Burmese

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burmese cat portrait
Welcome to the world of the Burmese cat, a breed that's all about charm, charisma, and companionship! With their silky coats, expressive eyes, and playful yet affectionate nature, it's no wonder they've captured the hearts of cat lovers worldwide.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, care, health concerns, history, and more!

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMEBurmese
ORIGINBurma (Myanmar)
HEIGHT10-12 inches
WEIGHT8-12 lbs
LIFESPAN13-17 years
COAT LENGTHShort
SHEDDING LEVELLow
GROOMING NEEDSLow
SOCIAL NEEDSHigh
ENERGY LEVELHigh
VOCAL LEVELModerate
burmese cat lying down on carpet
Photo: Alexandra Draghici/Getty Images Signature

Appearance

The Burmese cat breed is known for its distinctive, robust and muscular physique. They typically weigh between 8-12 pounds, although their compact bodies can make them seem heavier when picked up.

Their body is solid and well-rounded with a broad chest, giving them an overall strong and hardy appearance. The tail of a Burmese cat is medium in length and tapers to a rounded tip. The head of a Burmese is also round, complemented by a short muzzle and a firm chin. Their ears are medium-sized, set wide apart, and have a rounded top.

One of the most captivating features of the Burmese breed is their expressive eyes, which are large, round, and typically gold in color. The sweet expression on their face often leaves a lasting impression on those who encounter them.

Burmese cats boast a short, satin-like coat that is fine and glossy, reflecting their good health and vitality. The coat is close-lying and requires minimal grooming.

In terms of coat color, the Burmese come in a variety of solid colors such as sable (a rich, dark brown), champagne (a warm beige), blue (a medium gray with a hint of blue), and platinum (a pale, grayish white). Each color gives them a unique and enchanting appearance that further enhances their appeal.

burmese cat lying on the sofa
Photo: Gary_McCloud/Getty Images

Temperament

The Burmese cat breed is known for its vibrant and engaging personality. They are often described as ‘dog-like’ due to their playful, outgoing nature and their love for interactive play. Regardless of their age, Burmese cats maintain a kitten-like energy and curiosity that can be quite infectious.

Burmese cats are notably people-oriented. They thrive on the company of their human family members and are not shy about demanding attention. Don’t be surprised if your Burmese follows you around the house, eager to participate in whatever activity you’re engaged in.

While they are active and energetic, Burmese cats also have a sweet, affectionate side. They love being adored by their families and are known to be extremely devoted. Cuddling up on a lap or snuggling in bed with their owners is a favorite pastime for these felines.

Intelligent and curious, Burmese cats enjoy mental stimulation. They are quick learners and can be taught tricks and commands, much like dogs. They are also known to retrieve toys and even enjoy a game of fetch.

Despite their sociable nature, Burmese cats can be somewhat talkative, but their voice is soft and sweet, adding to their charm rather than being disruptive.

Overall, the temperament of the Burmese cat breed can be described as a perfect blend of playful energy and loving affection. They make wonderful companions and are sure to bring a lot of joy and laughter into any home.

burmese cat next to a christmas tree
Photo: happy_lark/Getty Images

Care

Grooming

Burmese cats are fairly low-maintenance when it comes to grooming. They have a short, silky coat that doesn’t shed excessively, which means they don’t require frequent brushing.

However, a weekly brush will help remove any loose hairs and keep their coat looking its best. Regular dental hygiene is also important, so make sure to brush their teeth regularly to prevent periodontal disease.

Exercise and Play

Burmese cats are energetic and playful, so they require regular exercise to keep them healthy and happy. They love interactive toys and games, so spend time playing with them each day. This could involve anything from chasing a laser pointer to fetching a small ball. They’re also known to enjoy climbing, so a cat tree or some high shelves would be appreciated.

Diet and Nutrition

The Burmese cat has a strong, muscular body and needs a balanced diet to maintain its health. High-quality cat food, rich in proteins and low in carbohydrates, is the best choice for this breed. Make sure to provide them with plenty of fresh water and avoid overfeeding them to prevent obesity.

As with all cats, it’s important to monitor their weight and adjust their diet accordingly. Regular vet check-ups will help ensure your Burmese cat is maintaining a healthy weight and getting the nutrition they need.

Health

The Burmese cat is generally a healthy breed with a life expectancy of around 13 to 17 years. However, like all breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. Here are some of the most common health issues associated with Burmese cats:

Diabetes Mellitus: This condition is characterized by high blood sugar levels and may cause symptoms like excessive thirst, increased urination, and weight loss.

Orofacial Pain Syndrome: This causes intense facial pain and discomfort, making it difficult for the cat to eat or groom.

Chronic Renal Failure: This is a long-term progressive loss of kidney function that can lead to a variety of symptoms including weight loss, vomiting, and lethargy.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease: This condition causes inflammation of the cat’s gastrointestinal tract leading to symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss.

Asthma: This respiratory condition can cause coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing in affected cats.

Maintaining your Burmese cat’s health involves a combination of a healthy diet, regular veterinary check-ups, and keeping their vaccinations up-to-date.

Feeding them a balanced, high-quality diet will help prevent obesity and diabetes, while regular vet visits will ensure early detection and treatment of any potential health issues. Vaccinations protect against various diseases and are a crucial part of your cat’s preventative healthcare routine.

It’s also recommended to have routine dental check-ups and teeth cleaning to prevent dental diseases. With proper care and attention, your Burmese cat can lead a happy and healthy life.

burmese cat on top of a wall
Photo: slowmotiongli/Getty Images

History

The history of the Burmese cat breed is quite fascinating. Originating in Southeast Asia, these cats have been known for centuries in Burma (now Myanmar), Thailand, and Malaya. However, the modern Burmese breed as we know it today was developed in the United States.

The journey of the Burmese breed began with a single cat named Wong Mau, who was brought to the U.S. by Dr. Joseph C. Thompson in 1930. Wong Mau wasn’t just any ordinary cat. She was unique in her coloring – a medium brown that was darker than the traditional Siamese.

Recognizing her uniqueness, Dr. Thompson worked with geneticists and other breeders to establish and develop the Burmese breed. They used selective breeding methods, initially breeding Wong Mau with a Seal Point Siamese to begin establishing the breed.

The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) first recognized the Burmese in 1936. However, due to concerns about breed purity, the registration was suspended in 1947. After careful work to eliminate Siamese outcrosses, the breed was accepted again in 1953.

Today, the Burmese cat continues to be a popular breed, cherished for its affectionate nature, playful demeanor, and striking appearance.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines that describes the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential. Breed standards are devised by breed clubs and recognized by various cat registries worldwide.

These standards provide detailed descriptions of the breed’s physical characteristics such as body shape, size, coat type and color, eye color and shape, ear placement, and tail length.

burmese kitten being held
Photo: Angela Kotsell/Getty Images

FAQs

What is special about the Burmese cat breed?

The Burmese cat breed is special for several reasons. They are known for their strikingly round features, from their head and eyes to their paws, and their muscular, compact body. Their coat is short, glossy, and comes in a range of beautiful colors like sable, champagne, blue, and platinum.

Are Burmese cats good pets?

Yes, Burmese cats make excellent pets due to their affectionate and sociable nature. Often described as ‘dog-like’, they love to play and interact with their human family. They are intelligent, curious, and can even learn tricks or commands, making them an entertaining companion.

Why do Burmese cats live longer?

The average lifespan of a Burmese cat is around 13-17 years, which is relatively long compared to other breeds. This can be attributed to their generally robust health. However, individual health, diet, care, and genetics can also influence a cat’s lifespan.

Can I leave my Burmese cat alone at home?

While Burmese cats are independent in some ways, they thrive on companionship and don’t enjoy being left alone for long periods. If you’re away from home regularly or for extended periods, it might be worth considering getting a companion for your Burmese cat.

Are Burmese cats hypoallergenic?

No cat breed is completely hypoallergenic, including the Burmese. However, since they have a short, close-lying coat that doesn’t shed excessively, they may cause fewer allergy symptoms compared to other breeds. It’s always best to spend time with a breed before bringing one home if allergies are a concern.

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