Why do cats like to roll on concrete?

Cat like to roll on rough concrete
Cat like to roll on rough concrete. Image: Video screenshot. The video is by MikeB
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Why do cats like to roll on concrete? Answer: the obvious reason and a reason which comes across in spades when cats do this. They obviously enjoy it a lot. And the only plausible reason why they enjoy it a lot is because of the sensation it gives them which has to be the way rough concrete massages and stimulates their back. I’ll make a fair presumption that it stimulates the hair follicles and tweaks the nerves in that part of their anatomy.

I believe that cats only enjoy this if the concrete is rough. You won’t see the same effect with entirely smooth concrete of the type you see in big industrial type retail outlets or on residential garage floors.

It is the rough nature of the concrete which does it for cats. The feeling will be similar to being brushed. It’ll be similar to the feeling a woman might experience when her hair is being brushed or combed. And the same for cats when they are flea combed especially in those parts they cannot reach.


Dogs like doing the same thing. They say is to relieve an itch. Could be true but I think there is a wider reason and it is the same I’ve mentioned above: it is nice. It tweaks those nerves and massages the back. It is a very gentle process and the cat or dog controls it.

In fact, dogs roll on their backs generally not just on rough concrete when they are happy. Rolling on rough concrete is an extension of that behavior which applies to many animals.

It is both pleasant and functional. They can get to places they can’t get at with their mouth or which are hard to get at.

Human version

There is nothing sophisticated and clever about this. Humans do this sort of thing all the time (tweak the hairs attached to skin). It is a simple and natural way to receive a nice feeling. And we need that from time to time.

Mark territory?

P.S. There is one other potential possible reason: to mark territory through scent glands on their body but I don’t think that is correct. It may be a secondary reason but the primary is pleasure.

My cat

My cat always does this when he follows me down the sidewalk. There are some rough patches of concrete where the paved sidewalk changes to the driveways from houses. He stops there and rolls around.

Dirt and dust

Sometimes cats like to roll in dirt or dust. The same reason applies I’d say with the added benefit of doing their best to remove ectoparasites (skin parasites) if they exist. This is probably an inherited behavioural trait inherited from their wild cat ancestor the North African wildcat.

Duty of cat caregiver: (1) keep them safe and (2) find ways to make them happy

1 thought on “Why do cats like to roll on concrete?”

  1. The roughness helps, but it’s mainly how concrete slabs keep the heat in during warmer heather, without getting too hot like tarmac or ashphalt


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