What is (HCM) In Ragdoll Cats?
There was this story a friend told me one time about an ad of Ragdoll cat for sale he found online, and being a cat lover, she went to the place to find an actual Ragdoll cat breeder who was selling his 5 year old Ragdoll cat, which he said was a real purebred that was fit for breeding. She bought that cat and she actually loved this cat, which she called Rocket, as he was so active and always running around, yet this Ragdoll cat was really very affectionate and would settle in her lap every time she arrived home from work.
But in just 3 years, the cat suddenly lost his strength all of a sudden one day and when my friend took Rocket to a vet, she got the bad news that Rocket was in a bad shape ass he had severe HCM, or Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, which really surprised my friend as this was the first time she heard about such a condition in cats, and she thought this kind of condition was limited to humans only. The vet explained to her that hypertrophic cardiomyopathy was actually the most common cause of death in adult house cats, and went on to explain a lot of scientific facts to her. Good thing though that the vet was able to address the problem quite fast and it helped save Rocket’s life.
For most Ragdoll cats though, they are not as lucky as Rocket was. It is reported that HCM is a serious condition among Ragdoll cats, and in fact, some unlucky Ragdoll kittens contract this condition as young as 3 to 6 months old. It would be quite depressing to see your small Ragdoll kitten just suddenly dying right? But as statistics go for Ragdoll cats, it really is a serious problem that is why regular check-ups with the vet can really be helpful especially if you happen to own one.
Ragdoll cat breeders actually note that there are certain breeds of cats that show familial tendency to have this condition. The noted ones are said to be the Maine Coon Cats, Ragdolls, British Short hairs, American Short hairs, and Devon Rexes, though it does not mean that owning this specific ragdoll breed will automatically qualify your cat in having this condition.
Just to give you a clear picture of what Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is, you know that the heart is a muscle right? Well, what happens in HCM is that the walls of the heart thicken. Our notion is that if there is more muscle mass in the body, the stronger you are. But this is the opposite case for the Ragdoll cat. These thicker heart muscles mean a weaker pumping mechanism, and this is not good. Some common signs you will find in cats are loss of appetite, reduced energy and exercise tolerance, and coughing sometimes and weight loss even with proper diet and nutrition given to your pet. If this gets out of hand and is not treated as soon as possible, it can lead to congestive heart failure, and ultimately, death.
Detecting the signs on Ragdoll kittens or adult Ragdoll cats early is the best way to prevent your cat from deteriorating. I have mentioned the signs and symptoms above, but of course, it would do much better if you bring the cat for regular check-ups with the veterinarian, and to ask your Ragdoll breeder to provide you with the parents DNA tests that show them both negative, even if the cat is healthy. Some cats do not necessarily present with the symptoms up until the stage where it is almost impossible to treat them already. Ragdoll Breeders actually make sure to check these things out as soon as a litter is born, as they bring the litter to a vet where they check out for any abnormalities or problem.
I think you should just place extra care and precaution when you are looking to adopt a Ragdoll kitten. Remember to ask your breeder about all the DNA tests results for parents.
As for the story earlier on about Rocket; my friend’s Ragdoll cat, he happened to live to a ripe 10 years before she succumbed to an old age and died few months back according to my friend. But the time was well spent and he was an exemplary pet according to her. After she got out of the vet back then, my friend made sure to simply follow a healthy lifestyle for Rocket, and by regularly taking his medications, he was able to reach that old age. So you see HCM does not automatically equate to death, and though it is scary to have for your pet, it certainly should not stop you from enjoying having a cat around the house. This is a word coming from the mouth of someone who really loves cats like my friend, and I think it is a believable fact for me.