Not to be confused with the Burmese cat, the Birman cat is an attractive feline with a semi-long coat that is silky and soft to the touch. Their coat is relatively easy to care for and is not as prone to mats and tangles as other longhaired cats. Not as slender as other domestic cats, the Birman has a stocky build that is prone to weight gain if care is not taken to monitor diet.
The fur on the Birman’s body is pale in color, generally eggshell or white, with darker points on his face, the tips of his ears, and his legs. However, even though the Birman has the darker points, purebred cats will have white toes and feet – also known as gloves. The majority of cats that have color-point coats will not have the white gloves on their feet and toes – making the coloration of the Birman fairly unique. Birman kittens are born white and only start to show their colors when they are a few days old. Their points will continue to darken as they age.
With ears that are relatively small when compared to other breeds, Birmans also have a pronounced and pointed snout. Their eyes are a striking sapphire color.
Research fails to find a record of the Birman cat actually originating in Burma. However, there are legends surrounding this striking cat, involving it having been kept in temples by priests in far North Burma. The majority of Birmans, however, can be traced to France. How they got there remains a mystery.
World War II almost completely destroyed this beautiful breed of cat. However, devotees to the Birman rebuilt the breed from a foundation pair deemed to be the last two surviving in all of Europe. Other breeds have originated from the Birman, including the Ragdoll.
Intelligent, affectionate, playful, and loyal, these lovely cats make excellent companions.