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Contemporary Burmese – Cat Breed Guide

Adopt a Contemporary Burmese, Cat Breed Guide


The Contemporary Burmese cat or modern type of Burmese is one of two distinct bloodlines of the Burmese cats. Most cat fanciers recognize these two lineages of the Burmese but officially, only a handful of feline associations have a standard for it. One such association is the Cat Fanciers Association or CFA.

The CFA recognizes the distinct difference of the Traditional and Contemporary lines of the Burmese breeds, with both lines appearing on both the Burmese and the European Burmese. Another major feline organization that recognizes the two distinctive Burmese bloodlines is the Co-Ordinating Cat Council of Australia or CCCA. Of the two Burmese Breeds that is recognized by the CCCA, only the American Burmese cat has Traditional and Contemporary types. The Livre Officiel des Origines Félines or LOOF recognizes the Traditional and Contemporary types of the American Burmese Cat Breed.

The primary differences between the two types can be seen in the areas of Head, Nose and Ears. To differentiate the two types:

  • Traditional Burmese – Head is round in shape and broad with a visible nose-break. Ears are medium in size; set well apart; broad at the base and rounded at the tips.
  • Contemporary Burmese – Head is round in shape and broad with a visible nose-break but muzzle is shorter and may even come as nearly flat. Ears are medium in size; set well apart; board at the base and rounded at the tips but is set higher on the head.

Apart from the physical differences between the two Burmese types, there is also a health related difference. The Contemporary Burmese carries a lethal gene that affects the Head. This HD or Head Defect gene gives a concave profile on the Contemporary Burmese type of cats. Although the trait was very successful in shows, it is a defective gene that may lead to fatalities.

Official Name

The Contemporary Burmese or Modern Burmese is typically called simply as the Burmese.


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 1930’s. Pioneer breeding credits goes 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.

Quick FAQs
Size: The Contemporary Burmese cats are medium sized domesticated felines which are substantially built.
Coat Type: Contemporary Burmese cats have shorthair type of coats.
Body Type: Contemporary Burmese cats have compact cobby type bodies.
Grooming Requirement: Contemporary Burmese cats are shorthaired felines that will require little grooming attention
Vocal Tendency: Contemporary Burmese cats are known to be vocal felines that will display average talkativeness.
Energy Levels: Contemporary Burmese cats have very high energy levels.
Time Alone:Contemporary Burmese cats will require 4 to 8 hours of alone time every day.
Contemporary Burmese cats need plenty of attention and can be a handful.

Recognized By:
Cat Fanciers’ Association
Co-0rdinating Cat Council of Australia
Livre Officiel des Origines Félines


The Contemporary Burmese cat breed in general, originated in the Kingdom of Siam covering the 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 Contemporary Burmese shares its early history from the original Burmese cat breed. This particular Burmese breed was first developed in San Francisco, California during the 1930’s. Pioneer breeding credits goes to retired Naval Doctor named Dr. Joseph Thompson who imported the first specimen to the US. Dr. Thompson acquire 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 Contemporary 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 is considered as not as independent as other cat breed. 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.

Basically, the Contemporary Burmese cat is similar to the American Burmese breed and the Traditional Burmese variety but with extreme features in regards to the head, nose and ears. Contemporary cats have more visible nose break, with noses that are slightly shorter than the Traditional type and sometimes showing as nearly flat in appearance. The ears are the same but set more higher on the head.
The Contemporary Burmese are also medium-sized cats with their entire bodies rounded in shape from the head down to their paws.
Contemporary 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
Head is round in shape and broad with a visible nose-break but muzzle is shorter and may even come as nearly flat. Ears are medium in size and set well apart with a broad base and rounded at the tips but are set higher on the head. These cats have large eyes that are set far apart and rounded.
Coat and Tail
Contemporary Burmese cats have medium length tails that are never short or whipped in length. These cats’ tails is tapering to a blunt tip end. The coat is short and fine with a satin-like texture.
Contemporary Burmese cats come in Sable, Champagne, Blue and Platinum colors.
The Contemporary Burmese breeds are prone to diabetes and a genetic disease known as hypokalaemia. It also carried a lethal head defect that gives a concave profile to the face of these cats. This HD gene leads to fatalities as the nasal cavity and overall head development is considered to be underdeveloped and unstable.