How To Bathe A Ragdoll Cat In 11 Simple Steps (Complete Guide)

Ragdoll cats don’t usually require regular baths due to their effective self-cleaning techniques, however there will still be times where they’ll need a wash.

Usually, regular grooming will be enough to keep your ragdoll clean, but if you’re like me and enjoy letting your cat roam around outdoors in your backyard or specialised enclosure for short periods, chances are they may return with dirt or mud through their fur.

This is because ragdoll cats absolutely love to roll around on the ground.

While ragdolls enjoy playing with water, I can confidently say that – like all cats – they absolutely hate being immersed in it, meaning that bath-time can be a difficult process.

It’s important to bathe your cat as quickly as possible to reduce the amount of stress they’re put through, and this article will explain the exact steps to take to do this efficiently.

Can you bathe a ragdoll cat?

Yes, you can bathe a ragdoll cat. If the time comes where you need to bathe your ragdoll cat, it’s important you complete the process as fast as possible. Ragdolls hate being covered in water, so bathing them quickly will minimise the stress you place on your cat.

A word of warning: bathing your ragdoll cat is an extremely unpleasant experience.

If your cat is anything like mine, they will howl and cry and it really does make you feel awful putting your fur baby through it.

But, if your ragdoll is dirty enough to require bathing, then remember: you’re doing it to help them.

Below is what you’ll need to bathe a ragdoll cat:

  • 1 x portable shower attachment for your sink/bath tub
  • 1 x cat shampoo and conditioner
  • 2 x big towels
  • 1 x hairdryer
  • 1 x bucket
  • 1 x brush
  • 1 x second person to help you (ideally)

Keep reading and I’ll explain how to use the above things to wash your ragdoll correctly.

Key steps to bathing a ragdoll cat

The key to bathing a ragdoll cat quickly and efficiently is to be properly prepared before you start the process.

Without a detailed, step-by-step process to follow, the whole exercise will take longer and be a lot harder than what it needs to be.

Below, I’ve outlined the exact, best method for bathing your ragdoll cat.

Step 1: Attach your portable shower hose to the tap

Whether you’re washing your ragdoll in a bath, laundry sink or kitchen sink, it’s extremely important to use a portable shower attachment.

Using this item will not only make it way easier to quickly wet your cat’s entire coat, it will also make them a lot easier to handle and keep them calm throughout the process.

Before bathing your ragdoll, make sure the portable shower hose is securely attached to the tap you plan to use.

2. Lay one towel on the ground, and have the other close by

Your ragdoll cat is going to try and escape your grasp when you begin pouring water all over it and, naturally, this is likely to make a big mess.

Before you begin the bathing process, lay a towel on the ground so that it will soak up any overflowing water and reduce your chances of slipping and hurting yourself once you start washing your cat.

Lastly, make sure you have the second towel nearby so that you can dry your ragdoll as quickly as possible once you’re finished. The faster you can dry them, the more comfortable they will be.

3. Fill your bucket and keep it close by

Another thing to do before starting the washing process is to fill your bucket with warm water and place it within arm’s reach of where the bathing will take place.

Once you shampoo and condition your ragdoll, you’ll want to rinse it as quickly as possible, and using a bucket initially (as opposed to the shower attachment) will remove the bulk of the soap suds in only a few pours.

Having your bucket prepared and ready to go means you can do this fast and efficiently, and reduces the likelihood of your cat escaping your grasp.

You can then do the final rinse with your shower attachment, if needed.

4. Have your hairdryer plugged in and ready

This is the final step before starting to bathe your ragdoll cat.

Once you’ve finished rinsing your cat, you’re going to want to dry it as quickly as possibly – initially with a towel to remove most of the water, before completely drying them using a hairdryer.

The last thing you want to have to do is to let go of your ragdoll while trying to plug in the hairdryer, as when you do, they’ll likely escape and run through the house – dripping water with them everywhere they go.

5. Secure your ragdoll by the scruff of their neck

Once you’ve removed any accessories (such as a collar or ribbon), it’s time to place your cat into the bath/sink.

Ideally, you’d have a second person present to hold your cat while you wash them, but in cases where this isn’t possible, then the best way to hold them on your own is by the scruff of the neck.

Many vets recommend this method as it helps keep the cat secure without hurting them, which, in turn, also keeps them calm.

6. Quickly shower your ragdoll with water

Using your spare hand, quickly grab your shower hose attachment and completely douse your ragdoll with water, ensuring that all their fur gets wet (especially under their arms and around their private areas, which are most likely to be the dirtiest).

This is the part your cat is going to hate the most, so be sure to keep a firm, but gentle hold on them to ensure they don’t wriggle free.

They will likely cry at this point, which can be a really horrible experience as an owner, but you just need to remember that the worst is almost over.

7. Apply shampoo and conditioner

Once you’ve soaked your ragdoll, the next step is to apply shampoo.

The easiest way is just to pour it on straight out of the bottle, making sure you use plenty, and the rub it into the fur using your spare hand.

Once it has foamed up enough, take your bucket (which you should have placed nearby) and rinse the bulk of the shampoo from your cat; if there are any remnants of soap leftover, rinse it using the shower hose attachment.

Repeat this process with the conditioner.

8. Towel dry your ragdoll

As soon as you’ve rinsed the conditioner from your ragdoll’s fur, grab your second towel and wrap your cat in it.

Vigorously rub your cat’s fur as quickly as possible to remove the bulk of the water (they’ll probably start to enjoy this, as ragdoll’s loved being rubbed and scratched).

9. Blow-dry your ragdoll

Once you’ve done as much as you can with the towel, it’s time to take your hairdryer and start blow-drying your ragdoll to ensure there is no water left in their fur coat.

I would recommend a medium intensity air stream setting and a warm, not hot temperature.

If the air stream is too intense, the noise and force of the flow will likely distress your cat, while an excessively hot temperature runs the risk of burning them (unlike humans, they can’t tell you if the heat is hurting them).

10. Brush away any excess hair

After your ragdoll is nice and dry, the last step of the bathing process is to brush any excess hair from your cat’s coat.

There’s a fair chance your ragdoll will be pretty impatient by this point, so do the best you can, remembering that you can always come back and brush them further once they’ve calmed down a little bit.

11. Give them a treat

I always like to give our cat a nice treat when she’s been through an unpleasant experience such as bathing or grooming, and I’d recommend you do the same.

It could be something as simple as giving him or her a handful of their favourite biscuits, or gifting them a new toy to play with, it shows your appreciation – ragdolls are very intelligent cats and will often recognise the gesture.

Just don’t expect them to recognise it straight away; it’s likely you’ll receive the cold shoulder from your cat for a few hours, as punishment for putting them through such a horrible process (according to them) such as grooming.

But don’t worry: it won’t be long until they warm to you again, and come for cuddles.

Final message

Bathing your cat isn’t a fun experience for any ragdoll owner.

While it’s rare that you’ll need to go through this process often – given how well ragdolls keep themselves clean – hopefully these steps will help guide you through it when the time comes that you do need to wash your cat.

Just remember: preparation is key and having things like a shower hose attachment and towels set-up before you start to bathe your cat, rather than trying to locate them on the fly, will make the entire procedure a fair less painful one.