Author Topic: HCM in Ragdolls (and all cats)  (Read 109 times)

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Offline Desi

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HCM in Ragdolls (and all cats)
« on: February 27, 2021, 04:59:14 am »

HCM is a very common disease of *all* cats, it is not a disease specific to Ragdolls. However, Ragdoll breeders worked very hard to eliminate genetic HCM from their lines some time ago, because HCM was becoming rampant in the Ragdoll world, and it needed to be stopped. The result was that scientists were able identify the gene associated with HCM, specifically for Ragdolls (Maine Coons also did the same thing, this all applies to them as well). So testing exists for genetic HCM for Ragdolls (and Maine Coons), and any reputable breeder would make sure that the HCM gene is not in their lines, and that all breeding cats and kittens are free of this gene.

A reputable breeder breeds *to better the breed.* Someone not breeding for this explicit purpose is not someone you want to trust to provide you with a healthy cat.

HCM is still a very, very common disease for *all* cats. The point here is that if a Ragdoll does not come from a reputable breeder that has tested their lines through the generations, there is a significantly higher chance that the cat will have genetic HCM. The chances of a non-well bred "Ragdoll" from an unknowledgable or backyard breeder having genetic HCM are even much higher than a moggie having HCM. This is why your odds of getting a healthy cat are exponentially higher with a shelter moggie that looks like a Ragdoll than a Ragdoll-looking cat advertised as a Ragdoll from an unknowledgeable breeder.

Genetic HCM is the worst form of HCM as it can come on suddenly and severely and without warning. And it affects kittens and young cats, most of whom do not grow up to be adults. It's heartbreaking.

There are also forms of HCM that cats can get as a result of age, disease, and improper nutrition, but these forms are typically found in older cats. Certainly not in a 2 year old. Again, I'm sorry for your loss.


HCM is a fairly common killer of cats of all breeds/mixed breed. Among *true* purebred Ragdolls it should be pretty rare, as cat fancy Ragdolls have worked hard to eliminate HCM from their lines, such that there is a test for a Ragdoll-specific HCM gene that should be performed on all breeding cats and therefore produce kittens that are free of congenital HCM. Amongst backyard breeders of so-called Ragdoll "variants" HCM is likely to be more common than among the general mixed breed cat population, where it is already a high %.

There is more than one form of HCM. HCM can be genetic, but typically (not always) these cats will die fairly young, under 3 years. HCM can also be a progressive disease due to diet and exercise type factors, typically affecting older cats. Both types of HCM are prevalent amongst all cats, purebred and mixed breed.

A reputable Ragdoll breeder will ensure that their breeding cats do not have genetic HCM by getting them tested, as there exists a test for Ragdoll and Maine Coon HCM genes. As for the other type of HCM, you can minimize the possibility by providing a healthy diet for your cat.


4 Year old passed away while we were sleeping in the afternoon :(

I'm very sorry for your loss.

If he came from a breeder, the parents should have been checked for the Ragdoll-specific HCM mutated gene. A well bred Ragdoll should not have this mutation. If his parents were negative for HCM and yet he had HCM, there are several organizations studying this disease that would be interested in this information. If you're up for it, it would be worthwhile to get in contact with them. UC Davis: NC State: and Winn Feline Foundation: You should also contact the breeder, as they should know that there is potentially an issue with one or both of their breeding cats.

Unfortunately HCM is a common disease in the general cat population, and it can go years without being noticed. When it is diagnosed, there are medicines that can slow the progress of the disease (and add years of life). It's unfortunate that you weren't able to do this. Again, I'm sorry for the loss of your boy.
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HCM in Ragdolls (and all cats)
« on: February 27, 2021, 04:59:14 am »