Birman Breed Guide
Middle Age: 7 years
Life Span: 12 to 16 years
Birman cats are consistently ranked as one of the favorites for house cats because of their gentle personality, fluffy coat, and unique coloring. They are very adaptable and will quickly become a prized member of your family.
History of Birman Cats
The exact origins of Birman cats are unknown, but their other name (Sacred Cats of Burma) offers a hint. Many cat fanciers believe that the cat originated in the mountains of Burma, was then brought over to Europe in the early 1900s, and then made their way to the US in the 1960s. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) recognized the breed in 1967, and it has been ranked in the top ten cats of the CFA registrations consistently since.
Birman Cat Size and Physical Appearance
Birman cats are medium sized, weighing in at 7-12 pounds. They are most famously known for their color points, usually dark brown, and their little white feet. These markings are often called mittens or gloves and are a favorite characteristic of Birmans.
Their coat is long and silky, but not quite as long as Persians or Ragdolls. But, they have less of an undercoat, which means that they require less grooming and don’t mat as easily. They are also known for their striking blue eyes that are always on the look out for their next adventure.
Birman bodies are perfect for play, as they are powerful and muscular. The Birman is a little like if a Ragdoll and a Siamese had a baby – a beautiful coat and athletic demeanor. The most common colors of Birman cats are seal, chocolate, blue, and lilac. They can also be tabby colored or tortoiseshell.
Birman Cat Personality and Temperament
Birman cats are calm, affectionate, and will incorporate themselves into your family wonderfully. They are very adaptable and love to be around others. Whether it’s a child, a dog, or another cat, Birmans cats are the perfect playmate. Because of their social nature, Birman cats do best with someone else around the house. If you are gone for most of the day, consider getting two kittens or another pet to keep each other company.
Common Birman Cat Health Issues
Luckily, Birman cats are relatively healthy and aren’t predisposed to any major conditions. But, the common health concerns that plague other cats are things to look out for. These include obesity, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and kidney disease.
Because of the hefty weight of these kitties, they may be more prone to feline obesity, which can cause a myriad of other health concerns. Just like humans, it’s important to do everything you can to help your kitty maintain a healthy weight. By limiting their food intake, exercising them regularly, and keeping up with regular vet visits, you can completely prevent this condition. It is up to the owner of Birmans to make sure they stay at a healthy weight.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
Not specific to Birman cats, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common heart condition in cats. It causes the walls of the heart muscle to thicken and can cause the heart to increase in size. This is a genetically inherited condition, and breeders can check their lines for this condition. HCM is something to always be aware of, even if your kitty has a clean bill of health. HCM ranges in severity and can be treated with supplements, herbs, and other natural remedies.
Some lines of modern Birman cats may descend from Persians, who are also prone to kidney disease. Because of this, Birmans may be more susceptible. When shopping or adopting a Birman, or any other, make sure to get a clean bill of health from a vet and verify your cat’s hereditary lines.
Birman Grooming Needs
Although Birman cats have long, fluffy coats they require surprisingly little grooming. This is because they have less of an undercoat compared to cats like Persians. This undercoat is what creates tangles and mats.
As with any cat, Birmans require regular nail trimmings, ear cleanings, and coat brushings. Birman owners might always want to give their kitties a sanitary clip, which clips just the hair around the private parts. This helps prevent waste from getting stuck to their beautiful hair.
Are Birmans Good with Kids?
Birmans love to give and receive love, which makes them the perfect companion for a child. Their calm nature means that they will tolerate the attention of little ones, but they aren’t overly active. They will help teach your kids lessons like respect, patience, and responsibility. They are extremely adaptable and will easily fit into your household right away. As with any cat, make sure your children understand how to hold them and pet them appropriately.
Birman Exercise Requirements
Birmans don’t require any specific exercise needs, but they will appreciate playmates like their owners, cat-friendly dogs, or other cats. If you are looking to get a Birman cat, prepare by getting an assortment of toys, climbing towers, and puzzles. They are extremely smart and enjoy challenging themselves for a treat. You can even clicker train a Birman, or teach them how to walk on a leash.
Birmans are a great addition to almost any family and do great with children and other pets. Their soft coat makes them irresistible to pet, and requires a relatively low level of care. They are hardy kitties that love to play and will be loyal and kind to their owners, as well as guests.