Do British Shorthairs Scratch furniture?

Furniture scratching!

A common behavior displayed by most (if not all) breeds of cats.

However, it is also one of the most frequently raised questions by prospective cat owners.

Do British shorthairs scratch furniture? Yes, just like any type of cat, the shorthair also has it in its nature to scratch furniture. Luckily, behavioral training, diverting the cat’s attention, and providing materials dedicated for scratching can help minimize the habit.

British Shorthair is an ideal breed of cats for first-time pet owners.

In this guide, let’s take a look at some tips on how you can prevent furniture scratching while making the most of your cat-experience!

Why do cats scratch?


Scratching is in the cat’s nature.

Take any type of cat for a pet, and they will destroy the material of your prized furniture.Of course, it is not a way to exhibit ‘bad behavior. But it is in their instinct, and most cats enjoy scratching. Usually, it is to mark their territory by leaving a visual mark and scent on your upholstery.

The paws of the cat contain scent glands that are released during scratching. Although the scent is usually undetectable for the humans, it is definitely apparent to any other feline present in the house. Scratching is also a grooming ritual for your feline as it helps them remove the dead outer layer of the claws.

It is also an excellent way to stretch the muscles, tendons, and joints – especially after waking up from a nap.

The cat may also start scratching when it is excited and frustrated.

For example, when your cat sees something outside, like another pet or bird – it would start running around and scratch whatever is the most accessible.

This is their way of illustrating excitement for the object outside which they are unable to direct with physically.

But why scratch furniture?

You may be wondering:

Why do cats directly target your antique furniture and not the other items present in their view?

Cats that live outside use logs and trees to curb their scratching instinct since these materials are sturdy and enable them to leave a visible marking. Indoor cats do not have access to these materials and succumb to use your furniture and upholstery for the same effect. Luckily, most cats show a preference for particular material or items.

Once you figure out the furniture of your cat’s liking, you can easily keep it off limits through various alternatives.

Scratch proof the furniture

The instinct to scratch is usually elevated on a specific type of soft material. To safeguard your furniture, make it less appealing to the cat by ‘scratch proofing’ it with an aluminum foil. Cats hate aluminum foil and by putting it on their favorite scratching spot will discourage them from any unwanted behavior, especially when you are away.

You can also use double-sticky tape for the same effect. Cats such as shorthair are not very fond of citrus or menthol. Spray the non-fabric surface with these substances or use it as a deterrent to keep the cat away from scratching your vintage furniture.

Remember that these prevention tips are for training purpose only.

And once you manage to divert your feline friend’s attention from your precious furniture, you can ease up on the ‘preventive’ measures.

Purchase a scratching post

A scratching post is the best alternative to your furniture.


There is no way you can discourage scratching in cats.

But giving them a substitute for your furniture can minimize damage in your home.

And of course, keep your cat occupied and content. Scratching posts are available in different shapes and sizes.

When searching for a scratching post for your shorthair cat, make sure you choose:

  • A scratching post that is sturdy and doesn’t wobble
  • Made from material that easily shreds. For example, sisal fabric makes a great scratching post material, is heavy duty and well preferred by the cats.
  • The one that has both – vertical and horizontal scratching surface

It is also a good idea to provide your cat with multiple scratching posts for different areas of the house.

For instance, if your cat scratches right after it wakes up from the nap; keep a scratching post next to their sleeping area.

Place the scratching posts in prominent areas of the house, so your cat does not have to go far for their indulge.

How to redirect your cat towards the scratching post?

It is less likely that your cat will start using the scratching post immediately after you bring it home. However, you can entice them towards the scratching toy you bought by adding a little catnip to the post.

If you see your cat scratching furniture, make a loud noise or clap to interrupt their behavior. Praise your cat when you find them using the scratching post instead of furniture to satisfy their cravings.

Give them lots of treats when they divert their attention from furniture to the scratching post.

Avoid punishment

Cats are loving animals and respond affectionately when provided with a warm environment. If you find the cat scratching your furniture, avoid the urge to yell, scold, or punish.

Negative enforcement is never the answer to any behavioral issue, and if you implement any such consequences, your cat may start avoiding you altogether.

Don’t declaw

Declawing is a cruel and inhumane practice. Even if your cat’s excessive scratching frustrates you, don’t resort to declawing your pet.

The pain from the method can last a lifetime and may even cause behavioral issues such as aggression, biting, and litter-box avoidance.

Give your British shorthair lots of love and attention

Here is the deal:

Some breeds of cat may indulge in scratching if it is lonely or feels neglected. Same goes for the British Shorthair cats.

Although they are independent cats and do well when they are left alone for long periods, they do need the required attention from their owners. The feeling worsens if you have a habit of staying out frequently during nights.

Cats are appreciative when given a routine life.

Disturbances in their routine may upset them and cause irrational itching. To prevent this from happening, make sure your cat is loved and safe.

Give it all the attention possible and ensure you stick to a disciplined routine.

Provide your British Shorthair with other scratching options

The markets are filled with many other scratching options besides the post. Usually, these items are so alluring that your cat will be attracted immediately. And of course, distracted from your precious furniture.

British shorthair cats are undemanding, and when provided with ample love, attention, and scratching posts – we are sure your cat will thrive happily.

Related Question 

Do British shorthair cats bite?

No, the British Shorthair cat is very docile when it comes to temperament. They bite less than other breeds of animals and are usually happy when an adequate environment is provided.

How long do British shorthairs live?

British shorthair cats are long-lived. In fact, they have an average life expectancy of 14-20 years.

Do British shorthair cats jump?

Yes, the British shorthairs are prone to jumping in high places. They are fearless of heights and will enjoy running and jumping around the house to remain physically active.

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