Birman Cats

Photo: Kristin Kokkersvold

Gentle, individualistic and very loyal, Birman cats fall between Siamese and Persian in character.

If you admire cats that are non aggressive, that very much enjoy being with humans and tend to be on the quiet side, you may well find that Birmans are just the felines for you.

All Birmans have color-pointed features, dark coloration of the face, ears, legs and tail.

Originally, this breed was seal-pointed only, but now you will find lilac, blue, red and chocolate, as well as a broad range of tabby and tortoiseshell points.

The really distinctive feature of Birmans are the pure white gloves (or mittens) on their forepaws, and the white gauntlets (or laces) worn on their hind paws.

These strikingly beautiful cats have round, deep blue eyes, relatively large ears, pointed rather than flat faces and longish noses.

Birmans coats are long and silky, but not prone to matting, with a full 'ruff' and slightly curled upon the stomach.

Temperament of Birman Cats

Birmans tend to be both curious and unobtrusive, cool but by no means aloof.

young birman cat

They have a soft voice, but have no difficulty in making themselves heard if they have a need.

These cats have a playful, faithful and affectionate nature, bond very well with their people, and are generally good with children.

Birmans are perhaps happiest in homes that have other pets.

The Birman is an intelligent breed and although a very proficient climber and hunter, adapts extremely well to being an indoor only cat.

Birman Description

Birman kittens are born pure white, their color appears after a few days to a week, on the lighter coat colors it may be several weeks before the gloves and laces show.

Adult Birmans are of small to average size.

The male Birman weighs from 8 to 12 pounds, the females are generally a little smaller.

Photo: Steve Jurvetson

The breed has a longish body, which can be quite stocky and heavily boned, the legs are thick set. The head of a Birman cat is broad and of a pleasant, rounded appearance.

Birmans are classified as semi-longhaired.

Their coats are silky and of a texture that is not prone to matting, therefore constant grooming is not necessary, a regular combing may be all that is required.

The Birman breed's French name is Sacre de Birmanie, the origin of the breed name Birman.

Nearly all breeders of Birmans follow a tradition of naming their cats according to which year they are born. Birman kittens born in 2013 will have a name starting with K, in 2014 the names will start with the letter L.

Sacred Cats of Burma

Nobody is absolutely sure about the origin of this breed but Birmans are also known as the Sacred Cats of Burma, Birman cats have a number of imaginative legends associated with them.

Perhaps this is the best known of these legends about the breed's origin. The guardians of the Burmese Temple of LaoTsun were 100 white cats with long hair and golden yellow eyes.

The goddess of the temple was Tsun-Kyan-Kse who had deep blue eyes. Mun-Ha, the head priest, made a favorite of one of the cats whose name was Sinh. The priest and the cat became constant companions.

The temple came under a ferocious attack from a large army and Mun-Ha was killed trying to defend it.

As his master drew his last breath, Sinh stood on his master and faced Tsun-Kyan-Kse the goddess. Sinh's eyes turned as deep blue as the eyes of the goddess, and his face, tail and legs darkened to the color of the soil. However, his paws, where they touched his master, remained white as a mark of purity. All 99 of the other temple cats became colored in a like fashion, as are Birman cats to this day.

Here is a wonderful selection of Birman Cat Pictures displayed on a site that has pages of great information on cat breeds. Cat Photos of the Sacred Cats of Burma.

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