Burmese are a medium sized cat, certainly being
heavier than they look at first glance. They are known as 'bricks wrapped
in silk' as they have lovely coats coupled with this. They have golden eyes.
They can be vocal, although their voices are
not like that of Siamese. They are intelligent cats, many learning how to
open doors by jumping on the handles.
(We have had to change the handles in our house
so that they open upwards!) We had also heard of a burmese letting all of
the other cats out in a boarding cattery,
not really believing this, until however one of
ours let herself out while at a boarding cattery - only to be found sleeping in
another run with one of our others that was also there!
They are very affectionate and love company,
and will usually be found not far from human company. If they are left
alone they will seek out company.
The burmese breed of today originates from a
single brown cat named Wong Mau brought from Burma to America in 1930.
Wong Mau was mated to a Seal Point Siamese,
brought from Thailand named Tai Mau. In 1936 the breed was recognised
Burmese by the Cat Fanciers Association.
The CFA suspended the Burmese breed as being
pure in 1947, due to the amount of breeding with Siamese to increase the
population, because in doing this the original type was being lost.
In 1954 the suspension was re-instated. There is a lot of further information online.
Throughout the world Burmese have developed
generally into two different groups - being the European Burmese and American
The type bred in New Zealand more closely
represents European Burmese, being more elegant and
with a more triangular head than that of
American Burmese, which are stockier and have rounder, shorter heads.
American Burmese can have what is known as the
lethal head defect, and more recently work has started to happen to remedy this
Burmese still exist in their original form in
Thailand, known as Suphalak, or Copper Cats, and recently one of these has been
imported to the USA.
This cat has started to be used in a breeding
program to introduce diversity to the American Burmese breed.