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Burmese Cat Family – Cat Breed Guide


The Burmese are a very old domesticated cat breed that is recognized as a pedigree by all major feline associations around the world.

The Cat Fanciers Association or CFA recognizes two different Burmese breeds. The CFA also recognizes two different lines of the Burmese cat.

CFA Recognized Burmese Breeds: CFA Recognized Burmese Bloodlines:
Burmese Cat Breed – Contemporary Burmese
European Burmese Cat Breed – Traditional Burmese

The Coordinating Cat Council of Australia or CCCA recognize two different Burmese Breeds:
Burmese Cat Breed
American Burmese Cat Breed

The Livre Officiel des Origines Félines or LOOF recognize two different Burmese Breeds:
American Burmese Cat Breed
English Burmese Cat Breed (formerly called by LOOF as European Burmese)

All other major feline associations and registries around the world recognize only one Burmese breed, regardless of types or bloodlines. The Burmese cat is a different breed from the Birman or Sacred Cat of Burma.

Official Name



The original Burmese cat breed originates in the Kingdom of Siam now modern-day Thailand. This is original Burmese breed is believed to be a very ancient cat breed that has existed as early as the 13th century. The modern Burmese cat where the American Burmese and the European / English / British Burmese where bred from shares the early origins of the ancient Burmese depicted in Siamese history.

The American Burmese was first developed in San Francisco, California during the 1930s. Pioneer breeding credits go to retired Naval Doctor named Dr. Joseph Thompson who brought the first Burmese female to the United States. This lone female is the progenitor of the modern Burmese breed as well as the American Burmese lineages.

The English Burmese or British Burmese or European Burmese originated in England and was developed as a distinct breed from the American bred Burmese between the years 1945 to 1950. In 1945, the first Burmese cats arrived in England, brought by British soldiers who returned home from Burma. The next batch of Burmese came from America and was imported by Mrs. Lilian France.

Quick FAQs

Size: The Burmese are medium-sized domesticated felines that are substantially built.

Coat Type: Burmese cats have shorthair type of coats.

Body Type: Burmese cats have a moderate type of body. British, European or English Burmese also have moderate type bodies. American Burmese cats have compact cobby type bodies.

Grooming Requirement: Burmese are shorthaired cats that will require little grooming attention

Vocal Tendency: Burmese cats are known to be vocal felines that will display average talkativeness.

Energy Levels: Burmese cats have very high energy levels.

Time Alone: Burmese cats will require 4 to 8 hours of alone time every day.

Care: Burmese cats need plenty of attention and can be a handful.

Recognized By

Australian Cat Federation Inc.
Cat Fanciers’ Association
Co-0rdinating Cat Council of Australia
Fédération Internationale Féline
Governing Council of the Cat Fancy
New Zealand Cat Fancy
Southern African Cat Council
The International Cat Association
World Cat Federation
Livre Officiel des Origines Félines
American Cat Fanciers Association
Cat Fanciers Federation
Cat Federation of Southern Africa
Canadian Cat Association
American Association of Cat Enthusiasts
Cat Aficionado Association


The Burmese cat breed in general, originated in the Kingdom of Siam covering modern-day Thailand and surrounding regions in Southeast Asia. This very old Asian cat breed is believed to be the descendants of the Thong Daeng cats that existed during the rule of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya. Domesticated cat historians theorize that the Thong Daeng cats were brought to Burma during the 18th century when the Burmese invaded much of Thailand. This Siam bred cats then interbred with other local cats of Burma, giving way to the Burmese Cat breed.

The American Burmese shares its early history from the original Burmese cat breed. This particular Burmese breed was first developed in San Francisco, California during the 1930s. Pioneer breeding credits go to retired Naval Doctor named Dr. Joseph Thompson who imported the first specimen to the US. Dr. Thompson acquires the specimen from Burma, it was a brown coated female cat which he named Wong Mau. This cat is considered to be the ancestor of all modern Burmese cats.

The English Burmese or British Burmese or European Burmese originated in England. The first batches of Burmese cats were brought to England by returning British soldiers who fought in Burma. Succeeding batches of Burmese cats came from America. These American bred Burmese cats were first imported in 1949 by Mrs. Lillian France. This eventually led to an unofficial breeding development program of the British Burmese. By the 1950s, there was already an enriched population of British Burmese cats that were developed mostly from the American bred cats. This eventually led to the breed’s official recognition from the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy.


The Burmese are very affectionate cats that are known to be people-oriented and genuinely enjoy the company of family and friends. This is a cat breed that will require a reasonable amount of interaction, attention and “quality time” with their human owners. They are cats not suited to be alone for long periods of time and will often gravitate towards people and human activities. This is because the Burmese are considered as not as independent as other cat breeds. The Burmese cat will be vocal, much like its Asian cousin the Siamese but sweeter sounding and softer in volume. The Burmese are cats that will form strong bonds with their humans and not known to be aggressive to people in general. When it comes to other cats, the Burmese can get aggressive and will defend themselves impressively even against larger opponents.


The modern-day Burmese cat breed and all the other subgroups and lines have various appearances due to various breeding processes and different gene pools.

Generally, the Burmese cat is a medium in size but has a good muscular physique and a substantial bone structure for its size. These cats have eyes that are expressive and a sweet facial expression that is distinct only to this breed.

The American Burmese cat has a cobby type body that is stockier in built compared to the other Burmese breeds. The cat’s entire body is rounder, from head, ears, eyes and feet. These cats’ profiles can be described as pug-like.

The British, English or European Burmese cat breed has a more Oriental feature with a moderate body type that is slender and has gently rounded contours and a triangular-shaped head.

The Burmese Cat is a medium-sized cat that has a physique that is perfectly conditioned with noticeable muscle tones.

The American Burmese are also medium-sized cats with their entire bodies rounded in shape from the head down to their paws.

The British, English or European Burmese cat are more elegantly looking and with a moderate body type that is gently rounded in shape.

Burmese cats have medium-sized bodies that are muscular and compact. These cats have chests that are rounded in shape and ample in mass. The back area is well leveled from the cat’s shoulder down to its tail.

The European Burmese cats share the same basic body standard with the Burmese.

American Burmese cats have bodies that are cobby-type. The built is compact in appearance with a noticeable broad rib cage that is heavy for a medium-sized cat. The back area is slightly rounded from the shoulders and hips. These are cats with are muscular and very sturdy.

Head, Ears and Eyes
Burmese are cats with pleasingly rounded heads and no visible flat planes. These cats have medium-sized ears and are set apart and have broad at the base and have rounded tips. The ears will be tilted slightly forward. These cats have large eyes that are set far apart and rounded.

The American Burmese shares the same basic standard of the Head, Ears and Eyes with the Burmese breed.

European Burmese are cats that have a slightly rounded head. These cats also have ears that are slightly tilting forward, broad at the base and slightly round tips. The eyes are large and alert and will be set well apart from each other. The top part of the eyes will be curved slightly, with an oriental slant. The lower parts of the eyes are rounded in shape.

Coat and Tail
Burmese cats have straight and medium length tails. These cats have fine and glossy looking coats that have a satin-like texture.

American Burmese cats have medium-length tails that are never short or whipped in length. These cats’ tails are tapering to a blunt tip end. The coat is short and fine with a satin-like texture.

European Burmese cats have medium-length tails that are not thick at the base and tapering slightly to a rounded tip. These cats have short and fine coats that are very glossy and satin-like in texture. This breed almost lacks an undercoat.

Burmese cats come in Sable, Champagne, Blue and Platinum colors.
American Burmese cats also come in the same color and pattern as the Burmese cats but will have more intensified coloring on its legs, tail, mask and ears.

European Burmese come in Brown, Blue, Chocolate, Lilac, Red, Cream, Tortoiseshells, Born Tortie, Blue Tortie, Chocolate Tortie and Lilac Tortie.


The Burmese breeds are prone to diabetes and a genetic disease known as hypokalaemia.



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