The Birman has a striking resemblance to the Siamese cat. But compared to his Thai counterpart, the Birman is larger, has white feet, a stockier body, and a long, silken coat.
Birmans are medium-to-large-sized cats that come in all pointed colors. They are long and heavy-boned cats, so they have the tendency to grow quite big. This cat breed has beautiful deep blue eyes and features very unusual coat markings. The Birman looks like pointed cats – only with four white feet.
The face of the Birman looks almost rounded, but its head is actually almost triangular. The breed has medium-sized ears and a Roman nose. Their fur is silky, soft, and medium in length.
Personality and Temperament
This cat is affectionate and calm. He thrives in the company of his humans. Whether you’re living alone or living with kids, the Birman can adapt to your home and your lifestyle.
The Birman loves to play with other pets and would engage in a game of chase. They are friendly cats who can get along well with kids, other cats, and even dogs. Unlike other cats, the Birman does not like being the only pet. This cat enjoys company and won’t mind whether the companion you got him is another cat or a dog.
The Birman cat does not demand a lot of attention but it does become more affectionate when they want to be petted.
Health and Care
Birmans are generally a hearty, healthy cat. They reach their full maturity at the age of 3.This breed can live up to 15 or more years.
While Birmans are generally healthy, they have unusually high concentrations of creatinine and/or urea in the blood. This condition may or may not indicate kidney problems.
Birmans may have long and silky coats but they are easy to comb and maintain. They do not get matted easily. Weekly combing is enough to remove dead hair and evenly spread his skin oils. The Birman also sheds his winter coat in the spring. This means you will have to brush your Birman’s coat more often during this season.
It’s best to keep a Birman an indoor cat to help protect him from diseases other cats or animals may spread. Keeping your cat indoors will also secure him from possible attacks by dogs and wild animals.
History and Background
This beautiful cat has an incredible story of origin. The Birman is sometimes called The Sacred Cat of Burma. This breed is said to have gotten his beautiful looks from a blue-eyed goddess. According to legends, the goddess rewarded a temple cat for the love and devotion he gave his priest. The goddess turned the cat’s white coat golden and his yellow eyes blue. The goddess retained the cat’s white paws as a symbol of his purity. Since then, the temple cats have borne the goddess’s gifts. Legend says the priests who died were reincarnated into the temple cats’ bodies.
Legends aside, how the Birmans became the Birmans we know today is still unknown. There many theories about the breed’s origin including: they are crosses of Siamese with Persian Cats or Angoras, but the specific place where these “crosses” might have happened is still not known. Some say the crosses might have occurred in Asia, where several cat breeds carried the genes for long hair, pointed patterns, and blue eyes.
There is also a theory saying that the Birman may have been created in France from cats imported by Auguste Pavie and Major Gordon Russell. The two men were said to be given a couple of temple cats in 1919 as a thanksgiving gift for helping the Burmese priests. These temple cats were supposed to be shipped to France, but the male, unfortunately, passed away during travel. But before he died, it was said that he was able to get the female cat pregnant. The two temple cats’ kittens then helped establish the breed in Europe.
In 1925, the breed was recognized as the Sacre de Birmanie in France, which is the name in which they got their current breed name, Birman.
The Birmans were first brought into the US in 1959. They finally got recognized by the CFA in 1967. Now, Birmans are also recognized by the ACFA, the CCA, the CCF and the ICA.