American and European Burmese cats Cozzy and Bouie – photo copyright Helmi Flick. Is Bouie a typical European Burmese cat? It does not seem that way. Cozzy seems to have a slight squint incidentally.
The GCCF (premier cat association in the UK and Europe) accept these colours for the Burmese: brown (similar to sable), blue, chocolate, lilac, red, brown tortie, cream, blue tortie, chocolate tortie and lilac tortie. Bouie should therefore be a lilac Burmese on my reckoning. Cozzy is a sable Burmese cat on my assessment. Wrong? Please tell me by leaving a note on this form. Incidentally, the European cat association, FiFe say that the Burmese should be “elegant” neither Siamese type (meaning oriental – slender in layman’s language) nor cobby (FiFe standard). They seem to regard the UK Burmese as cobby.
You can see how confusing it can get for a buyer.Having seen the potentially stark difference in the appearance of the European Burmese to the American variety and the apparent difference within Europe, what about Burmese cat breeders? I feel that if we are new to buying a purebred cat the best starting point is the cat clubs that are affiliated to the cat associations. They know their members and the breed. Sometimes just diving into Petfinder.com or some other online source can produce results but there is danger.
Do you end up with a purebred cat and the one that was advertised? If you don’t visit the cattery you are in the dark as to quality. We are not dealing in a “product” that can be replicated exactly each time. This leaves the door open to misrepresentations and fraudulent behavior. Here are some contact points to find Burmese cat breeders, which might save a visitor some time:
Europe: Burmese Cat Club affiliated to the GCCF – UK based. A large club with a list of breeders. They also run a re-homing service. Burmese Cat Society– affiliated to the GCCF – nice re-homing service – UK based.
USA: CFA Breeder referral search– note what the CFA say. They do not vet and check breeders registered with them. A visit to the cattery should be obligatory. National Alliance of Burmese Breeders Inc.– nice list of breeders. TICA – a short list of Burmese cat breeders
Breeders of Burmese cats produce a different sort of cat depending on where they come from! I know that there is a difference between the American and European Burmese cats. That is fairly common knowledge. But when I saw this photograph by Helmi Flick I thought I was looking at two different breeds. I scratched my head trying to figure out the breed of Bouie on the right. Cozzy on the left was obviously a Burmese cat and an American one as the photograph was taken in the USA. Bouie was too light in colour, wasn’t he, to be a Chartreux or a Korat, or anyone of the blue/grey cat breeds? He looked lilac coloured to me. Helmi told me he was a European Burmese cat.
The strange difference is the size as the respective breed standards (CFA for America and GCCF for European) say that (a) American: The body should be medium in size and compact (b) European: The body should be of “medium length and size”. Both are meant to be medium sized cats. There can only be one answer Bouie is a big Burmese! Burmese cat breeders working within the standard must have quite a wide latitude in repect of interpretation. Perhaps the word “compact” in the USA standard translates to meaning their version of the breed is smaller relative to the European Burmese.
Another interesting factor is that the GCCF standard of points (breed standard) says that the Burmese should be “an elegant cat of a foreign type”. Foreign type means slender. OK, I think we have the answer. Bouie is indeed, in my opinion, a Burmese cat that is not strictly to type.
Wrong? Please tell me incidentally, when looking at photographs of purebred cats it can sometimes be difficult to get a sense of size as there is nothing against which to scale the cat.