Sacred Cats with PersonalityAlso known as the sacred cat of Burma, Birmans are a popular breed of domestic cat known for their friendly disposition and clear blue eyes.
Believed to have originated in Burma, the Birman cats are considered sacred cats of the Kittah priests. According to legend, the priest of the Temple of LaoTsun had a white pet cat with yellow eyes, named Sinh. While the priest was praying at the feet of the blue-eyed sun goddess, the temple was attacked and the priest was killed.
At the moment of his death, Sinh placed his feet on his master and faced the sun goddess; the cat’s fur turned a golden hue, its eyes turned blue like the goddess’, and Sinh’s legs, face and tail turned the color of the Earth. Where the cat’s paws touched the priest remained white as a sign of purity.
According to the Cat Fanciers’ Association, the world’s largest registry of pedigreed cats, a pair of Birman cats—a male and female—were shipped from Burma to France around 1919. Unfortunately, the male didn’t survive the journey, but the pregnant female did, establishing the breed in the Western world. The French cat registry recognized Birmans as a breed in 1925, England recognized the breed in 1966, and the Cat Fanciers’ Association recognized the breed a year later in 1967.
Birmans are friendly, intelligent and affectionate cats, and make great companions for those seeking a cat that takes an interest in the events occurring around them. Active, yet gentle, Birmans are generally calm and mild-mannered, and normally get along with other household pets and children.
Medium-sized and stocky, Birmans have a heavy ruff of fur around their necks and silky long hair. Their coats are light in color, and because the texture of their fur doesn’t allow for matting, grooming is not required daily.Like Persian cats, Birmans are pointed (darker) on their face, legs and tail and are distinctive due to their pure white “gloves” on their paws. They have round, blue eyes that give their faces a sweet expression.
Well-bred Birmans are generally healthy cats. They have no breed-specific illnesses, although some may develop cardiomyopathy, which is a significant cause of heart failure in cats. With proper care and nutrition, Birmans can live to be approximately 15 years of age, if not more.