Cat Breed Profile: Burmese

The playful Burmese is ideal for families with children. These cats also tolerate dogs pretty well, too.

Burmese cat. By: olliethebastard
Burmese cats are so easy-going that some people dress them up in costumes. By: olliethebastard

Breed

Burmese

Physical Description

Burmese are medium-sized cats with a compact and muscular body. The body is surprisingly heavy with a rounded head. The large, expressive eyes are shades of gold.

The short, glossy single coat may appear pointed when the cats are young and may darken over time. The main accepted coat colors include sable, champagne, platinum and blue. Other colors may include sepia, lilac, chocolate, red and cream.

The average weight for a Burmese cat is between 8 and 12 pounds, with females slightly smaller than males. The average life span of this breed is around 15 years.

Purpose

Burmese cats are companion pets and may participate in conformation (cat shows).

Origin

The first Burmese is thought to have been Wong Mau, given to Dr. Joseph G. Thompson of San Francisco in 1930 by a sailor returning from the Asia.

Other theories assert that Dr. Thompson brought the cat to the United States from Burma.

The cat resembled a dark Siamese to some, but Dr. Thompson believed she was a distinct breed. Wong Mau was bred with a Siamese to extend the breed line, and many now believe the original cat was a cross between a Siamese and a Burmese.

The first Burmese kitten was reportedly born in England in 1955. It was a blue Burmese named Sealcoat Blue Surprise. The International Cat Association recognized the breed in 1979.

Temperament

The breed is devoted and tolerant, so much so that the cats will act as dolls and allow people to dress them up (much like Ragdolls). They are people-oriented and may follow humans from room to room. They are ideal for families with children and will generally tolerate a home with dogs.

Burmese cats love to play and are often known to play fetch, making them dog-like. They are social and can experience loneliness or separation anxiety if left alone for a long time. If your family’s routine will leave your cat alone often, you should get a second Burmese for companionship.

This video features Ozzy demonstrating this breed’s affection and following habits:

Exercise Needs

Burmese are playful and would appreciate a selection of toys. They are known to play fetch.

Because the breed is fearless and unaware of danger, these cats should not be allowed outdoors. This is especially necessary to protect the cats from being lost or stolen, as many people would love to have a cherished cat breed without paying for them.

Grooming Requirements

Brush your cat weekly to remove loose hair and dead skin. Provide scratching surfaces so your cat can fulfill the need to scratch and help maintain the nails between clippings.

Common Health Problems

There are no serious health concerns related to the Burmese breed. Because these cats were and might again be crossed with Siamese cats, it is worth noting the conditions common for Siamese:

  • Respiratory problems (chronic bronchial disease)
  • Crossed eyes
  • Kinked tail
  • Bladder stones
  • Eye problems (glaucoma and retinal atrophy)
  • Heart problems
  • Cancer

Is the Burmese Right for You?

Burmese cats are playful felines who love being around people, so much so that they might follow you everywhere you go in the house. They love children and will tolerate playing “doll” by being dressed up are carried around. They are usually tolerant of dogs, too.

Grooming is minimal. Provide your cat with a scratching surface and keep her indoors.

Burmese are social and people-oriented cats. If you will be leaving them along for a time, they should have another cat to keep them company.

Adopt, Don’t Buy

Purebred cats can end up in shelters and rescues, so start with our adoption search first. If you are having difficulty finding a cat or kitten and choose to reach out to a breeder, make sure the breeder has knowledge of the breed and is not operating a kitten mill.

Cats and kittens should be friendly, clean, have access to fresh water, and have enough space to turn around and play. Their areas should be free of insects and odors (such as ammonia, urine, rotting food or feces).

Additional Resources

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, is an author, poet and pet lover from Louisiana. She is the author of an award-nominated book, One Unforgettable Journey, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. She was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. She is also employed as chief operating officer for a large mental health practice in Louisiana. Kristine has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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