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Sable Burmese Cat: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Written by: Melissa Gunter

Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Closeup Burmese Cat Stands on Gray background

Sable Burmese Cat: Facts, Origin & History (With Pictures)

Whether you’re a cat person or not, it is hard to deny the appeal of a sable Burmese cat. The original color of this breed, the sable Burmese is elegantly beautiful, but don’t let that fool you. These are not cats that simply want to be seen. The Burmese are a unique breed that wants to take part in the fun and be at your side. They are playful, inquisitive, intelligent, and loyal. With tendencies similar to puppies, you can even teach these cats to play fetch and other fun tricks to let them show off when company is around. Let’s learn more about these beautiful cats, their histories, and fun facts that will make you fall in love with them.

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The Earliest Records of Sable Burmese Cats in History

Burma, now known as Myanmar, is the home of the Burmese cat, hence the name. As legend tells it, these cats were worshipped in Burma. They were seen as sacred creatures that were often honored in monasteries and temples. Considered the mother of the Burmese cat breed, Wong Mau, a walnut brown cat with dark points, a compact body build, and a tail shorter than that of a Siamese, was brought to America in 1930 by a sailor. Wong Mau was given to Dr. Joseph G. Thompson who lived in San Francisco. Taken by her unique appearance, Dr. Thompson decided to breed Wong Mau with a seal point Siamese by the name of Tai Mau.

The resulting kittens of the breeding of Wong Mau and Tai Mau were a mix of the two breeds. Several favored Wong Mau and her Burmese ancestry. This led Dr. Thompson to breed her with one of her sons. The darkest brown kittens of this litter were used as the foundation of the Burmese breed.

There are two types of Burmese cats, even though they come from the same origin stock. The European Burmese has a more slender build. They have wedge-shaped heads, almond-shaped eyes, and pointed ears. The American Burmese is stockier with a larger head, more separated ears, and eyes that are more rounded and expressive.

Brown Burmese cat in the garden
Image Credit: jojosmb, Shutterstock

How Sable Burmese Cats Gained Popularity

Originally, all Burmese cats were sable. Sable is a dark brown color, often referred to as dark almond. It was this coloration that originally made Dr. Thompson want to breed Wong Mau. The beauty of these cats quickly catapulted them to popularity around the world. Add in this cat breed’s loyalty to their owners, which is often compared to dogs, along with their playfulness, big personality, and kitten-like energy even as adults, it’s clear to see why people would fall in love with this breed and want them as part of the family.

Formal Recognition of Sable Burmese Cats

With all Burmese cats originally being sable, the color has always been part of the breed standard. The breed resulting from Dr. Thompson’s breeding program was accepted by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1936. The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in the UK accepted the Burmese in 1952. It wasn’t until 1979 that The International Cat Association accepted the breed.

After being accepted to the Cat Fanciers’ Association, during the middle part of the 20th century, more colorations of this breed began to appear. After lots of controversies, the CFA now recognizes four colors of Burmese. These colors are sable, champagne, platinum, and blue.

Photo Credit: Mikael Tigerström, Wikimedia Commons

3 cat face dividerTop 5 Unique Facts About Sable Burmese Cats

1. Meet the “Bricks Wrapped in Silk”

Looking at any color Burmese cat may make you think of a small cat. That isn’t the case, however. These cats are quite compact and very muscular. This makes them heavier than they look. Thanks to this revelation, people often refer to them as “bricks wrapped in silk.”

2. Burmese Cats Are Very Vocal

Similar to the Siamese cats in their ancestry, Burmese cats like to be vocal. Don’t be surprised if you hear these cats wandering around the house letting their needs be known. Your Burmese may also let the meows fly when they want your attention, as they are very attached to their owners and love attention.

Closeup Burmese Cat Stands on Gray background
Photo Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock

3. Burmese Cats Are Social Butterflies

Don’t expect to bring home a Burmese cat that is shy. These cats are very extroverted and love to turn on the charm. They love to cuddle and have what many call puppy-like traits. Their endless curiosity often leads them to get into mischief around the house as well. If you bring a Burmese cat home, be prepared to offer them lots of love and attention. If not, they may find things to keep themselves occupied that you’d prefer they aren’t into.

4. Burmese Cats Are Very Trusting

If you have lots of people coming by your home, don’t worry about your Burmese. As we just mentioned, these cats are social butterflies and won’t mind mingling with guests. They are also very trusting of their humans and the guests who may stop by the house. Unfortunately, this trusting nature lowers their natural survival instincts and makes them prime targets for predators, so make sure they are always safe.

5. The Burmese Has Created Other Cat Breeds

Thanks to Wong Mau and the breed she parented, other cat breeds that are quite popular have been bred from the Burmese. The Bombay and Burmilla are two of these breeds that should thank the Burmese for their creation.

burmese cats lying on sofa
Image Credit: Sergey Neanderthalec, Shutterstock

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Does a Sable Burmese Cat Make a Good Pet?

The sable Burmese is an amazing cat to have as a pet. They are playful cats that enjoy being the center of attention. You’ll find these cats to be very affectionate and loyal to their owners and families. This makes them ideal additions to the family. You’ll also love that these cats are mostly healthy overall. However, there are a few health risks any owner should be aware of, such as eye issues, head and facial defects that are often fatal, diabetes, and arthritis.

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Sable Burmese cats are not only beautiful, but they are also a joy to have around the house. These fun yet stocky cats make unique pets that will keep you on your toes. If you have the opportunity to bring one into the family, don’t hesitate. You’ll have a loyal, unique, and beautiful companion at your side.

Featured Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock

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