Felines are meticulous when it comes to cleanliness. Moreover, their great sense of personal hygiene explains why they habitually groom themselves.
If they are the epitome of freshness, why do cats roll in dirt? It’s a common knowledge that cats are capricious by default.
Of all the odd habits they exhibit so far, rolling in the dirt is one of the most peculiar ones.
Once they had the opportunity to go outdoors, they’ll surely get the chance to look for a dirt bed and roll in it.
You're probably one of those pet owners who is wondering why do cats roll in dirt. Is there a good reason behind this weird habit of theirs?
Contrary to what you're thinking, your kitty isn't doing it to drive you nuts. Our feline buddies can be mischievous at the time but not to the expense of getting themselves all dirtied up.
There are various reasons why felines roll in the dirt. Also, you'll be surprised to learn that they do this for good reasons.
So, the next time you see your furry companion all coated in dirt, you don’t have to feel furious about it.
Think of this bizarre habit as an instinctive behavior inherent to felines, and there's nothing to worry about.
Well, aside from the fact that you’ll have to clean your dirty kitty more often as needed.
Here are the reasons why our feline friends like to roll in the dirt.
8 Reasons Why Do Cats Roll in Dirt
1. Staying cool
Cats roll in dirt the same reason as dogs, to keep fresh. If you dig a hole in your yard, you'll notice that underneath the dry top layer is a moist, soft layer of dirt.
The thicker layer of soil contains some water that makes it more relaxed than the crusty outer layer that is exposed to the sun.
During hot scorching days, our kitties would search for a cool place where they can comfortably lounge.
So, expect them to make a small burrow in the yard to roll around in to help them cool down.
If you want to avoid this, you can give your pet a cooling mat to keep it feeling cool without the need to roll in the dirt.
Your feline pet can relax and cool down anywhere, and you also save yourself from washing your pet frequently.
2. Leaving a Territorial Mark
Felines are territorial creatures, and they generally label their possession with their distinctive mark.
This mark is like a warning to other felines to keep them away from their territories and belongings.
Cats have several ways of marking their territories. However, the most common marking method used by felines is by leaving a different scent.
Typically, they urinate or defecate on specific areas or things to mark their possessions.
Aside from urine and feces, they also make use of the scent glands located on their heads, paw pads and cheeks to leave their scent.
By rubbing these body parts on places or things, they're leaving their mark.
Another reason why our feline buddies roll in the dirt is to make that particular spot as their own by leaving its mark.
Felines are creatures of habit, and they're also territorial to boot. So there's nothing that you can do to change that.
3. Scratching itchy parts of the body
When a kitty has parasites in its fur, it is likely to get restless. Moreover, will continuously rub its body against anything to relieve the itch.
Rolling in dirt can be their way of scratching itchy parts of their body. Additionally, the fresh soil also helps soothe the itching sensation caused by parasite bites.
However, that's not all. Rubbing their bodies in dirt may also help remove the fleas or other vermin that could be infesting your furball.
If the infestation becomes severe, which is associated with dander and red patches on the skin, your pet may need to be taken to the vet.
Flea infestation can lead to severe skin problems if left untreated. Persistent scratching and rolling in the dirt are the first signs of this condition and should be taken into consideration.
A cat flea collar is an effective way to repel and kill parasites lurking in your pet's coat.
However, if symptoms persist, which are accompanied by excessive shedding and skin lesions, it may require medical treatment.
It is highly probable that flea infestation is not the only cause of its skin condition.
Rolling in dirt can help them relieve the itch and get rid of fleas. However, if the condition is much worse than that, a trip to the vet clinic is probably the best option to take.
4. Probiotics supplement
One of the reasons why do cats roll in dirt has something to do with the proper functioning of their digestive system.
This may come as a surprise to you. However, don't you know that felines can benefit from the ‘good bacteria' in the dirt?
For us humans, dirt is a repository of organisms and bacteria that are harmful to us.
However, for felines, these soil-based microorganisms can serve as valuable probiotics.
Cats that are covered in dirt can ingest the microorganisms by licking them off their coats when grooming.
In return, these dirt-based probiotics significantly aid a feline’s digestion by keeping its digestive tract healthy.
Why do cats roll in dirt? Consider this as a feline's way of eating yogurt. Because just like us, cats also need their supplement of probiotics for proper digestion.
5. Dust bathing
The habit of rolling in the dirt is not only exclusive to the feline species.
Other animals such as dogs, horses, birds, elephants, and bison are often seen running in mud.
Animal experts call this behavior in mammalian and avian species as ‘dust bathing.'
This is an animal's way of keeping themselves clean that is similar to our way of bathing in water.
For these animals, rolling in dirt doesn't only keep their coat healthy. However, it also gives them a pleasant feeling, like that of a relaxing massage.
6. Getting rid of smell
Why do cats roll in dirt? Another reason why your feline companion is doing this might be because it wants to get rid of an unpleasant smell.
When they come in contact with a scent that is repulsive to them, felines tend to become antsy.
This is because felines have more powerful and sensitive sense of smell than humans.
If they smell something disagreeable to them, they’ll do anything to rub the scent off of them. For example, rubbing themselves in loose dirt.
Try to look at the most apparent explanation why do cats roll in dirt. Because if you have the routine of giving catnips to your feline pet, this could be the most probable cause for this behavior.
One sniff of the catnip can send your kitty to a ‘cloud nine’ level of elation which is commonly associated with rolling and twisting.
Seeing your furry friend rolling in dirt while under the influence of catnip shouldn’t come as a shocking scene to you anymore.
When felines go wild, they can do unusual things. As a psychoactive response to catnip, your kitty goes hyper and roll anywhere because it has tons of energy to consume.
8. Simply because it's fun
Cats can be playful at times, and when they get the chance to go to the outdoors, their playful nature comes to a full blast.
Remember when you were a kid? Did you ever want to play in the dirt and have fun too?
You probably did. Besides, childhood isn’t complete without having to experience rolling in the dirt.
Felines probably think the same way as we did. Also, it's not because this habit helps them clean themselves or get rid of fleas or anything.
It's just simply because your kitty only wants to have some fun. So if they seem to enjoy rolling in the dirt, just let them be. They also deserve to be entertained on their terms.
Toys can delight them in some ways but there is something about the natural things in the outdoors that is much more delightful.
Why Do Cats Roll in Dirt? Is There a Reason to Worry?
Cats roll in dirt for some valid reasons, and this behavior is, in fact, a common habit in many animals.
However, you still need to discover why they are doing it in the first place.
The behavior itself is not alarming, but the cause of the action can be more severe than you think.
Flea infestation and skin irritation should not be brushed off as possible causes.
In this case, you need to find a way to get rid or treat these conditions before it gets worse.
There’s a wide range of pet flea repellent products on the market in the form of shampoos, soaps, topical solutions, collars and many more.
Using these products can help you eliminate fleas and other bugs that are infesting your pet.
If you’re able to free them from these pesky parasites, the frequency of this habit may be reduced or may even be eliminated.
However, if the main reason is to cool down on a hot summer day, a cooling mat should be a good option.
Your kitty is more likely to go back in the dirt despite giving it a cooling mat.
That is mainly because cooling mats lack the ‘feel-good' sensation they get from the earth.
There's nothing to fret about when you see your kitty rolling in the dirt. However, be aware that they can also acquire flea eggs hiding in the soil.
Moreover, if they prefer digging near your garden, they tend to get in contact with pesticides and weed killers.
Coming in contact or ingestion of these harmful chemicals can result in poisoning in cats.
Moreover, cats that roll in dirt most of the times would make much mess in your home.
Not only are you required to clean your pet but you're also obligated to clean up their mess inside your house.
Conclusion: Why Do Cats Roll in Dirt
Why do cats roll in dirt? We have explained the reasons why our feline buddies like to roll in the dirt.
Taking all of these valid reasons into consideration, we may, therefore, conclude that this habit can be beneficial to them.
It helps them cool down, mark territories, get rid of fleas, soothe their skin, keep their coat healthy, obtain probiotics, and keep them entertained.
Cleaning their mess afterward is a small price to pay in return for these fantastic benefits.
Generally, cats don't like to be bathed on a regular basis. It's not because they hate water, but it's mainly because their body isn't designed to be drenched in water every single day.
Use cat wipes to remove dirt from their coat. However, you may need to bathe your furry pet twice or thrice a month if it frequents the soil.
Do not deprive them of this habit because this is some their maintenance behavior in keeping themselves clean and healthy.
The only thing we can do to help them is to make sure that their ‘playground' is safe for them.
Also, of course, to clean them after they're done with their version of a ‘bath.'