You are here: Home » Cat's Behavior » Why do cats roll in dirt? No, they’re not dirty animals

Why do cats roll in dirt? No, they’re not dirty animals

We might think that a cat likes to roll over for many reasons. The one that comes to mind first is because it can, and it’s fun. But the big question is, “why do cats roll in the dirt“? It might not make much sense to see how a cat seems so comfortable running around and rolling in the dirt, while we know that at the same time, it is a spotless animal that spends more than 50% of the day grooming and cleaning its coat.

Do cats not know that dirt is, well, dirty?

5 reasons why cats roll in dirt

Here are some of the most common explanations if you are curious to know why cats lie down and roll in the dirt.

1. Playful Cat

Let’s start with the most apparent reason, if your cat loves to go out in the garden, any space in it will become a play area, and if inside the house he lies on the floor, why wouldn’t he take advantage of it and lie on the grass or the ground?

The cat is getting the most out of its outing and experiencing the different textures and sensations a garden offers.

why do cats roll in dirt - playful

When a cat is relaxed and feels secure in its environment and with the people around it, it may even lie down and roll over, exposing its stomach. A cat with its stomach upside down is a vulnerable cat, so if your cat takes this position while playing, you can feel good that it trusts you and the safe home you have created. Enjoy the moment and join in the play!

2. Marking the Territory

At this point, you may have already realized that cats are very territorial animals, and as such, they like to mark everything they consider their own. Have you ever seen how your cat repeatedly rubs against your legs or perhaps against a piece of furniture?

By doing this, precisely what they are doing is spreading their scent on you and your things. This way, any other cat will be able to detect that you belong to them.

Just as a cat rubs against you or gives you a lick to mark you, they do the same when they have a chance to get out. To ensure that all the cats in the neighborhood know who owns that garden, they will lie down on the ground and roll around.

why do cats roll in dirt - marking territory

In case your cat is female, another reason may be that she is in heat and is looking to leave her pheromones around the house to attract male cats. If this is the case, we advise you to keep your cat indoors to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. After she is out of the heat, if you are not interested in your cat reproducing, the safest option is to take her to the vet for a quick spay.

3. Cooling Down

If it is a hot day and you see your cat lying on the ground and starting to roll around, chances are the poor thing is hot and looking to cool down. If you dig around in the soil, you will notice that only the top layer is warm, while the rest of the ground is fresh and maybe even a little moist. For a hot kitty with no shade, this option might seem ideal to cool down a bit.

It’s okay if your cat rolls to cool off, but ensure he always has fresh, clean water and a nice shaded place to rest. This way, you can prevent your furry friend from getting dehydrated.

4. Looking for Attention

Cats are masters of the art of attracting attention and have many different tactics for doing so. One of them may be to roll in the dirt, as they probably know that we will run to take them to prevent them from getting even dirtier.

These signals may confuse your cat, and he may learn that if he does that, he will immediately gain your attention. The best thing to do is to let them roll around and ignore them for a while. This way, he will have to look for more hygienic ways to get your attention.

5. Catnip High

If you have the plant called Catnip in your garden, you should know that in cats, it causes an effect of euphoria or relaxation, which leads them to behave a little differently. Don’t worry because it is not toxic and does not harm them. Many cats even seek Catnip for the relaxing effects it gives them. This plant in your garden can explain why your cat is more playful than usual, rolling around in the dirt.

why do cats roll in dirt - catnip

Is it dangerous for my cat to roll in the dirt?

Most of the time, there is no problem, as the soil itself isn’t harmful. On the contrary, it may help strengthen your cat’s immune system by increasing its resistance to certain bacteria on certain occasions.

However, if you use pesticides or weed killers in your garden, your cat may have serious health problems if he consumes these chemicals. If you love gardening and your cat seems to enjoy it too, don’t worry. Many products are safe for animals.

On the other hand, we must not forget that because of their fur, cats attract fleas and ticks, which are often found in the soil, especially in hot weather. If your cat likes to go out in the garden, you can protect it with its anti-parasite pill. Generally, one or two a year are fine but consult your veterinarian to prescribe the right brand and quantity.

Why do cats roll in the dirt? Final Thoughts

Now you know why your clean cat likes to get out and get dirty from time to time, rolling freely on the ground. If you don’t like it, because your cat comes back full of dirt, you can try to distract him with a laser toy or a peculiar noise, or if you notice that he does it to get your attention, try to ignore it for minutes.

We don’t promise it will eliminate the habit, but at least you can avoid a few baths. Does your cat like to roll in the dirt? Tell us about it in the comments!

Leave a Comment