Why Do Cats Roll in Dirty Underwear?

You may have seen your cat roll around in dirty laundry, but you became increasingly horrified when you realized it wasn’t just dirty laundry—it was dirty underwear.

Why do cats roll in dirty underwear? Apocrine sweat glands in the genital region produce a strong body odor. Your feline may roll around in things like dirty underwear because it has your scent in it. Many cats are in love with our scent, which explains this behavior.

If you’d like to learn more about why your cat may feel attracted to rolling in your dirty underwear, keep reading.

Strong Human Scent

Your cat may choose to roll in your underwear because of the strong scent associated with it. Even more than dirty clothes, your underwear will have a strong odor. Your cat associates it with you, and believe it or not, he may even find it as a source of comfort.

As unpleasant as we might find this, your cat thinks of it as a normal scent. They love your smell and they may do this more than you think. For example, in cases where you’re not home, your cat may be rolling in your dirty underwear at times like this.

“Why can’t you just roll in dirt like a normal cat!” you complain. Unfortunately, that will do no good because cats live in the world of scent, and as long as your underwear has an odor, some cats may go after it.

Territory Marking

Cats will roll on things that they have claimed as theirs to spread their scent around. They do this with humans as well, and they will occasionally do this to intermingle their scent with yours. Cat behaviorists call this a communal scent. This gives them a sense of group identity, and they feel more a part of your world this way.

It gives your cat confidence.

Caution: Your cat may feel a strong desire to urinate on your dirty underwear. Things with strong scents like this can compel them to mark it out as theirs through urination.

Scent Connoisseurs

Kitty may take a liking to rolling in your dirty underwear for the simple fact that it has a lot of interesting smells in it. If you ever wanted to interest your cat, you might give him new scents to smell.

Cats love to experience new scents, and while humans find the smell of dirty underwear gross, cats see it as a strong odor to explore. Along with cats that like underwear, more commonly, cats will steal a pair of socks. Experts believe they do this to calm down when you’re not around. They have observed cats doing what is called wool-sucking, which may calm them.

Depends on the Cat

You have some cats that like dirty underwear, but it depends on the cat. Cats and dogs in general love anything with a strong odor. Your cat may also be attracted to the armpit section of a shirt because this area also has apocrine sweat glands. Workout clothes are another thing that your cat may go after.

When a cat likes a scent, he will keep going back to it. One vet reported how panties were one of the most common things that she had to surgically remove from felines. You also have cases where cats became panty bandits (read the story here)

How to Protect Your Underwear

If you don’t want your cat rolling in your dirty underwear, buying a clothes hamper is one of the best ways to put this behavior to a stop. Check out the Lifewit 72L Freestanding Laundry Hamper Collapsible Large Clothes Basket if you want to stop your curious cat dead in his tracks.


Your cat feels protected and safe in your presence. For that reason, scents that remind them of you will be something that they love to go after. Along with rolling in your dirty underwear, your cat may also roll in your dirty clothes. They have similar reasons for doing this.


Your cat largely rolls in dirty underwear because of his instinct and strong sense of smell. Many women have especially reported this problem over men. You hear about cats doing the same with male underwear, but it’s more common with female panties.

Some females have also reported how their cat is extremely curious when they have their period. The cat seems to follow them around during this time. Again, this probably relates to his sense of smell. It sounds gross to us, but animals love things that have a strong odor.

3 thoughts on “Why Do Cats Roll in Dirty Underwear?”

  1. Always wondered why my torti Fudge does this! I even started calling her Fudge knickers. My other cat Missy has no interest though

  2. Idk my cat might debunk the love theory. He rolls on my dog’s dirty panties and he haaaates the dog.

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