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Are British Shorthair cats destructive—what's hiding behind the cuteness?

Their round faces and short, dense coats make British Shorthairs look like teddy bears, but are they really that cute, or are they hiding a dark side?

Many future cat parents get smitten by the adorable appearance and stories of the laid-back, loving personalities. Still, some questions arise when they get face to face with a sizable specimen of this breed.

Are British Shorthair cats destructive? Will they vandalise your home in your absence, and is there anything you can do to prevent it? Untamed explains all you need to know about problematic behaviour these felines can put you through. You will learn how to keep your kitty happy and calm and your home in one piece.

A British Shorthair vs your home—who will win?

You don’t need to worry about me. I’ll find something to entertain myself.

Source: ToNic-Pics

Few cat breeds are as even-tempered and stable as British Shorthairs, so there is no need to worry about them destroying your home. They tolerate being alone better than many other felines and prefer to nap until you get home than engage in any mischief. They are clumsy, so they can unintentionally knock over a few knickknacks.

If your British Shorthair starts exhibiting destructive behaviour, you can be confident that there is an underlying reason. They could be sick or expressing discontent. In any case, you should address the issue immediately.

Unwanted behaviour your British Shorthair may resort to

Although they are the most non-destructive cat breed, British Shorthairs may exhibit problematic behaviour if they feel unhappy or neglected or if they are trying to tell you that something is wrong. 

Common problems include:

  1. Scratching furniture
  2. Incessant meowing
  3. Avoiding the litter box
  4. Aggression

Your British Shorthair is scratching your fancy furniture

Scratching is something felines need to do. It is beneficial for their claws, joints, and muscles, and it is your cat’s way to:

  • Trim their nails
  • Stretch their bodies
  • Relax and destress

Your British Shorthair will probably not scratch your sofa if they have a dedicated scratching post, so provide them with a suitable one (or more).

A good scratching post should be almost twice as long as your kitty, so they can properly stretch. Since British Shorthairs are relatively large, the post should be pretty big. It would be best if you also got them a horizontal scratching mat because some felines prefer them, and it allows your kitty to scratch from different angles and positions.

If you have the necessary equipment, but your kitty doesn't use it, it's time for some training. British Shorthairs are highly intelligent, so they will enjoy the stimulation, and you won't have difficulty teaching them to behave. You can also lure your cat to the scratching post with some catnip or get a post with various dangling attachments—felines find those immensely exciting.

Your British Shorthair won't stop meowing

Why won’t you give me attention?

Source: MelaniMarfeld

British Shorthairs are docile and quiet, so continual and loud meowing could be a sign that something is wrong. Cats meow excessively because of:

  • Illness—Felines often meow when something is bothering them physically, such as indigestion, fever, or pain. In older cats, excessive meowing can also be a sign of dementia or cognitive decline
  • Mating call—Intact males meow loudly when they scent a female in heat, while females meow to attract males. Spaying or neutering is a solution. The best time to do it is in kittenhood, around the third month, but if you have adopted a grown, unsterilised British Shorthair, do it as soon as possible. Sterilisation brings many health benefits, as it can prevent or reduce the chances of many types of cancer
  • Stress—Changes in the environment, a break from the routine, new pets or family members, and similar factors can cause stress and anxiety in felines. You can prevent it with regular exercise (especially if your cat lives indoors) because physical activity releases endorphin, which helps significantly with stress reduction
  • Boredom and loneliness—If your British Shorthair follows you around and meows, they are trying to tell you they want to interact. Don't neglect them because they get highly attached to their parents

Shoes, flower pots, and corners are more attractive than the litter box

There are several reasons why your British Shorthair might decide to avoid the litter box:

  • The size is wrong—Nothing about a British Shorthair is small, so neither should be the litter box. Your kitty must be able to comfortably turn around inside the tray, step away from their business, and bury it. If they don't have enough space to do that, they may not feel comfortable using the litter box
  • You haven't cleaned it—If the litter box is not clean enough, your kitty may avoid it in protest. Scoop out daily and replace the litter every week or two
  • It's in the wrong place—Your kitty's litter box should be away from their food and water bowls, and it should be in a quiet space away from all the foot traffic. if your cat is disturbed while in there, they may decide to find a more peaceful place to poo
  • They don't like the litter—There are many different types of cat litter, so you may need to experiment until you find the one your kitty likes
  • They are marking the territory—Unneutered males are particularly prone to spraying to mark their territory

If none of the above applies to your British Shorthair, it's time for a vet visit. Cats sometimes avoid their litter box because of a medical issue. Many health problems can cause this, including:

Your peaceful teddy bear suddenly resembles an enraged grizzly

I can be the greatest gift or your worst nightmare. What’s it gonna be?

Source: uschi2807

A British Shorthair and aggression are rarely used in the same sentence, but it can happen, and it's usually not their fault.

The most common reasons why a British Shorthair or any other cat becomes aggressive include:

  • Prey animals—Even the gentle and calm British Shorthair can succumb to predatory instincts around small pets like birds, mice, gerbils, hamsters, etc. Once your cat realises that such a creature is in the house, they will try to catch them. Rarely do these animals and cats live together in harmony, and training usually won't help
  • Harassment—Any continual harassment, be it deliberate or unintentional, can provoke an aggressive response. If the problem isn't addressed, this aggression can become generalised, with your feline attacking all people, kids, or dogs (depending on who the offender is). Even something as harmless (in your opinion) as picking your British Shorthair up can provoke an attack. These felines don't love being held unnecessarily, and they value their space, so let them have it
  • Illness—Pain caused by injury and health issues like arthritis, dental disease, or infections can cause violent outbursts. Cognitive decline, dementia, neurological problems, or loss of vision or hearing in older felines can also lead to aggression

Your British Shorthair is acting out? Now what?

If your British Shorthair is acting strange, and you have ruled out illness as the cause of poor behaviour, you have two options:

  1. Shower your kitty with affection and attention
  2. Bribe them with delicious food

Give your cat the home they need

From the moment you bring a cat into your house, you must make them feel safe and loved. 

Source: uschi2807

To be happy and calm, your British Shorthair must have:

  • Your attention—You should spend time and play with your kitty every day. Although they will wait for you patiently while you are away, it doesn't mean they are fine with being ignored
  • Personal space—Give your British Shorthair space, and don't force them to cuddle with you for hours
  • Routine—All felines are creatures of habit, and abrupt changes can cause anxiety. Your erratic work schedule or constant changes in feeding times are common stressors for felines
  • Cognitive stimulation—Your cat needs plenty of interactive toys and food puzzles they can solve so they don't get bored

Feed your British Shorthair high-quality diet

Your kitty needs high-quality food to stay healthy and happy. You must respect the pre-set feeding schedule and offer them adequate portions

Regular feeding and tasty, nutritious meals will help your British Shorthair stay healthy and feel safe and comfortable, which will minimise frustration and stress. 

The best diet for your British Shorthair

The proper diet for your British Shorthair is:

  1. High in protein
  2. Low in carbs
  3. Hydrating

High-protein cat food

Meat, meat, and more meat—that’s what your kitty needs.

Image (c) Untamed

Meat and fish are crucial ingredients in cat food because they contain essential amino acids, such as taurine, that cats need for:

  • Energy
  • Strong muscles
  • Healthy skin and coat
  • Proper organ function

The more animal protein in your cat's food, the greater chances of avoiding:

Check out the best ingredients in cat food in the following table:

Main ingredients

Great taste enhancers (small quantities)

Low-carb diet

Turning your British Shorthair into a vegan or a vegetarian is a terrible idea, so avoid vegetables, fruit, or grains. Besides causing digestive problems and potential malnutrition in felines, carbs can make your kitty fat. Since British Shorthairs are prone to obesity, avoid food containing:

These ingredients are not toxic to felines, but they will not allow your British Shorthair to thrive. Cats get all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from lean meat and fish. Check out the ideal nutrient ratio for your British Shorthair's diet in the table below:


Ideal percentage

Animal protein

More than 50%

Animal fat

Up to 20%


Less than 3%

Hydrating food

Wet cat food is a perfect option for your feline friend.

Image (c) Untamed

In nature, cats get their moisture from freshly killed prey, so they don't have a strong drinking drive. If you feed your kitty kibble, you risk dehydration, urinary tract infections, and kidney problems. 

Whether jelly or gravy, wet cat food contains more moisture than dry food. Wet food is also a way to mimic feline natural eating habits as closely as possible. 

Untamed helps prevent your British Shorthair from becoming an evil gremlin

Keeping your British Shorthair healthy, happy, and calm is easy with Untamed. 

Our recipes are designed to provide your kitty with everything they need without compromising the taste. 

Every Untamed meal is:

  • Full of animal protein—We only use top-quality meat and fish, offering two times more protein than most commercial cat food products
  • Formulated by vets—Each recipe is fine-tuned by vets to ensure complete and balanced nutrition, free from known allergens
  • Gently steamed—Our cooking method ensures harmful bacteria are eliminated while preserving the nutritional value of the food as well as the taste, so even fussy cats who don’t usually like wet food cannot resist Untamed
  • Produced ethically—Untamed guarantees 100% recyclable packaging and carbon-neutral operations. We also work only with cruelty-free and sustainable suppliers

Take our online quiz and create a tailor-made meal plan that caters to your kitty's needs.

A few clicks and Untamed is at your doorstep

Making your first online order of nutritious and delicious cat food is as easy as one-two-three. 

All you need to do is:

  1. Share some details about your cat
  2. Pick the products
  3. Place the order

The trial pack will arrive at your doorstep in a day, and once your British Shorthair goes through all the dishes, we can send you monthly supplies of their favourites with no shipping fee. 

Satisfied cat parents who switched their feline companions to Untamed say you can expect the following changes:


What Untamed achieves

After one week

After two months

  • Better mood
  • Reduced stress
  • Leaner body

Within four months