Let's talk Burmese

The self-confident and affectionate personality of the Burmese cat has made it among the world’s most popular breeds. Delighted in the company of others, the Burmese builds close bonds within families, making them ideal companions for first-time pet owners. Playful and mischievous, Burmese cats are also fond of attention and greatly agile, known to leap high into the air (sometimes beyond their means!) to catch something in a performance just for you.  It should come as little surprise that Burmese cat has earned “dog-like” descriptions.

Official name: Burmese

Origins: Myanmar

Black and white close-up portrait of a Burmese cat

 

 Shedding level    Warm weather? Medium
 Energy level*   Medium  Family Pet?* Very high
 Compatibility with other pets  High    

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 

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Illustration of a Burmese cat
Male
22 - 33 cm Height
4 - 6 kg Weight
Female
22 - 33 cm Height
3 - 5 kg Weight

 

 Baby cat  Birth to 4 months
 Growing kitten  4 to 12 months
 Adult  1 to 7 years
 Mature  7 to 12 years
 Senior  12+ years

Burmese cat playing with a ball of wool

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Get to know the Burmese

All you need to know about the breed

The Burmese cat is instantly likeable, known for turning even the most reluctant of cat-lovers into feline ambassadors. The breed’s playful energy, sociability and affectionate “dog-like” personality have contributed to its wide-reaching popularity, particularly among families.

In appearance the Burmese is a medium sized, elegant cat with dainty legs and paws. It has a rounded chest and a compact, muscular body that gives it a surprising weight for its size (so much so that it has been called a brick wrapped in silk). Its short glossy coat, with an extremely silky, satin-like texture, is distinctive to the breed..

The expression of the Burmese is defined by its eyes which are a deep yellow or golden colour but, more importantly, are shaped in such a way to give it a sweet and rather mischievous expression. And they can be talkative, too: you’ll find them with a softer, rumbling voice than their Siamese relatives but just as comfortable making their wishes known..

One thing to remember: there are, in essence, two types of Burmese cat, the American and the European. According to the Cat Fancier’s Association of America, the American Burmese (considered “contemporary”) tends to be stockier with a rounder head and wider-set ears. Both standards make for excellent companions.

Black Burmese cat sat behind a cushion on a carpeted floor

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2 facts about Burmese

1. Thrives on company (not into excessive solo time)

The Burmese cat is not only highly sociable, they truly thrive on company with others. As a result, Burmese cats are known to form deep bonds with their owners. Because it is dependent on that contact, it is advisable to have another pet in the house if the Burmese is to be left alone for longer periods of time, something we do not advise.

2. Multiple shades of sable 

Sable, a kind of dark brown, is among the most common  colours the Burmese cat can be found in. But it isn’t the only iteration. You might find the Burmese in platinum (a dusty lilac with soft brownish undertones), a bluish-grey with brown undertones, or Champagne, a warm beige. The CFA only recognises the Burmese if it bears a coat in one of these colours.

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History of the breed

The legacy of the modern Burmese cat can be traced back to a single brown female cat named Wong Mau, who was brought by a Dr. Thompson into the USA from Burma in 1930. Thompson developed a breeding program using a seal point Siamese, producing some kittens that looked like Wong Mau and others that looked more Siamese. A second litter resulted in three kitten appearances: Siamese, dark brown like Wong Mau, and another dark brown without points. The third variation, chocolate-brown (or sable, as the colour is known) kittens without markings, went on to become the basis of the Burmese as we know them today. Still with us?

The history of brown cats specifically goes back even further. Documentation shows that they were known centuries ago in the area of present-day Thailand, believed to be the Thong Daeng, Supalak or Copper cat being bred in the province of Ayudhya, in the ancient Kingdom of Siam. Brown cats were certainly imported into the UK in the early 1900s, although at that time they were thought to be a colour variety of Siamese and gained no support.

It wasn’t until 1957 that the Burmese breed became fully recognised by the Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA). At the same time, the European standard was developing throughout the 1940s and earned formal recognition from the United Kingdom’s Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in 1952. Today, Burmese cats in Europe and the Commonwealth are typically raised following the British/European standard and are a wonderful companion in every form.

Black and white portrait of a Burmese cat, sitting

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Burmese

1. Eyes

Large yellow eyes, set well apart.

2. Coat

Short, glossy coat with four possible colour patterns.

3. Legs

Slender legs and oval paws.

4. Ears

Medium ears, set well apart.

5. Tail

Medium, tapered tail without bumps.

Brown Burmese cat sat in front of a grey background

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Burmese
Burmese cat head cocked sat in a living room

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Caring for your Burmese

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Is it really considered grooming if only petting is involved? The Burmese cat’s short, satiny coat sheds very little and does not require regular combing or bathing. For light, seasonal shedding you can use a rubber curry brush to gently remove loose fur and enhance shine.  The Burmese responds well to training and can be taught to play fetch or do tricks. Puzzle toys are essential to keeping their active minds stimulated. For its well-being, the relatively high-energy Burmese also requires generous amounts of exercise. The good news is that access to a cat-tree, high perches, and play sessions with you will satisfy the cat’s jumping and climbing needs in addition to maintaining its healthy weight. 

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All about Burmese

When you expect to be the centre of attention, you have to speak up to get your way, according to the Burmese cat. Whilst the Burmese should not be considered pushy, per se, it does have a habit of using its rumbling, raspy voice to express its wishes. 

Not only are Burmese cats affectionate, they express their affection in a variety of ways: cuddling on your lap, trailing you around the house, and initiating play sessions with you. As a result, the Burmese is well-suited to a home with children and seniors. 

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Cat Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book