Ragdoll cats have soft, rabbit-like fur that rarely mats. You can reduce shedding and hairballs by grooming your Ragdoll regularly. Cats shed their winter coats in the spring; you may notice more hair on your furniture and clothes during the spring months. To keep matting and shedding to a minimum, comb your cat’s fur using a wide-toothed steel comb. Ragdoll cats and kittens are easily conditioned to their grooming rituals, so you should not have any problems. Be gentle when grooming your cat. If mats have already developed, try doing just a little every day.
Giving Your Cat a Bath
Bathing your cat on a regular basis helps keep their coat shiny, clean, and healthy, helps to reduce shedding, and helps to remove oil accumulation. You should bathe your Ragdoll cat or kitten approximately once a month, and then blow dry until completely dry to avoid a chill. Your cat’s body temperature ranges between 102 and 104 degrees, so they will like the bath water fairly warm.
If your Ragdoll has problems with eye goop or if tear staining is a problem, you can wash your cat’s face using a wet washcloth on a daily basis. Fortunately, with their calm, gentle personalities, Ragdolls take well to grooming if you are gentle, consistent, and start their grooming programs when they are young. Some breeders report that the Ragdoll coat is easier to maintain, and that eye tearing is not as much of a problem as it is with the Persian cat.
Any pet shampoo is acceptable for bathing your cat. Other products that are safe to use are blue Dawn dish soap (very good if your cat is greasy), and No More Tears baby shampoo. Do not use ‘human products’ as a general rule. They have additives for fragrance that can be irritating to a cat. Remember that your cat will lick their fur.
Grooming and Hairballs
As cats groom themselves, they accumulate hair in their stomachs and often throw it up. This process is usually accompanied by loud howling, gagging, retching, and gasping noises that can be very alarming. An occasional hairball isn’t much of a problem; however, in long-haired cats, hairballs sometimes become quite large and cause problems. Minimize the problem by grooming out loose hair before it can be swallowed and by using a hairball lubricant like Laxatone or Petromalt. Adult longhair cats may be given a teaspoonful once a week. More frequent administration is not a good idea because these products can interfere with vitamin absorption. Giving mineral oil is not a good idea because it is tasteless and may be accidentally inhaled. Frequent vomiting, as often as once a week, requires veterinary attention as it could indicate another serious medical condition.
Most cats attend to the nails themselves; however, claws can overgrow, tear, and split causing painful infections. Trimming your cat’s nails regularly reduces the chances of these problems and reduces their desire to scratch your furniture. Human nail clippers work well on some cats, particularly kittens with tiny claws. Commercial cat toenail clippers are available from your veterinarian, pet supply store, or you can buy them online. These are designed to cut kitty claws at the proper angle without the risk of splitting or crushing the nail. There are trimmers designed like scissors as well as guillotine-type clippers. The best clipper has very sharp blades and is one you’re comfortable handling.
Get your Ragdoll cat used to having his paws handled while still a kitten. A good time to clips claws is when your cat is relaxed after a nap. Often, it’s easier to have two sets of hands available during nail clipping; one pair to hold and calm your cat, the other to trim. Trimming nails single handedly works well with trusting cats that have confident owners. Remember to cut only the clear translucent tip of the nail and to stay away from the pink part. If you cut in the pink part of the nail the cat will bleed and an infection can occur.
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