Ragdoll Cat Overweight – Or Is He?

Looking for reader feedback, pretty please!

Betty writes, “My eight-year old Ragdoll cat weighs approx. 15 lbs. His vet is concerned (as am I) that he not get obese. He cries for food often and after waking throughout the day. He eats only high quality canned food, as mentioned in your article. Some he likes are Wellness and Weruva. I tend to feed him frequently (3-4 X per day) to keep the peace. If I feed him less then approx. 9 oz. of food, he will not be happy. He also wakes me very early in the morning and relentlessly bugs me until I get up and feed him. I think he has food issues because before we adopted him he may have not gotten enough to eat on a regular basis. What is considered to be a good amount of food (ozs. of canned)? Thanks!”

So I asked Betty if she would send me photos of him – from the side and from a bird’s eye view.

“Thanks so much for replying to my questions re. Buddy’s food/weight.



buddy3Buddy gets no dry food, however I do give Buddy a few small freeze-dried chicken or salmon bits as treats (about 8-10 smaller than pea size) in one of two treat mazes which I got on your web site’s recommendation.  He loves them!”

While I am not a vet, I do not think this kitty is fat – I would have to feel him for sure, but he appears to even have a waist, especially in the last photo.  I know that often times vets inaccurately label Ragdolls as fat, but I also don’t want to that to be an excuse.

What say you?

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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. Hi All
    I took my 3 1/2 year old male Ragdoll “Monty” for his booster vaccinations today to the vet. He saw a female vet who he hadn’t seen before and she says he is overweight. I have had this for the last 3 years and more recently the vets we have seen have agreed that he wasn’t overweight and obviously were more familiar with the bread.
    I’ll admit he has gained a bit since last time he was weighed. He was 6.4 kgs today and was about 6.1 kg last time he was weighed but in mitigation he isn’t as active in the winter and isn’t going in the garden for his run’s as it is too cold. He is supervised in the garden and never goes further afield.
    I guess I’m just checking that people agree that he is not overweight (he will probably drop a few grams as he gets more active over the coming months. Do you think I should approach the practice owner and ask them to brief all their staff (vets) about the breed and the expected weight ratios or just put up with the uneducated to the breed telling me that he should be nearer to 5kgs!!
    Thanks for the advice!

    /Users/vanessa/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Previews/2014/01/21/20140121-155650/I1O3PyzJSku6PZSDh1sOIQ/IMG_6961.jpg

    1. Elizabeth says:

      Hi Vanessa,
      My Buddy’s vet clearly knows the breed, yet she felt he was overweight at approx. 15 lbs. I didn’t argue with her, but I did seek council here and got support and advice. Buddy is miserable when he’s hungry and I can’t bear to deny him what I feel is a sufficient, yet not excessive, amount of nourishment. Your “Monty” is certainly not overweight for a Ragdoll, in my opinion. Buddy’s vet is very skilled and kind, so I don’t want to leave her practice or risk insulting her. Good luck with this!

  2. Dementia Boy says:

    I don’t have much to add. I knew my Ragdoll was obese at 23 lbs. (the picture formerly used as my avatar), too thin at 17, and perfect at 19, based on the rib test. For visual aids, there’s only the weight chart. Only short-haired “models” are used on the charts. I’d love to do a parody of this chart, using a fluffy, blow-dried show Persian in ALL the aerial photos, from 1 (emaciated) to 7 (morbidly obese).

    Unless a vet *really* feels a cat, relying just on the scale weight or observation/gentle stroking of a cat may lead the vet to conclude erroneously that a cat is overweight. We know a 1 and an 8 when we see one (UNLESS it’s an unaltered fluffy male, and those protective jowls may deceptively suggest illusory weight problems). It’s the numbers in between that are problematic, unless you close your eyes and really feel the cat. But I want my vets to do this. Yes, of course, most certainly, decidedly, unquestionably, I will continue to do the rib test, but I don’t think my vets can understand my cats if they don’t feel through all that fluff. And that scares me.

  3. No need to worry hes an average,weight for a male Ragdoll.My vet works for Mercys crusade,so they do vet work at a more affordable cost.So he doesnt see a lot of Ragdolls.He told me the same thing please dont let your boys get any bigger,almost15lbs.He said Murphys fine but hes large enough for his bone structure ,Large rear or hind quarters.My baby Ceasar is 6 months old we call him chubby kitten,he was a runt of the Ragdoll litter,so small like a mouse at birth he looks halph of uncle Murphs size allready.I will watch his weight cause he luvs food,the other Ragdoll worries more about getting to go outside supervised of course!The baby looks slightly stocky cause his legs are shorter and still has a kitten head and face,but by next year im sure he will be at least 12lbs.His bone structure a little more petite than Murphy,Your cute boy looks perfect,same size as Murphy and most male Ragdolls Ive seen.Ive seen larger and smaller,but most about 15 lbs love him and feed him well and plenty of play no worry.Kisses to him from all of us.Bye Lisa

    1. Thanks for replying, Lisa. I can tell you know Ragdolls and appreciate the good words about my “Buddy”!

  4. Kate McTrusty says:

    Buddy doesn’t look overweight – let alone obese. He clearly has a waist (unlike my very large Caesar) and doesn’t have a chubby belly, either. Look how long he is…he’s just a big Ragdoll boy!

  5. Oh, and I forgot to add, your cat doesn’t look overweight at all. I think as long as you can feel their ribs, it is fine. My girl is very long and lean and the boy stocky and stout, both have fat pouches but I don’t think either is overweight.

  6. I have two eight month old raggies and I feed them one can each of wet food a day, with dry kibble to graze on. My boy is also always hungry and cries when I wake up and when i get home. The girl is less interested in food and in fact my boy finishes her food up when she has lost interest.

    I have just trained him to expect wet meals twice a day, as I have a full time job and that suits my schedule best. I definitely do not wake up in the middle of the night to feed them and they have never cried or expected it!

    1. Omg, I have the same problem with my male Blue Bicolor, Ragdoll named Nico. He just eats all of Anya’s food!
      Anya is my female Blue Mitted Ragdoll.

      However, both of my Raggies are a good weight.

    2. Janet Knowlton says:

      What size can are you giving them? How does one free feed one kitten but not the other? That is my current problem. I can’t lock one up because he pitches a fit and I think he is already mad at me for bringing home a kitten, even though he is a kitten himself!

      1. I do not give Nico and Anya wet food, only sometimes as a special treat only, because it makes them sick. However they are “in love” with it, lol!

        You should feed them both at the same time, but in different rooms. Have you tried that? That way the older kitten isn’t throwing a fit, but the younger kitten is still eating without being botherd.

        I do not feed Nico&Anya Blue Buffalo… I feed them something else. (The are eating Evolve). That’s also a good food.

        My mixed bred cats have Blue Buffalo cat treats.

        Blue Buffalo makes wet food and dry food and treats!

        Hope this helps!

  7. My Oliver is 7.5 month old and is already 13 lbs and is not fat at all. Your Buddy looks great. I’m guessing that my big boy will be well over 20 lbs!

    1. Evie Gregory says:

      My Gracie is the same age as Oliver, and she is 10.4 lbs. I know females are supposed to weight less than males, but I’m wondering if Gracie is too big for her age. She has gained a bit over a pound every month since I got her at 3 months. I’m wondering id she will continue to gain a pound every month for the next four years. Is that possible?

  8. No problem!

    Just send me an email and we can talk!

    Feel free to also ask questions!

    I luv talking about Raggies!

  9. I must have the only ragdoll that doesn’t really like to eat. I mean he doesn’t seem to hardly eat anything as he is only 18 weeks and I still free e feed him RC kitten 36. Not my first choice but haven’t switched him yet because I have given him a few cans of wet and it causes messy poo. Weighed him today after reading this article and he is 4.6 pounds and again 18 weeks old. I wish he ate more. 🙂

    Betty: I think your ragdoll looks great and not overweight at all! Handsome boy.

  10. Glad we are having this discussion! I don’t think Buddy looks fat at all. My almost 6 month old is probably 9 lbs. and he is always hungry.I have cut him down so he doesn’t get chunky. Food is such an issue as to how much! He only gets one small 3 oz can and a little kibble now. He looks huge for 6 months but not fat! We just got another kitten a couple days ago and he is always hungry too. What is it with this breed? Never had Ragdolls before these two and never had such a demand for food either! Both of them will eat anything! No way could I free feed these kittens. They would eat themselves into oblivion.

    1. The reason why most Ragdolls are always so hungry is because a Ragdoll grows for 4 years!

      And people could be feeding a low protein diet….


      1. Janet Knowlton says:

        Oh lord. I have to put up with this for 4 years?!!!! They both get high protein diets, grain-free. Instinct Turkey Single ingredient and Wellness CORE which the breeder had the newest kitten on.

          1. Janet Knowlton says:

            Awesome! I could use some advice! Thanks.

          2. Evie Gregory says:

            Hi H&K, I have a 7 & 1/2 month old Ragdoll, Gracie who is my first Ragdoll and I just weighed her yesterday and she is now 10.4 lbs. Her Mother was already 10 lbs at 6 months of age,so her Breeder said she would be a big girl too. Gracie gained 1 lb since last month, so I was wondering if she will continue to gain a pound every month until 4 years of age. Is this true? Also I hear of people feeding their cats freeze dried chicken and Salmon. Where can I get this, and is it made for cats?
            I Appreciate any and all advice.


          3. Evie Gregory, please email at: Nicoandanya@gmail.com

            If you would like advice.

            Thank you!

            Ps: H&K means “Hugs and Kisses”. My Internet name is Ragdoll Mommy, that is not my real name.


  11. Punkin's mom says:

    Hi Betty!
    I just got my first Ragdoll last year, but I have researched the breed off and on for a couple of years now. From what I read males Ragdolls are supposed to be big and 15 lbs. is actually on the small side. The other thing to consider is the fur. I don’t know how much Buddy sheds, but I am able to get a couple of golf ball sized wads of fur off of Punkin every week. That seems like a lot of weight to be carrying around. Punkin also looks about 2 inches bigger than she is because of her thick coat. Buddy looks beautiful and I don’t think that you shouldn’t worry about his weight. He could even gain a few pounds and still be purrrfectly adorable. 🙂

    Hugs to you and Buddy! Purrrs from Punkin! I hope you both have a purrrfect day! 🙂
    =^.^= ~Punkin’s mom

  12. Hi, Betty!

    I’m a new Raggie owner and I knowing what I do about the breed I agree that Buddy is not overweight at all. He looks very fit and healthy and appears to be the right weight. He might even gain a few more pounds and still be looking good!

    My Pink Sugar girl is 13 months old now and weighs in at 15 pounds. She seems to be the purrfect weight for her size. She’s a big girl (like her daddy!). 🙂

    Big hugs to you and Buddy!

    Patti & Pink Sugar 🙂 <3

  13. All of your positive comments are so relieving for me to hear! I want Buddy to be his optimal best (health wise). We already feel he’s the “best” in every other way. He’s a good, sweet boy. But, then, what Ragdoll isn’t?

    Jenny, thanks very much for posting this issue. Glad to know I’m not the only one concerned with diets for our pals.

  14. He doesn’t look fat to me at all! Vets often mistake Ragdolls for being fat or obese. My Blue Bicolor male Ragdol, named Nico. His vet told me that he is a little chubby. I agreed with her at the time, however he only looks fat when he sits down or lays down. But he looks fine from above.

    My Blue Mitted female Ragdoll named Anya, is only 13lbs and is a perfect wight!

    Nico is only 14lbs!

    Your Ragdoll looks like a big ol’ healthy boy!

    Hope this helped! 🙂

  15. He doesn’t look particularly overweight, much less obese, to me. My three ragdolls are very different. My girl is obese, and I am struggling to cut her down, one of my boys is borderline and the other is perfect. Cats are all different in terms of eating and exercise levels. My seal boy (the perfect weight) chases everything from morning to night, whereas my girl likes to lay on top of toys and purr.

    If your boy is psychologically challenged with regard to food, you have the option of increasing his play levels rather than cutting his food down. Treats are the hard things to regulate, as they become used to how much you give them. Provided they are the freeze-dried pure chicken/beef/fish variety the calories won’t be as horrendous as other commercial offerings.

    My vet suggested that an indoor, moderately active ragdoll should have around 275-300 calories per day, depending on the build. One of my boys is very long legged, big boned, so I try to keep him towards the top end. My smaller boy I keep to around 250-275, and to try and trim my girl down, I am working towards 240-250 (including treat calories).

    Finding the caloric values in canned food (and some grain-free kibble) can be difficult, but your vet will have this information so if you struggle to find it, ask him/her.

    The other option is reducing the amount of feeding times. As 3 month kittens I fed mine every 6 hours. Now they are 2@ 28 months and 1@ a year old they are having three meals + treats per day, with a handful of grain-free kibble down as a grazing snack for my seal point.

    Hope this helps. 🙂

  16. He doesn’t look fat to me – my Ted is fatter than that, he is around 15lbs which is pretty normal for a male. If a vet hasn’t seen a Ragdoll before they will think they are heavy, my vet says he sees more 6 pound cats not over 6 kilos like Ted. I told him Ted is a big boy and he’s meant to be! My skinny friend has skinny Siamese and all 4 of her cats wouldn’t make one Ted! That dropped belly that sways when they walk if common for neutered males and has nothing to do with their weight.

  17. I’m no vet, but from looking at those pics, it doesn’t appear that he’s overweight. If a vet says 15 lbs is obese for a Ragdoll, he/she isn’t familiar with the breed. They are one of the larger breeds of domestic cats and males can reach healthy weights of 20+ lbs. My male kitten is 8 months and a little over 12 lbs and he’s not “fat”. There’s a lot of cat under all the fluff. My 1 yr old female is just over 11 lbs. Both of each of their parents weighed in the mid to high teens, with the father close to 20 lbs. Based on discussions with the breeder and her experience with kitten sizes, my female will probably top out at 14 lbs or so whereas my male could easily hit 20 lbs when he’s fully grown. If Buddy starts bulging out when viewed from above or gets a big belly flap that sways when he walks, then I’d start getting concerned. Right now he looks to be a big big healthy boy!

  18. My Neo looks fat, but the vet has told me that for a raggie, he is stocky/big boned and super fluffy. I guess as long as you can feel their ribs without applying much pressure, their weight is okay. He also doesn’t have that “pooch” on his underside that a lot of overweight cats get. As for being a little beggar for food, my female, Seven, does this constantly. I ignore her most of the time and eventually she gives up. Sometimes the eventually is a long time, but I stick with it. The only time I usually give in is when she wakes me in the middle of the night. I give the 2 of them a bit of dried food, take a bathroom break and go back to bed.

    1. Yes, Cindy. I have been trying to hold out until meal time. I’ve been attempting to distract him with play, etc. We do, however, get up sometimes as late (early?) as 3:30 a.m. for a snack.

    2. Mary Montgomery says:

      The “pooch” you reference has nothing to do with overweight. It’s called the primordial pouch, and is very normal, and actually required as a standard for some breeds. It’s also common in wild great cats in the wild. It assists in stretching when they run, fat storage when needed, and protection of vital organs in fights with other animals. Hope you found this educational.

  19. Buddy isn’t fat at all, he looks perfect to me as far as looking at the photos. Maybe it will help to play with him before feeding so he isn’t asking you for food all the time. Cats have a routine play/hunt, eat, groom, and then sleep.

    1. Thanks, Jo. Good suggestion about playing with him before meals. I usually play with him after, thinking to perhaps work off some calories. But I’ll try playing first.

  20. Ragdolls are larger than other breeds, he is just fine, especially being male. My female is 14 pounds, which is in the healthy range for female ragdolls. This boy could probably put on a few pounds and still be A-ok!

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