- Originated in western Burma, but the circumstances remain unclear. One popular belief touts that these cats served as feline companions for Kittah priests. When bandits fatally injured a high priest while attempting to steel a golden statute of blue-eyed goddess Tsun-Kyan-Kse, his loyal Birman, Sinh, stayed by his side as he was dying. Sinh’s fur was turned golden like the goddess and his eyes turned blue. His paws were turned to pure white to symbolize his devotion to his dying priest.
- The breed arrived in France around 1919 and the first Birmans came to the United States in 1959.
- Birman breeders name their kittens born in a specific year with the same letter of the alphabet. This naming convention makes it easier to determine the age of a Birman. For instance, all Birman kittens born in 2007 in the United States are registered with names beginning with the letter, “E.”
- Accepted by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1967 and attained championship status in 1972. All major cat breed registries now recognize this popular breed.
Birman Behavior Concerns
- Speaks in soft tones.
- Welcomes being part of a multi-species pack in the household.
- Seeks your company in a sweet, quiet manner.
- Gentle, playful and inquisitive.
- Learn commands and tricks easily.
- Does better with another cat or pet in the house when owners are at work.
- Not noted for climbing counters or hanging out on high shelves.
Look of Birmans
- Large, cobby-shaped body with medium to long silky hair that doesn’t mat.
- Features a body that is golden or eggshell in color with darker points displayed on the face, legs and tail.
- Points come in such colors as seal, blue, chocolate and lilac.
- The eyes are round and always deep blue and the ears are small. The head is round.
- All four paws are always white and called gloves. It is genetically unclear why this occurs with such consistency.
Grooming Birman Cats
- Its silky coat lacks an undercoat and mimics the feel of rabbit fur.
- Comb through the coat once or twice a week to keep looking healthy.
Suggested Nutritional Needs for Birman
- To prevent this breed from becoming overweight, measure food portions and feed two or three small meals daily.
Fun Facts of Birmans
- According to popular legend, it is said that when a Birman cat dies, the soul of a priest chaperones the feline up to heaven.
- All Birman kittens are born all white and gradually develop colors and points with the final colors established by age 2.
- Easily mistaken for a longhaired Siamese or Ragdoll.
>>> SEE ALSO: Know Your Pet