As a distinct breed, the Burmese cat had a lot to contend with. Not only did it take years for the breed to finally be recognized as distinct from all other cat breeds, it almost entirely disappeared during the 1940s due to extensive breeding with the Siamese cat.
In 1953, or ten years later, the Burmese cat breed in America were once again conformed to type and recognized by associations of cat fanciers.
If you plan to own Burmese cats, you have come to the right place. Here, we give you information about the breed, including its history, physical characteristics, and temperament.
History of the Burmese Cat
The clearest picture of how the Burmese cat originated was in the early 1930s although the breed itself may be older than that. According to history, Dr. Joseph Thompson got attracted to a walnut-brown female cat, named Wong Mau, and took it with him from Burma to his home in San Francisco. There he bred it with a Siamese cat, Tai Mei, to produce a seal point breed and Wong Mau’s litter became the first Burmese kittens born on American soil.
The original Burmese cat was pure sable (brown). However, after years of selective breeding, mainly with Siamese cats, the breed came to have a wide variety of colors. Today, Burmese cat breeders typically split the breed into two subgroups: the American Burmese cat and the British Burmese.
What The Burmese Cat Looks Like
The Burmese cat is a compact and sturdy breed of cat, surprisingly heavy for its size. As such, it is often described as “bricks wrapped in silk.” Considered a foreign shorthair, the Burmese cat has very short, satin-like coat that requires little grooming.
As already mentioned, the Burmese cat’s coat may come in a variety of colors. However, they are generally divided into two major divisions: the sable division and the dilute division.
Under the dilute division, the coat colors of a Burmese cat may vary from lilac (UK) or platinum (US) to cream, lilac tortoiseshell, chocolate (UK) or champagne (US), blue tortoiseshell, blue, and red. On the other hand, the sable division typically includes brown (UK) or sable (US) coats, brown tortoiseshell and chocolate tortoiseshell.
The eyes are large, round and expressive. Although green and blue eyed Burmese cats are fairly common (a product of years of selective breeding with Siamese cats), only yellow eyed Burmese cats are considered show standards.
Temperament Of A Burmese Cat
A Burmese kitten is quite lively. You can liken them to tiny balls of energy that are often clumsy and at times awkward as they try to do things that are beyond their normal capabilities. As such, Burmese cat kittens end up on their rumps more often than not, only to climb back up to a chair only seconds later.
The playful nature of the Burmese cat breed is carried well into adulthood. But their mature intelligence tempers down the silliness of youth, enough to give the appearance of placidity that is nevertheless charming.
You can expect your Burmese cat to be very self-assured and vocal about it, too. Like its relative, the Siamese, the Burmese cat can create a ruckus but their high intelligence makes them sensitive to commands and generally obedient.
Burmese cats are described as very people-oriented. In fact, they are most dog-like in their tendency to shadow their owners. However, their desire to give and receive affection is tempered by their fierce independence. While they may love warm laps and gentle, caressing hands, they retain a sense of adventure and would not hesitate to go out on their own to do some exploring.
But typically, Burmese cats are rarely seen without their owners, fond as they are in ruling the household from a warm lap.