold (a year and a half year old) from Scotland to South Africa, it was winter in Scotland and summer here in SA!
    Leopold also shed and his darker colours became lighter. We took him to a vet who said he was 100% healthy. He also lost weight – about half a kg!! Which got us very worried but it all has to do with the huge adjustment to moving and climatising!!
    Now that we heading into winter here in SA Leopold is beginning to darken.
    I hope Ego is enjoying his new country!! Leopold definitely is!

  3. Following is an answer that I got from a very knowledgeable Ragdoll breeder and expert on a Ragdoll forum I visit regularly:

    “It could be explained by the heat sensitive nature of a pointed cat’s coat. Colder areas are darker and warmer areas are lighter. So, if it was very hot for some time, then that could cause the skin to be warmer and the coat would be lighter (just as a fever from some illness may lighten the coat). However, when the coat was lost and the skin temperature dropped to a more normal one, then the cat’s coat would DARKEN – even beyond “normal” darkness if the skin remained cooler than normal. That is not described, but it may just be too soon for it to start to show. (A pointed cat whose coat is shaved will lighten.)

    With no other symptoms of illness, the prime suspect would be the ambient temperature – and this effect does lag the events causing them. (I have seen this kind of report of drastic coat lightening in a seemingly healthy cat with another chocolate as well and it is possible that the already dilute color of chocolate pointed cats seems to lighten even faster than darker coats like seal.”

    Hope that’s helpful! : )

  4. I hope Ego is okay and that he stays healthy for a long long time! Feel better both Ego and Ian!

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