Size: Medium to Large
Coat Length: Long hair
Body Type: Moderate
Appearance: The Birman is a medium to large cat breed with a rectangular-looking body. The adult males weigh between 4 to 6.8kg and the females from 2.7 to 4.5kg. They have a medium-length silky coat and can be seen in the pointed pattern. The fur being one colour but the key points like face, ears, tail and feet are a slightly different, darker colour. The base body colour of Birmans is white or cream. They can be seen in seal, blue, chocolate, lilac, red and cream point. The ears of the cat are medium-sized with rounded tips. The eyes are oval and usually bright blue.
Grooming Requirement: Twice a week
Activity Level: Fairly Low
Affection: Very affectionate
Time Alone: 4 to 8 hours a day
Attention: Needs average attention
Temperament: Birmans are kind and friendly cats. Devoted and tolerant, these are one of the breeds that will actually enjoy sitting in your lap and they can even seem to enjoy a cuddle. They aren’t the most active cats but they still like to play from time to time. Don’t take a Birman kitten if you plan to be at work all day, they don’t really enjoy spending long periods alone.
Interesting Facts: The Birman cat is also known as the Sacred cat of Burma.
Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Children: Birmans are an amazing choice as a family pet. They love attention and if you have children the Birman will be even happier. If you have a dog as long as he’s cat-friendly, you won’t have any issues. However you still have to supervise if you have toddlers. Always keep an eye on them and teach your children to be responsible and to interact properly with animals.
Common Health Problems: Some of the most common health issues that can be seen with Birman cats are congenital hypotrichosis, corneal dermoid, spongiform degeneration, high concentrations of urea. In some cases small kittens might suffer from shaking and trembling. Usually this happens while the kittens are between 10 days and 12 weeks old.
Lifespan: Average 12 to 16 years.
There exists a legend concerning the origin of the Birman cat, an animal still known in many countries as the Sacred Cat of Burma. This legend is dismissed by many as being just another fairy tale used to explain the appearance of these charming creatures. This breed’s name is derived from “Birmanie”, the French form of Burma. Even though there is no clear record of the breed’s origin, the Birman cat is believed to have first appeared in Northern Burma. There, it was regarded as the sacred companion of the Kittah priests.
In 1919 two Englishmen, Major Gordon Russell and August Pavie, became responsible for the breed’s first appearance in Europe. In return for their help in saving the temple from an enemy invasion, the gentlemen received two Birman cats from the Kittah people. In 1925, the Federation of Feline Francaise recognized the Birman as a true pedigree cat breed.
The Birman Cat In Great Britain
In 1965 two breeders, Elsie Fisher and Margaret Richards, attended a Paris cat show and were fascinated with the breed. As a result, they imported two females and one male. Fisher and Richards then started a partnership in breeding Birman cats. The first brood of Birmans, born in the UK, arrived in July 1966 – four in seal point and four in blue point coloration. Most Birmans in the UK can be traced back to these cats.
Birmans were almost wiped out as a breed during World War II. As the war approached its end, only two of their kind survived in Europe, both belonging to Baudoin-Crevoisier. They were almost exclusively cross-bred with long-hair breeds like Persian and Siamese in order to restore their own. By the 1950s, breeders created pure Birman litters once more. In 1965, the restored breed was recognized in Britain. In 1959, the first Birman cats in seal point and blue point colours were created as a result of mating with blue Persian lines. New colours, including chocolate, red, and lynx points, were introduced at a later date by English breeders.
Birman kittens eat three times a day. The last meal should be given right before bedtime to ensure that they will sleep well. The dry food that Birmans eat should contain calcium. They should never be given raw meat, eggs or milk as they are likely to be lactose intolerant. Tuna and fish/seafood should be avoided as well, for they may cause a vitamin E deficiency.
Foods to avoid:
- Semi-moist foods with chemicals.
- Sugar of all shapes and sizes.
These cats may eat chicken meat, but only if it is cooked. Otherwise, it may spoil quickly and cause salmonella poisoning. Good quality canned foods may also be used as a quick and easy way of providing the pet with a meal. However, frequent consumption of such foods by the animal is not recommended.
When they near their first year, Birman kittens replace their coats with ruffs around their necks. These ruffs should be combed weekly to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils. These felines shed their winter coats during spring. Thus, frequent combing is advised to remove excess hair.
- The shedding coat should be loosened and removed with a warm bath.
- The claws should be clipped with nail clippers every two weeks.
- The Birman’s litter box should be maintained spotlessly clean – cats are exceptionally demanding when it comes to bathroom hygiene.
- The pet’s teeth should be frequently brushed to prevent periodontal diseases. For optimal results, a daily dental hygiene is recommended.
- The corners of the cat’s eyes should be wiped with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge.
It is preferable to keep Birmans as indoor only cats to protect them from various diseases, to prevent them from being attacked by other animals and to avoid any car-related accidents. Because of their visual appearance, Birmans also run the risk of being stolen.