Why Do Cats Roll In The Dirt?

Cats like to keep clean, and you often find your cat continually cleaning themselves, on average cats clean themselves the longest out of most pets. It seems odd that cats would then roll in the dirt, its an extraordinary sight. When my cat does it, he gets up with a pleased look on his face. Let’s find out exactly why cats love to roll in the dirt.

Cats like to roll in the dirt for many reasons, and the most common reasons could be that its a hot day and they want to cool down. A cat could be marking their territory. A cat could be on heat, or even having digestive issues. A playful cat will roll in the dirt, or it could be something as simple as scratching an itch or having a stretch. Whatever the reason is we do know for sure that they enjoy it. 

Why your cat rolls in the dirt (Video Recap)

Now we know of a few possibilities why a cat rolls in the dirt, let’s go into each one in more detail. 

Cooling Down

You often find that your cat will move into the direct sunlight when the sun is beaming down. Whilst laying in the sun the cat will be getting hotter and hotter, even tho they do love this, a gentle roll will then cool them down to the desired temperature so they can continue. The soil underneath is so much cooler than the top layer and gives a cat and nice cool dusty bath.

Cat On Heat

Female cats, act out of sort when they are on heat, and one of the unusual behaviours is rolling around in the dirt. By doing this, a female cat is spreading her pheromones, its a call for the male cats’ attraction. On the flip side, after mating female cats also roll in the dirt, and by doing this, they are then removing the scent of the male cat.  


Pheromones are from a gland that gives cats a scent to communicate between one and another. Pheromones can tell a story of on every cat. Pheromones can relay fear, stress, territory, signal for happiness, enhance bonding, and sexual status.

Where Are The Pheromones Glands Located On A Cat?

Pheromones are located on many parts of a cat; they encourage behaviours, interactions, and other cats’ emotions. 

  • Mouth
  • Chin
  • Forehead
  • Cheeks
  • Lower back
  • Tail
  • Paws
  • Urine
  • Around nipples of female cats

Did you know that over 40 different chemicals a cat can release to communicate with other cats? 

Marking Territory

Cats will roll in the dirt to mark their spot and release those communication Pheromones. The communication would be keep away; this is my spot. A cat will lay their pheromones for cats outside or inside their living arrangements.


Cats love to play, you often see cats, running after things that catch their attention, they love to play and rolling around is a part of that, whether it’s in the dirt or on the carpet when they are ready for playtime, nothing will stop them. Not even dirt! 


Cats love a good stretch, and it makes them feel really good, kind of like us humans, a good stretch is always lovely. Cats will stretch when needed, and if that time is when they are laying in the dirt, they will indeed have a stretch and a roll about. 


We all know that cats love to have their backs scratched and its one of their parts of their bodies that they can’t reach, especially that bit at the bottom lower back by the base of the tail. They love it, but they can’t ever reach it themselves. By rolling in the dirt, they are getting a good scratch on their favourite place.

Over Scratching

If you find your cat, constantly scratching, this could be a warning sign. You will want to check between the fur for any unwanted fleas and ticks. Also, check for any scabs and cuts. Just in case there is a deeper reason as too why they are rolling in the dirt.


Cats may roll in the dirt to collect bacteria on their fur ready to only clean and lick away at a later stage, and they do this as the bacteria will improve their digestive gut. 

Cat rolling in the dirt during a summers day

Should I Stop My Cat From Rolling In The Dirt?

There is no need to stop your cat rolling in the dirt, and it won’t harm them. On the other hand, if you dont want your cat to get all dirty, drag it through the house. There is no reason why you can’t stop them. However, it would help if you let cats be cats as much as you can. There will be some reason why they are doing it. 


There isn’t anything to worry about like the above there is much reason why a cat does this, be it male or female they all do it. I think cats enjoy it. I believe my cat likes a good itch, stretch and play all at once. If you are happy for your cat to roll in the dirt, then let them. A happy cat is a loving cat. 

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By Teresa Mine

Teresa has studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition. She loves sharing her knowledge and educating through her articles. She loves binge-watching animal documentaries. Teresa has some pets; she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster.