Ragdoll cat put cat sitter in hospital for 4 days plus 3 weeks off work

The Ragdoll as many know is one of the most laid-back cat breeds; perhaps the most laid back as they are selectively breed to have placid characters. However, they are domestic cats like any other at heart. Don’t believe all you read on social media and in news media.

Here is a photo of the cat. His eyes are dilated indicating fear and agitation. This is probably an inherently nervous cat.

Haze an aggressive Ragdoll cat
Haze is probably an aggressive Ragdoll cat. Image: Saksha Narayan
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The story

Janice Pinto agreed to be a cat sitter for an Instagram influencer: Saksha Narayan. Saksha tells us that her cat is a Ragdoll and she states what is widely promoted namely that this cat breed is known to be very affectionate and gentle. Her cat’s name is Haze.

Pinto says that while cat sitting, she simply petted Haze’s head in the usual way. The cat’s response was to bite her and when she tried to shake him off it made things worse and it would. She ended up being badly scratched and had to go to Accident and Emergency at the local hospital. P.S. The best way to release oneself from a grabbing and biting cat.

I grabbed a duvet to wrap around the cat and put him in another room and shut the door as he charged at me. I looked down at the carpet and there was so much blood. I thought maybe I’d harmed the cat – but when I looked at my arm, I realised it was my blood.


She required 14 stitches. She went home but had to return to hospital and was admitted because she had a raging temperature due to a bacterial infection caused by the bite. Note: I am surprised that she was not given a course of antibiotics at A&E to prevent a predictable infection.

She stayed at the hospital for four days on an antibiotic treatment and then took three weeks off work to recuperate. That’s the story in summary.

The reason why things happened

The reason why this disastrous session of cat sitting occurred is because Haze did not know Pinto. To Haze she was an intruder; a stranger. A potentially hostile animal. Clearly, Haze is not as laid-back as people make out. He was nervous. He struck out after being petted. It doesn’t matter if the petting was gentle, delicate and sensitive. The cat perceived the petting as unwanted and as potentially dangerous and in self-defence struck out, biting and scratching.

The wounds were quite bad; certainly bad enough to develop a severe bacterial infection which is always the big worry after being bitten by a cat badly.

RELATED: Best antibiotics for a cat bite.

Could it have been avoided?

I think it could have been avoided because things would have worked out much better if Haze had met Pinto with Narayan in attendance. If the cat had seen Pinto with Narayan together perhaps on more than one occasion, he would have known that Pinto was a friendly ‘animal’ because his caregiver had given their approval for Pinto’s presence. And if there had been a gentle introduction of Pinto to Haze with the owner present it might have reassured the cat. When Pinto turned up to do her job, she could have petted the cat without any repercussions in my opinion. Although Haze might be too anxious to allow a stranger to pet him.

It’s about managing pet sitting. Pet sitters are essentially strange, invading creatures to a domestic cat. How the cat responds depends upon their character. Some are very confident and some are more nervous. And some might be more inherently aggressive and more prone to aggressive self-defence as is the case with Haze.

And the story, of course, debunks the idea that all Ragdoll cats are super laid-back. In general, they probably are more laid-back than the average domestic cat but there will be a range of personalities among individual Ragdoll cats and some will bite and scratch when they feel they need to. This is inherent in all domestic cats.

Going forward

Janice, of East London, said: “I can’t stretch my arm straight because of the scars that are running down it”. And she claims to be mentally scared. She no longer allows her cat on her bed.

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