Let's talk Burmillas

The Burmilla is a family cat, at their best when considered a true member of the household.  Loyal, devoted, and affectionate, Burmilla cats are known to stay close to their owners, keeping them company and offering dedicated companionship. In return, the breed expects attention and may even demand, quietly but firmly, to be petted. Playful like a kitten well into adulthood yet gentle, this sweet-natured cat is a great match for children, the elderly, and other animals. It’s easy to fall for the Burmilla’s irresistible personality and insatiable curiosity. 

Official name: Burmilla

Other names: Burmilla Shorthair, Burmilla Longhair, Asian

Origins: England

Black and white portrait of a Burmilla walking towards the camera

 

 Shedding level  Very low  Warm weather? Very low
 Energy level*   Medium  Family Pet?* 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 Burmilla 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

Burmilla cat lying on the desk

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Get to know the Burmilla

All you need to know about the breed

A cross between the Chinchilla and the Burmese cat, the Burmilla is among the rarest of breeds, beloved as much for their affectionate but independent personalities as for their inquisitive disposition.

A medium-sized cat with a muscular body and slender legs, the Burmilla is an active breed, ready to jump at the chance (literally) to play with you. Their head is wedge-shaped with soft lines and their rather large green eyes are very expressive, considered one of the breed’s most distinctive features. The coat may be short or semi-longhair; in both varieties it has a silky texture and is sparkling silver with shading or tipping in the base colour.

The Burmilla cat’s mixed origins means their temperament is similarly mixed: they can be a bit demanding and mischievous like the European Burmese but also easy-going like the Chinchilla Persian. For this breed, easy-going means they will revel as much in a play session as in naptime on your lap. They don’t need to be endlessly entertained but they do thrive on human companionship so it’s important to have the time to devote to them to make them feel safe and comfortable. It pays off: the Burmilla’s playful, kitten-like nature lasts well into adulthood.

Burmilla cat outside staring at the sky

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2 facts about Burmillas

1. Look out for your knick knacks!

Naturally inquisitive and big on exploring, the Burmilla has an adventurous streak. But they also tend to be clumsy. If you are protective of your beloved knick knacks and breakable items, it is wise to keep them stored away in the Burmilla’s presence, just in case of any unintentional paw swiping. 

2. Is that makeup? 

No, you aren’t imagining it: the dark lines circling the Burmilla’s eyes give the impression that the breed is wearing eyeliner. We assure you, they are not! But the physical characteristic, which also makes an appearance around the nose and mouth to a lesser degree, does create a unique expression. that sets the Burmilla apart from other breeds.

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History of the breed

The Burmilla came about as a result of an unplanned mating between a Chinchilla and a lilac Burmese in 1981 (oops!). According to lore, Baroness Miranda Von Kirchberg presented a male Chinchilla Persian cat to her husband as a pet, naming him Jemari Sanquist. Before the cat could be neutered, he crossed paths with a lilac Burmese female named Bambino Lilac Fabergé who had escaped through a door accidentally left ajar. No, we are not making this up.

The resulting litter produced four female kittens with black-shaded coats and were so appealing that some breeders in the United Kingdom and in Denmark decided to pursue a breeding programme.

The Burmilla breed would be of Burmese type but with the colouring of the Chinchilla. After years of dedication to building out the breed, the shorthair breed was officially recognised by the FIFe (Fédération Internationale Féline) in 1994. By nature of being the newest breed to be recognised by the CFA, the Burmilla remains rare.

Black and white portrait of a Burmilla looking up to the sky

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Burmillas

1. Eyes

Large and expressive eyes rimmed with black lines.

2. Coat

Fine, silky coat (shorthair or semi-longhair).

3. Body

Slender legs and a muscular but elegant body.

4. Head

Gently rounded top of the head.

5. Ears

Medium to large ears that tilt slightly forward.

Burmilla cat sitting on a blanket

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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 Burmilla
Burmilla cat staring at the camera lens

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Caring for your Burmilla

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Whether your Burmilla is shorthaired or longhaired, they will be straightforward to groom. It’s important to brush them weekly with a stainless-steel comb to prevent matting, and check their ears and nails regularly. The Burmilla’s activity needs are standard to many playful breeds: energetic play sessions with plenty of time to sleep. Be sure to keep toys and cat trees accessible for solo play and devote some time to teaching them to engage with interactive puzzle toys: the Burmilla is a fast learner.

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All about Burmillas

By nature of being the newest breed to be recognised by the CFA and also the accidental combination of a Burmese and a Chinchilla cat, the Burmilla is still relatively rare. Whilst they are gaining popularity in England, where the breed was first developed, the Burmilla remains more difficult to find in the United States. 

The Burmilla may be social and open to exploring but the breed is best suited to indoor life. It’s important to remember that cats that go outdoors are at risk of diseases spread by other cats, attacks from other animals, or other hazards. As a rare breed, the Burmilla could also be a target for theft! Not to worry: the breed will live its best life in the comfort and safety of your home. 

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