The exact origins of the Birman cat is unknown, but the legends of its origins are lovely. Centuries ago, 100 pure white cats with amber-colored eyes lived in the Lao-Tsun monastery. The cats carried the souls of departed monks into the afterlife. The monks’ souls were so pure that the goddess Tsun-Kyan-Kse transmigrated the monks’ souls into the cats’. When the cat died, the corresponding monk achieved Nirvana. The head monk, Mun-Ha had a special companion cat named Sinh. After an attack on the temple, Mun-Ha lay dying in front of the statue of the goddess. Sinh climbed onto Mun-Ha and purred on his chest to help him cross over. Moved by this, the goddess turned the cat’s amber eyes to blue and her pure white coat took on a golden hue. Her face, ears, tail and legs darkened to the color of the earth that Mun-Ha was laying on, but Sinh’s paws remained pure white to signify Mun-Ha’s spirit. All the other cats in the monastery changed the next morning.
Here’s what we know for sure: In 1919, a pair of Birmans were headed to France. En route, the male, Maldapour, died. The female, Sita, luckily, was pregnant and gave birth in France. During World War II, the breed was almost wiped out and only one pair remained. Through careful breeding with (most likely) Persians, Siamese and others, Birman numbers were re-established.
Think of Birman cats as the middle ground between the Siamese and the Himalayan. Birmans have a long, silky coat covering a stocky, strongly built body. They have large, round paws. Males weigh between 9 to 15 pounds, females are 6 to 10 pounds.
They have a large ruff around the neck, their coat is longer on the stomach and hindquarters and their long coat lacks the downy undercoat of the Persian, meaning less attention to grooming. Their faces are rounded with a strong chin.
Birmans are very affectionate and devoted to their owner; they adore people. If you’re doing it, they want to do it too. They make a perfect lap cat, in fact, they not only enjoy being picked up, but cuddled as well!
Birman cats enjoy both fetch and hide and seek. They are very intelligent cats that learn quickly. Not as vocal as their Siamese cousins, expect to have a few conversations with your Birman. They are gentle, beautiful and well-mannered. Birmans were the Sacred Cats of Burma, and they expect to be the Sacred Cat of Your Household.