Most domestic cats, if given the opportunity, will roll around in the dirt. While we tend to view the behavior as “kitty just getting dirty,” it’s actually a beneficial activity.
here are 7 reasons why cats roll around in the dirt
Why Cats Roll Around In The Dirt
1. Rubbing Itchy Skin
If your cat is vigorously rubbing himself against the ground, then chances are he could be trying to remove fleas or other insects from his back that are causing itchiness.
To find relief from the itching, the cat rubs his back in the dirt as he is rolling.
Be aware that if chemical weed-killers are used in the garden where the cat likes to play, some of them may get deposited on his fur and cause irritation.
Give your cat a flea check to see if he does indeed have a flea infestation or any redness and inflammation in the skin, especially the belly area, in which case a trip to the vet is warranted.
2. Scent Marking
Cats are territorial animals. They like to mark their territory with their unique body scent, which is used to ward off other cats that may be tempted to venture into their space.
A cat’s scent markers are located on the paw pads, tail, head, and cheeks. When a cat lies in the dirt and shuffles around from side to side, he is leaving his scent behind.
By doing this, a cat is claiming ownership of his territory and marking it as such. Cats have a strong sense of smell, and they use their scent markers to communicate with other cats.
3. Supplementing Bacteria In Their Digestive Tract
As soil contains bacteria, rolling in the dirt may be a way for the cat to coat its fur with these microorganisms, which, when licked, travel to the gastrointestinal system and replenish the gut bacteria.
Bacteria in the gut are a safeguard against intestinal infections and also assist with the breakdown of food in the stomach.
Cats consume a fair amount of dirt. Cats are predators, and their diet consists mostly of meat. However, meat doesn’t contain the gut-friendly bacteria that cats need to stay healthy. The dirt is teeming with these beneficial microorganisms.
By consuming small amounts of dirt, cats are able to supplement their gut bacteria and support their overall health.
4. Mild Intoxication
Cats do just adore catnip, or at least most cats do; some are not fans. When catnip is planted in the garden, you may see your cat rolling around on his back and looking very mellow indeed.
Our cat had the same reaction with the leaves only part of head of celery. Definitely a mood altering feeling for the cat.
Kittens, in particular, play around in the dirt as a way of passing time. Rolling around is a form of playfulness for any cat and passes the time. It is just fun.
Sometimes the cat may have a plaything or toy between his paws.
6. Keeping Cool
On a hot day, the cat may slightly burrow in the soil and spin around as a way of keeping cool. Usually, the layer of dirt found just below the surface is cooler.
7. Advertising To Potential Suitors
Sometimes, female cats roll around in the dirt as a way of advertising themselves to male cats in the neighborhood when they’re in need of a companion.
Rolling in the dirt helps the female cat leave behind a trail of pheromones in the soil that male cats can use to identify her location. These chemical signals also give the male cat crucial information about the female’s health and readiness to mate.
Likewise, younger males may exhibit this same behavior when in the presence of older males, as a sign of submission.
Cats usually have a ranking order of dominance, and those in the lower positions will show respect to their higher-ranking counterparts by lying on the ground and rolling before them.
Another Reason Why Cats Like To roll In The Dirt
Our cat also used to roll around on the ground when family members returned home (from school, from the office). He would playfully roll from side to side, expose his tummy, have a big stretch, and then wait for a pat.
He was saying – Hello everyone. You are home and I am happy. Now I feel safe. This is common behavior in cats.