A Birman likes to communicate with people, but does so in a soft tone. This is a gentle cat who plays gracefully and enjoys learning some tricks in a dignified style.
- 8 - 12 pounds
Ideal Human Companions
- Families with children
- Singles with other pets
- First-time cat owners
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- Sweet, gentle personality
- Masters tricks easily
- Comfortable with other household pets
- Sometimes mistaken for longhaired Ragdoll or Siamese
What They Are Like to Live With
Because this breed enjoys the company of other pets and people, it is best suited in a multi-pet household rather than being a home-alone cat.
Don’t worry about your valuables displayed on high shelves. This breed prefers to hang out at ground level rather than climb curtains or hang out on high perches. Its coat needs minimal care – just run a comb through once or twice a week to maintain its silky feel.
Things You Should Know
The Birman lacks an undercoat.
This breed can be prone to becoming overweight, so measure out daily food portions.
All kittens are born completely white. The colored points and markings gradually appear within the first two years.
The Birman’s origins are mysterious but enchanting. One popular legend from ancient Burma proclaims that this breed was a favorite cat with Kittah priests. One day, robbers invaded the Khmer Temple in Burma to steal a golden statute in the image of the blue-eyed goddess Tsun-Kyan-Kse. Mun-Ha, the high priest was injured during this confrontation. As he lay dying, his loyal Birman named Sinh, was said to come to his side and gently rest his paws on his chest, offering him companionship in his final moments. The priest died and his cat was transformed. Sinh’s fur turned golden like the goddess and his eyes took on the color of the goddess. Hiss paws were turn to pure white, symbolizing the feline’s devotion to his dying priest.
Birmans first came to Europe in the late 1910s and the first Birmans arrived in the United Stations in the late 1950s.
A Birman naming tradition remains intact. All Birman breeders agree to name their kittens born in a specific year with the same letter of the alphabet. All Birmans born in 2007 in the United States, for example, are registered with names beginning with the letter “E.”
All major cat breed registries recognize the Birman. It garnered championship status by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1972 and now ranks eighth in popularity among the CFA-recognized breeds.
The Look of a Birman
Look down at the paws and you will discover a telltale Birman trait. All Birmans are born with all four paws white. They are referred to as “gloves.”
A Birman’s eyes are deep blue and expressive. The head is round with small ears. The coat comes in light colors offset by darker points visible on the face, legs and tail. Its body is medium to large in size.
One of the many pluses of this breed is that its long, silky hair is mat-free.
Females weigh between 6 and 10 pounds and males average between 10 and 15 pounds.
Talk About Birmans
A mild, lovable breed
I have two Birmans. They are half brothers and they are very different but lovable. The younger brother (Dusty) is very loyal and affectionate towards his owner (me). He follows me around, butts his head against my chin, meows if I do not play with him or give him attention. He sleeps next to my leg or on my lap every chance he gets. He is also the acrobat of the family. The other Birman, Evin, is part dog. He drags his blanket to the door, drags his master's slipper down the hall. He plops down on the newspaper and wants to be petted. He likes to play fetch. The both love it when we are both home. The are a mild, lovable breed. They are my first purebreds and I would go with this breed again
~Sandy, owner of two Birmans
A curious breed
Birmans are very curious! They love bags, boxes and toys that cause them to leap in the air. They love their owners and prefer it if they were around more often. It is good to get two Birmans at the same time. This is the best thing we have ever done. They love to watch birds and squirrels they also enjoy chasing bugs.
~Sandy, owner of two Birmans
A fearless kitty
My girl Yaya is a 7-year-old Birman. She is very gentle and sweet, but is not a cuddler. She has no fear of people. She loves to go out into the hall of our apartment building, and will run into others' apartments if their doors are open. While charming, her fearlessness makes her quite vulnerable and in need of human supervision at all times. Mostly quiet, she meows loudly and persistently when she wants something. I believe this trait comes from her knowing she is royalty. I also have a male Snowshoe who is larger and quite aggressive toward Yaya, and she has a hard time with this. I recommend evaluating another cat's temperament, as much as possible (not easy in a first meeting), before adding to your Birman household. Mine would have fared better with another mellow cat.
~Leah D., owner of a Birman and a Snowshoe
Really sweet cats
I had a 7-year-old male Birman cat. He recently passed away due to unexpected circumstances, but when he was alive, he was really sweet. He was a one-owner kind of cat. He didn't allow anyone else in my house to hold him or pet him. At night, he would snuggle with me. He always loved to butt his head against me and always loved attention. As time went on, he would plop down right in front of me, whether or not I was busy and wanted to be petted. He didn't get along with any other cats at first, but grew to like them.
~Cammie D., owner of a Birman
Birmans are beautiful
Birmans are beautiful inside and out. They are sweet, affectionate, prone to laziness but I like to think that makes them relaxing to watch. They love to be pampered (as well they should be) and whatever you give them will never be more than their love for you. They are playful cats, and generally good with dogs and children.
~Becs T., owner of Birman cats
My faithful flatmates
Serena I call my Ole Yeller -- she's very doggielike at my side. She loves being brushed, and knows she's something special she will be 9 this year. Then I have my ultragentle Tabatha. She's a little playful tomboy, but not overkeen on being cuddled.
Birmans are a total joy to live with, but it is easier getting two together as Birmans are very gentle and you have to be careful finding the right nature so they don't get bullied. They love company, so two is a must if you're working all day -- Serena was brokenhearted when I had to leave her and again when I got Tabatha, but now they're the best of friends.
If you want a friend for life who wants to be around you most of the time, eager for love, then a Birman is for you.
~sarah s, owner of two Birmans