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postheadericon The burmese is a relatively modern breed of cat to europe and the united states of america

The Burmese is a relatively modern breed of cat to Europe and the United States of America. Nevertheless, it is one of the most popular breeds. The Burmese is playful, affectionate, active and talkative, which makes the breed a real winner among cat owners.

The Origins of the Burmese

The breed comes from the country formerly known as Burma, now known as Myanmar. In its native Myanmar, the Burmese is known as Copper Cat and for hundreds of years the cat was worshipped in Burmese temples. The breed is also referenced in The Cat Book of Poems, published in Siam (now Thailand) between the years 1350 and 1767. Therefore, the Burmese cat had established itself as a firm favorite in the East centuries before it was introduced to Europe and North America.

In fact, it was not until 1930 that the Burmese was brought into the U.S. by retired naval doctor Joseph Thompson. During his retirement, Thompson spent time living in Tibet, as a Buddhist monk, where he became captivated by Eastern cats. Thompson bred a Burmese cat with a Siamese to distinguish the Burmese as a breed in its own right, rather than a variant of the Siamese.

Consequently, today, all of the Burmese living in Europe and North America are related to one common ancestor, Wong Mau, who was introduced to the Western world by Thompson. To begin with, he had trouble getting the Burmese accepted as a genuine breed, because Siamese breeders felt that the cat was merely an oddly colored Siamese that would pollute the gene pool. After being recognized as a breed by the Cat Fanciers’ Association, in 1936, the recognition was later rescinded, in 1947, only to be reinstated in 1953.

How to Recognize a Burmese

One of the most striking features of the Burmese is its strong muscular bulk, which leads some to describe it as a ‘brick wrapped in silk’. This also refers to the breed’s very soft, silky coat, which can be solid in color or pointed. A pointed coat has patches of color on the legs, ears, face and tail, similar to that seen on a Siamese.

There are three different types of Burmese:

Contemporary (the most popular)

Traditional (is most similar to the original Myanmar)

European or ‘Foreign’ (slimmer than the other two types of the breed)


The character and temperament of the Burmese is one of the principal reasons for its popularity. Typically, a Burmese cat is very affectionate, playful, intelligent and loyal. Unlike some breeds of cat, the Burmese is not particularly independent and enjoys the company of humans. Therefore, it is not advisable to own one if he, or she, will be left alone for extended periods during the day.

According to owners of the breed, the females tend to be more adventurous and active, whereas the males are more mellow and laidback. Like Siamese, the Burmese cat can be very noisy with a range of calls, cries and meows. However, typically, the sounds are not as loud as a Siamese’s are.

Potential Health Problems

There are not many health issues for a Burmese and one, which occurs in kittens, is easily fixed. Cherry eye, which is an issue with the cat’s third eyelid, can be a problem for Burmese kittens, but simply surgery can rectify the issue.

The only other common health problem in Burmese is gingivitis. Owners should, therefore, be prepared to ensure that their cat receives preventative dental care. Less common health issues are cranial deformities, weepy eyes and breathing problems, which can arise in the Contemporary Burmese, but does not seem to affect the Traditional and European breeds.

If you like the sound of the Burmese cat, ensure that you do some further research on the breed before welcoming one into your family. It is also wise to seek out a reputable breeder or adopt a cat through a local rescue center.

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