14 facts about the Burmese cat

Burmese cat
Burmese. This looks like a North American cobby Burmese. Image in public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

RELATED: American Burmese cat – evolution and comparison with European Burmese

Here are 14 facts about the Burmese cat presented succinctly to make it a quick read.

  1. The body shape of the Burmese varies from country to country. In Australia the Burmese is described as a “foreign type” which means slender whereas in North America under their standards it is described as “round and cobby” which means the opposite more or less.
  2. The Burmese breed originates from dark brown kittens which were the result of several generations of selective breeding originally from the mating of a cat named Wong Mau – imported from Burma as it was then called by Dr. Joseph C Thompson of San Francisco – with a Siamese cat. Wong Mau was imported in the early 1930s. These early cats were technically Tonkinese.
  3. In the 1960s and beyond, through selective breeding, the Burmese became less slender and more cobby in N. America. The head became more rounded and the body and legs became shorter. The muzzle became shorter too. This is the Contemporary Burmese. A major player in this drift to a more cobby cat was Gladys de Fleron of New Orleans. By chance one of her kittens was shorter and more compact in the body than her other cats. She liked his looks and named him Theebow. He won big at cat shows and became the ACFA Cat of the Year in the 1960s. Theebow helped to change the breed standard for the Burmese in North America to the more cobby appearance. There were other Burmese cats which also contributed to the contemporary Burmese of today.
  4. The word “round” is a much-used word in the description of the Contemporary Burmese in North America. It applies to the head, the eyes, the short muzzle and the chest. Together they create the cobby appearance.
  5. The American Burmese is small but heavy.
  6. The males can be quite large and strong whereas the females may be dainty.
  7. They have a barrel chest
  8. The Burmese is described as a “self-cleaning cat” indicating that they require little intervention in terms of grooming by their human caregiver.
  9. This cat breed may be shown in the sepia category, solid and tortoiseshell divisions. The solid colours are: sable (seal sepia), chocolate sepia, cinnamon sepia, blue sepia, lilac sepia, fawn sepia, red sepia and cream sepia. The tortoiseshell colours are: sable tortie, chocolate sepia tortie, cinnamon sepia tortie, blue sepia tortie, lilac sepia tortie and fawn sepia tortie.
  10. This is a pointed cat but the darker extremities are hard to see but become clearer in full sunlight.
  11. The seal sepia or sable Burmese appears to be a solid dark brown colour but the points are visible on careful examination.
  12. The Burmese cat has golden-to-yellow eyes.
  13. Silver has faiely recently (2000) been added to the gene pool.
  14. The Burmese is described by Gloria Stephens as “happy-go-lucky”. They love to be around people and demand love. They are affectionate, vocal and talkative. Their voice is quite loud.

My thanks to Gloria Stephens’ book Legacy of the Cat. This is the best book on the cat breeds. Highly recommended by me.

RELATED: Burmese cat breeders – useful resource (2022)

Burmese male cat, Murray, 9 months old, standing
Burmese male cat, Murray, 9 months old, standing. This looks like a non-North American version of this breed being slenderer. Photo: Warren Photographic published here with his permission.

Below are some more pages on the Burmese.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

follow it link and logo