Why Do Cats Roll in Dirt?

Cats! They are loving, cute balls of love for their owners, but also a bundle of mysteries. Winston Churchill once described the Russian government as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” And as a cat owner, you probably think the same thing sometimes about your cat. “If only they came with an instruction manual!”

Why Do Cats Roll in Dirt?

One of the most perplexing things for cat owners is why their lovable kitty, who meticulously preens their coat many times per day, turns around a few minutes later and rolls around in the dirt of your flower beds.

There are several answers to this question. The first is supplied by Sopurrfect.com at Why do Cats roll in the dirt?

The answer is to protect their digestive system.

Unlike humans, who can pretty much choose everything they eat, including ingesting yogurt or other probiotic foods, cats roll around in the dirt in an attempt at obtaining bacteria on their coat of fur.

But why would a cat want bacteria to be on its coat? Don’t ask them, it’s an instinctual behavior. But vet scientists say that the bacteria obtained from rolling in the dirt is ingested, which then goes into the cat’s gut to protect its digestive system.

An Invitation to Play

Canidae.com at Why Does My Cat Roll in Dirt has a less obvious answer. It’s not so much why do cats roll around in the dirt, but in general, why does your cat, lay on its back and show you his or her belly?

It’s possibly because your cat is inviting attention. If Fluffy takes every opportunity to show his belly to you, whether in the dirt, the sidewalk, or the floor, he may be craving any and all opportunities to play.

Scent Marking 

Cat-world.com.au at Cats Rolling in Dirt offers a different theory. Almost all animals mark their territory to inform other competitors, “this is my area.” Rolling around in the dirt is one way that your kitty establishes the boundaries of his kingdom.

Keeping it Cool 

Recently, the local television station ran a clip about a kitty that was so bothered by the summer heat that she learned how to open the refrigerator and then climbed right in to keep cool.

Coolcatttreehous at Cats in Dirt suggests that dirt, particularly dirt that is freshly dug, is cool, and soft to your cat, and offers a perfectly great way of cooling down from the sun’s warm rays.

So if your cat hasn’t mastered the open refrigerator trick yet, expect to see her rolling away in the garden.

Sometimes You Just Need a Good Scratch

An entertaining YouTube Video at Cats offers another explanation. Small rocks and pebbles in the dirt get into the nooks and crannies of your kitty’s fur and offer not only a good scratch but a pleasant massage.

After all, there aren’t any pet stores in nature where a cat can buy a scratching post.

Masking a Cat’s Smell 

The same YouTube video also suggests that cats use dirt to cover up their smell, just as they cover their number 1 and 2 smells in their litter box.

It’s Just Like Chanel No. 5 

Coolcattrees.com also suggests that it’s a reproductive thing. Female cats mostly tend to roll around in the dirt when they are in heat. While male cats tend to do the most rolling around and seem inclined to ward off other male cats.

That’s Entertainment 

Herekitt.com at Cats and Dirt offers still another reason.

Rolling around in the dirt, smelling the different fragrances that he or she can’t get indoors, and playing with leaves and bushes while they are at it is great entertainment for your cat.

Should You Discourage Dust Bathing? 

A lot of people wonder, should they discourage their cat from dust bathing? First of all, since it’s an instinctual act, with many benefits, you aren’t likely to succeed in preventing your cat from doing so, unless you keep him totally indoors.

So learn to live with it. It’s just part of the joys and uniqueness of owning a cat.

Secondly, understand the root causes of his behavior. The simplest answer may be that your cat has acquired fleas, ticks, or other parasites. Take him to the vet and get it checked out. Buy a quality flea and tick medicine and use it often.

What are Your Suggestions 

Have any unique insights on cat dust bathing. We’d love to hear anything we’ve missed or unique things you’ve tried.

Related Post: Can Cats Eat Peanuts?

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