5 Things to Know About Burmese Cats

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

Burmese cat breed profile
Young Burmese cats may have pointed coat colors that darken over time. Photo: Pixabay

1. Key Characteristics of Burmese Cats

  • Weight: 8–12 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: Around 15 years

Burmese are medium-sized cats with a compact and muscular body.

The body is surprisingly heavy, topped with a rounded head. The large eyes are quite expressive.

The short, glossy single coat may appear pointed when the cats are young and may darken over time. The main coat colors include sable, champagne, platinum and blue.

Other colors may include sepia, lilac, chocolate, red and cream.

2. Where Burmese Cats Came From

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 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.

Golden eyes are common in Burmese cats. Photo: iStock.com/fotojagodka

3. How Friendly Are Burmese Cats?

The breed is devoted and tolerant, and they’ve allowed people to dress them up (much like Ragdolls).

Burmese are people-oriented and may follow humans from room to room, so they’re ideal for families with children and will generally tolerate a home with dogs.

Burmese cats love to play fetch, making them a bit dog-like. They’re social and can experience loneliness or separation anxiety if left alone for a long time.

If your family’s routine results in leaving your cat alone often, you should get another Burmese to keep yours company.

Burmese cat. By: olliethebastard
Burmese cats are so easygoing that some people dress them up in costumes. Photo: olliethebastard

4. Is This the Right Cat for You?

Exercise Needs

MEDIUM: Burmese are playful and appreciate a selection of toys.

Because the breed is fearless and unaware of danger, don’t allow your Burmese to go outdoors.

This is especially necessary to protect the cats from being lost or stolen — many people would love to have a cherished cat breed without paying for it.

Grooming Needs

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

Health Problems

LOW: There are no serious health concerns related to the Burmese breed.

Because these cats were and might again be crossed with Siamese cats, however, it’s 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

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

YouTube player

5. Where to Adopt a Burmese Cat

Purebred cats can end up in shelters and rescues, so start with our adoption search first.

If you can’t adopt a cat or kitten and reach out to a breeder instead, 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).

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