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Burmese Cat History, Character, Health, Breeding & more

"Lucky character" - this name, which comes from her native Thailand, describes the Burmese cat perfectly! The philanthropic Burmese are real chatterboxes and love to romp about their lives.

Burmese History

The possible breeding history of the Burmese in their homeland Burma, today's Myanmar, is not completely clarified.

The cat was held by monks as one of 16 temple-cat-races, also still today, it is known in Asia under its Thai name "Maeo Thong Daeng". Rumors say that Burmese cats should have been part of the first British cat show in 1871.

The "Chocolate Siamese" presented in the Chrystal Palace resembled the type of the Burmese cat, which is popular in America today. Whether they were really Burmese is not completely clear.

A US-Navy doctor is said to have brought a Burmese cat from Burma at the beginning of the 30's to San Francisco. The animal resembled a light brown Siamese cat. Soon a team of scientists and cat breeders came together, which dealt in detail with the genetic constitution of "Wong Mau".

They confirmed: The cat from far away Burma was not a dark Siamese but belonged to an own breed. "Wong Mau" was bred to "Tai Mau", a Siamese cat of the color Seal point. Another cross with Wong Mau's son produced dark brown kittens - the progenitors of modern Burma breeding.

In 1936 the "Burmese" was recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association. However, aggressive crossbreeding with the Siamese revoked its status as a separate breed a decade later. It is due to a few cat breeders that the individual characteristics of the Burmese and a clear separation from the Siamese cattery were worked on.

Since 1954 the Burmese cat is recognized again as an independent breed. Also the American United Burmese Cat Fanciers (UBCF) established its own breed standard in 1958, which remained unchanged since then.

The 50's also brought the birth of the Burmese breed in Great Britain. There the breed was recognized by the United Kingdom's Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in 1952.

The Burmese cattery in Great Britain was based on American Burmese cats, but the breed standard today is very different from the American Burmese type.

The differences of the respective types go so far that in Burmese cats of the "traditional", British type is not recognized in the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. But also the cross-breeding of American imports is not intended in the British breeding standard.

From England, the first Burmese cats came to Germany, in 1970 the first native Burmese cat litter saw the light of day. The spreading of the Burmese cat in Europe began.

Even today, native Burmese cats in Europe are still strongly in the classic, British type. In New Zealand, Australia, and the USA the stronger American breeding standard is still followed. Burmese cats were also involved in the development of other cat breeds, especially the Tonkinese and Burmilla.

Burmese Appearance

the Burma cat, often called Burmese, belongs to the oriental cat-breeds. It originates from Burma, today's Myanmar. Despite the name similarity, it should not be confused with the long-haired Burmese cat.

Due to a strong distinction between European Burmese cats and those from overseas, the Burmese is one of the few cat breeds with two different breeding standards.

The American type of the Burmese cat is powerful with a broad chest and a broad head as well as a shorter muzzle.

The European type originating from Great Britain favors a rather slim, athletic physique. It is spread primarily in Europe. Burmese cats of this type are small to medium-sized, queens weigh up to four kilograms, males weigh up to six kilograms.

The dainty and yet muscular animals are similar to Siamese cats of the old type but are not as slim built as the Siamese of today. Burmese cats appear somewhat more compact than their long-legged relatives from Siamese - they have a broad chest and a straight back, which is carried by delicately jointed legs and oval paws.

The head of the Burmese cats captivates through big, far opened ears and eyes. Like ears stand far apart, they sit on a wedge-shaped head with a wide, rounded forehead. The big eyes shine golden-yellow until amber and are easily almond-shaped.

Burmese cat colors

The fur of Burma shines silky. Adapted to the warm climate of southeast-Asia, it is especially light and lies close to the body through only a low share of sub-wool.

The fur-color of the Burmese cat should be solid without patterning, younger Burmese often show a light tabby-coloring, however.

Also, a slightly darker face mask is not uncommon and quite desirable. Ten different color strokes are recognized: Blue, Chocolate, Seal, and Red as well as their dilutions Lilac and Cream, and two-colored combinations like Chocolate-Tortie, Blue-Tortie, Seal-Tortie, and Lilac-Tortie.

Seal: Burmese cats of the color Seal impress by a warm, dark brown coloring. Also, the nose and pads are dark-colored.

Chocolate: The chocolate brown coloring of Burmese is different from the Seal coloring. The bales are colored cinnamon to chocolate brown.

Blue: The Burmese are particularly beautiful in the color blue, which appears as blue-grey with a slight tin shimmer. Also, the nose and ball are colored in this color.

Lilac: The dilution of brown appears as dove-grey with a slight pink shimmer, which also continues in the lavender-colored appearance of nose and ball.

Red: Red Burmese show a warm, orange-red fur. The nose and ball are pink with this coloring.

Cream: The dilution of red shows up as light beige. Nose and pads are pink exactly like in the red coloring.

The English name "Tortie" describes three-colored cats, colloquially called "tortoiseshell". Because of the genetic peculiarities of this coloration all tricolored cats are female. Also, the Burmese are recognized in various Tortie colors:

Seal-Tortie: Burma Seal-Tortie has a red ground color with warm, dark brown spots. Nose and pads may be brown, pink, or brown, also with pink spots.

Chocolate-Tortie: A chocolate ground color is supplemented by beige spots. Nose and footpads can appear chocolate brown or pink, pink spots on a brown ground are also permitted.

Blue-Tortie: The coat shows the colors blue-grey and apricot, which may appear spotted or mixed. Pink or blue-gray as well as combinations of both colors are permitted for foot pads and nose leather.

Lilac-Tortie: Burmese cats in lilac-tortie show a dove-gray ground color with apricot-colored, dark-beige spots and pink paw pads and nose leather
Depending on the breeding area other colors are also common, in New Zealand, for example, there are also Burmese cats in Cinnamon, Fawn, Caramel, and Apricot as well as silver varieties. Also, tabby colors are partially recognized.

Burmese cat character

As an oriental cat breed, Burmese are intelligent, curious, and temperamental. The trustful cats fully join the human being.

They are very playful and also like to spend time with younger family members - after all, Burmese remain agile until old age and love attention around the clock!

They enjoy having conversations with "their" humans. But even a large human family does not replace a conspecific. Burmese cats do not like to be alone, so I am not necessarily suited for keeping them as single cats.

The movement-joyful animals would like to be loaded physically and mentally. A pure apartment attitude is suitable for it rather less for active cats like the Burmese.

If you want to give such an energy package a good and cat-friendly home, you should therefore offer it a secured garden or at least a secured cat balcony with many possibilities for climbing, playing, and watching. If there is a second cat in the family, the fun is twice as great!

Burmese Care

You have found your dream cat? Congratulations! The Burmese cat does not have any breed-specific requirements for species-appropriate keeping. As an active, playful cat breed, it loves variety and wants to be physically and mentally busy.

To prevent your cat from climbing up the curtains and dancing on the table, a secured casserole in the cat-safe balcony or garden is ideal. Climbing and hiding places, as well as scratching trees, ensure that your Burmese cat can let off steam all around.

Burmese cats are social animals. They join humans completely, but are also happy to have cat company. This is especially true if you work or are active yourself and do not spend the whole day at home.

As an oriental breed Burmese cats are often rather dominant, the socialization with a calmer, stable cat is so often easiest. Or look for litter brothers and sisters at the breeder of your choice, who are familiar with each other and can move into their new home together!

Burmese Health

An interesting study dates back to 2008 when scientists found out that the American Burmese cat breed has the lowest genetic variability of modern cat breeds. That means: Burmese cats of this type are relatively closely related. For this reason crossbreeding with cats of the breeds, Bombay and Tonkinese is allowed in the USA.

Breeding cats with low genetic variability carries the risk of involuntary inbreeding and frequent hereditary diseases. Nevertheless, there is good news for all lovers of the Burmese cat: Statistically, the breed is the most long-lived domesticated cat breed. On average Burmese live about 17 years!

Nevertheless, systematic cat breeding with a small gene pool has its price. Thus Burmese are more often affected by the so-called "congenital vestibular syndrome".

This hereditary disease of the inner ear leads to a malformation of the equilibrium organ located there. The consequences are impaired balance and deafness.

Diabetes mellitus also occurs more frequently in Burmese cats of the British type. Although diabetes in cats cannot be cured, thanks to good treatment options, it is no longer a death sentence!

Certain bloodlines of Burmese show a preposition for a potassium deficiency of the blood which is called hypokalemia.

The disease is recessively inherited and therefore often passed on in a hidden manner. If both parents have a predisposition for hypokalemia, the young animal is affected. Depending on its severity, the disease can be harmless or fatal.

The frequent occurrence of endocardial fibroelastosis is also known. This disease, which is rather unknown in cats, is characterized by a thickening of the lining of the heart muscle and occurs exclusively in young cats.

Burmese cat nutrition

Apart from that, long-lived breeds like the Burmese also benefit from high-quality cat food with high meat content. After all, they can only utilize carbohydrates to a limited extent, and plant by-products put a strain on the organs and can lead to diabetes and other diseases…

To make sure that your Burmese is completely healthy, you should not forget your annual check-up with your veterinarian. Here your cat will be checked from front to back and you can clarify any questions.

Burmese Breeding

The frequent occurrence of hereditary diseases can only be combated by well-thought-out, responsible breeding. Enthusiasts of cat breeds should therefore inform themselves about potential breeders before buying and not blindly trust dealers who offer "pedigree cats for a small price".

Breeding pedigree cats is not only about the breeding papers per se. Yes, pedigree cats meet a certain standard - but much more important is the know-how and attitude of the individual breeder.

Breeding cats is a complex matter and until the kittens are ready to move into their new home, the breeder family has to deal with a lot of work and costs.

Apart from the costs of mating and membership in the cat breeding club, there are also veterinary costs for mother animals and kittens, including preventive medical checkups, care of the pregnant cat, vaccinations, possible castrations, and possibly necessary deworming. High-quality cat food is also a cost factor - especially if you do not want to cut back on quality!

In order for kittens to learn everything important from their mothers and siblings and to be thoroughly socialized, they should spend at least twelve weeks in the breeder's household. During this time the breeder is there for his animals around the clock.

So the breeder not only invests money in his animals but also takes responsibility for them. Is it therefore surprising that many breeders take a close look at the buyers of their cats? After all, they want the best home for their kittens, which is why they are always there to help and advise the new cat owners even after the purchase contract has been signed.

Of course, all this has its price: A young Burmese cat costs around 700 Euros.

Some breeders also give away adult animals that have been removed from the cattery - often for a cheaper friendship price.

As an alternative, a visit to an animal shelter is a good idea: Here, many four-legged friends of all ages and breeds are waiting for a good new home!

Read Also: 9 Best Cat Toys of 2020

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