Ragdoll Cat with a Sensitive Stomach

Need reader help!

I rec’d the following inquiry from Ashley, owner of two 1-year old Ragdoll cats, Briggs and Mitt.  I am posting this message with Ashley’s permission to see if readers have greater insight on how to help.


I’ve asked for your help with one of my now 1yo male Ragdolls who has a sensitive stomach.  It has taken almost 10 months to stop the soft/runny poos.  After talking to Holly Jacobs and discovering that he cannot have chicken or salmon in any foods (which significantly limits what he can eat), I have began feeding both of my Ragdolls 2 cans of wet food with just a little dry food for snacks when I’m not home.  My greatest fear is that I’ll be stuck somewhere, and they’ll be hungry.  The one with a sensitive stomach, Mitt, is also infamous for not peeing much at all.  Before the wet food, he would go 24-36 hours between pees.  In the beginning I was able to put quite a bit of water in his wet food, but he has rejected that.  I think they would probably transition to all wet food fine, but I have one major concern… How do I ensure that each cat gets enough wet food?  Neither one will eat a whole small can at one feeding.  If I leave the remainder out, Briggs is more than likely to eat Mitt’s leftovers.  Mitt is the one who desperately needs the additional moisture.  He will not drink water.

Briggs and Mitt
Briggs and Mitt

Mitt and Briggs are from the same cattery.  When I got them, the breeder said to feed them Royal Canin kibble. She also said Ragdolls don’t do well on wet food.  Since then, she now feeds her cats Life’s Abundance.  So, for feeding, I feel like I’m on my own.  I have tried several different dry foods for my problem boy, Mitt.  When I switched to the higher-end foods without grains, he drank less water than he ever had, which was not much, to begin with.  I assume it’s because the better foods have less sodium which decreases thirst drive.  Briggs has done fine on all foods and continues to drink some water.  He also pees at least 2 times a day.  Mitt, on the other hand, only pees once a day (if that).

After reading everything I have about the dangers of dry food, I think wet food is probably the best option.  However, my complicated Mitt has had an allergic reaction to something.  He gets itchy bumps on his genital area.  The first time it happened the vet gave him a depo injection. He responded quickly (and I thought it was a done deal).  About 7 weeks later,

Briggs on top and Mitt inside
Briggs on top and Mitt inside

the bumps returned.  He had another depo injection, but it didn’t agree with his system.  Even though it is a steroid (which is just for animals), he had much less energy, hunger, and thirst drive.  It took about 4 weeks for him to return to his old self.  Since I don’t know what is causing the bumps, I’m terrified they’ll come back.  And, he can’t have chicken or salmon in his food.  In addition, both boys only like minced/sliced canned foods.  They dont like pate texture.  I’m very limited as to what I can feed them.  It’s basically Wellness Tuna Pouches and Wellness minced and sliced turkey.

I am consumed with making sure Mitt is eating, getting enough water, and peeing.  I feel like I can’t enjoy them for the constant worrying.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I’m just at a loss and desperate for them to do well so I can love and enjoy them.  The worrying is tearing me down.

Thank you for your help!


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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. I am getting a ragdoll cat, but i heard on a facebook group that their ragdoll cats had strange stomach problems and their poop was “soft”
    is this true with all ragdolls, like is it in their genes?

    1. No – nothing is really true to a breed. I would think any stomach issues could be resolved with the proper diet. Please read catinfo.org to learn more about feline nutrition.

  2. My cat, Miss Muffin just recently developed explosive diarrhea. I switched her wet food several months ago and my vet thinks she may have developed an allergy to a pork or fish protein in the wet food. She is on a course of antibiotics for 5 days and steroids for 14. I don’t see much of a change at this point but I have switched her wet food and she is now eating a lamb based grain free wet food which she seems to take or leave. I don’t want to subject her to a lot of unnecessary tests (endoscopy with biopsy) especially if (IBD) looks like a duck, walks like a duck and poops like a … well, you get the idea. Miss Muffin, is my most sensitive of my two ragdolls and I’m trying to research and work closely with my vet to get her normalized. I think one of my biggest questions is about grain free feeding which I’ve had both my cats on since I brought them home. I know chicken and rice does well to bulk up stool in dogs and some cats but I’m wondering how the reintroduction of grains would affect my cat. My vet is not on board with her eating grains. I also wondered about introduction of probiotics. I see that someone posted that her cat did well on probiotics but my vet says the jury is still out on its effectiveness. If anyone has any thoughts/comments specific to my concerns I’d love to heard from you. Thank you in advance for your input.

  3. Shirley….124.8 lbs, eh? I think he needs more fiber!! LOL

  4. Hi Ashley,
    My male ragdoll was diagnosed w/irritable bowel syndrome when he was 1 yr. old–now he’s 11 yrs. old. He threw up constantly and the vet thought it was food allergies–but finally after many tests he was put on Royal Canin High Fiber Diet (Low Calorie)–by prescription only dry food–you can get it from your vet–it’s the only food he tolerates and also he has to have methyl prednisone shots every 3 months and he’s fine–except the prednisone makes him gain weight–he weighs 124.8 lbs. but I think you should ask your vet–thanks! Good luck!

  5. All 6 of my cats eat only canned food and I very rarely see one of them drinking water, yet they have good size pee clumps in the litter box. I find most people who feed wet food only, whether canned or raw, find their cats don’t drink much from the waterbowl. Cats are dessert animals (no matter the breed, they all are the same at heart and stomach and …). Their physical make-up means that they get more water from their food than from their environment. They just don’t have the same thirst desire that we or other animals have to encourage them to drink as much from their bowls. @Lindsay mentioned Dr. Lisa’s site- http://catinfo.org . It is a great site about feeding a wet diet and she offers tips on transitioning that might be helpful in getting them to eat more variety.

    With Mitt only using the litterbox every 24 to 36 hours, how many litter boxes do you have and where are they located? Are they covered boxes? Are you absolutely sure he is not going any where else (a black light is a good way to check)? How often does he use the box to poop in? How often are the boxes cleaned? I ask because I wonder if what appears to be not having to go pee is actually a litter box problem which is very common in cats.

  6. Hi Ashley,

    Sorry to hear about the problem! I bet a raw diet would help but it can be difficult to manage that diet especially with a finicky cat. I recently changed my Raggie boys to a new dry food that they are doing very well on. I noticed positive differences within one week. Their coats are a lot softer and silkier, they drink more water, and one of my boys urinary issues has cleared up. It’s called “Young Again.” Unlike what is sold commercially, it is a very low carb food with the right balance of nutrients that reflect what a cat’s natural diet should be. I think the ingredients might work for you. You can Google search it to see what it is about and call their 800# to get further info and a free sample. Best wishes for this difficult problem to get solved!

  7. In my search to resolve various problems my guys were having, I ran across the suggestion of offering tuna water – from the cans we use – to get the cat to drink more. It is water and because it is salty, it makes the cat seek water. I did not try it because tuna makes one of my cats throw up and go bald – even though he loves it and I know he would find a way to get it.

    Andy does not drink enough water either (he ignores the fountain and bowls). I use one of those liquid medicine syringes to squirt water into his mouth each night. He does not mind at all since he “chases” it with a Pounce treat (It is the only time he gets anything dry-food like. As a recovering dry food addict, it is all he can think about!).

    Good luck. Mitt is lucky to have a family that cares so much for him. I am sure you will find a resolution. Address each issue individually since they may not be related. Keep looking, there are a lot of people supporting you here.

  8. My baby bi-color girl always had the runs, and I kept trying different “dry foods” to stop the diarhea. What finally worked, I brought first the dry food version of “Natural Balance”, but only the L.I.D (Limited ingredients diet) I also purchased forti flora from this wedsite: http://www.probioticsmart.com/psc-points. Being that she was still a kitten I would sprinkle half on her food once a day to start. That started to clear up the problem. From this website I have read about how good the wet food is, so I been buying the “natural balance wet Food” they also have the limited ingredients on the can. It comes in many different flavors. What I get for her is the green pea and duck, green pea and venison, green pea and chicken, all of these are L.I.D. I have to alternate with the dry food and the wet food because im on a fixed income, so every other day it’s the wet food. With the dry Food I use only the L.I.D. with natural balance, and California Naturals grain free, which is also limited ingredients. It’s working perfectly for us. As far as drinking more water, there are several pet product w sites that sell liquid formulas that also aid with dental care, they entice the cat with flavors they like, so that they will want to drink more. We have a ceramic fountain,from etsy, that she drinks out of, she adores this fountain. I hope all works out for You and Mitt

  9. Try Natural Balance Green Pea and Duck….it really helped one of mine with this issue….even the others who didn’t need it liked it.It is an LID diet food.

  10. Hi Ashley. We are having a very similar problem with our Ragdoll. We adopted him about a year ago and he came from a very stressful and traumatic situation. He was only eating dry food when we brought him home. We are not sure if it was from the previous trauma or a health issue, but he had trouble digesting the dry food and would throw up a lot and drink very little water. The vet Switched him to Royal Canin Duck and Pea dry and he did slightly better with this. The vet then added Science Diet I/D moist (which I think is a poor quality food) to his diet and he stopped drinking water altogether. This concerned me even though he was still urinating. The only way I am able to get him to drink is to make him what I call “soup”. I take a shallow dish and sprinkle about 15 pieces of the Royal canin duck and pea kibble in the bottom and then put just enough water in the bowl to make the kibble float. (It looks kind of like a bowl of cereal that is almost empty with only a few bites left in a small amount of milk). It must be like flavored water to him. I know it sounds weird, but it works for him. And the water has to be room temperature as having it to cold bothers his tummy. I make this a few times a day for him and it can only be left down for a short period of time or the dry food will absorb all of the water and start to smell funny. I tried this with a different brand of dry food and he didn’t care for it. I did have to encourage him to try the “soup” in the beginning. He needed lots of pets and kisses and I even had to sing to him (which he loves for some reason). That gave him the stimulation to try it. Now he will often come to the kitchen and ask for us to make it for him.
    He can’t eat a lot of moist food at a time so I have to feed him several moist food snacks through out the day. ( we recently switched to Nature’s Variety moist Duck). He still seems to crave kibble so we leave a little down for him.

  11. Jill #2...LOL says:

    I have 3 Ragdolls, 2, 6 and 8 this year, plus three other cats going all the way up to 20 years old.
    Firstly, I absolutely concur with having a fountain or two for them to drink from. I used to have Drinkwells, but found that over time, even with complete cleaning, they just retained a musty smell. I bought and now use Pioneer Pet fountains and they love hem! All stainless steel so you can toss the parts right in the dishwasher to be sterilized. Of course, cleaning the pump is a must as well. I only give them bottled spring water too, so no smell or residue from tap.

    Secondly, I also agree with at least a partial raw diet. My 20 year old is in fantastic shape for her age and I truly believe its because I give raw food. I don’t do all raw, but everyone gets natural, grain free dry food in the morning, and raw at night.
    Understandable concerns about salmonella, etc, but as was mentioned, in the wild, they would be eating whatever they could and be fine. No animal has evolved to benefit from cooked meat. Sure, they can live on it, but its not really optimal as all the actual nutrients get lost in the cooking process.

    I hope this helps and your boy gets better! 🙂

  12. I forgot to mention that I have multiple water bowls placed in several rooms of my home. Some of them have tap water and some bottled water. I also have a fountain. Mitt drank from the Drinkwell 360 when he used to drink water but stopped drinking from it when he was on the Life’s Abundance cat food. Thank you all for the tips and advice!

  13. Ashley Where do you get your water from?. maybe it needs to be filtered, Try a water fountain they have them at pet smart or petco and my cats love theirs … I also put out a GINORMOUS bowl of water out and change it two to three times a day I find they get really curious and watch me and come and investigate … they also play with it too gets them interested in Drinking put it on a large tray to catch the splashing around .. I know this sounds like a pain but they dont get to go out get stimulated like we do so I try to think what could make them happy .My cats have a daily run in with the water bowl where they play and drink it has become a routine thing … Good luck Judy : ))

  14. I have been feeding our almost 2 yr old Ragdoll raw food for the past 6 mos and it is great. We use Bravo Balance. There are so many benefits to using raw food, his poops are well formed and ODOR FREE! They receive much more water through raw food so I don’t really worry about how much water he is drinking, there is certainly plenty of pee in the litter box. I switched from canned to raw after he had a urinary tract infection and I had done a lot of research on raw food. The Bravo Balance already has all the vitamins and supplements in it so you don’t have to add anything. I buy it frozen in 2# logs, defrost slightly and slice into patties, refreeze on a cookie sheet and store in a ziplock in the freezer. I take a patty out each time I feed him and it is ready (defrosted in the fridge) by the next feeding time. It really is very reasonably priced and well worth any extra effort when you think about the health benefits.

  15. Have you tried one of the water fountains for cats? being that he cannot have chicken does make it hard, when my 11 year old lady cat gets an upset stomach I give her chicken and rie which I make in the slow cooker for my pets sometimes, have you tried ny other seafood entrees with him, Tiki cat and Merrick make many different canned foods, my snugbug is a picky eater as well and liked both of those, is he interested in water at all? all of my cats love water, maybe put a water dish in several rooms so he will be more likely to drink? Also have you tried duck? My snuggles for a short time didnt do good with any food but holistic select duck meal and oatmeal I believe its called , sometimes if fed the same thing they get sensitivve to it is what I have noticed over the years.

    1. Cheryl Zander Lynch says:

      I don’t know about the food, but I highly recommend a water fountain. I bought one a few months ago for my 3, one of them being a ragdoll. All three are definitely drinking more.

  16. After struggling trying to find a good food for my IBD siamese cat, I finally realized that the foods found in pet stores just isn’t right for any of my cats. My cats are now on a BARF diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food). My IBD cat has gained weight, he no longer has an inflammed abdomen, and his poop is ‘normal’ again. His allergies have disappeared. My ragdoll cross is gaining weight she wasn’t putting on and is now 9 pounds instead of 7.

    Some vets will tell you of the dangers inherent in feeding raw meat to pets, such as salmonella, e coli, listeria, and other bacteria. On the other hand, the “Raw, Meaty Bones” diet was developed by a veterinarian, Dr. Lisa A. Pierson, who advocates raw diets for cats. Cats often eat day-old carcasses in the wild with no ill effects, but human-induced bacterial contaminants in processed meats can be problematical. I don’t buy their food from grocery stores, but my local health pet food store (Tailblazers) and my trusted butcher.

    For the water, I use a pet fountain that has constant running water. My cats are more likely to drink from moving water than stale water

  17. Our male Mink, Gary also has sensitive tummy issues. His seem to revolve around stress, however. We put him on MediCal Gastro to supplement his wet food, and it seems to have worked wonders. You can purchase this at most vet clinics. As well, we are lucky enough to have our babies go to a cats-only vet. If you have one in your area, I highly suggest it. They are specialized, and may have insight that other vets may not.

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