Ragdoll cats are known for being docile, affectionate, and easy to care for.
However, if you’re reading this article, you probably want to know whether they smell or not, too.
The short answer is that ragdoll cats do not typically smell bad. They generally keep themselves very clean through regular self-preening. Ragdolls may, however, develop bad breath from time to time, especially if you don’t look after their dental hygiene.
In this article, I’m going to explain all the reasons why your ragdoll cat might smell, and provide you with some solutions to rid them of unwanted odours.
What causes ragdoll cats to smell?
The main reasons a ragdoll cat may begin to smell include poor grooming habits; skin conditions; dental problems; or gastrointestinal issues. If your ragdoll is suddenly smelling bad, it could be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.
Let’s take a deeper look at the reasons why your ragdoll cat may start to smell.
1. Poor grooming habits
Like all cats, ragdolls need to be groomed regularly. If your cat isn’t grooming itself properly, it may start to develop an unpleasant smell.
It’s important to brush your ragdoll regularly to remove any excess hair to stop it matting together.
Regular brushing will also prevent any faeces from getting stuck to the hair around your cat’s bottom when they use their litter try.
2. Skin conditions
Ragdolls are prone to certain skin conditions, such as allergies or fungal infections.
These conditions can cause your cat to itch and scratch, which can lead to bad smells especially if sores begin to develop and become infected.
If you notice any skin irritation, it’s important to get your cat checked out at the vet as soon as possible.
3. Dental problems
Bad teeth can also cause your ragdoll to develop bad breath, which can be very gross if they purr close to your face (this usually happens when you’re holding and cuddling them).
Dental problems are common in cats, and can often be solved with a good dental care routine.
Something as symptom as dental biscuits can usually prevent or remove plaque build-up, which will eliminate their bad breath.
4. Gastrointestinal issues
If your ragdoll is having trouble digesting food, you may notice their farts and faeces beginning to smell really bad.
It’s not unusual for cats to suffer gastrointestinal issues every now and then, especially ragdolls, and it can often be resolved with a change in diet.
We’ve written a detailed article on what ragdoll cats should eat that I recommend you read.
5 ways to stop your ragdoll cat from smelling
If your ragdoll cat starts to smell bad, it’s important to take them to the vet for a check-up. This will help rule out any underlying health conditions and ensure that your cat is healthy and happy.
However, before you do this, there’s a few things you might like to try first – more often than not, these simple tips will typically resolve any smells your ragdoll might be making.
1. Regularly groom them
Brushing your ragdoll’s fur, trimming their nails, and cleaning their ears on a regular basis will go a long way to preventing any nasty odours.
If you don’t want to do this, or don’t have time to, it might be best to hire a professional groomer once every few months to do it for you.
Remember, there shouldn’t be any need to shave your ragdoll if you groom them regularly.
2. Ensure they have a healthy diet
It’s important to make sure your ragdoll cat has a healthy diet and access to fresh water.
Ragdolls should eat a mix of wet and dry food.
Whole-meat-based canned food provides the fats and proteins your ragdoll needs to stay strong, while dry food gives them the carbohydrates required for energy.
Purina Fancy Feast (both the wet and dry options) should supply your cat with all the nutrients they need for good gastrointestinal health, which should stop their faeces from smelling badly.
3. Move to a special diet
If your cat is having trouble digesting food, you may need to switch them to a special diet.
This is best done in consultation with your veterinarian, who will be able to recommend the correct food options.
4. Add dental biscuits to their diet
Dental biscuits are a must-have when it comes to a ragdoll’s diet as they prevent plaque and other bacteria building up on their teeth.
Personally, we use Greenies biscuits for our cat and they work a treat – her breath, which used to be a little pongy, no longer smells now that we regularly feed her these dental biscuits.
5. Book a vet check-up
If all of the above steps fail to stop your ragdoll smelling, it’s time to take them to the vet for a check-up.
This will help rule out any hidden health issues that could be the root cause of the smells.
Should I bathe my ragdoll cat?
It’s generally not necessary to bathe your ragdoll cat. In fact, bathing them too often can strip their fur of natural oils and cause skin irritation. If your ragdoll is starting to smell bad, there are other steps you can take to help, like grooming them more often or switching to a special diet.
If you do decide to bathe your ragdoll cat, make sure you use a gentle shampoo specifically designed for felines.
Wet their fur thoroughly and lather the shampoo into their coat before rinsing thoroughly and drying them off with a towel.
Never use human shampoo on your ragdoll, as this can be very irritating to their skin.
If your cat still smells bad after bathing, take them to the vet for further investigation.
Do ragdoll cats spray?
No, ragdoll cats do not spray. If your ragdoll cat is urinating more frequently or in larger amounts than usual, this could be a sign of a health issue and you should take them to the vet. If your ragdoll cat is leaving small amounts of urine around the house, this is likely marking behaviour and is usually nothing to worry about.
Male cats may do this to mark their territory, while female cats may do it to let potential mates know they are available.
To stop your ragdoll cat from urinating outside the litter box, make sure they have a clean litter box that is easily accessible.
You should also keep their diet and exercise routine consistent to avoid any stress or anxiety that could trigger marking behaviour.
If the problem persists, speak to your vet for specialist advice.
Ragdoll cats do not have any inherent odour, but they can develop smells if they do not have good dental hygiene or aren’t getting a balanced diet.
Follow the steps outlined in the article and you should have no problem removing any lingering smells that may following your ragdoll cat around.
Not only will it be better for them, it will also be better for you.