The ragdoll cat has always been one of my favorite cat breeds for as long as I can remember. They are so cuddly with all that fluff and they have one of the most adorable faces for a cat. Ragdoll owners call it the ‘derpy’ look.
Ragdolls are also known for their beautiful blue eyes but do you know that having a cross-eyed ragdoll cat isn’t uncommon?
Some rag dolls are cross-eyed due to a genetic trait in many pointed cat breeds. This trait causes the ragdoll kitten to be slightly cross-eyed when born. If your ragdoll has become cross-eyed all of a sudden, you need to take it to see a vet as soon as possible.
Let us take a closer look at this condition that causes some cats to be cross-eyed and what should you do about it.
Why Are Ragdoll Cats Cross-Eyed?
Strabismus is the medical term for being cross-eyed which causes the eyes of your cat to be misaligned. This condition can affect one or both eyes. Within this medical condition, Esotropia is use to descrive eyes that are pointing inwards and Exotropia is for eyes that deviate outwards.
Our eyes are controlled by very small and fine muscles that allow us to look up, down and sideways.
When a cat is born with one of these eye muscles that are either too long, too short, too weak or too strong, it will cause the eye to be ‘off center’ and misaligned.
What Can Cause My Ragdoll To Be Cross-Eyed?
Strabismus seems to be a common genetic trait amongst colour-pointed cat breeds. For ragdoll kittens that have had it since young, they probably inherited the condition from their parents.
In cases where a ragdoll cat becomes cross-eyed all of a sudden, there are a few possible causes for this.
- Problem with the muscles and nerves that control the eye
- Problem with the part of the brain that controls the eyes
- Viral or fungal infections
- Trauma to the cat’s head
- Ear Infection
My cat isn’t a ragdoll after going through his dental surgery. He came back looking like a drunken pirate with his left eye being crossed.
My vet told me that the dental surgery might have affected the nerves in my cat’s face but it should correct itself after some time.
Thankfully my cat sobered up after 5 days.
Should I Be Concerned If My Ragdoll Is Cross-Eyed?
If your ragdoll has had strabismus since young, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Although some might consider it a slight disability as cats with this condition can have some problems with depth perception when jumping between different elevations, causing them to fall.
Cross-eyed cats can also have less superior peripheral vision and seeing things up close.
However, the good news is that a study has shown that kittens can adapt to this visual inaccuracy. Cats that inherited this condition can move on to have a good quality of life.
The more pressing issue is for cat lovers whose cats have suddenly become cross-eyed. The strabismus in these cats is usually caused by an underlying health condition.
There are other common symptoms that your cat can exhibit:
- Uncoordinated eye movement
- One eye not moving
- Head tilting
- Unable to walk properly
- Loss of appetite
These aren’t the kind of signs that you want to see in your cat your feline friend definitely needs to see a vet before its condition worsens.
Getting To The Root Cause
There are a couple of tests that your vet needs to run to ascertain the root cause of your cat’s strabismus. The more common ones would be complete blood work, scans and close examination of your cat’s eyes.
Treatment For Cross-Eyed Cats
If your cat’s strabismus isn’t due to its genetics, then there are a few viable options that the vet can propose to resolve the problem.
Surgery might be the best option if your cat’s condition is caused by the eye muscles or something related to the eye, like an abscess or a growth.
The surgery is performed with your cat under general anesthesia.
If the issue is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection, putting your cat on a course of antibiotics might be the best way to resolve it.
When feeding your cat antibiotics, make sure to be as consistent with the schedule and do not overdose your cat by mistake.
This option is best suited for cats that can’t undergo surgery due to the high complication risks. Medication can help but the best way is to keep your cat on the ground as much as possible.
This is important for older cats whereby experiencing a fall can result in pretty serious injuries.
What Breed Of Cats Has Cross Eyes?
Cross-eyed cats aren’t just exclusive to the ragdoll breed. Conor-point cat breeds are more susceptible to this condition.
These cat breeds are:
Although the chances of a cat being cross-eyed are higher for such breeds, you tend to see it more often in Siamese cats.
This is to compensate for a genetic flaw in how their eyes perceive things.
Other Eye Problems In Cats
Strabismus isn’t the only eye condition that can affect cats. There are a number of other eye problems that or cats can experience due to an infection or health problem.
The most common eye problems are:
- Pink eye
- Corneal damage
I would definitely seek medical attention if I do notice a problem with my cat’s eyes. The two main eye problems that you need to be more careful of are glaucoma and corneal damage. These eye problems can lead to blindness or serious eye complications in cats.
Are Ragdolls Hypoallergenic?
If you have a slight allergy to cats and love having a ragdoll at home, would that be a wise choice?
People with cat allergies are allergic to the protein called Fel D1 that is found in cat saliva. When cats lick and groom themselves, this protein is caught on the fur and distributed all over the house when the cat starts to shed or when you touch the cat.
The funny thing is, I’ve never had a cat allergy until years after having a cat. It is also possible to develop an allergy to something that you are constantly exposed to.
Unfortunately, Ragdolls are considered hypoallergenic as their saliva contains a fair amount of Fel D1. Furthermore, long hair cats aren’t good candidates if you have a cat allergy.
Although all cats do produce the Fel D1 protein, there are some cat breeds that produce a lot lesser.
- Devon Rex
- Cornish Rex
As you can see, you are definitely spoilt for choice is you are looking for a cat that isn’t going to make your eyes tear and nose itchy.