Do Ragdoll Cats Like Water? (Do They Need a Bath?)

Most of us will share the opinion that all cats have a deep dislike of water. But incredibly, this notion is not true of every feline; not every cat out there detests water. In fact, some cats harbor an unlikely love and enthusiasm for water and take pleasure in bathing and swimming.

One cat who relishes the chance to come into contact with water is a Ragdoll cat. Indeed, Ragdolls enjoy swimming, taking a bath, and other activities involving water.

Do Ragdoll Cats Like Water?

Unbelievably Ragdoll cats are one of the few feline breeds who enjoy being in the water. Many cat owners compare their experiences of owning Ragdolls that this cat breed exhibit no sign of discomfort or fear when they introduce them to water, In fact, water in the bathroom, the kitchen sink, and even swimming pools acts as a magnet for them.

Why Do Ragdolls Cats Like Water?

Ragdoll owners and enthusiasts reveal that some Ragdolls can enjoy playing in the water-filled environment for a matter of hours; something that most cat breeds would loathe and avoid.

One of the main reasons why Ragdolls like water is because they like the sound of running water. Furthermore, Ragdolls are a playful and relaxed breed; the name ‘Ragdoll’ refers to the floppy, docile demeanor of a Ragdoll when picked up.

As a result of their relaxed nature, Ragdolls are less anxious in situations that other breeds might find stressful. Some Ragdolls can even swim underwater; always supervise a cat when in deeper water for safety reasons.

Why Might Some Ragdoll Cats Dislike Water?

Whilst most Ragdolls appear to unusually enjoy activities involving water, a minority of Ragdolls may not share this enthusiasm and may react to water with dislike in a similar way to other breeds of cats. This may be due to negative experiences involving water when the Ragdoll was a kitten.

Like humans, cats retain negative and positive experiences in memory, which can influence their future behavior.

Some Ragdoll owners report their felines to be fearful of water at first, but then more comfortable around water with slow, gradual introductions to bathing or swimming.

The Ragdoll cat is famous for having a long, glamorous coat, and when a Ragdoll’s fur comes into contact with water, the coat will become heavier unless you squeeze water from the coat.

This can naturally make it cumbersome and uncomfortable for the Ragdoll to move around normally, which can make some Ragdoll cats unenthusiastic about situations involving water.

A heavy, wet coat can also make Ragdolls feel anxious when swimming, as the likelihood of sinking or drowning increases.

How to Encourage a Ragdoll to Enjoy Water

As explained above, some Ragdoll cats are less enthusiastic about water than most. There are some methods to successfully encourage a Ragdoll to grow to love water.

Here are a few of the best tricks and tips

  1. Introduce Ragdolls slowly and gently to water and encourage the cat to slowly accept water as a stress-free encounter. Firstly, gently place the Ragdoll inside a dry or empty bath or sink.

    If the Ragdoll leaves the area, place the Ragdoll back into the dry bath or sink with verbal encouragement. As a second stage, place the Ragdoll into a sink or bath with small amount of water at room temperature.

    In a third stage, place the Ragdoll into a bath or sink filled with a more substantial amount of water. By slowly introducing the pet to water, this experience will become easier each time.

  2. You can Use Toys to distract the Ragdoll and to make the experience more fun and light-hearted for the pet. The Ragdoll will begin to associate the water with playful memories.

  3. In a similar way, give the Ragdoll verbal and physical praise during experiences involving water. This could include grooming sessions, or food-based treats.

Essential Care for a Ragdoll Cat Following a Water Experience

Whilst most Ragdolls with be excited and enthusiastic both at the sight of water and when actually coming into contact with water, it is essential to dry a Ragdoll carefully and procedurally following a water experience.

If Ragdoll fur becomes damp for extended periods of time, skin infection, ear infection or flu-like symptoms may become apparent.

Elements to consider when drying a Ragdoll cat:

  1. Swaddle the Ragdoll in a soft, clean towel and take extra care when drying around the face and head. Squeeze the fur gently to drain excess water. The fur will most likely be heavy and filled with excess water, due to the length and thickness of Ragdoll fur.

  2. Always use a pet hair dryer when drying a Ragdoll instead of a regular hair dryer. Pet hair dryers are made especially for animals and with functions such as lower temperature and quieter noise.

  3. Your pet hair dryer should dry Ragdoll hair at an acceptable temperature, but nevertheless check the temperature to avoid burning the cat or causing alarm and stress.

  4. Try not to direct the dryer towards more fragile areas of the cat, such as the ears and eyes.

Which Other Cat Breeds Like Water?

Whilst so many cat breeds are repelled by the sight and sound of water, there are other cat breeds as well as Ragdoll cats who enjoy the sensations of water. The physical characteristics of a cat can reveal whether they will be prone to preferring water.

Short-haired cats often enjoy water experiences, as longer-haired cats can feel weighed down by excess water within the fur.

Three examples of cat breeds that enjoy water are:

  • Maine – Maine ‘s are naturally adventurous felines and by water experience thrills them. Their water-resistant coats encourage them to swim at ease.

    Traditionally Maine’s were pest controllers on sailing ships, which perhaps suggest an innate love of water present historically in the breed.

  • Turkish Van – Turkish Van cats are nicknamed ‘the swimming cat’ for their desire to play amongst water.

  • Abyssinian – Abyssinian cats are another breed prone to exploring watery spaces. Historically, this breeds first entered Europe by boat, which suggests a natural infinity with water in these felines submerged in tradition.

Why Do Cats Usually Dislike Water?

Whilst ragdolls clearly have curious love of water, many cat breeds prefer to remain in the security of dry play. The presence of water in a cat’s safe daily routine could soon transform a meek kitten into more of a ferocious lion cub.

Historically, the cat’s ancestors lived in a dry location where there were no watery areas, such as the lakes or sea. Furthermore, cats have a highly sensitive sense of smell which can detect subtle chemicals present in water.

This is not as apparent if a paw was to submerge, but if a feline’s body was to bathe, for example, the smell would become stronger and repel the cat from the water.

Like humans, cats retain the memory of negative experiences, and early traumatic experiences within the water as a kitten could discourage the adult cat from coming into contact with watery in any substantial form.

Most importantly, a cat is an animal that thrives on control. Cats are territorial over their sleeping place, and their food and this control extend to water.

Pet owners may have observed a cat toying with a dripping tap, or readily trailing a paw in a puddle, but this only occurs when the cat has control over the situation.

When pawing at a dripping tap, a cat could be sitting comfortably on a dry table. This situation is very different from a human physically placing a cat into a bathtub filled with water and refusing to let the cat free.

Final thoughts

Under normal circumstances, the average house cat will feel repelled by the sight and sensations of water around them. Ragdolls, on the other hand, are often captivated by water. This could be water left in the kitchen sink, bathtub, or even a large swimming pool.

Ragdolls have been observed to swim happily and enthusiastically without a trace of fear. They are entranced by the sound of running water and, despite the weight of their long water-absorbing fur, will not be deterred.

Cats are less tolerant of change and disruption to their routines and environments than other animals, and water can be perceived to be a threat to the natural order of their lives.

Whether a cat is in control of a situation involving water can very much dictate its response to water. Ragdolls, hence their name, are affectionate felines who can swim and splash without fear.

Despite this, always remember to supervise your cat in water-filled experiences to avoid any unwanted accidents. Our cats are precious to us as pet owners, particularly the noble and beautiful Ragdoll breed. Good luck cat fans.

Check out some of our other Ragdoll cat articles below!

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