Characteristics (Quick Facts)
Ability to Adapt:
Need for Grooming:
Also known as the Sacred Cat of Burma, the Birman Cat has a striking appearance and docile nature. This is a medium-sized cat with well-developed bones that create the illusion of solidness.
The Birman captivates attention with its deep blue eyes and silky medium-length coat that comes in points. This breed is famous for having distinctively white paws that are called ‘gloves’.
Although docile, Birmans are also very smart, curious, and social cats. They love to be involved in daily activities and will follow you around the house.
Their amiable nature ensures that they get along fine with everyone! While not an attention-seeking cat, the Birman loves company.
Thus, this fun breed is a perfect choice for homes with children and other pets.
Where Did Birman Cat Breed Originate?
At some point, the blue-eyed temple goddess rewarded a temple cat’s devotion to a priest by transforming its appearance. The goddess turned the cat’s white coat to gold, its yellow eyes to blue and left the cat’s paws white to symbolize purity.
It is believed that when a priest dies, he gets to be reborn in the body of one of these cats. This legend is the reason the Birman is also known as the Sacred Cat of Burma.
But it is still unclear where and if, these occurred. Thus far we know that this breed was brought to Europe in 1919 by a Frenchman and Englishman.
The temple priests gave Auguste Pavie and Major Gordon Russel two cats as a gift for defending their temple in a raid.
From that pair, only the female Birman survived the trip to France. It was pure luck, that she arrived in France pregnant. The offspring of this cat are the foundation of all European Birmans.
Even though the Birman is from Burma, it is widely considered to be a French breed. It was first recognized in France in 1925 as the Sacre de Birmanie.
First Birmans were exported in the United States in 1959 and to Great Britain in 1965.
The British Cats Registry recognized the breed in 1966. And in 1967, the Birman was also recognized by the American Cat Fanciers Association.
What Does the Birman Cat Look Like?
This is a medium-sized breed with well boned and strongly built body which gives it a rounded appearance. The head is also broad, round and accentuated with round bright blue eyes.
These features combined with a Roman-shaped nose and wide ears give the Birman a sweet look.
This breed is easily recognizable due to silky medium-length coat which comes in color points and white paws.
As per size standards, the Birman should be a medium-sized cat with an elongated and stocky body. The body must be well boned and should have a muscular feel.
Birman Cat Colors
This breed comes in color points, which means that the face, ears, legs, and tail are darker than the rest of the body.
The Birman’s signature traits are its “gloves”. Ideally, all four paws are white and end with an even line across the paw.
On the back legs, the “gloves” extend up the length of legs and form an inverted V shape. This trait is known as ‘laces’. The symmetry of ‘gloves’ and ‘laces’ can make a difference between a show cat and a house pet.
The Birman comes in Seal, Blue, Lilac, Chocolate, Red, and Cream points. Parti colored points like Tabby and Tortoiseshell in variations of a seal, chocolate, lilac, or blue are also allowed.
Lynx pointed Birmans have a pronounced M marking on their foreheads and stripes or rings on tails and legs.
Birman Cat Personality Traits
The Birman has a mellow personality and a quiet nature. However, this is an affectionate and social breed that likes company.
They will follow you around the house and try to be involved in all activities. In some sense, the Birman is like a puppy who needs to be always close to its owner.
Although quiet, your Birman will voice its opinions in a soft and gentle voice, without being bossy and overbearing.
Being a smart and curious breed, your cat would like to explore its surroundings.
Birmans are keen observes and like mimicking their owner’s behaviors.
So, don’t be surprised when your cat shows you that she can open the door or drink from the tap.
You should invest in puzzle toys to keep your cat out of trouble! Birmans are so curious, that they frequently end up trapped under floors or in other bizarre places.
Best described as a mellow fellow, the Birman has a good nature and sweet temperament. This friendly and social breed likes company and will immediately become a full-fledged member of your family.
They like children and other pets and will for sure engage them in a game of chase. And by the time the fun is over, your cat will gently meow to be picked up and cuddled in your arms.
The loving Birman gives but it also seeks affection! Therefore, it needs an owner who will shower it with cuddles and attention.
Birman Cat Behavior
The even-tempered, tolerant, and patient Birman rarely develops any behavioral problems.
But remember, this social cat likes attention and may develop certain issues if ignored or treated poorly.
Commonly seen problems in this breed are depression and separation anxiety.
So, if you are away from home most of the time for business or work, and there is no one else in your house to accompany this cat, you should reconsider getting this breed.
However, your cat won’t develop these issues if you spend quality time with her every day.
Are Birman Cats Adaptable to New Surroundings?
The Birman is a highly adaptable breed. Thanks to its friendly and affectionate nature, it tends to adapt well to any lifestyle.
Furthermore, you won’t have problems introducing this breed to other pets. Even changing her environment won’t be a big deal since your cat will adjust to anything just to please you!
The moderately active Birman loves fun activities and toys. Since they are prone to weight gain, interact and play with your cat every day.
Regular exercise is an important factor in a cat’s overall health and shouldn’t be avoided! Use a feather wand to encourage jumping and running.
Does It Get Along with Children and Other Pets?
The easy-going Birman is a perfect choice for families with children and other pets. This social breed wants company and loves having playmates.
Some Birmans may be a bit territorial so always introduce all pets slowly and in a safe environment. But if your cat is getting the same amount of affection, she won’t mind living with other pets.
Your curious and fun Birman will spend hours playing with plush cat toys and running around if you interact with it. And when you aren’t around let your cat play with toys. Provide plenty of activities to keep your cat healthy and in great shape.
General Health and Potential Risks
The Birman has very good health. But like all other cats, it is prone to some health problems. This doesn’t mean that your Birman is going to develop any of these issues.
However, it is always better to learn a bit more about potential problems. To keep your cat healthy, take her to regular vet appointments and don’t skip vaccination.
The following issues can affect this breed:
- Congenital Hypotrichosis: This condition causes a cat to be born without a coat. If it occurs, this condition only affects a few kittens and not entire litter. There is still no cure for this disease. However, certain special shampoos can improve the skin state.
- Hemophilia B: It is a blood clotting disorder seen in Birmans. By itself, this disease doesn’t affect the cat. However, if not diagnosed and a cat sustains internal injuries, and she can bleed out during surgery. It is also advisable to test your cat for this condition prior to any operation.
- Corneal Dermoid: This is a rare condition that characterized by the presence of skin or hair on the surface of the cornea. The cases can range from mild to severe. Hence, the treatment can include simple eye drops or eye surgery.
Birman Cat Lifespan
The Birman has an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years.
We advise that you test your cat for Hemophilia B to avoid unnecessary blood loss. Furthermore, pay attention to your cat’s diet. Invest in high-quality food to keep your cat at an ideal weight.
The Birman has a silky medium-length fur that contributes to the overall feel of plumpness. The coat is easy to maintain and doesn’t mat easily since it doesn’t have an undercoat. Use a stainless-steel comb to brush your cat twice a week.
Birman Cat Shedding
Unlike other long-haired cat breeds, the Birman sheds only moderately during the shedding season.
To keep the loose hairs under control, brush your cat with slicker brush three to four times a week.
This way you will distribute skin oils through the length of fur and keep it silky. Be careful not to use too much pressure while using slicker brushes.
Breed Related FAQ
In this section, we answer frequently asked questions about the Birman Cat. Read on to learn more facts about this social and tolerant breed!
How Much is Birman Cat Price?
The exact price of a Birman kitten depends on a breeder and several other factors. On average, you can expect to pay from $700 to $1000 for a purebred kitten.
Note that the symmetry of ‘gloves’ and ‘laces’ is used to determine if a cat is show quality or if she will be sold as a common pet. Consequently, Birmans with perfect ‘gloves’ and ‘laces’ can be very expensive and cost over $1000.
How Big Do Birman Cats Get?
Male Birmans are larger and weigh from 10-15 pounds. The female cats are smaller and on average weigh from 6-10 pounds.
A somewhat stocky appearance makes the Birman prone to weight gain. Thus, feed your cat according to her age and activity level to prevent obesity. Specially formulated weight management cat food is a great choice for this breed.
Are Birman Cats Aggressive?
Viewed as a whole, Birmans aren’t considered to be an aggressive breed. However, as with any other cat breed, random acts of aggressiveness can happen if your Birman gets frightened or startled by something.
Can Birman Cats Be Left Alone?
While some breeds don’t mind being home alone, the Birman isn’t one of them. This is a highly social cat that prefers interaction and isn’t recommended for homes where it will be left alone for hours on end.
Are Birman Cats Vocal?
This breed is known to be quiet-spoken, and Birmans generally don’t meow a lot. Although they are very social and communicative in their ways, your Birman won’t make too much noise and is more likely to purr rather than meow.