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Does it bother you to see your cat rolling in the dirt in your backyard? Well, there is nothing to be alarmed of. This article will explain why do cats roll in the dirt.

On the positive side, it is healthy for your cat to roll in the dirt. Moreover, many other animals do the same including their dog counterparts. According to cat experts, this character is referred to as dust bathing. To a cat, it works just like a massage because it helps to relieve any tension that might be in the skin. In addition to that, it helps the cat to stretch the body in different positions and helps to scrub any itches and remove any loose hair from its coat.

Besides that, it gives them a feel-good feeling. While you as the owner might be feeling that it’s getting dirty, the cat has excellent reasons to do so, and the following are some of the reasons as to why do cats roll in the dirt.

Cooling Down

Cats roll in the dirt to keep cool. When the soil is freshly dug, the layer underneath is soft and moist. This is because it contains some water which makes it more relaxed than the outer layer that is exposed to the sun. Therefore, after a sunny afternoon of running around, the cat would roll around in the dirt just to cool itself down.


Most of the time the cats like to rub themselves against the furniture in the house. Infection might cause the itchy feeling by parasites. Therefore, when you see your cat rolling around in the dirt in your garden, it might be a sign of pest infection hence it is trying to scratch that itchiness. Ensure that you carefully examine your cat’s coat for any pests.

Moreover, as you examine your cat’s fur for any pests, look out for any red patches or dander. These other signs can help you to know the health of your pet.

Marking their Territory

Cats use dust bathing for scent marking. As the cat is rolling in the dirt, the cat leaves a smell on the ground where they are rolling. The cat has scent glands on its paw pads, on the top of their head and in the cheeks.

Additionally, while the cat is rolling in the dirt, it will be checking for any scent that might have been left by another cat. If there is any mark that was left by another cat, it will try to overpower it by leaving its signature scent. The main reason for leaving a scent on the ground is to mark the territory.

Get Digestive Minutes

One of the reasons as to why cats roll in the dirt is to allow its fur to catch some bacteria from the soil. Once the bacteria have attached to the hair when the cat will be grooming itself, it will ingest the bacteria while licking itself.

When the cat ingests the bacteria from the fur that was caught from the soil, it will help to replenish its digestive bacteria. The bacteria will go a long way to maintain the cat’s gastrointestinal tract. Just like any other animal, the cat requires the bacteria to protect it against most of the stomach infecting pathogens. Most importantly, the bacteria play a significant role in the proper digestion of its food. Therefore, the rolling of the cat in the dirt is for health reasons.

Kitty Ecstasy

The backyard is your pet’s playground. Rolling in the dirt in the yard is a way of keeping itself entertained. Just like climbing the tree to chase birds, it is the cat’s way of keeping itself from getting bored.

Another reason behind this rolling is because maybe the cat has been playing with some toys all day long and in the feeling of ecstasy. Hence this is the cat’s way to make itself relax. Therefore, there is no need for alarm when you see your cat rolling in the dirt; it’s having fun.

Kitty in Heat

Female cats roll on the ground mostly when they are in heat. Their male counterparts, on the other hand, roll on the ground mostly when they are around their male adult cats. Furthermore, most female cats roll on their back when they are around older male cats. However, female cats on some occasions roll on their backs in the presence of younger male cats.

In one study, 178 cats rolling was observed. The male cats did 61% of the rolling. Further inspection showed that most of these male rolls were done in the presence of other males. In addition to that, it was seen that most of the younger cats rolled towards the adults, but the adults did not roll towards the younger.

Moreover, it was also observed that both young and adult male cats rolled towards adult female cats. However, whenever a female cat rolled, it was done so in the context of mating, and they did so while showing signs of being in heat.

Cat Communication

When the cat rolls on its back they are trying to communicate some message to the owner. According to a research that was conducted by the BBC, when a cat rolls on its back, it can be inviting the owner to rub its belly. However, if it rolls on its back while twitching its tail, it’s communicating that it wants to take a nap. Therefore, you need to study your cat’s body language to know what it’s trying to tell you.

Lawn Maintenance

As it has been indicated above, it is healthy for a cat to roll in the dirt. However, beware where your cat is rolling. For instance, if you had sprayed your backyard with some chemical, it is very crucial that you do not allow your cat to roll in such a place.

This is because some of the weed-killing chemicals can be harmful to the skin you’re your cat. Most importantly, after rolling in the dirt, the cats are known to lick their fur to groom themselves. If your cat had rolled in a ground with harmful chemicals, it could affect your cat’s health.

Why do Cats Roll in the Dirt Summary

Cats rolling in dirt may look odd to humans, but it is perfectly natural for the cat. If you are concerned, you may want to check your cat for any skin condition that may be causing your cat discomfort. If her skin is ok, then you will just have to live with the fact that your cat loves to roll in the dirt. Besides, your cat knows what she likes.


3 Reasons Why Cats Roll In The Dirt
Understanding Your Cat’s Behavior

Why Do Cats Roll In The Dirt Infographic