Why Do Cats Roll in Sand?

Have you ever looked off to your left and seen the cat rolling around in your kid’s sandbox? He seems to be having as much fun as your child when he plays there. Maybe your cat even is your child. Curiously, you wonder why he does this…

Why do cats roll in sand? Rolling in the sand, your cat has multiple reasons for it, such as dust bathing. Sand kicks up a lot of dust. The other thing is that sand is porous, which makes it easy to absorb his scent. This makes sand a scent marker where he can mark his territory through rolling in the sand.

If you’d like to learn more about why your cat rolls in sand, keep reading as we fill you in with a little more depth.

Dust Bathing in the Sand

Your cat may roll in the sand as a way to dust bathe. Cats will also do this in dirt, but sand works even better because it kicks up a lot of dust. Dust baths have multiple benefits for your cat, such as:

  • Cooling off
  • Eliminating parasites
  • Getting rid of unpleasant odors
  • Gets rid of moisture from his coat

Cats and dogs will dust bathe as a way to eliminate unpleasant odors. Since cats have a keen sense of smell, it helps them to get rid of odors that they dislike. Examples of scents that they don’t like include citrus, coffee grounds and human hair.

Sand eliminates moisture from his coat. Moisture in the fur can cause diseases, so your cat must find ways to dry out his fur.

Keeping Cool on a Hot Day

Your cat may roll in the sand on a hot day as a way to cool off. In particular, this works best when the sand sits in the shade. Sand remains quite cool in shade, making it perfect for a nice quick dust bath and to cool off.

Getting too cold, and your cat could become susceptible to illnesses, such as the cat flu. Cats have a higher body temperature, so they don’t need to cool off too much. The cool breeze while working with cool sand can do enough to lower his body temperature.

Warming in the Sand

Cats love the heat, and they might even roll in warm sand as a way to raise their body temperature. Just beware of too much heat because it can burn your cat’s paws. An adult cat will learn fast not to walk on hot sand, but a kitten may not know enough to stay away from it.

Perfect Texture for Itching

Better than rolling in dirt or on the kitchen tile, sand’s texture makes it perfect for scratching an itch that he can’t reach. Cats roll in sand for the same reason that they roll in litter boxes. The rough and sandy surface makes it perfect for itching yourself.

Pay attention when your cat is itching himself because it could be due to parasites, such as mites or fleas. Fleas can cause a number of diseases, but here are the most common:

  • Anemia
  • Tapeworms
  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis
  • Bartonellosis

Rolling in the sand is one way to get rid of fleas, mites and ticks.

If you’d like to take active measures to protect your cat, however, you might consider Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Cats. This provides you with eight months of continuous protection from ticks and fleas. It also starts to repel them within the first 24 hours.

Playing in the Sand

Your cat may choose to roll around in the sand for the simple fact that it’s fun. Have you ever gone into the sandbox and thrown a lot of sand around? It’s a blast! Your cat may do these things for the same purpose.

In fact, sand can be a fun surface to play with your cat on. On a hot day, the sand in the shade will cool him off as much as it does for you. You might take a couple of cat toys out with you to play with him. A kitten will especially love this, and they’re prone to playing in the sand.

Territory Marking: Sand a Great Surface

Sand is a highly porous material, which makes it easy to absorb your cat’s scent. Whether gravel or sand, it will absorb his scent, which makes it ideal for rolling around in to get his scent on it.

Pay attention to how your cat rolls in it. Does he roll his head over it dramatically as well? Scent glands in the cat’s head help to mark out the sand as his territory. Your cat may use this to tell other cats to stay away. He can also use this when he goes out to find his way back home.

Feels Good to His Body

They don’t talk about walking on sandy beaches for no reason at all. Sand feels good to the body, and your cat probably feels the same way when he rolls in it as you do. Walking on it yourself reduces the stress and strain on your body. Obviously, he’s not aware of this, but he may know that something feels good about it.


Your cat rolls in sand for multiple reasons, but a big one is that it puts his scent in it, and he feels like he owns it. In the cat world, the philosophy goes like this, “Finders keepers, losers weepers.” Especially if he seems to be rolling all around in it, he’s trying to cover a bigger surface area of the sand to spread more of his scent and mark his territory.

If you enjoyed this article, maybe you will enjoy this one I wrote called, “Why Do Cats Roll on the Ground?”

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