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HOME Cat Breeds Why do British Shorthair Cats Hate Being Picked Up?

Why do British Shorthair Cats Hate Being Picked Up?

Some cats demand attention; others can’t seem to leave us alone. But why do British Shorthair Cats hate being picked up?

What is it about being handled that rubs them the wrong way? It isn’t easy to imagine such a cute and cuddly cat would refuse to be treated as one.

So, why do British Shorthair Cats hate being picked up? Unlike other breeds, British Shorthair Cats get uncomfortable when you pick them up- regardless of how careful you are about it. They are affectionate in ways that differ from other breeds. To them, it’s harassment rather than an act of affection. 

Think about the different cultures of people out there, for example. In some cultures, a burp is equivalent to a compliment toward the host or chef.

British shorthair cat on white background

In other countries, the same behavior is deemed rude or even offensive. With cats, what’s acceptable with some breeds are not taken the same way by other breeds.

Some people tend to mistake this behavior as unaffectionate as it relates to the British Shorthair. As far as they’re concerned- it is!

Our intentions and the different things that we assume are well received across the board just aren’t with particular breeds.

Rather than assuming that the British Shorthair is unaffectionate, look at it as picking it up could be the equivalent to pulling its tail from the cat’s point of view.

If you look at it that way, just how affectionate are you truly being?

What is the British Shorthair Personality?

british shorthair cat temperament illustration

The overall temperament of the breed is playful, friendly and affectionate. British Shorthairs are generally good-natured toward children and other pets- even dogs. They are infrequent talkers, so if it’s talking to you, you’d better be listening.

Their easy-going nature crossed with a high tolerance to activity around them makes them a good choice for an active or growing family.

They are well known to form strong bonds with their owners and show loyalty whenever and however they can. They are also known to be strong purring cats, which helps us know what kind of a mood it’s in.

Despite their friendly and placid temperament, they do like to have their own boundaries of independence. But when they want to play, they’ll often let you know, or will play by themselves.

When they want your attention, they will let you know it by making their presence known.

Are British Shorthairs Affectionate?

british shorthair hiding in the arms of its owner

Despite their disdain for being picked up, British Shorthairs are incredibly loving and affectionate to their owners or family.

They are not standoffish with familiar faces and often seek out attention that they understand as affectionate.

It isn’t uncommon for them to brush up against your feet or legs and follow you around the house. Also, they’ll tend to enjoy your company in any way they can, curling beside you while you’re using the computer or watching TV.

They are in no way an aloof or distant breed. They are affectionate, but in their way and on their terms. Bear in mind that we’re talking about the breed as a whole, and there are always exceptions.

There may be some British Shorthair cats that love to be picked up and handled. Some might even jump in your lap and never want to get down.

These are exceptions to the rule, though, and overall, it’s unlikely that you’ll wind up with one that enjoys that kind of attention. If you want to do right by the cat in the affection department, be observant.

Are British Shorthairs Lap Cats?

british shorthair cat on owner's lap

Are British Shorthairs lap cats? No, not really. They do enjoy being close to you, but not necessarily willing to claim real estate on your lap.

They may choose to lay down beside you, or anywhere near you, but it would be a rare privilege for one to choose to lay down on your lap. British Shorthairs may choose to lay down or hang out somewhere within arm’s reach because they do enjoy your company.

Some may be content in just being in the same room, not wanting to miss anything. Others might like to make sure that you’re always within eyeshot. The British Shorthair is notoriously a low maintenance cat, physically and also behaviorally.

But unfortunately, for those who would rather they behave as a lap cat, this doesn’t happen to be one of their common traits.

Though they were bred with Persians back in the mid-1900s to help repopulate the breed (who do tend to be lap cats), this particular form of affection did not make the cut genetically.

Are British Shorthair Cats Cuddly?

british shorthair cat sitting on owner's bosom

British Shorthair cats are not particularly cuddly. In this regard, I saw it best said that they are extraordinary companions rather than squishy cuddlers, despite how cuddly they appear.

Some individuals within the breed may succumb to cuddles depending on how tolerant they are, but as a rule, they’re not big fans of this type of attention. With British Shorthair cats, any attention that falls outside of their control is unwanted attention.

Grabbing on to your Shorthair and giving it a dose of cuddles fall within the “unwanted attention” category, right alongside being held.

Don’t Force Yourself Upon your British Shorthair

british shorthair hates being picked up image

Trying to force issues that are offensive to the cat, such as being held or forced cuddling, can slowly drive a wedge of distrust between you and your cat. Nobody wants that to happen, neither you nor the cat.

When you repeatedly force the cat to be held when it doesn’t want to be held, you’re not conditioning the cat to like the situation. They don’t see the point that you’re trying to make.

What they do see are the conditions that apply that cause it to happen and learns to avoid those conditions.

In this case, if they think that sitting next to you is going to result in being picked up, eventually they’ll stop doing it. If rubbing against your leg keeps resulting in being picked up, eventually they’ll wind up being more hesitant to do so.

You know that you are only seeking to give it more attention, but as far as the cat is concerned, it’s being punished for good and affectionate behavior.

Final Thoughts

Owner said Can I pick you up to british shorthair cat

Every breed of cat has its perks, and there is no exception with the British Shorthair. They differ from others in the realm of showing their love and affection to their families.

Differing in that they have different ways to show their affection than other breeds. That’s all. When you respect how they show and accept affection, you’ll form a bond with the cat that will last its whole life.

Related Questions:

Can British Shorthair Cats Go Outside?

british shorthair sitting in the lawn outside the house

Yes, British Shorthairs can go outside, and in a safe and controlled area, they’d get around just fine and would enjoy themselves.

The real question is, “Should they go outside?”

The answer to that question heavily relies on where you live and what else is living in the area. Most cats adapt well to outdoor living- in fact, many insist upon it.

But a large breed that isn’t the best jumpers and climbers might have a difficult time if a need arises to do so.

In neighborhoods, dogs can be an issue, and traffic would be a concern. Also, as is true with any purebred, there’s always a danger of it being taken in by someone else who recognizes the value of the cat.

In other words, catnapped. In this case, their human-friendly nature can make catnapping all that much easier. Sure, you would probably have your cat chipped, but would you really be willing to put it to the test?

Out in rural areas, different concerns come into play. Although cats are notorious predators, that is only a problem to animals that are of equal size or smaller than they are (generally).

As far as British Shorthairs are concerned, they would be easy prey for larger predators found in the woods- particularly in the United States.

Coyotes, wild dogs, wild pigs, other large wild cats, and even bears in certain circumstances, can all be threats to a British Shorthair more so than other breeds or mixed breeds.

Predator-like grace, lightning speed, high jumping, and the ability to quickly scale trees and get back down again were not bred into the Shorthair’s toolbox.

So, to answer the questions above, yes, the British Shorthair Cat can go outside and enjoy itself and can be just fine. Should the cat be out there in the first place? Depending on where you live, probably not.

Fortunately, British Shorthairs are most often perfectly content to stay indoors and are independent enough to keep themselves occupied.

Do British Shorthair Cats Need a Companion?

2 british shorthair kittens sitting in the couch

No, British Shorthairs don’t need to have a companion. They are independent in the respect that they enjoy having their own space and can be perfectly content by themselves in that space.

That’s not to say that they’d have a hard time getting along with another cat or dog. It’s typical to the breed to have no problem being friendly to either one- they just don’t need the company to be happy.

There are cats out there that do much better having a companion to share its living space with. Some cats seem lonely all by themselves and appreciate having another cat to play with.

But that isn’t something that umbrellas to every breed, the least of which the British Shorthair.

After having said all that, giving your British Shorthair a companion isn’t a bad thing or a bad idea. Why not give your cat a partner in crime to hang around with when you’re not around?

Due to the danger of becoming overweight, it might be a healthy idea to give your cat a friend. Another cat can stimulate some playful behavior, assisting in giving them some exercise that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

As long as they are introduced to one another properly, they’d get along without any problems.