Ragdoll cats are considered to be long-haired cats, although a more appropriate description would fall along the lines of mid-range in terms of coat length. Just looking at a ragdoll and misunderstanding the name would lead you to believe that it’s probably a grooming and bathing nightmare.
Do Ragdolls Need Baths?
A Ragdoll cat should be bathed but relatively infrequently, as they are one of the best cat breeds for self-grooming. In addition, Ragdolls are very self-conscious about keeping themselves clean and only need to be bathed once a month.
That’s a pretty infrequent rate, as 12 times a year may seem like it’s not enough to keep the cat clean. However, the Ragdoll is good at cleaning itself and is a pretty laid-back cat, not running off and getting itself filthy all the time.
However, when it comes to grooming, you may want to stay on top of that more than the bathing part.
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How to Bathe a Ragdoll
Bathing your Ragdoll starts when it’s still a kitten. The reason behind that is because, just like most pets, you have to get your Ragdoll used to taking a bath and, perhaps, even enjoying it. But, if you wait too long, you risk terrorizing and traumatizing your Ragdoll every time you turn the bath on.
Making Your Ragdoll Comfortable WIth Baths
You also need to get them used to towel drying and a hairdryer, which is loud and probably frightening when you use it for the first time. As a kitten, you must get your Ragdoll used to being in a bathroom and having lukewarm water run over it.
Don’t even bother with the shampoo for the first few times. Your main goal is to get your Ragdoll to understand that a bath is a normal process that occurs every so often. Running lukewarm water over it while it’s still a kitten is an excellent way to kick-start the process.
Drying Your Ragdoll’s Fur
Drying your Ragdoll’s hair is just as important as the bath itself. If you just use a towel, you run the risk of your Ragdoll getting sick. This is because they have quite a bit of fur, and it will take a long time to dry on their own.
Something along the lines of the iPettie Pet Hair Dryer, which has low-noise technology—cats have very sensitive ears—is a good choice for quickly drying your Ragdoll. Just be careful not to get the heat too close and to stay away from sensitive areas of your Ragdoll’s body, such as the face.
Bathing Your Ragdoll
Once they reach the age where they are considered an adult—and even sooner if your Ragdoll is entirely on board—you can start using shampoo.
Because of all of the additives and chemicals commonly found in human shampoo, avoid using your shampoo for cats. Instead, opt for a cat-friendly shampoo that will not strip the natural oils from their fur.
A good quality shampoo will also help to keep their coat looking shiny and feeling soft.
Human shampoo has chemicals that can effectively dry your Ragdoll’s underlying skin, which will convert into even more dander than is common along with a Ragdoll. It can even create issues such as contact dermatitis.
You can even find shampoos for cats with long hair, such as the Espree Silky Show Cat Shampoo, 12 oz. However, it’s essential to try and find shampoos with the fewest or no parabens, which are chemical preservatives and potentially harmful.
Be careful to avoid the eyes and inside of their ears as you apply the shampoo and rinse them. In the summertime, you may want to step up the bathing to a small degree. This is a period when your Ragdoll will shed more often, and the possibility of fleas arises.
It’s not often that Ragdolls get fleas, but it’s definitely a possibility if you have dogs who will be more than happy to spread the fleas to their feline friend. You can easily check for this as you Groom your Ragdoll.
Grooming Your Ragdoll
Grooming your Ragdoll is just as important as the bathing process. Long-haired cats need at least a little bit of grooming, even a cat that is pretty self-conscious about its own grooming, like Ragdolls are.
You don’t have to go overly crazy about it. Just a two to five-minute brush daily is more than enough. This helps keep your Ragdoll’s hair from clotting close to the skin. Or, maybe clotting is the wrong word, and knotting or severe tangles are a better choice.
What to Do if Your Ragdoll Hates Water?
If you adopted your Ragdoll or you didn’t get it used to bathing when it was a kitten, it might become a problem in the long term. The best way to deal with it is to go about the same kind of process that you would have done if it was a kitten.
It has to be a slow and increasing process. Start by introducing your cat to water by pouring some lukewarm water over it. Be sure to have plenty of treats and praises on the ready.
It’s essential to get them used to it slowly, not all at once. You don’t want to toss them in a full bath and start dumping water on them immediately. That’s only going to make the situation that much worse.
For a first-time bath, only use a very shallow amount of water. You don’t want your Ragdoll to feel like it’s going to drown.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Ragdoll in the Summer?
You should increase your bathing periods to twice a month over once a month in the summer. However, make these baths shorter than regular bath time. The problem with the summertime is that you have to bathe them more, but you also have to draw a line.
You don’t want to over-bathe because that can create its own problems as well. The grooming needs to be consistent as well. Be sure to bathe your Ragdoll quickly and groom them consistently, once a day, throughout the summer.
Ragdolls shed a lot during the summer, which is typical for long-haired cats. Also, parasites, such as fleas, become an issue during the summer. An increase in how much you pay attention to your Ragdoll’s fur will help you detect whether or not there is a flea or other parasite infection.
Fleas can be hugely problematic in a long-haired cat, and if you detect them, you want to get rid of them as quickly as possible, especially before they have a chance to breed and spread. Fleas breed quickly and spread like wildfire once they are set in.
The summertime is a time to be a little more proactive in your grooming and bathing, with a sharp eye towards parasites and/or fleas. This is definitely true if you have dogs as well as your Ragdoll.
Ragdolls are one of the most low-maintenance cat breeds, but they still need attention to grooming and bathing, especially during the summer. So be sure to follow the tips above, and you’ll have no problem keeping your Ragdoll clean and happy all year round!
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