3 Reasons Why Cats Roll In The Dirt

Have you ever looked out into the back yard to see your beloved kitty rolling gleefully in the dirt? If so, perhaps you have wondered just why they are doing this. Luckily, rolling in dirt is usually actually good for your cat and this behavior is nothing to worry about. Below, we explain why cats roll in the dirt – turns out there are two key reasons.

Looking after their digestive systems.

It may seem a little weird, but one of the main reasons that cats roll in the dirt has to do with their digestive system. Dirt rolling behavior coats your cat’s fur with bacteria that they then ingest the next time that they groom themselves by licking their coat. In this way, cats supplement and replenish the bacteria in their gut, keeping it at a healthy amount and ensuring that they have good digestion.

Like humans, cats need to cultivate bacteria in their guts to protect themselves against gut diseases and to ensure that they can break down and thus digest their food properly. Think of all of those yoghurts that you can purchase in health stores which promote good gut health with their added ‘friendly bacteria’. Rolling in the dirt and then licking it off their coat is the feline version of that – though, we humans are probably better off sticking to our yoghurt.

Your cat may just be high.

If your cat has been playing with a cat nip toy, or if you grow cat nip in your garden, they may start rolling in the dirt in ecstasy. This is because rolling around happily is a side effect of the ‘high’ feeling that your kitty gets from the psychoactive substances in cat nip. Again, this is nothing to worry about – cat nip helps your cat to feel calm and relaxed. Though, be warned, if you do grow cat nip in your garden you can expect plenty of visits from neighborhood felines who have been attracted by its smell.

Should I ever worry about my cat rolling in the dirt.

As emphasized above, most of the time rolling in the dirt is good, happy behavior for a cat. However, sometimes you may have cause to feel concerned. If your cat is rolling in the dirt very vigorously as if they are trying to scrape themselves along the ground, for instance, they may well be suffering from fleas or from some other skin complaint that makes them feel itchy – take them down to the vet to see what’s up.

Be aware, too, that flea eggs and other parasites can live in the dirt of your back yard and so it is crucial to de-flea and de-worm your cat if they ever go outside.

And, of course, if you have treated any parts of your garden with chemicals such as weed killers, it is crucial not to to let your kitty play in the dirt there for a couple of weeks. That way, you ensure that they do not get any nasty chemicals on their fur – which they will then lick off when they groom themselves.


That’s it from us… do you have any stories to share?