Why Do Cats Roll Around in a Litter Box?
Recently, a Floppycats reader wrote me and told me that her kitten does it and she wanted to break her of it. Well, I said, it’s doubtful she will be broken of it because Caymus at 10 years old is STILL doing it.
As it turns out, this is a perfectly normal, healthy behavior.
There are two reasons that cats roll around in litter products:
- dust bathing
- scent marking
Dust bathing is an activity in which cats instinctively engage when they are in the wild. If a cat is unable to dust bathe outdoors, they will use litter boxes to compensate. Dust bathing enables cats to cover themselves in beneficial digestive bacteria (which they subsequently lick off and ingest) as well as scratch itches that they would otherwise be unable to reach.
Scent marking is a process whereby a cat deposits the scent produced by glands located along the tail, on the chin, on the sides of the head, between the front paws, and near the genitals, thus marking any area where that scent has been deposited as belonging to them. It is particularly likely that cats will scent mark a litter box if there are multiple cats competing for access to the same litter box. It is important to keep in mind that because cats frequently groom themselves, it is unlikely that cats rolling around in their litter boxes will pose health risks to their owners so long as they are not petted immediately after having been in the box.
Check out Caymus enthusiastically rolling around in his clean litter box:
Does your kitty roll around in his or her litter box?