There are four main reasons a cat may roll and the circumstances of the rolling can go a long way in telling us why they do this.
Cat rolling in the dirt:
Have you noticed the moment your cat goes outside on a warm day, he races over to the nearest patch of dry dirt and rolls around in it? To be honest, I don’t have the answer to this one yet. But my hunch is that it feels nice and because they can. They’ve been inside the house, probably napping as that’s what cats do best. They decide to go outside, find a nice dry/dusty patch, roll and stretch out. The dry dirt must provide a nice sensation on the skin, like a mini massage, they get to stretch their muscles and take/on some outdoor scents.
Cat in heat:
A female cat in heat will often roll on the floor in front of humans and other cats. At this point in time, the female is full of sexual hormones and extremely affectionate. Rolling is her way of letting male cats in the area know that she is receptive to mating. After mating a female cat will also roll on the ground and lick herself.
Has your cat been on the catnip again? Rolling is a common side effect of catnip ingestion. For those not up to speed, catnip is a herb which induces a high in cats. The active ingredient is nepetalactone. It is completely harmless to cats and the effects wear off within a few minutes.
Rolling at your feet:
Have you noticed that this kind of behaviour always seems to occur when you’re busy doing something else? This is a sign that your kitty wants you to drop everything you are doing and give him a pat. It displays a sense of trust and playfulness. Just be careful, some cats will roll on the floor and wait for a rub on the belly and then dig their claws into your hand.