Cats are generally not considered diggers, but they do like to dig a little. Digging is a particular behavior of the dog, but when it comes to cats, they do it quite often.

This behavior is not as rare as you think your kitty sometimes does this frequently. There is always a reason behind this excavation, although most of the reasons are evolutionary.

However, if it ever comes to mind, why is your cat digging holes? What are the reasons behind the digging? When do cats dig? And how can you prevent your cats from digging?

If you want to know the answers read the article below.

Why do cats dig holes?

The reasons behind this are very simple; they want to hide their scent. That’s why they dig. Sometimes cats dig holes in the litter to do their business and cover them up later. However, it doesn’t make sense at home because they don’t have any predators in their home.

Cats living in wild dig holes to bury their evidence, because they don’t want to leave their scent in the form of urine or feces for predators to chase after them.

Cats also mask their odor when hunting because the mouse can smell them from a great distance, and cats have no chance of catching them. They also dig to hunt other animals like snakes and rabbits.

Cats also dig in their bed; they do this to feel comfortable making a perfect groove in which they can sleep. Cat is a creature that likes to live comfortably.

All of these behaviors are built-in, and the cat displays this behavior in her room or garden to pretend she is hunting and protecting herself.

Common reasons behind cat digging

Psychological Needs

It is their psychological need to dig in the trash or on the garden soil. Some cats, apart from their age or breed, consider garden soil as litter. Some cats dig their litter despite the fact that you have put in a new litter or changed the type of litter.

Some cats dig before doing business, and others will dig after relieving themselves to cover their scent.

Hiding of leftovers

Hiding food is a natural and innate instinct in stray cats. At some point, domesticated cats also exhibit this behavior to hide their food scraps if they feel it tasty. Cats kept strictly indoors generally show this behavior.

If your cat digs in her food bowl, she is doing this so as not to hide her food, but there are other reasons behind this. If a cat is digging in its food bowl or on the floor around its food bowl, then there are two reasons behind this.

  • Your cat is demanding something tastier than what it is eating.
  • The cat is marking its territory around the food bowl so that no one will get its food  

Territory marking behavior

Some experts say that cats mark their territory to minimize their contact with other cats to increase their survival rate.

Territory marking is the primary way to communicate with other animals in the area. Scent glands are present in different places, and they were used to mark their territory.

Scent glands are usually present in cats’ paws. Cats generally rub their heads and scratch in a specific area to leave their scent. These scratch marks are also signs of territory marking.

If you find feces or urine marks around the litter box, it is a territory marking sign, but also makes sure your cat is not suffering from urinary tract problems.

Cats are known for their territorial behavior. Cats are offended when they protect what is there.

Exercise purpose

When your cat feels bored, it does interesting things like digging a hole to hunt, exercise, and play. This exercise is good for improving limb muscles.

Cats need to exercise on a daily basis; they do it by hunting their prey and making strange digging habits. So you shouldn’t worry if your cats show such strange behavior.

When cats catch the scent of their prey like an insect or mouse, it will spark their interest, and they will start digging. Cats are considered the best hunters, and their hunting ability improves with this exercise.

Showing fondness

When your cat digs in its blanket, clothing, or bare skin, they are showing signs of affection.

Cats do these at all ages and do it when they love something or a human being and beg to express their affection.

During this process of bunting and kneading, cats also leave their scent on you, marking their love territory.

To relieve stress

Cats are better at hiding their stress symptoms because, in nature, they might be easier targets if they show signs of stress or pain.

Stressed cats have behavioral problems, such as running anxiously, licking excessively, and starting to dig in the yard or litter box.

Some cats manage their stress, both emotionally and physically. When cats don’t feel emotionally well, they lose their appetite and show behavioral problems. Don’t neglect these behavioral problems.

As soon as you notice that your cat is suffering from stress, solve this problem. If your cat is digging excessively, contact your vet right away because chronic anxiety can cause worse problems.

When Do Cats Dig?

Cats are nocturnal animals. It means that cats are active at night when everyone is asleep. If you wake up in the middle of the night, you will see that your cat is digging the plants and the garden of your house.

Cats generally dig at night before doing business or after relieving themselves. Cats also like to dig in their bed, usually when they feel safe and relaxed while most other digs are a sign that they are hunting, playing, or trying to hide their scent.

Where do cats dig?

You can found your cats digging a hole indoor or outdoor, but there are some basic spots where you can find your cats digging.

·         In gardens

·         In the sand on the beach

·         On the hard floor and tiles

·         In potted plants

·         On your bare skin

·         Dirt on a lawn

·         On blankets, pillows, clothing, upholstery

Why do cats dig in the garden?

Cats dig in the garden to hunt. They love to dig a snake hole, a rabbit hole to get a tasty treat; cats are regularly seen looking for prey.

Cats also dig in the garden to hide their scent after doing business. Another reason to dig holes is for exercise purposes and to sharpen their claws.

Why do cats dig in the sand or on the beach?

Cats are naturally attracted to sand. They like this material because it is easier to cover their poop in a soft litter. Some cats look very happy when they visit a beach for the first time due to a large amount of soft sand where they can play and improve their hunting skills.

This instinct is the same as that of wild cats to cover their feces or to cover their leftover food. They also do this to protect themselves from their competitors and predators.

Why do cats dig on hard floors or tiles?

Cats are infamous for their territorial behavior. They can get jealous and go over any limit to protect what is theirs. Cats dig in the hard floor or tiles around their food and water bowl, although there is no place to dig there.

The cats show this behavior to mark the territory. Sometime they will rub their scent all over the place without visible reasons.

Why do cats dig in potted plants?

Cats are sometimes seen digging around the potted plant. The reason behind this is simple. They take the soil around the potted plant like their cat litter due to the soft nature of the soil; they tend to dig into the pots.

You can use a physical barrier and some cat repellents for your potted plants to save them from feline diggers.

Why do cats dig on the bare skin?

Cats dig with their front paws when they dig on your bare skin, usually your hands; they actually show signs of affection. When a cat is happy, it associates movement with the comforts of nursing and its mother.

Some cats show other behavior while kneading; they will lick your hand in terms of affection.

Why do cats dig on blanket and pillows?

When cats grow up, a soft blanket reminds them of their mother, and they begin to treat blanket like she is still their mother. This process is more common in male cats, and they choose this habit more during the breeding process.

It has been seen that cats also dig their blankets or sheets in order to make a groove in which they can sleep properly.

Do home cats dig holes?

Yes, home cats can dig holes. Some cats can do this fairly frequently. Domestic cats exhibit this behavior while using their litter box. When they want to cover their stool, they start digging. Litter digging is a normal biological instinct. No need to worry about it.

How to Stop Your Cat from Digging

Digging is an annoying behavior of cats. Sometimes cats start digging where you don’t want to, especially if you love plants in your backyard. The best thing you can do when your cat starts digging is to leave them alone.

If your cat starts spreading litter all over the place by digging her litter box, the easiest way to overcome this situation is to just lay the carpet or spread the newspaper around the litter box to make it easier to clean up the mess.

If you punish your cat for this instinctive behavior, she will change her toilet habits and stop using the litter box. It will also confuse and distress your cat by punishing her.

If your cat is digging in the wrong places, like digging in your potted plants, there are a few things you can try:

  • If you caught your cat in the process of digging and spreading litter, you can use a spray bottle full of water and say no, spraying with water quickly. Cats don’t like water, so it’s often a good restriction.
  • If your cat is digging in your furniture, you can stop it by spraying a sparse spray of lemon or orange. You can do this at home by taking a spray bottle and adding 10 ounces of water. Add 10 drops of lemon or orange flaky essential oil.
  • Cats don’t like the citrus smell and will stay away from objects that smell like citrus. If citrus doesn’t prove fruit full, try cinnamon, lavender, or eucalyptus oil.
  • If you want to prevent your garden from digging, cover the ground with aluminum or tin foil. Wrap the foil tightly around the pot. Don’t cover the plant tightly; leave some space around the stem so air can reach the ground. You can also use the cup tower to surprise cats.
  • You can also use some orange peels on the potted plant or in the garden because cats don’t like the citrus smell, so this can discourage them.
  • Sprinkle cayenne pepper on the base of your plant. Cats will walk away because they don’t like the scent of cayenne pepper.
  • You can also use orange or lemon oil on your plants; it will not harm the plant but will keep your kitten away.
  • You can also train your cats by teaching them commands so that when they start digging, you say no, and you can stop them.
  • You can also use commercial cat repellents. They generally contain the odor of predatory animals such as foxes, coyotes, and wildcats. This commercial cat repellent comes in granular form. You can simply sprinkle this around the problem area. These products are non-toxic and will do no harm to your plants.
  • You can also use repellent devices that make a loud sound. You can make your own sound repellent by recording the sound of the pebbles in an empty can.


If your cat is digging the hole, never punish your cat for this instinctive behavior. Leave your cat alone or use the tips mentioned above to figure out the potential reason and solve it.


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