Birmans at a Glance
Gentle and affectionate by nature, the Birman has all the makings of a loyal, faithful companion. They are one of the easiest cats to handle and gives the least cause for trouble. They love to be around people and can adapt to any type of home. They are available in a variety of colors. Their loving and laid back nature has captured the hearts of cat lovers around the world. Find out why and if this breed is right for you ad your family.
- Temperament: Loving and loyal lapcats
- Size: Medium-to-large
The Birman is a long cat and can become large. Males are usually larger than females. They are heavily boned cats and tend to appear somewhat stocky.
- Kittens: 2-3 pounds when ready to leave for new homes at 12-16 weeks
- Adult females: 12 pounds
- Adult males: 12 pounds
- Colors: There’s a desired Birman color for every cat lover! They are available in all pointed colors (pale body and relatively darker extremities, i.e. the face, ears, feet, tail and in males, scrotum) with a golden hue to the body and white feet that resemble gloves & laces. They always have blue eyes, the deeper the better!
- Life Expectancy: 9-15+ years
About the Birman
Curious and outgoing, Birman cats love being introduced to new people and bask in attention and affection. They are an extremely loving and loyal breed. Their friendly, laidback personality is the perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. Their low-maintenance and desire for companionship also makes they idea for seniors. If you talk to a Birman they will respond in a soft, pretty voice. More than anything they love being held and relaxing in the arms of their caregiver.
Affectionately referred to as the “Velcro” cat, the Birman is a quiet cat who loves people and will follow them throughout the day. While considered quieter than some breeds, they have a serious playful side. It’s not unusual for them to fetch or chase a ball when not curled up on the lap of their caregiver. An intelligent and curious breed, they also love to play with interactive toys that require thinking.
TICA Regions, Clubs & Rescues
Want to connect with fellow cat lovers and those who love the same breed as you?
Find a Kitten: TICA Breeders
The TICA website is the only place where you can find TICA member breeders who have signed the TICA Code of Ethics.
Despite the length of there coats, Birmans have what is called a “single coat” meaning they do not have an undercoat and are easy to groom.
Brushing them with a metal comb once a week will keep them in top condition. Birmans shed their winter coat in the spring, so you may want to comb more frequently then to remove loose hair.
Keep their nails trimmed, ears cleaned and teeth brushed regularly with a vet-approved pet toothpaste and provide a nice tall scratching pole to help their natural scratching instinct.
Birmans do not have any particular nutritional needs other than good, quality, dry kibble.
As with all cats, it is important to give your cat fresh, clean water daily so they don’t hesitate to drink. If you worry about your cat drinking enough water each day, here's a tip from some cat behaviorists - place the water bowl at least three feet away from any food. Cats’ noses are sensitive and an overwhelming smell of food may cause them to drink less. Filtered drinking fountains can also be used in place of a water bowl.
Treats can be given in moderation.
Birmans are generally healthy and can live up to 15-plus years. However, it is important to follow nutrition suggestions and schedule regular visits to the veterinarian to prolong the health and safety of a Birman.
The Birman has a lovely legend about being raised by the Kittah priests in their temple in Burma. The story tells of a golden eyed, white cat that stood guard over his dying holy master and was transformed into a cat with a dark brown head, and dark brown legs & tail, but his coat became a cream color with a golden glow from this master's golden goddess. As the master died and his soul passed on to the cat, the cat's paws and hocks, where he sat on his master's chest, stayed pure white as a sign of his master's purity. As the cat gazed up at the golden goddess, his gold eyes turned to a beautiful sapphire blue, the same as his master's goddess. There are many versions of the legend, and this is just a very short one.
As for fact, the Birman was first recognized and shown in France in the 1920's. The Birman was first imported into the United States in the 1960's and was accepted and shown in 1967 and today is well-loved worldwide. This breed has consistently remained in the top ten most favorite cats for many years.
The Birman was used to create the first Ragdoll cats
Abyssinian and Siamese
Did You Know?
Birmans were almost wiped out during World War II. At the end of the war, only two Birmans remained in Europe -- a pair named Orloff and Xenia de Kaabaa, both belonging to Baudoin-Crevoisier. The foundation of the breed in postwar France were offspring of this pair. To further the unique cat's bloodline, owners had to outcross it with other breeds, presumably Persians. The fluffy cat prevailed, and it was later exported across Europe.
Legend has it that Birman breed is a descendent from Burmese temple cats who were raised by Kittah priests (see “history”)
The Birman has a distinctive roman nose. Birmans have a distinctive roman nose that, when viewed in profile, starts at the change of direction at the forehead and rises in a hill-shape that goes down at the end with the nose leather low.
German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld owns a Birman cat. Lagerfeld’s pampered Bermin Choupette travels the world with him aboard a private jet and two personal assistants who tend to her every whim. Its rumored that Choupette inspired Lagerfeld to design a collection of cat-themed accessories, including totes, shoes, leather goods, and T-shirts. In 2014, Choupette made millions of dollars after she starred in two advertisements for a Vauxhall Corsa car calendar and Japanese cosmetics brand Shu Uemura.
From the Breed Standard
The Sacred Cat of Burma (Birman) is a semi-longhaired pointed cat with white feet. He is imposing in appearance, medium to large in stature, with heavy boning in proportion to size. Females are appreciably smaller than males. The Birman is to be healthy, muscular, and in good balance. The coat has a tendency not to mat or tangle. The Birman is accepted in all pointed colors with distinctive white gloves and laces.
Additional information and an introduction to the Birman breed can be found in the links below:
Accepted For Championship in TICA in 1979
- Birman Breed At A Glance
- Breed Introduction
- Printable Breed Introduction
- Birman Breeders
- Breed Standards
- Breed Committee
Photos used courtesy of © Helmi Flick Cat Photography.