Ragdoll Cats: How Long Will My Ragdoll Live?

by Rob on June 18, 2011

Many pet owners wonder how long their animals will live. The answer depends on a number of factors: genetics, your cat’s medical history, quality of veterinary care, environment, diet, and their activity level. There have been a number of veterinary advances over the past years that are allowing pets to live longer. A cat that is well cared for and kept inside on a good diet can live a healthy life of at least fifteen years.

Many cats live as long as twenty years and some live as long as thirty years. Genetics play a large role in how long your Ragdoll cat will live. Ragdolls are hearty breed and do not suffer from genetic defects. Some cat breeds that are selectively bred are more prone to illness and live shorter lives as a result.

Keeping your Ragdoll indoors at all times lowers the risk for disease and accidental death. Outdoor cats are at risk for accidental death from traffic, poisoning, or attack by another animal. Outdoor cats are also at risk from parasites and other diseases. Neutering or spaying your Ragdoll is one thing you can do that will improve your cat’s lifespan by reducing the risks for certain types of cancer.

Diet is another factor that affects your cat’s longevity. If overfed, your cat will be at risk for diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, liver disease, and any number of related illnesses. An overweight cat will not live as long as the same cat at a healthy body weight. If you are concerned about your cat’s weight consult your veterinarian about a feeding regiment tailored to maintain a healthy body weight.

The best thing you can do for your Ragdoll cat is to visit your veterinarian on a regular basis for all of the regularly scheduled checkups and vaccinations. Early detection and prevention are the best way to avoid medical conditions that could reduce your Ragdoll’s lifespan.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

heather [Visitor] September 18, 2006 at 6:34 pm

I think the best thing I did for my cats’ health was switch them to a raw-fed diet. It’s just about the only thing we found other than heavy-duty medications (that have their own problems) to deal with one cat’s asthma and the other’s digestive issues.

Lynne [Visitor] July 1, 2007 at 2:45 pm

My ragdoll is 12 1/2 years old. For the last 9 months he has been leaving stool samples and bloody droppings all around the house. He has dropped from 15 1/2 lbs. to 8 lbs. All vet tests have come back normal ( urine, stool, blood, thyroid, etc.) He has been on Prednisone for a month now and there has been no improvement. He was given that in case he had irritable bowel syndrome. It seems if he had some cancer the blood test would show up an increase in white blood cell counts or something. Any ideas? Thank you.

Katherine [Visitor] December 4, 2007 at 8:06 pm

You would think the blood tests would show something but you never know. That is so sad. I hope you find something to help him.

heidi July 19, 2008 at 9:01 pm

my ragdoll is 21 he has been pretty skinny like 5 pounds for the last 2 years normally weighing 15-20 but the vet says hes healthy and to let him die naturally . He still jumps on the kitchen counters and bak on the wood floor i dont know how he does it cause he is super old!!

Lynne September 22, 2008 at 3:54 pm

I hope Lynne’s ragdoll (same name as me) fares better than mine. He is only 9 1/2 and also dropped weight. Lots of diarrhea. The vet thought it might be IBD but after a week on meds and two sets of xrays, he felt Claude needed emergency surgery. He had a large tumor in his colon. We’re waiting for the biopsy results, but they told me to be prepared for the worst.

Rachel October 24, 2008 at 7:59 am

My ragdoll named Monty, only just turned 11 years old and passed away this morning. He had tried to jump up onto a worktop yesterday and fell. He was coughing up blood, and struggling to move. Think he’d had a stroke. I am very upset and when I read someone had a ragdoll aged 21 I wondered why mine had passed away so soon..

DJ Wilson November 13, 2008 at 11:14 pm

My husband and I just purchased our first Ragdoll one week ago. He is a Seal Lynx Mitted and we took him today for his 2nd shot. He is 10 weeks old and weighs 3.13 lbs. and the vet wanted to give him additional shots that the breeder said not to or the 3 year genetic guarantee would not be honored. It is the FIP shot and I am unsure which advice I should follow. We do not have other cats and he will never be allowed to go outside so it it necessary to give him this shot? We do have two Yorkie/Maltese but only one goes outside to potty twice daily.

Anyone that give me any advice?

Thank You,
DJ

Kris December 16, 2008 at 1:48 pm

I had a ragdoll cat that’s possibly a mix breed that we believe lived for 23 years and died on december 11, 2008. No one believes me that she lived that old. My dad thinks it’s because he fed her a senior cat diet which had low ash content

Holly June 3, 2009 at 8:23 am

To DJ Wilson: FIP stands for feline infectionous peritonitis. The vaccine is only needed if your cat will be outdoors. FeLV and FIV are 2 other vaccines they may suggest but again, these are only required if your cat will be outdoors. , FIV, FeLV, FIP are contracted via other cats with the illness.

Carolynn June 13, 2009 at 12:49 pm

My ragdoll,Dash, is about 4 years old and has been very healthy until recently. He used to be 7lbs about 3 years ago and then ate a ribbon which required surgery –thank god he was big; it helped him survive. Recently he has been losing wait but eats more wet food (twice a day, along with dry food). we just took him to the vet last night to emergency room becuase he wasn’t eating and was crying. They say he has an inlarged heart and liver; heart causing the liver problem. they also are testing his pancrease. they have ruled out diabetes and other ailments. He goes for an echo cardio gram next week. Can’t believe he is such a happy young cat and might have a heart problem. Is this the breed?

Holly June 15, 2009 at 3:47 am

I’ve read that Ragdolls can develop cardiomyopathy, it can be very serious if not treated. Find a GOOD vet, I don’t know what area you are in, but also try to find a good holistic vet to use in conjunction with the regular vet. A risk with cardiomyopathy is blood clots. These can kill the cat. Go online to get some of the tell-tale signs of a blood clot.

If it’s been a while that he isn’t eating, he may have fatty liver syndrome, the best way to correct that is to get the cat to eat, sometimes that may require a feeding tube.

Ask your vet lots of questions and go on line to do your own research, this can only help your cat, vets unfortunately, do not know everything.

Good luck. I’m sorry your little critter is having problems.

Gina June 28, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Hello,
I just wanted to tell you about my cat, Piper, P-Kitty, if you knew him. He was a blue seal that we found scared in a bush. We took him in, in hopes of someone claiming him… that was 4 1/2 years ago. He was a wonderful addition that helped create our family. When we would come home from long trips, he would have so much to tell us, he would meow for hours. That’s when we got him Penny, his sister. They were only able to love each other for a short while. We found P-Kitty peacefully past this morning on our patio, unexpectedly since we were playing late last night. He was a fabulous cat! Very quite, frisky, fun-loving and about 23 lbs! He will be missed. I just wanted to share my story, thank you.

Laura March 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm

My two sweet Ragdolls, littermates, were with me for ten years when both developed cancer at the same time! Their illnesses were completely different from each other. Savannah was very ill, weak, constipated, anorexic – he was given a feeding tube with four times daily feedings to keep him alive – he was given chemo and radiation treatments nothing worked. He passed four months after being diagnosed with lymphoma. My darling Cheyenne is diagnosed with carcinoma, his belly is severely bloated but otherwise he’s fine, eating, drinking, playing, etc. We tried chemo on Cheyenne but it hasn’t helped his swollen belly. We’ve had the fluids removed three times so far, but it seems to come back faster each time. The vet oncologist says he will live only a matter of months at best and there’s nothing that can be done.

Niamh April 7, 2010 at 4:30 pm

I recently got my first ragdoll, shes adorable, really energetic and the vet says shes in perfect health, but since we got her shes had a watery substance coming from her eyes, ive given her drops, tablets and a flu injection from the vet. Its now been 3 weeks and Its improves a little but still hasnt completely gone, is this a common thing for ragdolls?

Lois May 17, 2010 at 7:35 am

Our 11 1/2 year old ragdoll, Dakota, just passed away this past Saturday. He had seemed absolutely fine, albeit somewhat “boney” of late. However, no problems with eating, walking, etc. He simply died. I’ve fed him the top of the line grain free foods and he thrived all the years he was with us. I had assumed he’d live longer, based on his diet and care. But, alas, it was not to be. RIP Cody!

Claire July 29, 2010 at 7:18 am

To Laura: So, sorry to hear about Savannah and Cheyenne, two very cool names by the way. I came here today looking for information re: a Ragdoll’s lifespan, because my Ragdoll, Cocoa, 13 was attacked by an animal this morning (not sure what) and suffered a broken jaw and various other wounds. I just came from the Animal Hospital where they think they can help him and believe it’s worth a try even at his age. I do hope so and await their call. Animals bring so much comfort and joy into our lives and are family members, like anyone else we live with and know for so long. When I read your story I had to respond. If nothing else, I hope this note brings you some comfort knowing that people do care and understand what you are going through. If and when the day comes, may your beloved pets rest in peace no longer in pain, knowing they were cared for by a loving, caring mother.

Laura September 23, 2010 at 4:11 am

To Clair, It’s funny as your response was in July but I just received the email notice today. I want to thank you for the kind comments. Both my babies are waiting for me in heaven now. It has by far been the hardest year of my life. Your kindness does help. thanks. Laura

Holly September 29, 2010 at 10:13 am

Our Ragdoll will be 13 on December 1, and since January he has been battling some slightly elevated kidney levels. He was treated at that time for a kidney infection; for the past year he’s been getting subcutaneous fluids once a day and taking Rubenal and Azodyl supplements. In August he had pneumonia; admitted to the vet and was doing fine, then 3 days into treatment he aspirated vomit, stopped breathing and fell over. Luckily they were able to revive him right away, but this bout of illness made his kidneys levels elevate much higher. They’re coming back down now closer to normal ranges, but he’ll need the fluids and supplements the rest of his life. Wish him luck! Hugs to all of you here dealing with illness or who have lot your beloved Ragdoll.

Claire September 29, 2010 at 2:41 pm

To Laura: So sorry to hear you’ve lost Savannah & Cheyenne. This is always so hard but I hope as time passes it is getting easier for you. You asked about Cocoa, my Ragdoll who was attacked in July. He has recovered well and had the wire removed from his jaw last Wednesday. He is still on antibiotics and is quarantined to the house from now on, but aside from that he is one lucky Ragdoll, and I am forever grateful to Dr Kate Dominico who, skillfully, fixed him up and to the rest of the wonderful staff at Saugus Animal Hospital.
To Holly: Much Luck to you and your beloved Ragdoll. Many wishes for his recovery, well-being and many happy years together. They really are the sweetest.

Carol January 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm

I have a 14 year old ragdoll that sleeps a lot so has accumulated
a lot of fur balls that are knots to her skin, even combing her she
still gets them and lots of them. What can I do as she is unconfortable and hates, just hates to be combed?

Jacqueline January 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm

I just adopted a ragdoll that someone had to “get rid of or they are taking it to the pound”! For goodness sakes! I paid 150 dollars, which i know is low. However I believe that is a way to make people hurry in making a decision! He is beautiful but had runny stools. I put him on Royal Canin 27. They made his stools solid and he picked up a few pounds! He is now healthy but he seems to have a sensative tummy. Everytime my son pets his belly he whines. I have taken him to the vet sereral times and he is fine! I hope someone tries the Roal Canin 27 and it helps their cat like it did mine! Warmest Wishes!

Laura February 8, 2011 at 7:21 am

To Carol, Aside from combing the only other way I know to prevent mats is to shave the fur. If you’re asking the best way to remove mats, I’ve used a metal comb slipped between the skin and fur and used a small scissors to carefully trim the matted fur. I’ve read where someone else had success using a seamstress’ seam ripper. I’ve not tried it though.

Mindy April 6, 2011 at 9:51 am

Hi,.
I have read down the posts on here and have noticed different comments concerning diahrea in Ragdolls. We had a Ragdoll that was 6 years old and when he was 3 he started having running diahrea. It was a constant problem for the next three years. We had numerous test run and they thought it was irritable bowel syndrome at one point and changed his food. Turns out it was an extremely hard to detect parasite called Tritrichomonas Foetus. This sometimes is mistaken for Giardia. Ronidazole is prescribed to treat this but with my Ragdoll being so sensitive it caused him neurotoxicity! He almost died! He continued to take metronidazole for the diahrea the next 2 years when it got bad. It finally stopped working 4 weeks ago. We lost our kitty yesterday. :( I don’t know if the tritrichomonas was an underlying reason for his early death. In the last week he stopped eating and drinking, became very lathargic, and was so unhappy. We tried lots of things to help him but nothing worked. He lost 2 lbs. in two weeks and had a very low temp. Nobody’s sure why he passed but there are concerns the ronidazole might have had a long term effect on his liver/kidneys causing them to fail. Just thought I would mention this Tritrichomonas in case your cat hasn’t been tested. It is becoming more common in purebred catteries and breeders don’t even know they have it in their catteries!!! We miss our Ragdoll, Charlie, dearly and don’t want the same thing to happen to other cats.

Jennifer May 3, 2011 at 11:07 am

Thanks for all your stories. It’s coming close to that time. I’ve had my first ragg doll for 18 years and he was already 3 years so he’s 21 year old. In the last six months he has lost alot of weight and just isn’t the same…..

Virginia June 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Josie, my ragdoll, will be 18 in August, 2011. She is thin, but other than that, she seems to be fine – she has always been small and thin. She is my companion and I can’t say enough good things about my Josie.

Lynn June 25, 2011 at 7:37 am

I would like to respond to an old post made by DJ Wilson. Just for the rest of you to know, don’t ever let your cat, Ragdoll or not, get the FIP vaccine. This vaccine is controversial and will show a positive result for this disease on tests. If your Ragdoll, remains inside like it should but you have other cats that go out, then get your Ragdoll vaccinated for Feline Leukemia (FeLV). This disease is deadly. If you are like me and there is any chance that you would ever take in a stray, then get the FeLV for your Ragdoll (but NOT the FIP).

I’m so sad to read so many raggies are losing weight!! I wonder what’s up. One more thing, yes, Ragdolls have a genetic gene carring the HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, and PKD – Polycystic Kidney Disease). There are breeders out there that have bred those out so you can get a kitty free from HCM & PKD). My kitty, Kirby, is guaranteed not to have those at least. I hope he lives a long, healthy life as well as all kitties in the world!

Renee June 28, 2011 at 9:54 am

Yesterday my sweet ragdoll dropped dead in front of me and my two young daughters. He just had his 1st birthday two weeks ago and showed no signs of ill health. We are devastated to say the least. I’ve contacted my breeder and she keeps sayng he was poisoned…my vet feels rather strong it was a heart defect of some kind since it was so sudden. I’m at a loss..and cant afford the autopsy. Ive asked the breeder to pay since i feel she should know if her kittens have any problems. Im getting no response. Any advice

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