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The beautiful, fluffy Birman cat has origins in Burma, and the breed was later developed in France. This long-haired kitty is different from the Burmese cat breed and is known as the “Sacred Cat of Burma”. Legend has it that these special felines were the holy companion cats of the Kittah priests and monks.
Despite their mystical and magical history, Birmans slowly becoming one of the most popular cat breeds in the UK. They make one of the best feline companions for all homes, thanks to their gentle temperament and friendly, easy-going nature.
Meet the Birman
Birman’s have a distinct look due to their long silky fur, deep blue eyes, and contrasting markings. They are medium to large, usually weighing between seven and 12 pounds. Birmans look most similar to Siamese cats, but they have a more robust build, white feet, and come in various colours.
Their white feet is an iconic trait as all Birmans with the G/G genotype will have four clearly defined white feet with a glove-like pattern. Some Birmans, though, will have an N/N or N/G genotype, which means they do not have these ‘white gloves’.
Birmans are a colourpoint breed, referring to the pale-coloured body fur and contrasting darker shading on the head, legs, and tail. The classic and most common Birman colour is seal-point, a beige/dark-cream shade with brown markings around the face, ears and other areas.
Other colours you can find a Birman in are blue, lilac, chocolate, red, cream, and even tortoiseshell. No matter their colour, all Birmans will either have the traditional solid pattern or a dramatic lynx pattern. Moreover, like all colourpoint cats, Birmans are born all white and develop their colouring and markings as they grow.
Birmans look fluffy and cuddly, and their fur feels soft and silky to touch. However, they have no undercoat, so their hair doesn’t feel as thick as it looks. Many will have long tufts around the neck, though, and an extra fluffy tail.
The temperament of a Birman
Birmans are known for their charming, gentle nature and low maintenance, making them an easy cat breed to care for and a lovely companion animal to have in the home. In addition, they are very even-tempered, so they will not lash out or act unpredictably.
Birmans are definitely one of your lapcat breeds and will curl up with you on the sofa, sleep next to you all night, and take plenty of naps throughout the day too. They are less active than some of the more energetic breeds, but they have a playful side, too, especially in their first few years when they’re still maturing.
Although they look similar to Siamese cats, Birmans are much quieter than the Thai breed. Birmans do not have a loud meow and will speak to you with a soft, gentle chirp instead. They love to be around people and receive pets but will not demand your attention. Moreover, they are pretty independent, so they appreciate some alone time now and again.
10 Reasons to add a Birman to your family
- They are sweet, cuddly, and loving - If you're looking for a quiet, relaxed moggie to cuddle up and watch Netflix with, a Birman is an excellent choice.
- They have surprisingly low grooming needs - At first glance, you would think the Birman's coat requires a lot of upkeep. However, as they have no undercoat, they do not matt or shed much, so you only need to brush or comb them twice a week. Then, like other breeds, you should brush their teeth regularly and trim their nails and clean their ears as needed.
- They don't have many health concerns - Birmans are a strong breed with no real health concerns. However, as long-haired cats, they are more prone to hairballs than their short-haired siblings. Plus, like many breeds, they can develop Periodontal Disease without regular tooth brushing.
- They stay kitten-like for longer - Birmans do not reach full maturity until around three years of age, so they act like kittens for longer.
- They make friends with other animals - Unlike some cat breeds, Birmans do not like to be the only animal in the home. They want the company of other pets and will quickly make friends with dogs or other felines.
- They are incredibly easy-going - Birmans are happy to spend a large part of the day lazing around and do not need constant attention or interactive play. That being said, they do appreciate a couple of short play sessions each day to keep their bodies active and brains stimulated.
- They are independent - Birmans do fine left on their own during the day and will happily use this time to nap. Even so, they look forward to their owner's return, so they will not be so happy if left for more extended periods.
- They have a low prey drive - Birmans don't have a high drive to hunt prey, so they are unlikely to bring back birds and mice and make a mess with them on your carpet!
- They have a pure spirit - Monks and priests chose these cats as they believed them to be highly spiritual animals. Therefore, selecting a Birman will bring good vibes and spiritual energy into your home.
- They are glamorous - Lastly, the alluring appearance and beautiful long coat of a Birman will add a touch of glamour and style to any home.
Best Homes for Birman cats
As Birmans are very patient, tolerant, and calm, they are a great family pet for homes with young children. However, as a quieter breed, they like a relaxed atmosphere, so they may not be happy in a particularly loud and frantic house.
Considering their lovely nature and lower energy level, Birmans are a fab choice for older people who live on their own or first-time cat owners. They are also best for multi-pet homes. Therefore, if you're looking to add another furry friend to your family but worry they won’t get on with your other pets, a Birman is an excellent choice.