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Birman Cat Breed History, Appearance, character, Health & more

"Holy Burma" - the name of the Birman cat causes a lot of confusion. Thus, the cat breed is called "Burma" in English - but is not to be confused with the Burmese cat! In fact, the Birman cat originates from a French breeding program of the 20s. Learn more about the breed, which is the perfect combination of Persian and Siamese!

Birman Appearance



The Birman cat owes its appearance to a cross between Siamese and Persian cats in France in the 1920s. So it is not surprising that Birman cats are outstanding animals in terms of character and appearance. The body Birmans is somewhat elongated and the legs are short. Most striking in the Birman cat is the large blue eyes. In the face the coat is short, on the rest of the body, it is semi-long to long.

Holy Birman weight

An adult Holy Birman cat should ideally weigh between 3 and 4kg, male representatives of the breed should weigh between 4 and 7kg. The weight of Sacred Birman kittens after birth is about 100g. In the first week of life, it usually doubles. Cats and males usually gain similar amounts of weight until the 10th week. After that, males gain weight faster and more than cats. Check your pelt's weight regularly and watch to see if the kitten loses weight. This could be an indication of health problems such as parasite infestation. If weight loss occurs, consult a veterinarian immediately.

Birman cat colors

Their semi-long coat is predominantly white with dark coloration only on the tips of the body such as the muzzle, legs, tail, and ears. This color pattern is called "point". According to the genetic principles, the basic color of the cat shows only on the cold parts of the body, the so-called "points". The rest of the body is predominantly white.

This coloring belongs to the most important breed standard of the breed. However, not every Point cat with white paws and a semi-long coat is a Birman cat! The body of the Birman cats must be elongated, yet muscular and moderately heavy. It is supported by short, stocky legs. The tail is bushy. Her head is strong, she has a pronounced chin. Her deep blue, round eyes are also particularly outstanding! The coat of the Burmese is semi-long and silky. Unlike the Persian, Birman cats have a little undercoat.

Which colors of the Birman cat are there?
As a pointed cat, all point colors are permitted for Birman breeding. According to the genetic principles, every coat color can also occur as a Point color. Especially frequently seen are black and red. There are also the dilutions "blue" and "cream" as well as "chocolate" and "cinnamon" and their dilutions "lilac" and "fawn".
The colors of the Sacred Birman are thus designated according to the basic color as follows:
  • Seal-point: Birman in the seal-point show a black basic coloration
  • Blue-point: Black basic color, too "blue" diluted
  • Chocolate-point: Holy Birman in a chocolate-point show a brown ground color
  • Cinnamon-point: Red ground color, visible only in the point tips
  • Fawn-point: The base color in "cinnamon" is diluted to "fawn
  • Lilac-point: The dilution of brown is called "Lilac" (of course, it is visible here only in the point tips)
  • Red-point: Birman red-point show a red basic color
  • Creme-point: As "Creme" the designation of red is called (Birman creme-point exhibit creme-colored points)
Thereby the point tips can even show a streaking! These are listed in the color designation as "tabby". Examples are Birman Seal-tortie-point, Blue-tortie-point, or Chocolate-tortie-point. In addition, according to the breed standard, even red spotting is allowed - this is called "tortie". So there are even Birman cats in Lilac-tortie-tabby-point.

Meanwhile, the cause for the discoloration of the body fur is also known.  It is a mutation, which leads to a deficient function of the enzyme tyrosinase. This interferes with the production of the pigment basic substance melanin and thus leads to a "partial albinism". In addition, the Birman has pure white paws, so-called "spurs". This peculiarity was genetically elucidated in 2009. Responsible for the expression of the gloves is a mutation in the v-Kit Hardy-Zuckerman 4 feline sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KIT) gene. But enough of the genetic peculiarities of the Birman cat!

Birman cat character

What cat lovers already suspected from the appearance of these special animals is confirmed by the character of the Sacred Birman. The friendly cats, which are affectionate and good-natured and enjoy the time together with "their" human, are according to the breed history a cross between Siamese and Persian cat. Birman cats are very people-friendly. They are often sold as perfect pets for families with children. Cats and children are a good team - if both know the rules of the game. Therefore, you should prepare your child for the fact that cats are not cuddly animals even before the cat moves in. A properly treated cat, which can also enjoy its free space, will be very happy to join your child for cuddling. Approach the acclimation of cat and child with a little patience and tact, and both will become best friends!

Many cat owners report that the animals also trust strangers, like to be picked up and stroked, and like to get into strange cars. You can mark your cat with a microchip and register it with a pet registry so that it can quickly find its way back to you if the worst should happen! The veterinarian of your confidence can implant the microchip quickly and painlessly in the shoulder area of the animal, there are no health risks.

Birman cats attitude

The sociability of the Birman extends to other animals and especially cats. Birman cats, like all other cats, should ideally be kept in pairs. Especially if you have limited time for your feline family member! As particularly gentle animals with a medium urge to move, they are also suitable for keeping indoors, provided there are enough stimuli in the apartment. A scratching post, as well as sufficient hiding and viewing opportunities, are a must, as well as regular play sessions between cat and human.

Birman Health and care

The Birman cat is considered robust and healthy. Its semi-long coat has a little undercoat and therefore rarely tends to mat. Often it is enough to brush his Sacred Birman once or twice a week thoroughly. Get your cat used to a brush and comb while it is still a kitten. So you facilitate the later fur care immensely!

Hypomyelination is a disease that can only be controlled by excluding diseased animals from breeding. This genetic defect also occurs frequently in Birman cats. Affected animals tend to strong trembling and spastic seizures due to a disturbance of the cell communication. This disease is often recognizable from the third week. Affected kittens appear spastic or uncoordinated, they tremble abnormally and develop a tremor. Often the symptoms are accompanied by hearing loss or low life expectancy. However, in exceptional cases, these problems can stabilize during growth and are therefore often not taken seriously. A fatal mistake! Hypomyelination is hereditary - even if the breeding animals themselves do not show any symptoms (anymore).

Birman cat diet

A healthy diet is the best prophylaxis against diseases and the best guarantee for a long and healthy cat life. The basis of cat nutrition should have high-quality wet food with a high meat content and plenty of animal protein. Scientific studies have confirmed that cats prefer food whose composition is similar to that of the mouse. Thus, the average cat's prey is usually 50 to 60 percent protein, 20 to 30 percent fat, and three to eight percent carbohydrates from the contents of the animal's gastrointestinal tract. According to legal regulations, the list of ingredients on the packaging label is sorted by quantity. So it is not surprising that meat should be in the first place on the list of ingredients. In addition, cats should always have enough fresh water at their free disposal.

Species-appropriate cat food helps to keep your cat healthy. Unfortunately, it does not protect against hereditary diseases. Many breeders and owners of the Sacred Birman report increased eye inflammation and a tendency to squint. In addition, there are dermoid cysts, especially on the ovaries and testicles, but also in the head area.

Birman cat breeding

There are different reports about the origin of the Birman cat. One thing is sure: the ancestors of the breed, which is officially called "Sacred Birman", are Siamese cats as well as Persians. But how it came to this mating is uncertain. Some sources tell about an industrialist who brought a pair of Siamese cats from the Orient around 1919. The male did not consider the crossing - the descendants of the female are said to have been then crossed with Persian cats. Other stories suggest that the ancestors of the Sacred Burmese were temple cats from Burma. On the other hand, the recognition as a breed can be clearly traced, it took place in France in 1925. Since 1964, the breed is also recognized in FIFe.

The breeding of the Sacred Birman finally reached Germany. The first official Sacred Birman in Germany was the male "Timour de Madalapour", of which a picture appeared in 1933. However, the Second World War brought the breeding here to a standstill. After the war, however, it was again continued with targeted breeding programs, and in 1955 the population of the Birman had recovered. In Europe and the USA, breeding was mainly done with the classic colors Seal-Point and Blue-Point. In England, breeders broke new ground and introduced Birman of the colors Chocolate-Point and Lilac-Point into the gene pool.

Meanwhile, other newer color variations of the Birman cat have been added. Red-Point and the dilution Creme-Point are only some examples. Meanwhile, there are even Sacred Birman in Tabby and Tortie. These drawings show up naturally as with all Birman cats only in the "Points", the body points.

How to find the right breeder

The occurrence of hereditary diseases shows again and again how important breeding selection and sensible mating are. Breeders who have the welfare of their animals at heart invest in genetic testing. They do not hesitate to exclude sick animals from breeding. For you as a cat lover, this means the following. Trust only professional breeders who can provide you with health records or the results of genetic tests.

These breeders do not only have the pure "reproduction" of their animals in mind. They invest in good health care for their animals, quality food, and good socialization. This includes never letting kittens move into their new homes before they are twelve weeks old! This "imprinting" period is essential for the cat's physical and mental health. After all, in the first weeks of life, she learns essentials for a long, balanced cat life. A good breeder, therefore, gives his dams time to recover after the exhausting pregnancy and birth and often raises no more than one litter per year. A serious breeder is a member of one of the breeding associations, he acts in the sense of the animal protection law.

All this, of course, is reflected in the price. The actual pedigree does not make the price you put on the table for a pedigree cat. Rather, it is the experience of the breeder and the care and attention he gives to his animals. Therefore, do not trust ads that offer "Birman cats without papers at a low price". In most cases, these are breeders who have less the health of their animals in mind, but mainly their profit.

It is understandable if you do not want to or cannot pay between 500 and 1000 Euros for a cat. As an alternative, cats from animal shelters are an option. In animal shelters, many animals of all ages and breeds are waiting for a good new home - and maybe you will find your dream cat here!

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