The Birman cat, also known as the sacred cat of Burma, is the cat of the mystery: more than 90 years after the recognition of the breed, we still do not know everything about its origins. Some people claim that the Birman originates from South East Asia, others claim that it is a creation of French breeders; what cannot be doubted is that this is an original and very beautiful cat.
Good characteristics of the Birman cat
Despite the similarity of names, the Birman cat has no connection with the Burmese cat. His light dress and dark ends make him look more like the Himalayan, but one detail sets him apart: the white “gloves” he wears on his paws, possibly due to a recessive gene responsible for white spots. Its coat, less wispy than that of the Himalayan, is very silky and more similar in texture to the Turkish Angora. He also does not have the massive statue of the Persian, his legs are short, but his head and body are longer. The eyes are a beautiful sapphire blue and are usually a darker shade than what you get among the Himalayans. The tail is bushy.
The unusual coloring of the Birman is the origin of a legend: Before the arrival of Buddha, the Khmers built magnificent temples to honor their gods – notably Song-Hyo and the goddess Tsun-Kyan-Kse. In the temple of Lao-Tsun was the statue of the goddess with the eyes of golden sapphire guarded by a hundred white cats. Sinh was one of his cats, a faithful companion of an old priest, Mun-Ha, whose golden beard was said to have been braided by Song-Hyo himself.
Origin of the charming Birman cat
It is said that the Birman of France are descended from two cats that had been offered by the priests of the new temple of Lao-Tsun in Tibet. One of them, the male, died during the trip, the female who was pregnant survived and is the origin of the breed in Europe. Curiously, the same legend accompanied two “Tibetan temple” kittens, offered in 1960 to an American, of the same color as the Birman. Some breeders argue that the breed was created entirely by the French by crossing Siamese and black and white longhair cats.
Whatever its origin, this fascinating cat, very popular in France until the Second World War, decimated the feline population. After the war, there were only two or three specimens left and it was some time before the breed experienced a new development. These cats arrived in Britain in the early 1960s and were accepted into shows in 1966.
The British GCCF’s opinion on the Birman cat
The CFA (The Cat Fanciers’ Association) recognized them in North America in 1967. The British GCCF recognizes only seal points and blue points, but the CFA also admits chocolate and lilac points. However, breeders breed such points of color as red (tan), lightning from various tabby.
More details about the Birman cat
It is a broad cat and low on legs, longer than the Persian or the Himalayas. The fur is less abundant but silkier than that of the Persian.
Seal tip kittens show their marks and “gloves” very early on, adult coats and final eye colors take longer to appear.
The Birman has a fairly calm temperament, less placid than the Persians, but less nervous than the Siamese. They are precocious, often ready to mate within a few months. Litters of three to five cubs are almost white. After a few days, the colorations start to appear on the edges of the ears and on the tail. Kittens’ eyes are pale blue and darken as they grow older. This breed of cat remains relatively unresponsive, but its circle of dedicated administrators spans the globe.