Birman Cat Breed Profile
Sacred Cat of Burma
> 15 years
It is not unusual for Birmans to live into their late teens.
Average Litter Size
Birmans generally give birth to around six kittens.
General Physical Description
The Birman is a striking cat in appearance. The eyes are a distinctive sapphire blue, and the coat is white or cream with darker ‘points’, all set off by snowy white paws. The Birman has a long coat, though it is not as long as a Persian Longhair's, and this breed is assigned to the semi-longhaired group of cats according to the GCCF (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy). This breed has no undercoat and the coat is non-matting, producing a longhaired coat that is relatively easy to care for and requires little grooming. In build, the Birman appears longer and less stocky or ‘cobby’ than other longhaired cats such as Persians, although it is more heavily built than the Somali, Angora or Javanese. The Birman’s coat is pale in colour with darker 'points' on the face, legs and tail (as in the Siamese). These points develop and deepen during the first year of life. All four paws are white - this is a characteristic of the breed. The Birman is a medium sized cat. Males tend to be larger than the females.
Weight Height Range
Birmans generally require around 70 - 80 kcal per kg of bodyweight per day of food.
The Birman is a generally healthy cat with no breed-specific health problems. As with all cats it is a good idea to have an annual health check from about the age of eight, to check for age related problems such as liver and kidney disease.
A good show Birman requires a round, broad head with full cheeks and a medium sized nose. The ears should be medium-sized and wide-set, as the eyes should be almost round and blue (the deeper blue the better). The ruff around the neck should be full, and the coat long and silky; slight curls are allowed on the belly. The legs should be sturdy and the paws large, round and pure white. The dark ‘gloves’ on the front and back paws should be symmetrical. The tail should be medium in length and end in a long, silken plume. The body should be long and massive, and the cat must have a good temperament. There should be no spots of colour in the white areas; the head shape should not resemble a Persian or Siamese’s. Other obvious faults are those that applies to all breeds such as skull deformities, entropion (an eyelid deformity), unlevel bite, squints, tail kinks etc.
Country Of Origin
Burma (now Myanmar)
Compatibility With Other Cats
Compatibility With Other Animals
Suitability For Children
Character & Temperament
The Birman is a gentle cat who likes to be around people – it will follow you around and get underfoot! They are very affectionate, and require company in return. Birmans want to investigate everything, and are often found getting into mischief! They are soft-voiced and amenable to being handled, which can be a big help when you take your cat to the vet, or enter it in a show.
Playfulness As An Adult
Grooming & Upkeep
The Birman’s coat is slightly easier to care for than a Persian’s, though this is not to say that they do not need quite a lot of intention, particularly if you wish to show your cat. However, the Birman’s quiet and gentle temper should make this an easier task.
Solid Point Birmans. Seal Point: dark brown points; pale beige body with a slightly golden hue; dark seal brown nose leather. Blue Point: blue-grey points; cool-toned bluish white body; slate-grey nose leather. Chocolate Point: milk chocolate points; ivory body; chocolate nose leather. Lilac Point: pinkish grey points; off-white magnolia body; pinkish nose leather. Red Point: orange/red points; pale cream body with slight golden hue; pink nose leather. Cream Point: cream points; off-white body with faint golden hue; pink nose leather. Tortie Point Birmans: Seal Tortie Point: the points are seal brown intermingled with shades of light and dark red; fawn body, shading unevenly to warm brown and/or pale red on the back and sides; seal brown and/or pink nose leather. Blue Tortie Point: blue intermingling with shades of light and dark cream on the points; off-white body shading unevenly to pale blue and/or cream on back and sides; blue and/or pink nose leather.Chocolate Tortie Point: milk chocolate intermingling with shades of light and dark red on the points; ivory body shading unevenly to pale chocolate and/or pale red on back and sides; chocolate and/or pink nose leather. Lilac Tortie Point: Lilac Tortie points shown off against a magnolia body. Tabby Point Birmans (excluding Tortie Tabby): Seal Tabby Point: seal brown markings on a pale brown agouti background for the points; pale beige body. Blue Tabby Point: the points have blue markings on a light beige agouti background; cool-toned bluish white body. Chocolate Tabby Point: the points have milk chocolate markings on a pale bronze agouti background; ivory body. Lilac Tabby Point: lilac markings on a pale beige agouti background for the points; magnolia body. Red Tabby Point: the points have rich red markings on a light apricot agouti background; pale cream body with a slight golden hue. Cream Tabby Point: cream markings on a paler cream agouti background for the points; off-white body with a slight golden hue. Tortie Tabby Point Birmans: These colours show the normal tabby pattern, overlaid with shades of light and dark red or cream. The extent and distribution of the tortie areas are not important, but both tortie and tabby elements are clearly visible. Seal Tortie Tabby Point: the points have seal brown markings on a pale brown agouti background overlaid and intermingled with shades of red; the fawn body shades unevenly to warm brown and/or pale red on the back and sides. Blue Tortie Tabby Point: the points have blue markings on a light beige agouti background overlaid and intermingled with shades of cream; off-white body shading unevenly to pale blue and/or cream on the back and sides. Chocolate Tortie Tabby Point: the points have milk chocolate markings on a pale bronze agouti background overlaid and intermingled with shades of light and dark red; ivory body shading unevenly to pale chocolate and/or pale red on the back and sides. Lilac Tortie Tabby Point: the points have lilac markings on a pale beige agouti background overlaid and intermingled with shades of light and dark cream; magnolia body shading unevenly to pale lilac and/or cream on back and sides.
History And Uses
There are several legends surrounding the Birman’s initial creation. The most popular takes place centuries ago in a sacred temple built for the worship of Tsun-Kyan-Kse, the golden Goddess with sapphire blue eyes who watched over the transmigration of souls. One hundred pure white cats with amber eyes lived within the temple. One day, the temple was attacked by bandits and. As the chief priest was slain, one of the temple cats is said to have leapt with all four paws onto his body as the man breathed his last, in order to protect his master, who lay before a statue of the Goddess. At that moment, the temple cat changed to a beautiful golden colour, whilst the ears, nose, tail, and legs darkened to an earthy brown. Its eyes turned to sapphire blue, like the goddess’ eyes, and the four paws remained pure white, where they had touched the priest, representing the purity of the priest's soul. The following day, the surviving priests were amazed to find that all one hundred of the temple cats had undergone a similar transformation. As to the Birman’s ‘real’ history, it is known that a pair were shipped to France from Burma in 1919. Sadly, the male died during the voyage, but the pregnant female survived, and she and her kittens introduced the breed to the Western world. The French cat fancy recognised the breed in 1925, but during World War II their numbers in the Continental Europe dwindled and at the end of the war there was only a few in France, and two breeders in Germany. It took many years to re-establish the breed, but their numbers gradually recovered. Birmans arrived in America in 1959 and in Britain in 1964. The breed was officially recognised in the UK in 1966, and in 1967 by The Cat Fanciers' Association in the United States.
Suffers From Allergies
Tendency to Cause Allergies