ALL CAT BREED PROFILES

Burmese Cat: The Perfect Cat for Beginners

Burmese Kitten in a studio
Martha Harvey
Written by Martha Harvey

Are you looking to adopt your very first cat? If so, you’ll need a cat breed that won’t be too hard on beginners. While it’s true that cats are generally independent and easy to care for, certain breeds are more so than others. The Burmese cat is one of them.

The name “Burmese” means fortunate, beautiful, and splendid. With such a name, these cats certainly have a lot to live up to, but they manage to do so beautifully. They make excellent pets for families due to their friendly, affectionate, and playful nature. These cats are also generally healthy, and due to their smooth and silky coat, they are low maintenance cats that are easy to take care of. This is the perfect breed to kick-start your cat-rearing career with.

burmese-cat-rolling on the bed

This article will provide everything you need to know about Burmese cats—how to care for them, their people-friendly personality, Burmese cat character, and more. We will also elaborate on Burmese cat health problems and the lifespan of a Burmese cat so you’ll know what to expect if you decide to adopt one.

Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability: High

  • Grooming: Low Maintenance

  • Health: Good; minor genetic health concerns

  • All Around Friendliness: Very Good

  • Exercise Needs: Moderate

Cat Breed GroupSemi Long-Haired, Natural Breed
SizeSmall to Medium-Sized
WeightMales: 10 - 12 lbs.

Females: 9 - 11 lbs.
Lifespan12 - 16 years

Burmese cats are medium-sized cats with a compact yet muscular body. The cat features long legs, a short tail, and a silky coat. The breed originated in Burma, but was developed in Europe and later introduced to America. The name Burmese means fortunate, beautiful, and splendid in appearance.

The original Burmese cats were brown, but due to recent developments, today you can find them in a variety of coat colors including blue, champagne, red, cream, and chocolate for both the European and the American variants.

Burmese Cat meowing in a cat tree

The American and European breeds are said to be similar but with a subtle difference in the body formation especially around the ears and the eyes. As for their personality, this breed is intelligent, loyal, affectionate, and friendly. They love and adore their caregivers. They also enjoy the presence of humans.

Their coat is low maintenance. Besides being short, the cat’s fur sheds minimally, thus requires very minimal grooming.These cats don’t get fat easily, but their feeding schedule must still be streamlined to include all the necessary nutrients to keep them healthy and in good shape. Regular play and visits to the vet are also necessary for Burmese cats.

Main Highlights

  • Burmese cats are very affectionate and tender.

  • They are overly social and love human company.

  • They are quite muscular and heavy, but at the same time, very soft and gentle.

  • Unlike most other cat breeds from the Siamese pool, the Burmese shed very little and do not need daily grooming.

  • They are quite vocal, but they have a soft voice.

  • They are quite active, playful, and intelligent.

  • They like to have their presence acknowledged and will waste no chance to make you notice them.

Breed History

The Burmese cat, as the name suggests, originated in Burma—currently known as Myanmar. This cat breed was initially known as ‘the copper cat’ and was thought to have been created between the year 1350 and 1767.

Back then, the Burmese cat was quite popular, especially in Asia. It was the increasing popularity of the breed that finally led to their transportation into Europe and later introduction into America. Note that the breed stayed in Asia and Europe until around the year 1930.

burmese cat lying down on the carpet

Developers say that Burmese cats in Europe and America share a common predecessor—Wong Mau—who was brought to Europe and America by Joseph Thompson, a retired doctor who had traveled to Tibet and was staying there as a Buddhist monk at the time.

During his time in Tibet, Thompson became fascinated with eastern cats and decided to help determine the Burmese as a distinct breed instead of merely a variant of the Siamese. After successful breeding, Thompson tried to establish the resulting crossbreed in the US soil but was vehemently opposed by Siamese breeders who believed that Wong Mau was nothing more than a Siamese with unusual coloring.

Beautiful Burmese cat in front of silver blanket

Cat fanciers, on the other hand, recognized the cross in 1936 but came to withdraw the recognition in 1947 following the continued opposition the breed received. This status retraction led to more improvements on the breed—which ultimately allowed the Burmese to regain their recognition later in 1953.

Size

The Burmese are neither small nor large. They are medium-sized cats, but with a muscular and athletic body. They are pretty long and somewhat heavy. Male Burmese cats weigh about 11 lbs., while females weigh between 8 and 11 lbs.

The good thing about these cats is that although they carry a substantial amount of weight, it doesn’t make them lazy; they are always in motion—either playing or just messing around.

Beautiful Blue Burmese Cat lying on the floor

Take note that the two varieties of Burmese cats differ subtly. The British variant is quite slender and long. They have a much more angular and masculine body. The American variety has a more rounded and compact body.

Personality and Character

Burmese cat personality is quite extraordinary. They are very active, playful, intelligent, and very affectionate towards their caregivers. The Burmese enjoy spending time with their human companions; this is not a cat that likes to be left alone for extended periods.

Female Burmese are quite curious, mischievous, and adventurous, unlike the male variety that is more laid back and unfazed by the happenings of life. Nonetheless, both genders are vocal. They issue a wide range of noises, especially when they are distressed, hungry, or happy. Although they are vocal, chances are you won’t soon get annoyed with their cries and meows, because they have a soft voice that is pleasing to the ear.

Brown Burmese cat lying down

While cats are known to be independent, Burmese cats can get quite clingy. The Burmese is the type of cat that will camp at your feet all day long. It is a good thing because this only assures you that this is a loving, loyal, and affectionate breed.

Health and Potential Problems

The Burmese is a very healthy and active feline. When well cared for, they can live for up to 16 years. They do not have a significant medical ailment you need to worry about. They are, however, at high risk of gingivitis, and thus it is highly recommended that preventive measures in the form of good dental care be taken on this feline.

Close-up image of a beautiful burmese cat

Note that the Burmese are also commonly affected by something known as the cherry eye (the third eyelid). The good news is that Burmese cat eye problems can be corrected with a simple and inexpensive surgical procedure.

Also, note that the American variant of this breed is commonly at risk of cranial deformities, weeping eyes, and breathing complications. This is primarily due to their genetic predisposition. Nonetheless, these are issues that are less common in the British variant of the Burmese breed.

Care Features

You will be glad to know that the Burmese are very low maintenance. The only problem you’ll have to deal with is their clingy nature. They thrive on human company, so they will not appreciate being left alone for long hours. But then, being an active and playful cat, you can circumvent this problem by providing your cat with lots of playthings so that they won’t feel your absence as acutely.

Another thing with Burmese cats is that they are meant to be indoor cats. They can’t survive the outdoors given that they have no instinct to fight or defend themselves. Also, they can easily be stolen since they are very trusting and accepting of strangers. If you absolutely have to let them go outside, you will have to keep a watchful eye on them. Or you can create an enclosed area where the cat can play and enjoy the outdoors without the risk of being stolen or preyed upon.

Burmese kitten lying down on the carpet

Burmese cats don’t have many health concerns. Nonetheless, gingivitis, cranial deformities, and cherry eyes are some common Burmese health problems and are mostly associated with the breed’s genetic predisposition. Due to this, try to be selective of the breeder you would like to adopt a kitten from. Also, during your time with the cat, schedule regular visits to the vet for a checkup. This way, you will be able to catch any budding health problems early.

The cat has a very low maintenance coat. Weekly brushing is all that you need to do to remove the minimally shed hair and to keep their coat looking neat and glossy. Brushing the teeth is also essential to avoid dental problems. Clean their ears and eyes once in a while to prevent the risk of infections. Most importantly, you must ensure that your Burmese is well-fed with premium quality cat food, lots of water, and is also allowed enough time to play and exercise.

Feeding Schedule

Burmese cats like to exercise and don’t put on weight easily. So, most of the time, you don’t have to worry about them getting fat and lazy. Pay attention to the cat food manufacturer’s recommended proportions of food according to your cat’s life stage and size, then separate their daily portions into two to three meals. Or you can simply grant your cat access to food all day; just stop doing this the moment you notice that your cat is putting on weight.

Owner holding his burmese kitten

As is the case with most cat breeds, the Burmese are lactose intolerant. It is essential to take note of this when feeding your cat. Also, do not feed your cat too much dry food as this may cause kidney problems. You need to ensure that water is a part of your Burmese’s daily diet. To do this, other than making sure your cat always has access to a fresh bowl of water, you can also feed them with wet canned food or delicious homemade meals.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

The Burmese’s coat is relatively short in length, silky in texture, and shiny in appearance. Their coat is available in a variety of colors—with the most common and recognized being blue, champagne, platinum, and sable. Spotting and barring are quite rare on Burmese cats. Their coat is just beautifully soft and glossy. That is why they are often referred to as ‘brick wrapped in silk.’

close-up of a burmese cat sitting and looking at something

Being silky and naturally glossy, Burmese coats do not require daily brushing or heavy grooming. Once-a-week brushing is enough given that they also don’t shed too much. Other than brushing, you will need to trim your Burmese’s claws now and then as well as clean their ears if they are dirty.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

As earlier mentioned, Burmese cats are loyal, affectionate, and friendly. They possess some similarities in personality with dogs in that they adore the company of humans. They will greet you at the door and move with you from the living room to the bedroom, to the kitchen, and even to the bathroom.

Red and chocolate burmese kittens sitting in bed

This personality makes the Burmese accepting of strangers. They can also be trained to get along with other pets in the household. They can become your kids’ best friend with their playful and loyal personality. Their sociable and friendly nature, as well as their ease in adapting well to any environment, make them an excellent family pet.

Wrap Up

We hope that this article has only given you more reasons to want to get a Burmese. We can assure you that even with kids and other pets around, the Burmese will make a perfect pet for your household.

Burmese cat character, personality, appearance, and simple care features make them an all-around family pet. All you need to do to return their love is to give them proper care which includes adequate grooming, proper nutrition, regular play, checkups by the vet, as well to give them adequate attention and affection.

Burmese-Cat walking on a beach

The Burmese are perfect for beginner cat parents due to their easygoing and low-maintenance nature. Do you think this is the right cat for you? If you’re a veteran cat owner and you don’t mind investing more time and effort into caring for an amazing feline, check this breed out instead. Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with us in the section below.

About the author
Martha Harvey
Martha Harvey

Martha Harvey is a skilled veterinarian and a member of American Veterinary Medical Association from Greeley, Colorado. She has 20 years experience of working in Animal Hospital. Martha loves all of her patients, but her favorite one is the Russian Blue cat Stitch, who lives with her.

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