Ragdoll cats, more so than other short-haired breeds, require regular grooming to keep their trademark fluffy coats and skin healthy.
Ragdolls have thick, long fur that can easily become matted if not maintained. Grooming not only keeps their coats tangle-free and looking great, it also prevents skin problems such as allergies or infections from developing.
Neglecting to properly groom your ragdoll can also lead to other problems, such as overgrown nails and sometimes even ear infections.
As someone who has owned a ragdoll for more than five years, I can’t stress enough how important grooming is to your cat’s health and wellbeing.
In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about grooming your ragdoll cat including why you should do it; how often you should do it; and how you should do it.
How often should you groom ragdoll cats?
Ragdoll cats should be groomed at least once a week, or more often if they have particularly long fur. Regular weekly brushing is an absolute must, while trimming of nails and cleaning of ears can be kept to once a month, or bi-monthly. Baths aren’t typically needed if you keep their coat tangle-free.
Sticking to this basic timetable will help keep your ragdoll cat healthy and looking its best, without the needing to shave them (I’ve explained why you absolutely shouldn’t do this in another article that I recommend you read).
Of course, some ragdoll cats may need to be groomed more often, depending on factors such as their age, the length of their coat, and how much hair they shed, however the aforementioned timelines will usually be sufficient.
How can I tell when my ragdoll cat needs to be groomed?
Generally, there are a few tell-tale signs that your ragdoll cat may need to be groomed.
Tangled or matted fur: If you notice that your ragdoll’s fur is starting to knot or form tangles, it’s a good idea to brush them as soon as possible to prevent the problem from getting worse.
Excessive shedding: If your ragdoll is shedding more than usual, which can happen during the warmer months especially, it may be a sign that they need brushing to remove loose hair that’s gotten stuck in their coat. This is particularly important if you are prone to allergies.
Dry or flaky skin: If your ragdoll’s skin is dry or flaky, it may be a sign they need a bath. Shampooing your ragdoll can help to remove dead skin cells and promote better skin health.
Overgrown nails: If your ragdoll’s nails are getting too long, it can become uncomfortable for them and may even cause them to have trouble walking. Keeping nails from getting too long is very important.
Ear infections: If gunk is oozing from your ragdoll’s ear, it may indicate they have an ear infection. This can happen if you let your cat’s hair get too overgrown and dirty. If your ragdoll has an ear infection, it may require a trip to the vet to remedy.
If you notice any of these signs, it means your ragdoll is due for grooming.
This will help to keep them healthy and comfortable, and prevent any serious problems from developing.
Why should I regularly groom my ragdoll cat?
Regular grooming is essential for maintaining your ragdoll’s health. Below, I’ve outlined the key reasons why it’s important you do it consistently.
1. It stops mats and tangles from forming
Grooming helps to remove tangles, knots, and mats from your ragdoll’s long and thick fur, which can cause discomfort and irritation if left untreated.
When cats groom themselves, they typically lick their fur with their rough tongues, which can cause tangles and mats to form.
These tangles and mats can be painful, as they can pull on their skin and lead to pain.
By regularly grooming your ragdoll cat, you can remove these tangles and mats and stop them forming in the first place.
2. It reduces the amount of hairballs
Regular grooming can help to prevent hairballs, which can be a common issue for ragdoll cats due to their long hair.
When cats groom themselves, they swallow a lot of hair, which can accumulate in their stomachs and form hairballs.
These hairballs can be uncomfortable for your ragdoll and can even cause digestive issues if they are not eliminated.
Removing excess hair through regular brushing can help reduce the amount of hairballs your cat coughs up.
3. It allows early detection of skin issues
Grooming allows you to check your ragdoll for any skin issues, such as an infestation of fleas, ticks, or other parasites, and address them before they become a bigger problem.
When you brush or bathe your cat, carefully inspect their skin and coat for any signs of nasty bugs that need eradicating.
If you do find any, it’s best to apply a treatment to rid your cat of problem parasites as soon as possible.
4. It reduces shedding
Grooming, including thorough brushing, can reduce shedding, which can be an annoyance for ragdoll cats as it will contribute to matting.
It’s no secret that ragdolls have long and fluffy fur (usually white in color, but sometimes black), which can shed a lot.
This can be frustrating for you as an owner, as it can lead to a lot of hair on your furniture and clothing, but equally as annoying for your cat.
By regularly brushing your ragdoll’s fur, you can help to remove loose hair and reduce how much is left lying around your home.
5. It can help reduce their stress levels
Another positive effect that grooming can have on your ragdoll is reducing their stress levels by providing them with a sense of routine.
If you can get your cat used to being brushed and bathed, it will get easier and easier to repeat the process over time.
Eventually, your ragdoll may even begin to look forward to their routine grooming session and will be less likely to try and wriggle free and escape.
6. It ensures proper nail growth
Keeping your ragdoll’s nails trimmed and clean can encourage proper nail growth.
Be sure to remove any dirt or debris that may be caught under their nails as this can cause them to grow abnormally.
It’s important, however, not to cut your cat’s nails too short as this can cause them pain and discomfort and also lead to infection.
7. It’s a great way to bond your cat
Another benefit of grooming is it’s a great way to bond with your ragdoll.
Cats, especially ragdolls, are social animals and they enjoy spending time with their owners.
Grooming provides an opportunity for regular one-on-one time, where you can gently brush and comb your cat’s fur, talk to them, and give them treats.
This regular interaction can strengthen the bond between you and your ragdoll.
How do you groom ragdoll cats?
If you’ve never groomed a ragdoll cat before, it can be a bit of a daunting task – particularly given how much fur they have.
While ragdolls are known for their docile personalities, they can become agitated when it comes time to brush or bathe them.
But, don’t worry – below, I’ve outlined the exact steps you need to follow to successfully groom your ragdoll and make it a stress-free experience for both you and your cat.
What you need to groom a ragdoll cat
A slicker brush or comb: These brushes have fine, closely spaced wires that can help to remove tangles and mats from your ragdoll’s thick fur. It’s important to use a brush or comb that is specifically designed for cats, as other types may be too rough and cause irritation.
A nail clipper: When choosing a nail clipper, make sure it’s cat-specific. You should look for one that is the right size and shape, as using the wrong type can cause your ragdoll discomfort or even injury.
Ear cleaning solution: Be sure to select an ear cleaning solution that is safe for cats, as some products designed for humans may be too harsh or irritating for your ragdoll’s sensitive ears.
A toothbrush and toothpaste: Ragdoll cats can develop dental issues such as tooth decay and gum disease, just like humans, so it’s important they maintain good oral hygiene. Look for a cat-specific brand of toothpaste and brush to use.
Once you’ve got all these items ready, it’s time to start the grooming process, which I’ve outlined more below.
How to groom a ragdoll in 4 easy steps
Brush your ragdoll’s fur using the slicker brush or comb. This will help to remove tangles and mats, and it will also distribute natural oils throughout their coat.
When brushing your cat’s fur using a slicker brush or comb, it’s important to start at the head and work your way down to the tail.
Be sure to brush in the direction of your ragdoll’s hair growth, and avoid pulling or tugging on their fur.
If you come across any tangles or mats, you can try using a detangling spray or using your fingers to gently loosen them before brushing.
2. Nail clipping
Use the nail clipper to carefully trim your ragdoll’s nails. Be sure to avoid cutting the nails too short, as this can cause discomfort and even bleeding.
When using the nail clipper to trim your cat’s nails, it’s important to hold their paw gently but firmly.
This will help to keep them still and prevent them from accidentally scratching you.
Be sure to cut the nails straight across, avoiding the quick (the pink part of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves), as this can cause discomfort and even bleeding.
If you’re unsure how to trim your ragdoll’s nails, it’s a good idea to ask your veterinarian or a professional groomer for advice.
3. Cleaning of ears
Clean your ragdoll’s ears once every month or so using the ear cleaning solution and a damp cloth. Gently wipe the inside of your cat’s ears to remove excess wax and debris.
When cleaning your cat’s ears, it’s important to be gentle and avoid inserting the cloth too far into the ear canal as this can cause damage and lead to infection.
If you notice any redness, swelling, or discharge in your ragdoll’s ears, it’s best to contact your veterinarian for further advice.
4. Brushing of teeth
Brush your ragdoll’s teeth once a month using a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for cats. Be sure to use a toothpaste that is safe for cats, as human toothpaste can be toxic to them.
When brushing your cat’s teeth, it’s important to use a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for cats.
Be gentle when brushing your ragdoll’s teeth, and avoid forcing the brush into their mouth if they resist.
You can try offering them a treat after brushing to make the experience more enjoyable for them.
If brushing your cat’s teeth is too time consuming, or if they really don’t like it, you can instead incorporate dental biscuits into their diet, which can help reduce the build up of plaque and decay.
Regular grooming is an essential part of owning a ragdoll cat – if you’re someone who is time poor, or dislikes these tasks, then it might be best to buy a shorter-hair breed that is less maintenance.
If you already own a ragdoll, or have your heart set on getting one, then it’s important to follow the grooming process outlined in this article.
By following these steps, you can help to keep your ragdoll’s coat and skin healthy, and prevent common grooming-related health problems.
If you’re still unclear about what to do, I would recommend consulting a professional groomer or veterinarian to get their advice.