This legendary breed, once believed to be the sacred companions of priests in the temples of Burma, first appeared in France in 1919, where they were recognized as a separate breed by 1925. By the end of World War 11, hardly any Birmans were alive and it was necessary to re-establish the breed. This was done thanks to devoted breeders and by the 1960’s; Birmans were again plentiful and exported around the world. They found their way to the USA and in 1967 they were recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association.
The Birman is classified as a semi-long haired cat. They have a long stocky and muscular body. The Birman face is round, the eyes set wide apart, medium in size, round and always blue. The coat color is white to cream with colored points – similar to the coat patterns of the Siamese and Color point Persians. The most common point colors are Seal (dark brown) and Blue (slate gray), followed by Lilac and Chocolate. Today, new colors and patterns being developed, includes Red and Cream points, as well as Tabby, Tortie, and Tortie-Tabby points. With age, the coat develops a “golden mist” of shading, which is more apparent in Seal points.
Birmans are most easily identified by their four snow white feet, called gloves. At shows, they are judged on the symmetry of the gloves, which therefore play an important part when determining whether a kitten is of show quality or pet quality.
Litters average between 2-4 kittens, which are all born pure white. The body points become visible at about 10 days, but it can be up to 12 weeks or more before a true evaluation of the show quality of the kitten can be made. Slow to mature, the Birman does not achieve full growth in size and bone structure and coat until its third year.
Often compared to rabbit fur, the Birman has a very soft, silky coat that rarely mats, making it very simple to maintain. A quick combing every few days is all that is needed to keep your Birman looking immaculate.
The wonderful relaxed and patient nature of the Birman makes them easily adaptable to their environment. Very affectionate and faithful, they enjoy interacting with people and each other, talking a lot with a soft, cooing voice. Polite and dignified, the Birman rarely finds it necessary to raise its voice when conveying its thoughts and wishes. The direct, sustained eye contact and facial expressions are usually enough to force its owner into submission, because a Birmans wish is its human’s command. They are loyal and devoted seldom letting you out of sight for long. They love to follow you from room to room assisting in your daily chores. Sometimes a lap cat, but always a people cat, most Birmans will place themselves within petting distance. If you like the beauty and elegance of a longhaired cat, dramatic contrast of a color pointed cat, and would enjoy an intelligent and devoted companion and friend, the Birman might just be the breed for you.
Pam & Phil Soth
Warren, Oregon 503-410-5452
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