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Birman Cat – Cat Breeds Guide

Adopt A Birman Cat – Cat Breeds Guide


The Birman is a longhair domestic cat breed that is recognized by all major feline associations. It is officially recognized by the World Cat Federation and the Fédération Internationale Féline as the Sacred Birman, in honor of its local name in Burma as “The Sacred Cat of Burma”. The Birman is a breed that comes from Burma but it is not the same as the Burmese cat breed.

Official Name

Locally called in its native Burma as the Sacred Cat of Burma and officially named as the Sacred Birman by the WCF and Fife. All other major feline association calls it simply as Birman.


The Birman, Sacred Birman or Sacred Cat of Burma is a domestic cat breed categorized as semi-long hair or long hair and originates from Burma, now known as the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, spherically within Northern Burma’s mountainous region. There is no precise date of this breed’s origin but it is said to be an old breed that is several hundred of years old, earlier than the Burmese War and British occupation.

Quick FAQs
Size: Birman cats come in Medium to Large sizes.
Coat Type: The Birman cat is an oriental-longhair breed.
Body Type: Birman cats have a moderate body type that has broad bodies that are round in shape. These cats have broad head features and their legs are shorter than the average cat breed.
Grooming Requirement: The Birman cat breed requires grooming attention two times every week.
Vocal Tendency: The Sacred Birman is known to be a very quiet cat breed.
Energy Levels: The Sacred Cat of Burma has an activity level that is considered as fairly low.
Time Alone: Birmans are cats that will spend four to eight hours every day for their personal “alone” time.
Care:The Birman cat is a breed that will need average amounts of attention and will be easy to handle.

Recognized By:
Federation Feline Francais – First to recognize as a distinct cat breed in 1925.
Governing Council of the Cat Fancy – Recognized the breed in 1966 under the Semi-longhair category.
Cat Fanciers’ Association – Recognized the breed in 1967 under the Semi-longhair category.
Canadian Cat Association – Recognized the breed in 1979 under the Semi-longhair category.
The International Cat Association – Recognized the breed in 1979 under the Semi-longhair category.
Australian Cat Federation Inc. – Recognized the breed under the Semi-longhair category.
Co-Ordinating Cat Council of Australia – Recognized the breed and classified it under Group 1.
Fédération Internationale Féline – Recognized the breed and classified it under Category II.
New Zealand Cat Fancy – Recognized the breed under the Semi-longhair category.
Southern African Cat Council -Recognized the breed and classified it under the Medium Hair Group.
World Cat Federation – Recognized the breed under the Semi-longhair category.
Livre Officiel des Origines Félines – Recognized the breed under the Semi-longhair category.

The Birman cat breed’s precise history is quite unclear but this Burmese native is believed to have existed for several centuries in the Northern parts of Burma. Legends has it that this cat breed was originally bred and kept by holy men of the Kittah people, a Khmer sect that built temples in the mountains of Northern Burma.

The legend tells a story that Mun-Ha, the Kittah sects’ leader often did his meditation to the goddess Tsun Kyan-Kse with his white cat name Sinh. During a meditation session that preceded an attack to the Kittah temple, Mun-Ha went into deep meditation surrounded by Kittah monks and the cat Sinha. The Holy man passed away and the cat Sinha quickly jumped on his master’s chest, transforming into a cat with golden fur and shining bluish eyes. The cat’s facial features, ears as well as his tail turned to a dark shade of brown with velvety-like texture. The cat’s former brown paws turned to pure shade of white. The transformed cat Sinha then helped the Kittah monks to save the temple from being destroyed by the attackers. After passing away, Sinha and all the cats of this type was revered by the Kittah priests.

The only verifiable part of this legend is that cats that are very like the modern Birman were indeed kept in the temples of Northern Burma. A version of the Birman’s modern history recounts that Kittah monks gave British Major Russell Gordon and a certain August Pavie a pair of their sacred cat in gratitude for saving their sect from a massacre as well as the Temple of Lao Tsun from complete destruction. The other version is that an American millionaire paid a huge amount of bribe to the servants of the Temple of Lao-Tsun in exchange for a pair of these cats.

Both versions recount how the Birma arrived in France during the late 1920’s. It is also believed that during the journey, the male specimen passed away, leaving the already impregnated female. The litter produced from this surviving female is the ancestors of the modern day Birman Cat. By 1925, the cat breed was first recognized in France as the Sacred Birman or Sacre de Birmanie by the Federation Feline Francais, the French Governing Council of the Cat Fancy. After the original breed’s near decimation during World War II, French cat breeders initiated a revival breeding program using the a litter from the last two pair of cats that survived the war in Europe. The litters were bred with other longhair cats available in Europe, majority of them were lines of Persian and Siamese cats to serve as foundation stock to this oriental-type cat breed. During the 1950’s, the modern Birman was consistently being produced. The main Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in England recognized it in 1966 and a year later the Birman was recognized by the Cat Fancier’s Association which is based in the United States. By 1979, the Birman was recognized officially by the Canadian Cat Association and the The International Cat Association

The Birman is now a purebred and is one of the progenitors of the American cat breed known as the Ragdoll.


The Birman or Sacred Birman is aptly named as this cat breed is known to for its very peaceful disposition and tranquil nature when it comes to living. This is a great family cat to have, quite, adaptable as a single cat pet in a home or living in homes with several cats. They are tolerant and famous for being very quite. A well cared Birman will display admirable traits that make it one of the top choicest to have as pet for people who are looking for a companion, confidant, friend or all-around family pet.

The Birman cat has a silky coat categorized as semi-long in length and a semi-cobby body that is somewhat slightly compact somewhat less rounder in shape. The Birman’s ear is relatively smaller than the average cat breed. This is a colourpoint cat breed.

The Birman has a generally accepted standard of being a color-pointed cat breed that has semi-long to long coat that is silky and famous for having pure white feet color on all paws.
The Birman’s body type is semi-cobby that is long but stocky in built.
Head, Ears and Eyes
Birmans have rounded and broad heads with a strong cranial frame that is slightly flat in front of the ears. They have a Roman shaped nose and somewhat rounded muzzles. This breed’s ears are medium in length and will be wide at the base as it is tall. The ears are set on the extreme side of the cat’s head and tipped with a rounded point. Birmans are cats with sweet expressive eyes that have a round shape. The ideal color of the eyes are violet, the deeper shade of violet the better.
Coat and Tail
The Birman’s tail is medium in length and the coat ranges between medium-long to long in length. Coat texture is silky and does not matt with a heavy ruff on the neck area.
The Birman is a colour-pointed cat breed. The CFA recognizes only the natural four coat colors that are seal-point, chocolate-point, blue-point and lilac-point. TICA recognizes the four mentioned as well as other colors and patterns that comes in a various selection from torti parti-colored points in frosted lilac, cinnamon, chocolate, blue, and seal. Cream, red, fawn and cinnamon points are also accepted. Lynx parti-colored points in cream, fawn, frost, red, cinnamon, chocolate, blue and seal is also recognized. The torbie parti-color points in fawn, frost, cinnamon, chocolate, blue and seal is also accepted.
The Birman cat breed has no known genetic diseases that particularly attack this breed. In this regard they are considered as generally healthy cats. When it comes to contagious diseases and cat specific health problems, Birman cats is also susceptible to various medical conditions. The only difference of this breed to other cats is that this breed is very hardy than the average cat breed.