Burmilla: They Treat You as an Equal

Close-up image of a Burmilla cat
Jeremy Vaughn
Written by Jeremy Vaughn

What makes the Burmilla preferable to other cat breeds? Is it not the same as a Burmese? You will agree that knowledge is power; knowing all you need to about a Burmilla cat will help you figure out if you need one in your life or not. If you have one already, then knowing more about your Burmilla will help foster a long-lasting, fulfilling relationship.

Burmilla cats have a cute, adorable, and exotic appearance. On top of that, they have the best temperament you can ask for in a cat. Burmilla cats are friendly, social, and affectionate. Most people associate cats with selfishness and self-centeredness. While it’s precisely those unique traits so different from a dog’s that draw people to cats, sometimes we wonder what it’s like to live with a cat that doesn’t treat us like slaves. Well, you’ll find all that and more in a Burmilla.


In this article, we will highlight the Burmilla cat personality, history, their physical characteristics, health potentials, grooming, and compatibility with humans and pets. Once you’re done with this piece, no one will be able to pull the wool over your eyes when it concerns the Burmilla.

Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability: High
  • Grooming: Average
  • Health: Average
  • All Around Friendliness: Very good
  • Exercise Needs: Average
Cat Breed GroupShort-Haired, Crossbreed
WeightMales: 7 - 13 pounds

Females: 6 - 11 pounds
Lifespan15 - 20 years

Accidentally produced in 1981 in Britain, the Burmilla cat breed soon became recognized in 1987. This breed occurred from a cross-breeding between a Persian Chinchilla and a Burmese. The Burmilla is usually grouped under the Asian cat group.

Burmillas are medium-sized cats with the males weighing up to 13 pounds. They are muscular, lean, and energetic. They usually stand at around 10 to 12 inches tall. Their eyes are the most noticeable part of the cat because they have a heavily-lined inner lid that darkens outwards as if they had been lined with black kohl deliberately. This dark outline continues outlining their nose and mouth; it is even more noticeable in the silver or gold-coated cats.

burmilla-cat lying on a cat tree

The eyes are wide-set—filling three-quarters of the face. The Burmilla’s eyes are yellow with flecks of green in their teenage years. They become fully green with maturity. The first generation of Burmilla cats had a predominately black coat with silver undertones in it. Later, after many levels of breeding, other coat patterns began to occur. They have unique coats that come in varying colors and patterns—making it necessary to classify it into categories, namely the Self, Smoke, Shaded, Tabby, and the Tiffany.

They are mostly short-haired, but semi-longhaired Burmilla cats are becoming increasingly common. It is normal for a long-haired Burmilla to birth short-haired kittens. Their trademark silver coloring may also be darker and cooler in some kittens. All can be attributed to the characteristics of the genetics.

burmilla-cat sitting on a roof of a house

Burmilla cats are highly adaptable. If you need a lap cat, a Burmilla can be one for you. On the other hand, if you are into intense play sessions, the Burmilla will also be able to adjust to your needs. They are vocal and thus will be happy to converse with you. They are, however, less talkative than the Burmese. The Burmilla is highly intelligent and can be taught tricks. They live long and are generally healthy. They should be fed a healthy diet to keep up their general well being and promote their inherent health characteristics.

Main Highlights

  • The Asian cats share the same ancestry with this breed, but the Burmilla is unique in their own right.
  • The Burmilla was officially recognized as a cat breed about six years after their conception in 1981.
  • Burmilla cats are loyal, devoted, and affectionate towards their owners. Not as self-centered as most cats, they consider the interest of their owners and can suitably adapt to it.
  • They are family cats who are compatible with children, cat-friendly dogs, and other household pets
  • They are long-living cats, with a lifespan of up to 20 years; most of the original Burmillas are still alive today.
  • They are relatively new cats—introduced to the United States in 2011, while also becoming popular in Canada and Australia. If you like having a rare and unique breed, then you should go for a Burmilla.
  • They are bred for their unique looks—especially their silver and black coats.
  • The Burmilla has a distinct ear shape. Their ears are medium-sized and pointed, but they have a slightly rounded tip. Their eyes range in color from green to gold, depending on their age.
  • The Burmilla have a balanced personality. They can be gentle and quiet, but when the mood strikes, they can also be playful and fun loving.
  • If you like interacting with your cat—either for a quiet time of companionship or exciting playtimes—then you should get a Burmilla.
  • The Burmilla can stay alone, but they do best with a second cat that can keep them company while you are unavailable.

Breed History

Faberge—a brown tortie Burmese—and Sanquist, a Persian chinchilla, were in a breeding home awaiting their breeding partners in the United Kingdom, 1981. As fate would have it, the doors to their respective rooms were left open accidentally, and the Persian chinchilla bred with the Burmese cat to afterwards birth a whole new species. The result of that fated mating was four female kittens named Galadia, Gemma, Gabriella, and Gisella.

Five Burmilla Kittens sitting on a sofa

The kittens were not neutered; they became the start of this new breed; they were backcrossed with the Burmese. The name is a derivative from both Burmese and Chinchilla—where the first syllable from Burmese and the last syllable from chinchilla are combined to form Burmilla.

The Burmilla association was then formed to promote the new pedigree of cats. Another breeder, Theresa Clark, adopted Gemma and formed a Burmilla cat club in 1984. She played a huge role in helping the beautiful kittens get accepted by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) as Burmilla—but only the silver-tipped ones. It wasn’t until 2011 that the golden-shaded Burmilla cats were also accepted as a part of the breed by the Federation Internationale Feline (FIFE).


The Burmilla cats are medium-sized. Males weigh between 7 and 13 pounds while females weigh between 6 and 11 pounds. The cat has an athletic, muscular build that is always slender with no fat. These cats have a broad muzzle, a sculptured head with a rounded top, strong chin, a nice nose profile, and a straight tail. The hind legs are longer than the front legs.

Personality and Character

The Burmilla are family cats. They have a sweet temperament, making them perfect for every age group including families with kids. Burmilla cats have the right balance of personality—inheriting the naughty, attention-seeking nature of the Burmese and the easy-go-lucky, phlegmatic nature of the Persian Chinchilla. This combination successfully produced some of the friendliest, sweetest, most easygoing and playful of cat breeds.

The-Burmilla cat sitting in the middle of the street

They retain many of their kitten characteristics and carry those on to adulthood. The Burmilla is not as exuberant as their Burmese parent. They are endearing and invitingly playful—not aggressive or excessive to a point where playtimes would often need to be converted to discipline times.

The Burmilla is a personable and social cat; they like to be with their owner. If you are going somewhere, your Burmilla would be excited to follow you. They will jump into a vacant lap and snooze if they find one available. They can be funny and entertain the family when needed. They are intelligent and lively, curious and level-headed.

Health and Potential Problems

The Burmilla is not prone to common health issues that other cats are susceptible to; you don’t have to worry about long-term medical costs or animal health insurance. However, this breed is rather vulnerable to polycystic kidney disease which can lead to renal failure. You can, however, control that by breeding only adult cats that have been checked medically to eliminate the recurrence of such health issues in the litter.

The-Burmilla cat sitting with her head up

Burmilla cats also tend to suffer from allergies; you should keep them in clean environments and be careful of food substances that can cause an allergic reaction in cats generally, like garlic. It is recommended to get your kittens from approved and registered breeders. You can make it easier for yourself by getting them at sixteen weeks. At that age, they should have been well socialized and have received inoculation as required.

Care Features

Burmilla cats are undoubtedly endearing. They, however, tend to be clumsy and klutzy. So take away any breakables that they can bump into. This clumsy behavior can be related to the fact that their back legs are slightly longer than their forelimbs. Although, they are clumsy, like all cats they still love to climb and jump. So get them a big cat tree with multiple levels to do their acrobatics. These activities and exercises keep them trim, slim, and muscular.

Feeding Schedule

The Burmilla should be fed a healthy diet to maintain their physique and total well being. Premium cat food brands that include canned foods, dry food, or raw meat diets should be given—following a feeding schedule that puts their weight into consideration.

The-Burmilla cat lying on a wooden table

You can vary the diet or give a combination to broaden the range of food classes your cat has access to. You should count calories before feeding them with treats or sweets. Water should be clean and fresh always.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

The Burmilla is either short-haired or long-haired. The short-haired Burmilla have coats like plush silk—shiny and soft—while the long-haired Burmilla have a medium-length coat that drops to the underside. Long-haired Burmilla cats do not have a bushy undercoat, but they do feature a large plume of a bushy tail. The tail has all the fine, silky-textured coat properties of their short-haired family member. Shedding is very minimal in both varieties.

Close-up image of a -Burmilla cat

Burmilla cats come in black, brown, blue, chocolate, and lilac as the accepted colors, but in actuality, they also come in red, cream, and calico—although these colors do not enjoy a worldwide acceptance yet. There are two ways the colors can be expressed—it’s either full expression or Burmese expression.

  • Burmese Expression: This has to do with the manifestation of the modified gene—not forgetting that the Burmilla is a hybrid cat just like the Siamese whose modified gene is more extreme, thus giving the cat a brownish hue usually referred to as Seal Point.
  • Full Expression: In this case, the color is expressed fully without the modified gene.

The patterns vary, but about five major patterns have been identified depending on the color ratio and depth on the cat’s coat. The British classified and named those patterns into:

  • Asian Self: This basically refers to solid-colored cats that look like a Burmese.
  • Smoke: This one is used to describe Burmilla cats with a coat that’s 75% color and 25% silver.
  • Shaded: It is half and half, where the coat is about 50% colored and 50% silver. The shaded Burmilla color pattern is where the coat on the exterior is a darker color than the underbelly and inner legs; the coat’s color only matches with the nose and paws pads.
  • Tipped: This is the opposite of the Smoke, where the coat is 75% silver and 25% colored. The tipped Burmilla color pattern reflects a sprinkle of color across the back of the cat coat’s—covering only about one-quarter or one-eighth of their body while the other parts are golden, silver, or white.
  • Tabby: All varieties of the tabby pattern can be found in the Burmilla cat breed.

Grooming is important to promote blood circulation, remove shed hair to prevent matting, and keep the coat in a great condition. Simply brush their coat weekly for short-haired cats and twice or thrice for long-haired Burmilla cats. You can brush their teeth daily or weekly for better dental health.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

The Burmilla is great with kids who will treat them with mutual respect and care. Children should be taught how to hold and carry them. Although not overly friendly with strangers, they will eventually warm up to them after a while. The Burmilla makes easy friends with dogs and other family pets, particularly if they are introduced to the pets as kittens.

Wrap up

The Burmilla can fit into any family situation and help deepen the connection. You don’t have to worry about any animal fighting and aggression when you have other pets as long as the introduction is done right. What more could you ask for?

Now that you’re well-informed of the facts related to the Burmilla cats, you can make an informed decision as to whether you should adopt a cat from this breed or not. If you are familiar with the Burmese and the chinchilla Persian, then you know that you are getting the best of both cats in a Burmilla. In short, a Burmilla is a Burmese in a fancy coat.

Burmilla cat lying down in the street

Are you just about ready to rush to the local shelter or a breeder to adopt the sweet-natured Burmilla? Or maybe you prefer cats that demand the royal treatment as they rightfully deserve? Please share your experiences with the Burmilla, and if there are some sections that you would like to know more about, please get in touch.

About the author
Jeremy Vaughn
Jeremy Vaughn

Jeremy Vaughn is a member of Canadian Professional Pet Stylists, who lives in Winnipeg. Creating new looks for cats and other pets is his passion. Jeremy shares his house with the wife and wonderful Siamese cat.