THE BURMESE CAT

The Burmese originated from Thailand, near the Thai-Burma border. This cat breed was then developed in the U.K, and in the U.S. In 1871, Harrison Weir had a cat show at the Crystal Palace where two Siamese cats were shown. Both resembled the Burmese cat breed as it is today. It is almost similar to the Tonkinese cat breed. Dr. Cheeseman Thompson imported a cat called Wong Mau into San Francisco in 1930. This cat was a brown female cat that was different in build to the Siamese, and could be classified as a separate breed.

Brief History

The Burmese cat breed is believed to be related to a female Tonkinese cat called Wong Mau. This cat was imported in to the U.S in 1930, and in turn was bred with the American Siamese cat called Tai Mau, a sealpoint Siamese. The kittens were dark brown. U.S cat breeders then developed a breed standard that was different from the Burmese one. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) recognized this breed in 1936. The CFA then suspended breed recognition a decade later due to extensive Siamese outcrossing. By 1954, the CFA lifted the suspension, and by 1958, the United Burmese Cat Fanciers (UBCF) set forth an American judging standard which still stands today.

Today, most modern cat registries do not recognize the two cat breeds as different breeds. The British breed is known as the European Burmese. The first Burmese cats were dark brown. Today, the Burmese comes in numerous colors. The Burmese is well known for its playful and social temperament. They are also very vocal.

Physical Features

The Burmese has two breed standards in which both head and body shape differs. The British (traditional Burmese) cat breed has a body that is slender, long-bodied, with a wedge-shaped head. The ears are large and pointed. The muzzle is long and tapering. The eyes are moderately almond-shaped. The eye color is gold or yellow. The legs are long, and the paws are oval. With a tapering tail of medium length, the British Burmese cat breed is a small to medium cat breed that is muscular and heavy. They are also silky soft when touched.

The American Burmese cat breed has a stockier build, with a much larger head, round eyes, and a much shorter, and flatter muzzle. The ears are also set wider apart, with the legs and tail proportionate to the body. In both breed standards, the breed is a muscular breed that is thicker in build, and heavy when picked up. The coat is thick and shiny, and looks like satin. Blue Burmese will have a medium colored blue coat. The nose and paw pads will be slate grey. Champagne colored Burmese will yield a honey beige coat color. The nose is brown and the paw pads pinkish, brown color. Platinum Burmese will be a silvery grey color. The nose and paw pads will be pinkish, lavender in color.

Average Height:

10-12 inches

Average Weight:

6-10 pounds

Life Expectancy:

10-15 years

Temperament

The Burmese loves to gaze and admire the outdoors. This cat breed is laid back and fun. They adore affection, plenty of interactive cat toys, and cat trees with perches. These cats are great climbers that can be leash trained easily. This is an outgoing cat breed that delights in making new friends. They get on well with people, other animals that are not aggressive, and gentle children.

The Burmese loves to play, and will follow you for attention. An assortment of interactive cat toys is recommended for this cat breed. They enjoy being around family, and do not do well being alone all day. They are a one-person cat breed that bond closely with their pet parent. The Burmese is vocal, and are known to be persistent when trying to get your attention. This very intelligent and affectionate cat breed does well with apartment and indoor living. The Burmese may be prone to feline depression and anxiety if left alone for long periods of time. This cat breed does well with plenty of TLC! They do well with active families, and other pets.

Burmese cat

Possible Health Concerns

  • Gingivitis: With gingivitis, the gums will become inflamed because of plaque. By daily tooth brushing, dietary changes, using a plaque prevention gel, and oral rinses, you’ll be helping your cat. 
  • Psychogenic Alopecia: This is when there is abnormal hair loss that is caused from excessive grooming. It may result from cat’s being stressed from other cats, dogs or people. 
  • Cherry Eye (Eyelid Protrusion): This is a disorder of the third eyelid, resulting in swollen redness of the eye. It is more common in Persian- related cat breeds.
  • Cleft Palate: The Burmese may be prone to this birth defect. This is due to the palate bones not diffusing. Kittens will be unable to nurse if born with this defect. 
  • Vestibular Disease: This is caused by a congenital abnormality. It may also result from trauma inside your cat’s ear. It may be caused by cancer or certain infections. It affects the nervous system in cats, and causes a lack of coordination. 

Exercise

Your Burmese will scratch for numerous reasons, such as stretching and exercising their toes, shedding the dead outer layer of their claws, and to mark their territory. Free-standing scratchers are ideal for the Burmese, as well as cat condos that have designated scratching posts. 

The Burmese cat breed needs daily exercise combined with plenty of mental stimulation through active play and interaction with people. 

This cat breed is an intelligent and very affectionate cat breed that does well in most cat friendly environments. They still need to play and interact with people, and should not be left alone all day.

Grooming

The Burmese needs daily grooming to remove shedding or dead hair. Because this breed has a short and fine, soft coat, grooming is easy. Stainless steel combs help to remove dead hair. Care must be taken when grooming leg hair and body hair to avoid sensitive areas. Some cats have very sensitive areas along their backs, legs, and belly area. Curry brushes help with grooming, and will remove dead hair and debris from your cat’s coat.

With their intelligence and fun personalities, this vocal cat breed has plenty of attitude.

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