The origin of the Birman cat is a mystery full of legends and fantasy. They are believed to have been the sacred companion of Kittah priests in Burma. During an attack on the temple, a priest was killed. At the moment of his death, a miracle occurred—his yellow cat changed color to the creamy gold, blue-eyed cat of today.
History of the Birman Cat
In a tale more recent, two Birman cats were smuggled out of Burma somewhere around 1919. During the long trip to France, the male cat died. The pregnant female survived the trip and was the beginning of the breed in the western world. The Birman was recognized as a separate breed by the French in 1925.
After World War II, only two Birman remained. Outcrossing or breeding with another breed, was needed. Registries typically require five generations of pure breeding to fully accredit a breed for championship competition. In 1967, the Birman was recognized by the Cat Fancier’s Association.
This creamy colored cat looks like he’s rolled in gold-dust. Points — the dark face, tail, and legs — can be seal point, blue point, chocolate point and lavender point, similar to the Siamese. Eyes are bright blue, again like the Siamese. The Birman has silky hair that doesn’t mat but begs to be brushed. He has a long, sturdy body style. Males weight 8 – 12 pounds with females being a bit smaller.
The most distinctive characteristic of the Birman is his white feet. Front paws are perfect white socks. The back paws have lacing—white that goes up the back of the leg a bit into a point.
A Birman’s quiet, playful personality loves to be with people but he’s content to entertain himself if you are busy. He is calm, sweet and well-mannered, making him a great family pet.
Special Care Issues
This breed may have minor sinus problems but no other known inherited genetic problems.
Written by Sandra Murphy - Sandra Murphy lives in the land of booze, blues and shoes - St Louis, Missouri. When not writing, she works as a pet sitter. In her spare time, she caters to the whims of Reilly and BB, stray cats rescued by her dog, Avery.
Photos of Perry, courtesy of Laura Zickus
Comments? Leave them using the form below. Questions? Please use the cat forums for those!