Do Ragdoll Cats Need Baths?

Last Updated on December 17, 2021 by Jenny

When asking, “Do Ragdoll Cats Need Bath?” It comes down to the fact that cats are animals, not humans who shower on a regular basis, so it is more natural for them to remain un-bathed. Cats who are healthy, on a proper diet, and in the right environment should not need baths.

Ragdoll cat cleaning himself with his tongue

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Baths for Ragdolls

Personally, as a Ragdoll cat owner for over 30 years – and having 5 Ragdoll cats in that time, I have never seen the need to bathe them unless they are unwell – have diarrhea, etc.  And if that’s happening, of course, you want to clean them up – but also want to know what is happening medically that’s causing that. When people put dry shampoo or wipes on their cats or bathe them and don’t rinse them entirely – you’re asking your Ragdoll cats to lick shampoo off their coat.  Ew. Remember anything you put on their skin/fur will most likely end up on their tongue, so something like a waterless shampoo or conditioner can be so unpleasant and unnatural for a cat.

Charlie Seal Mitted Ragdoll Cat with an hourglass blaze cleaning taking a bath IMG_1247

For a Sick Ragdoll

However, there are exceptions to every rule, and sometimes a bath might be helpful if a kitty is sick or got something on their fur that shouldn’t be there – just make sure you rinse all of the shampoo out of their fur. Here are a few cases where you might bathe your cat:

  • Old and ungroomed – If a cat is getting older or sick and stops grooming themselves like a cat naturally does, you might bathe them occasionally to keep their coat from getting too oily.
  • Sick – Even the most diehard fan of keeping cats natural would probably not want a kitty with diarrhea running around their house.
  • Contact with chemicals – For your cat’s health, it might be a good idea to bathe a cat if they have come into contact with chemicals – for example, chlorine from a pool, a snowglobe, or a household cleaner they might have accidentally been exposed to. Although if you are unsure of the strength of the chemical, contact your vet first to see if they need further treatment.
Collage of lying cats with text \"Do ragdoll cats need baths?\"

Bath products that are safe for cats:

In general, cats really do not need baths, and always remember how unnatural it is for them to have a foreign substance on their fur.

When my Rags turned 19, he went for a swim – and in order to get the chlorine off his coat, we bathed him afterwards. Here’s a quick video to show how we did it:

Grooming Tools for Cats that our Readers Love: 

  1. The Safari Cat Shedding Comb
  2. EquiGroomer Grooming Tool
  3. JW Pet GripSoft Soft Slicker Brush
  4. JW Pet Shedding Blade

What are your experiences with bathing cats? What tips do you have for a cat who is old and has stopped grooming themselves or who has diarrhea? What safe cat shampoos or alternatives would you recommend?

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7 thoughts on “Do Ragdoll Cats Need Baths?

  1. Janine Meister says:

    I have a beautiful HUGE (and yes overweight) neutered male Ragdoll. He is so awesome. My issue is that he isn’t/can’t groom his back end and he has soft stools…please don’t make me explain more. ! So I end up bathing him in the tub and have done this since he was little. He is pretty good with it but he is heavy and hard to lift in there so. How does one clip the back end for hygiene. We have no professional groomers around here anymore since COVID, so I’d have to take him about 2.5 hours away which is never an option particularly in winter. Any recommendations/suggestions are helpful.

    -Seamus’s Mom

    • Jenny says:

      Can you get his weight under control? He will be able to clean himself and also will prevent future health problems. Check out

  2. Deborah says:

    Hi, I need some guidance & help, please. I have a female, spayed, 5-1/2 yo Ragdoll rescued on June 12, 2020, weighing 9 lbs. She is my 2nd Ragdoll. She was traumatized when I got her June 12, 2020. She came out of a home with 3 very active boys, a very large dog, and another Ragdoll. She was vomiting, and urinating / defecating outside her litter box. Many blood tests were done. The only thing that showed up was slight case of crystals in her urine. She is on prescription dry food for 4 issues – stress, metabolic, urinary tract which has corrected the issue. Since I rescued her, her appetite is never quenched. She now weighs 16 lbs. I wonder if that could have been part of her behavior problem – she was constantly hungry and underfed? I have 2 large litter boxes near each other in her own room. I use unscented, corn flushable litter. I give her purified water only. She is still, a few times per week, urinating outside but close to the litterbox. I have had to discard a 9’x12’ rug due to her still urinating in another room. Finally, she is not cleaning herself properly. Her hind section ALWAYS smells like urine. She regularly cleans her rear paws meticulously but nothing else in that area. I’m getting her shampooed & groomed on 2/12/21 with a very close sanitary cut in her hind quarter area and the rest of her fur trimmed to 1/2” long. I will see how she cares for herself then. Any suggestions you have, would be great appreciated! Thank you. Deborah

  3. Laura Atwood says:

    I have a beautiful seal point female. Some how she got really bad fur balls around her back area, although I brushed her regularly. I knew I didn’t want to take her to a groomer because she would be scared. So I shaved her back quarters myself very gently and she did great. The funny thing is her back half grew in black and her front half is cream. Slowly now the black fur is showing signs of turning back to cream but she is a beauty with her half and half color.

  4. Patti A Johnson says:

    MEOWY CHRISTMAS EVE to you, your family and all The Floppycatters who celebrate Christmas, Jenny honey! Super pawesome & fabulous post, as usual! Great info. TYSVM!!!! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & blessings!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3 <3 <3

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