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The Birman Cat Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

If you already own a Birman cat, you probably already know this, but these guys are “AWESOME.” It’s so awesome that they were initially bred to be worshiped! And while your Birman probably isn’t aware of their “royal” background, that’s not going to prevent them from “intrinsically” understanding that they should be “worshiped” by you!

The excellent news is…

That falling in love with one of these guys and “dote” over almost everything they do. This is because these little guys not only have the “looks” that make you want to pick them up and hold them, but they also have the personality that never makes you want to put one down! But before you run on out of your home and seek out the nearest Birman cat breeder, we want to take a moment and discuss exactly what it may be like to own one for these adorable types of cats. If you ever find yourself fortunate enough to get your hands on one, you won’t be disappointed with your decision to adopt them.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Birman Cat Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  Burma

Size:  Large

Weight:  8 to 11 pounds

Eyes:  Round and blue

Head Shape:  Round

Life Span:  12 to 16 years.

Origin of the Birman Cat Breed

This sacred cat has a clouded origin story, but at a best guess, they hailed from Mount Lugh in Burma and the temples throughout. Here, the holy Birman cat was not just a pet to the priests; they were also worshiped. According to early Burmese legends, these cats were given their striking good looks as gifts from a blue-eyed goddess. Legend also says that the souls of departed priests inhabit these cats. So, you can see that in addition to being highly valued for their beauty within the United States, these cats also have a long and rich historical background dating back centuries.

But whatever…

Their original back story is what is known for sure: in the early 1900s, two Europeans were gifted a pair of Temple cats from Burma to Nice, France. It is said that only one of the pair survived – a pregnant female – and that said female became the ancestor of most of the cats alive in France ever after.

That said, however…

We almost lost this breed entirely due to the European conflict during WWII. During that time, the breed became so rare that it became impossible to save it without interbreeding it with other hair cats, such as the Siamese and the Persian cat breeds, until the Birman breeding population became large enough to produce them responsibly. For this reason, Modern-day Birman cats can vary in appearance. However, a standard for their marking is widely accepted as the ‘correct’ pattern (which we’ll discuss in this article).

The Birman was officially recognized in France in 1925 and named the Sacre De Birmanie breed and then later by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1967 and have since been recognized by Cat Fancier’ss everywhere – and we do mean about… from Canada to the UK, these former Temple cats and possible carriers of Priestly souls have made an impression all over the world.

Physical Characteristics

Let’s face it: the Birman cat wasn’t chosen to be worshiped because he is an “ugly” cat breed. These cats are beautiful when they grow up and adorable as kittens. What with their soft, fluffy, and pale as a cloud coat of fur, it’s nearly impossible to see a Birman kitten and not want to pick them up.   And while his predominant appearance will be that of pale fluff, he will always have pointed markings on his coat that help set this breed apart from other similarly gorgeous cat breeds.

Because it should be noted…

Because the Birman cat is so attractive, with their white fur and blue eyes, this breed has often been used to create “new” cat species, including but not limited to the Ragdoll breed, another stunning cat in and of itself. But let’s not wonder because, besides having pointed markings on his coat, the Birman will also have corresponding color markings on his legs and tail, which is another excellent way to help one identify a Birman as a Birman and not some other type of cat breed. And don’t forget about his beautiful blue eyes; you will get lost in them. After all, those eyes were “gifted” to him by a deity.

As far as the Birman coat is concerned, it will have approximately the same mid-length fur coat as a Siamese cat but without the tangling undercoat that gets in the way. Their fur will always come with a blue point or a lilac point, and while other colors are recognized as well (such as tabby or tortie), all variations will have matching white paws that look like they are wearing little socks. The “standard” will also call for a “traditional” Birman to have a slinky triangular body with broad ears and a wide head, and their tails will probably be pointed in the middle, as well.

Personality and Temperament

The Birman has a few distinguishable personality traits. Unlike other breeds, they are very softly spoken and won’t give a screeching, nails-down-the-blackboard “Meow.” They are fantastic with children and families and even get on with some dog breeds. Because they are so friendly and expensive, you should consider keeping this as an inside cat, just in case he gets lost, stolen, or eaten by any number of different animals out there (particularly coyotes throughout the southwest United States).


Rumor has it that this is not the smartest of breeds, and you might want to keep checking where he is before you lock a door or start your car. And we hate saying stuff like this because we know that there are a ton of Birman cat owners who are going to disagree with us here on this one, which is why… we’re only going to say that this is a “rumor” it’s not confirmed, and your Birman could be a total genius!

You, Birman, will be curious and loving, and he will appear under your feet whenever you are trying to do something important… So, if you love having a cat that will love to follow you all over the place, this may just be the cat you’re looking for.

Potential Health Concerns

Although this is a favorite among families and breeders everywhere, it is not a traditionally healthy pet. They are prone to suffering from a few medical conditions, including:

  • Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a potentially fatal heart condition.
  • Corneal Dermoid is an irritating eye condition they suffer from and requires surgical correction.
  • Spongiform Degeneration is also a high risk for this breed, a degenerative nervous system condition that can also be fatal.
  • Immune deficiency thymic aplasia is another potentially fatal disease if left untreated.

These cats are also prone to liver and kidney diseases, as well. This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet often recommend that anyone considering adopting a Birman kitten or rescue cat take a moment and consider purchasing a pet insurance policy as well.

Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, of course not. However, it should be noted that many conditions affecting Birman cats as they grow older can be expensive. This is why it may make sense for some folks to “hedge” their bet by purchasing a pet insurance policy so they won’t be on the “hook” for 100% of their medical bills if anything happens to their Burmese Goddess.

For more information about who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies in the industry, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Sherwyn January 25, 2021, 9:53 am

    Great Artical!

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