Category Archives: Cats

Why Do Cats Roll in the Dirt? (For Fun or Health Reasons)

The clean-loving cat has a surprising habit where it rolls in the dirt, which sounds contrary to its obsessive licking and grooming itself to stay clean. That may leave you wondering…

Why do cats roll in the dirt? The main reason is that they want to cool down on hot days. There are many reasons that cats roll in the dirt, however, such as marking their territory, dust bathing, feeling in heat, getting rid of smells and playing around. 

If you’d like to learn more about cat behavior, follow along as we dig deeper into why cats do this.

Cooling Down on Hot Days

If he seems to roll in the dirt on a hot day, this is most likely the reason.

Pay close attention to where the cat rolls in the dirt. He never does this where the sun’s rays made the dirt hot. The cat usually chooses dirt in a shaded region or a patch of moist dirt.

Cats aren’t the only ones in the animal kingdom that do this. Chickens, dogs, elephants, gerbils, chinchillas and cape ground squirrels all dust bathe to stay cool.

You have many others, but we will spare you the details.

Remember playing in the dirt as a child and feeling the coolness of the soil? Cats dust bathe for the same reason.

The Temperature of a Cat

On hot days, you may spot your cat laying in cool dirt to lower his body temperature. A cat’s normal body temperature should always remain between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Too much colder, and they may become susceptible to diseases like the common cold. This is why something as simple as a dust bath can cool off your cat. From the action of rolling, a comforting cool breeze also adds to cooling of them.

Rolling in the Dirt is Harmless

Outside of him getting dirty for a short time, the dirt won’t harm him. However, you might offer other alternatives to keep him cool, such as an extra water dish or air conditioning inside the home.

While a dirt bath won’t harm him, dehydration and heatstroke from a hot day could cause some problems.

Your cat needs 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of water for every 5 pounds of body weight. To give an example, a 10-pound cat needs to drink 7 ounces of water each day at the minimum.

Symptoms of a dehydrated cat include:

  • Non-elastic skin
  • Sunken or dull eyes
  • Eyes lacking focus
  • Dry or sticky gums

Keep him hydrated so that he doesn’t have to cool off in the dirt as much. If you feed your cat wet food, you may have noticed that he doesn’t drink as much water. Wet food consists of 80-percent water.

You might give him wet cat food for those hot days to keep him hydrated. If you only give dry cat food, make sure he drinks plenty of water.

Dirt Baths Eliminate Parasites

Your cat may bathe in the dirt to get rid of parasites. The act cleans his fur and keeps him free of mites and lice. Rolling around can also get rid of fleas. Unfortunately, this can also give them fleas.

You may want to check your cat’s fur, bedding and skin to see if he has any of the pests. Red patches, excessive dandruff and inflammation are all signs to beware of.

To deal with fleas and ticks, the Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Cats provides you with eight months of continuous protection. 

Territory Marking, in Heat or Hunting

Cats sometimes roll in the dirt to mark their territory. The feline world communicates through its sense of smell, and the cat may want to spread his scent glands over the dirt to mark his territory.

You can find the scent glands in a cat in his cheeks, paws and flanks. Cats mark their territory to show they own it, or to show sexual availability.

In fact, female cats will do this when in heat to spread their pheromones and scent and hopefully catch the attention of interested male cats.

They will also mark their territory when they feel threatened like how a male cat will spray. Sometimes, cats roll in the dirt to hide their scent before hunting.

Getting Rid of Smells

In some cases, your cat might roll in the dirt because of an unpleasant scent. A scent that a cat finds disgusting will make him do anything he can to eliminate the smell.

Having over 200 million odor sensors in the nose—more than dogs, even—can be a mixed blessing. They will rub themselves in the dirt to scrub the odor away.

Most cats hate human baths, but they lick themselves and give themselves dust baths to eliminate unpleasant odors. You have to exercise caution with giving your cat a human bath because it may be too cold for him. 

Playing in the Dirt

Sometimes they do this for no other reason than to have fun. Kitties especially love to play in the dirt. Think of a little kid and how they love to play in the dirt. You might toss a couple of toys in the dirt to make it even more fun.

For an adult cat, you could give him catnip. It does not affect kitties until six months old. After having catnip, cats will roll in the dirt as a form of play.

Your cat might, for example, roll in the dirt on its belly and wait for you to pat him. This is your cat’s way of saying hello.

Aids Digestion

Playing in the dirt grabs bacteria from the soil onto your cat’s fur. He licks his fur, and the bacteria aids in digestion and absorbing nutrients from food. Bacteria can prevent diseases. Dirt, plants and the outdoor air can assist with your cat’s gut health.

This matters because the cat’s gut can impact every aspect of his health and happiness. The dirt can aid in digestion, but other things that you may want to do to help his gut include:

  • Diet
  • Probiotics
  • Prebiotics
  • Dental hygiene
  • Exercise

Signs of a cat that has digestive health problems include diarrhea, constipation, bad breath and an unwillingness to eat. You don’t want to leave it untreated because the cat could suffer dehydration.

Scratching an Itch

Having four paws makes it hard to scratch the body. Your cat might roll around in the dirt to scratch the itchy part of the body.

You might buy him an arch scratcher, such as the Hollypet Cat Arch Self Grooming and Massaging Brush Toy.

Along with scratching an itch, the arch scratcher gently removes loose fur while giving your cat a massage. It acts as another form of grooming.

Dealing with Parasites

In most cases, a cat that itches like this may have fleas, mites or other parasites. You need to identify the source of the itchiness. For fleas, you might give him a flea collar.

Bald spots, scabs and red spots could indicate that he has to keep scratching himself to be free of the pests. He may roll in the dirt because of it. In some cases, you may need to take your cat to the vet.

Severe flea infestations can kill a cat or spread diseases, such as Feline Homotrophic Mycoplasmosis.

Death from fleas is rare, but it does happen.

Along with rolling in the dirt, you may see your cat rolling on a concrete driveway. The uneven and scratchy surface works better than dirt for scratching that itch.

Is it normal for cats to roll in the dirt? Cats rolling in the dirt is normal feline behavior. It could be due to many causes, such as going into heat, marking territory, cooling off or playing around. In most cases, you don’t have to be too concerned about it. 

Why does my cat roll around outside? Your cat may feel an instinctive urge to roll around when it goes outside to mark its territory or even to play. The environment may make him want to show other cats that he was there. Cats primarily communicate through scent, which explains why they would do this. 

Why do cats flop down in front of you? Despite what people think, cats love attention. Flopping down in front of you grabs your attention. This also shows that he’s relaxed and wants to spend quality time with you. Cats also initiate play with their littermates by flopping down and revealing their belly.

Why does my cat roll around? Some of the most common reasons that your cat rolls around include marking with scent, playing around, scratching an itch and females do it for mating reasons. They may do this to relax as well. Rolling on the ground happens with house cats, but larger cats in the wild do it as well. 


Looking past him dirtying his fur, rolling in the dirt won’t hurt your cat. In fact, it may even prove beneficial, such as aiding its digestion. This is normal cat behavior, and it will clean itself after.

However, stay aware of how your cat rolls in the dirt. Normal adult cats won’t eat dirt, and if he eats the dirt, it may be a sign that he has a poor digestive tract, and he’s trying to compensate for it by getting bacteria. Take him to a vet.

Kittens that eat dirt, on the other hand, aren’t a problem. In fact, it shows that they’re curious and exploring their environment.


How to Keep Cats off My Roof

Cats on the roof annoy anyone because of the yowling that they make while up there. To make matters worse, you might have a curious cat that gets stuck on the roof. You don’t want to have to risk yourself going on top of the roof, especially if it rained recently and you have a wet and slippery roof. Don’t do it. Maybe you have a flat roof that makes it easy for the cat to climb to the top.

Cut off the Access Points

While this may not work in every case, cutting off the access points will probably go farther than any other method. Provided you can do this, we would advise that you start with this method. Some of the most common points where cats can gain access to the roof include:

  • Overhanging tree branches
  • Open windows
  • Leap frogging objects
  • Climbing materials like wood
  • Fences

Look for anything that makes it easy for a cat to climb onto the roof and remove it before he can start doing this. You may need to do this multiple times since he may climb onto the roof using multiple access points to the roof. Eventually, he will run out of ways to get up there. For trees, you will want to prune back branches that can reach onto the roof or grow next to the roof.

Motion Sensor Sprinkler

Before we begin, we’d first like to point out that you may need to try multiple methods to figure out what works best for you. What may work for one person in keeping cats off the roof may not work for the next person. The Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler will surprise the cat by giving him a healthy dose of water.

Don’t worry, this won’t hurt the cat. Instead, it will surprise him and send him sprinting from the roof. Install this product near where he likes to gain access. If he uses multiple ways to access the roof, you may want to buy multiple sprinklers for the roof. The sprinkler guards your roof 24 hours per day, and if the cat comes near it, the sensor will turn it on, and he will go running in the other direction, especially since most cats hate water.

Citrus Peels

Cats hate the smell of citrus and usually avoid it. Not in all cases, but you have many times where they dislike the smell. Put lemon or orange peels near their access points, and they may choose to avoid the area. Unfortunately, you will have to keep doing this from time to time if you want it to remain effective since orange and lemon peels will rot. You could use apple cider vinegar as well to stop the cat from climbing onto the roof.

However, beware because orange and lemon peels can harm both cats and dogs. That could also be why they tend to avoid it. While apple cider vinegar can cause diarrhea in cats, it won’t be toxic to cats to where it would kill them. Just use the diluted form.

Cat-Proof the Fence

Especially when the cat can access the roof from a fence, you may want to take the time to cat-proof it to keep him from climbing the fence. For example, you could purchase cat netting that will keep the cat from making the most use out of the fence to climb onto your roof. You could buy ASPECTEK Deer and Animal Fence Netting to keep the cat from turning your roof into his next climbing spot.

Important to Note: You can use cat netting for trees as well.

You could buy regular cat-proof fencing as well to prevent access to the roof. Keep in mind, this fencing may work with some cats, but it may not deter the most determined among them.

Electric Fence for Roof

Some may not want to take things this far out of ethical concerns, but you can buy electric fencing for as little as $25. Electric fencing won’t harm cats, but it keeps them away from your roof. Cats can sense the electromagnetic fields of electric fencing, and they avoid it like the plague. This has the added benefit in that it will keep human intruders away as well.

Is It the Cat from a Neighbor’s House?

While this may not work in every case at keeping cats off your roof, you can tell your neighbor about his cat on your roof. In some cases, he may have no reaction or not know how to stop the cat from doing this, but he may start to keep the cat indoors. This will stop the feline from climbing on your roof. Unfortunately, you have many cases where the neighbor doesn’t care about the cat on your roof, and you will need to come up with your own solution.

Some might tell you to call animal control, but in many cases, cities don’t have laws about this. It won’t work.

Get a Dog to Guard the Yard

Having a dog in the yard will scare the cats and keep them from exploring to where they will learn about how to get on the roof. Still, we wouldn’t advise that you buy a dog for this sole purpose because it may not work, and you’d be stuck with a dog. This could add another reason to why you might want to own a dog, however. If he chases the cats from the yard, they most likely won’t have the time to discover that they can climb the roof.

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them!

You have cases where nothing you try will keep the cats from the roof. Especially if you can’t stop him from getting access to the roof, you may have to try another method, rather than keeping him from it. Instead, you might install fans at night or leave the TV running to keep his meows from waking you up. In most cases, you don’t have to worry about a cat on your roof. They will climb down when ready. It can cause certain problems, but it usually won’t cause too much of a problem.

Should You Rescue a Cat Stuck on the Roof?

No, we wouldn’t advise you to rescue a cat stuck on your roof. While the cat may be noisy while up there, it doesn’t always mean they’re stuck. In many cases, they will climb down from the roof when ready. Also, we wouldn’t advise that you call the fire department to bring a cat down. You may have heard of this on TV, but the days of calling the fire department to bring down a stuck cat has long passed. Especially in urban areas, fire departments apply a policy where they don’t do that anymore. They have more serious concerns.

Doing it yourself, especially when he climbs up there multiple times, only endangers your own life because you risk falling off the roof. We don’t advise that you climb up to rescue a cat except under the most extreme of circumstances, and only if you have confidence in what you’re doing.

Do this at your own risk.

The Other Reason People Don’t Want Cats on Their Roof

You have one big reason why people don’t like cats on their roofs, and it comes from them pooping on the roof. How do you get that off? You keep them from pooping up there to begin with through some of the tips that we previously mentioned. Don’t let them up on the roof. You could also try putting down a sticky two-sided tape as a way to keep them from going up there. Cats are clean animals, and they dislike anything sticky.

Why Do Cats Go on Roofs?

To prevent cats from climbing on the roof, you may want to understand why they do it to begin with. Cats like to go up high because they can see everything from up high. It gives them a sense of power. At the same time, many of the foods that cats like, such as birds, live in trees, which causes them to hunt for birds in trees. Think of a roof as another type of tree to a cat. It gives them another vantage point to where they can spy out birds.

Since roofs go up high, cats like to climb them to see things better. Most cats like to be up high whether in the house or outside on the roof. They feel safer while up high because they can see everything. Many of the threats like dogs, which would chase them, can’t reach them when they’re up on higher spaces. This also gives them a sense of security. You may even see a smiling cat taking a nap up on the roof.


If you want to keep cats off your roof, you can try some of the methods that we outlined, but we feel it important to say that many of these things may or may not work. You must experiment. In many cases, you will find that cats will find another way around it. The best method is to prevent access to the roof to begin with. This prevents them from creating problems like meowing loudly at night from up there or pooping up there. You don’t want the cat to turn your roof into his litterbox. Since it’s hot up there, it can cause it to stink. Get rid of his access points to the roof.