Burmese cats are mostly known for their large eyes, silky coat, stocky build and an incredibly affectionate temperament. Short-haired and sleek, these kitties are beautiful pets that don’t require much grooming. And while no cat is entirely allergy-proof, this is one of the better breeds for allergy sufferers. This is an indoor breed that requires lots of attention, and is happy with small children and families. If you have lots of time to devote to a feline friend and want a cat that will shower you with affection and be a loyal and loving companion then the Burmese might just be the feline for you!
- The history of the breed
- How their official colors changed over time
- Do Burmese cats make great pets?
- Are they healthy and long lived?
- Buying Burmese kittens
What is a Burmese cat?
Today’s Burmese cats can trace their roots back to a single ancestor. A female cat named Wong Mau. Originally from Burma, Wong Mau was brought to America in 1930 and bred with a Siamese. This Burmese Siamese cat was used to create the Burmese breed so popular among cat lovers today.
First officially recognised by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1936, the breed has since undergone many subtle changes. Today the CFA recognises two different types of Burmese – the American Burmese and the British or European Burmese. The latter emerged in the 1940s and 1950s when British breeders began mixing the original Burmese with Siamese and British shorthairs.
A Unique Look
Burmese cats can be deceptively heavy. Although medium-sized cats, these stocky felines are heavier than they appear with a compact, athletic body. They are a lot of muscle and power packed into a small frame.
Adult Burmese cats can weight between 8 and 13 pounds. Males are noticeable bigger than females, weighing up to 3 pounds more.
American Burmese cats come in four distinct colors these days. Sable (a deep, rich brown), champagne, platinum (a pale, silvery grey Burmese cat) and blue. They all have large yellow/gold eyes.
But Burmese cat colors were not always so clear cut. The original Burmese, Wong Mau, was a deep walnut brown Burmese cat. And this sable color was the only one recognized by the CFA when it first certified the breed in 1936. Since then, ambitious breeders experimented with other hues and, decades later, the CFA finally recognised the four colors it uses today.
European Burmese cats are found in a variety of colors including tortoiseshell, cream and red. Champagne-colored European Burmese are known as the chocolate Burmese cat, and the platinum are called lilac Burmese cats.
Coats vs Allergies
Most people who are allergic to cats are not actually reacting to the cat’s fur but rather a protein found on its skin known as Fel d 1. While all cats produce Fel d 1, some breeds carry less than others. Happily, Burmese cats are known as one of these more hypoallergenic breeds.
Are They A Friendly Breed?
Sometimes labelled ‘velcro cats’, the Burmese breed has a tendency to trail its owners from room to room. Burmese cats love their people. Affectionate, loyal, playful and trusting, these cats form an almost dog-like bond with their owners. They have even been known to play fetch with their toys.
Burmese cats thrive on affection and attention. They love to interact with people and have no qualms about noisily demanding attention. If you’ve ever met one, you’ve probably heard it coming. They are a vocal and confident breed, chattering and rumbling to grab the limelight.
Burmese cats are a bad choice for people who spend long periods away from home or cannot give these people-oriented animals the attention they deserve. However, they make great family cats as they integrate well with small children and are docile, loveable playmates.
In general, Burmese are more likely to enjoy curling up in your lap than climbing the furniture. They are also very neat and do not tend to make mess – being easily trained to use a litter box.
Do They Have Many Health Issues?
Unfortunately, Burmese cats have shown a tendency for diabetes melitus (particularly in older cats). Research indicates that this is more prevalent in cats in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. They can also suffer from hypokalemia (low blood potassium) which can lead to muscle weakness.
Fortunately, this disease is not fatal and can easily be treated with potassium supplements. In 2012, researchers from the University of Bristol identified the gene that carries hypokalemia in Burmese cats and breeders can now identify felines that carry the trait.
Are They Long Lived?
On the whole, Burmese are a healthy breed. Burmese cat life expectancy is normally between 16 and 18 years. With one, notable exception. In 2004, the Guinness World Records recognised a very special Burmese as the world’s longest living cat at 27 years old!
Buying A Burmese Kitten
Burmese kittens are very popular and a reputable breeder will charge around $500-$700, with a higher price tag if you’re looking for a specific color. Blue Burmese kittens are particularly popular. Be wary of sellers offering kittens for less as this can be a red flag that you’re not dealing with an accredited breeder.
A healthy Burmese kitten is a playful, curious and highly sociable addition to the household. These tiny creatures should be easily handled, bright and alert. Although it’s a good idea to watch these curious kitties like a hawk. Sometimes they can be too adventurous for their own good!