Any cat owner can tell you how weird their feline companions can be. Cats do many things we can’t explain as much as we try to. One of the stranger things you may have noticed your kitty doing is rolling around outside on the concrete. Concrete is hard, and rolling around on it aggressively, as cats do, must not feel very good, right? We can’t weigh in on behalf of the cats, but we can give you some potential reasons your cat could be choosing to roll on concrete versus another softer outdoor surface.
Keep reading to find nine reasons why your cat seems to prefer concrete over grass.
The 9 Reasons Why Your Cat Rolls on Concrete
1. Territory Marking
Your kitty might be rolling around on the concrete to mark its territory. Cats mark their territory by releasing pheromones from the scent glands they have all over their body. Your cat’s ability to smell is one of its most powerful senses. Cats use their strong scent sense to interpret and convey messages to and from one another.
Cats can spread their scent by rubbing their face on objects or kneading their paws. So, when you see your kitty rolling around on a flat surface, like concrete, it’s probably because it’s trying to spread its scent better. That way, when other cats come into your yard, they’ll smell that your kitty has already called that area theirs and back off.
2. Itch Scratching
Your cat might roll around on the concrete simply because it feels good. The hard surface can also provide a pleasant scratching sensation and eliminate those pesky itches they can’t seem to get otherwise. You might also see your kitty rolling around in the dirt for the same reason. A good roll in the dirt can also eliminate parasites or any plant debris that may have attached to your cat’s coat.
3. Temperature Regulation
You have likely seen your kitty following the sun rays throughout your home or sleeping on top of the registers in the wintertime to find warmth. This normal behavior is likely because your sweet domesticated kitty descended from desert-dwelling wild cats. But just because it prefers heat doesn’t mean cats cannot get hot.
If your cat is outside on a sweltering day, it might roll around on the concrete to find some respite from the heat. The cold concrete can provide some much-needed relief.
Conversely, some darker concrete colors might attract heat which may appeal to your kitty on a cooler day.
4. Estrous Cycles
An estrous cycle could be to blame for your cat’s strange behavior if your kitty is an intact female. The estrous cycle, also known as the heat cycle, occurs when your cat reaches puberty and happens during the breeding season, which can vary depending on geographical location and environmental factors.
Females in heat often exhibit behaviors they wouldn’t usually do, such as rolling around excessively on the ground. If your cat is outside and amid her heat cycle, she may just be rolling on the concrete simply because it’s there and she wants to attract a mate. You’ll notice her displaying other behaviors like rubbing up on objects and loud vocalizations.
We don’t recommend letting your female cat outside when she’s in heat, as you could wind up with an unwanted litter of kittens.
5. Attention Seeking
Your kitty might be rolling around on the concrete to get your attention. It might be hungry or in the mood for a play session. Since your cat can’t talk, you’ll have to take cues from its body language to try and figure out what it might need.
Remember, if your kitty gets what it wants (e.g., a treat) after rolling around on the ground, it’ll eventually learn that rolling around equals a treat and may expect rewards every time it performs this action.
6. Showing Submission
Cats are great at communicating with one another and have many unique ways to communicate their point to the other cats in their lives. Cats exerting dominance may stiffen their ears, stand upright, or scent rub on the other cats. Kitties that want to show their submissiveness will roll onto their back and show its belly. Cat’s bellies are very vulnerable and sensitive, so when your cat rolls onto its back in your vicinity, it says it trusts you and feels comfortable. If a cat lays belly-up in the presence of other cats, it’s saying it doesn’t want to fight.
7. Scent Attraction
You already know that a cat’s sense of smell is powerful, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that your cat’s rolling around on the concrete could be because there’s a smell there that your kitty enjoys. There may have been another cat there earlier in the day, or, as gross as it sounds, another animal may have peed there recently, and your cat enjoys taking in the scent.
Parasites can cause your cat’s skin to become incredibly itchy and uncomfortable. Your kitty will try to alleviate some of this discomfort and itchiness by scratching at the affected areas. Rolling around on the ground is an effective way to scratch those hard-to-reach itches. Typically, you will notice your kitty showing other signs of a parasite infection, such as:
- Poor coat quality
- Hair loss
If you suspect that parasites are behind your cat’s concrete rolling, you should see a vet. Continued scratching can create wounds, which can lead to skin infections.
Catnip is often to blame for some strange cat behavior. If you’ve recently offered your cat some catnip outside, and it’s rolling around on the concrete wildly, chances are it’s thoroughly enjoying the effects of the treat you gave it.
While we may never know for sure what our cats are thinking, we can make educated guesses based on their mood, behavior, and external factors. For example, if your cat is rolling on the concrete but is otherwise acting normal, it’s probably just scratching an itch or marking its territory. However, if the concrete rolling is accompanied by concerning signs like hair loss or vomiting, you may have a parasite infection on your hands.
As always, your vet is the best resource for any puzzling or concerning cat behaviors. So if you’re worried, make an appointment to have your kitty looked over by your vet for peace of mind.