Birman Cat Breed Information, Characteristics and Facts

If you are searching for a fun-loving cat that can easily get involved with a family, the Birman Cat is just the right breed for you. This social cat is an attention seeker and fits well with every type of family. It is less active than other cat breeds but is still of the playful kind. 

According to the legend, the Sacred Cat of Burma (now known as the Birman cat) had acquired its appearance from a blue-eyed goddess Tsun-Kyan-Kse for its love and devotion towards his priest. The Goddess turned this temple cat’s white fur into golden and changed its eyes to blue while the paws remained the same, as a symbol of purity. This legend goes far beyond this. People also believed that priests who died were reborn in these cats’ bodies. 

The origin of the Birman Cat Breed remains a mystery. But, theories have claimed them to be a crossbreed of a Siamese and a Persian cat. With time, this breed started gaining popularity. In 1959, the United States was the first to import this breed. By 1967, the Birman Cat Breed gained recognition from the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), the International Cat Association, the Canadian Cat Association and the Cat Fanciers’ Federation.

General Characteristics of the Birman Cat Breed:

The Birman Cat breed is a unique looking breed that has a gentle expression along with a lovable temperament. The markings on this breed’s coat make it look even more attractive. It also has an elongated and stocky body that has a good muscular feel. Given below are the physical attributes of this cat breed.

AppearanceThe Birman Cat Breed has a broadly rounded skull that is slightly flat on the forehead. It has a medium length nose that starts from below the eyes.It also has a medium-length tail that is pleasing in proportion to its body.Its Cheeks are full of the rounded muzzle; neither very blunt nor very pointed. The legs of this breed are medium in length. The paw prints are pink in colour and have dark spots. The breed also has a sweet expression along with round eyes that are tilted slightly upwards around the outer corner. 
SizeThe size of a Birman Cat Breed is 8-11 inches. 
WeightThe weight of a Birman cat is 10-12 lbs.
Coat typeBirman cats have semi-long and silky coats. These coats are non-matting and therefore require less grooming.
Coat colourCoat colours of this breed include Bluepoint, frost point, cinnamon, fawn point, cream, chocolate point, seal point, blue and lilac point.
Coat patternThe coat pattern of this breed includes pointed and mitted. 
Eye colourThe eye colour of this breed is deep blue.
Life expectancy10-14 years
PriceUnited States- $400-$2000United Kingdom- £500-£1500

Temperament and Personality of Birman Cat Breed :

The Birman Cat Breed is an affectionate breed that loves to be around people. Even the Cat Fanciers’ Association has declared this breed to be “mystical, magical and enchanting”. As playful cats, they move around the house on their own. But, you will never find them staying up all night, destroying things. These cats prefer sleeping on your lap to on a cosy couch. At times, they can get so attached to a particular person that they develop a sense of jealousy towards anyone who tries to approach their owner. But on the brighter side, the territorial behaviour of this breed is not aggressive. 

Birman cats temperament and personality

Considered curious, this breed will always look out for fun. The intelligence of this breed makes it even easier for owners to train them. While in the ‘chaser’ mode, they will run around the house, but after it starts ageing; it will wander throughout the house to ensure that things are stacked upright in their places. 

Common Health Issues of Birman Cat Breed :

Just like other cats, even the Birman Cat Breed is prone to several health problems. However, these diseases are not very harmful. If taken good care of, these kittens can live up to 16 years. But still, it can never be guaranteed that they will not get sick. 

However, there are a few diseases to which these cats are susceptible. They are:

  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) – It is a complex heart disease where the heart muscles thicken. There occurs a cellular change in the ventricles or lower heart chambers like stiffening of the left ventricle. 
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) – In this disease, several cysts filled with fluid grow in the kidneys.  In case the cysts grow larger, the kidneys are likely to get damaged.

 Besides these, there are a few genetic problems that can affect the health of this breed. These are:

  • Congenital hypotrichosis: A condition where the cats are born without fur. 
  • Thymic Aplasia: An immune deficiency that increases the chances of infection and death. However, this condition is very rare in these cats.
  • Corneal dermoid: A condition where hair grows on the surface of the cornea.
  • Spongiform degeneration: This is a progressive disease of the Central Nervous System. As a result, kittens develop hind-limb weakness.


The easiest way to identify a Birman Cat Breed is by looking for its most common coat colours. The points like face, ear, tails and leg will have the best colouration of their coat. You can even look for the single-layer coat. As we know, Birman cats do not have an undercoat.  Thus, the fur on the back of the neck will be lighter and softer. Finally, the white paws and deep blue eyes of this breed will make it stand out. The distinctive feature of Birmans is their white paws that almost look like gloves. A closer look at their rounded face, a ‘Roman Nose’, medium ears and deep blue eyes helps to identify them easily. 

Birman cats detection

If you are still unable to recognise the correct cat breed, you can opt for a DNA test. Also, while adopting a cat from a breeder, you can ask for pedigree papers. You can even check the height of this breed for they mostly have the same height; irrespective of gender. 

Grooming and Shedding of Birman Cat Breed :

To keep the fur healthy and silky, proper grooming is required. Use a stainless steel brush to comb their fur every two weeks. Brush their teeth every week as a part of their dental hygiene. Also, check the ears for bugs, wax or infection. You can even use a damp towel to wipe their ears clean. By trimming their nails every few weeks, you also reduce the chances of hurting yourself.

Birman cats grooming and shedding

These cats shed mostly during the winter season. Thus, it is necessary to brush them more during their shedding periods to avoid hair fall. Bathing them with warm water at regular intervals will also help in the grooming and shedding of this breed.


The Birman Cat Breed requires proper nutrition to stay active. Owners can even follow a weight management formula so that they do not become victims of obesity. Therefore, these cats should be given food not more than 15 times a day in just a few nibbles. This method works quite well with almost every cat. 

If your cat is small, it should eat kitten food till the first year. Make sure you don’t leave your cat alone for long hours for boredom can make this cat eat more. About 26% of protein is required in the food of adult Birman cats while kittens should have at least 32% of the protein in their food. 

Training and Exercise of Birman Cat Breed :

These cats can be very playful but they are easy to train. They even depict dog-like behaviour at times like fetching toys and dragging blankets around the house. To ensure that this does not turn into a bad habit, such behaviours should be kept under control.

Birman Cat Breed requires exercise at regular intervals for better health. Sources have confirmed that with an increase in the weight of the cat, their life expectancy reduces. Therefore, you must make your cat work out regularly.   

Living with family:

These cats are the best family pets for they can easily adapt to a particular family. They can adjust well both in an apartment and in smaller spaces. If trained properly, these cats are also suitable for living with other pets (like dogs or other cats).  Although they prefer your bed or lap more than anything else, it is better if you provide them with a bed of their own.

Birman cats living with family

Considered gentle and easy-going, these cats go well with kids. With their sweet faces, they are likely to please anyone- be it a kid or an adult. Unfortunately, these cats don’t do well in isolation. They might develop bad eating habits and also start acting destructively.  

Fun Facts about the Birman Cat Breed:

  1. The Birman Cat Breed originated from a very old legend of the blue-eyed goddess Tsun-Kyan-Kse.
  2. The patterns on the body of this cat are called ‘gloves and laces’.
  3.  These cats are highly intelligent and are capable of solving a puzzle on their own.
  4. The Birman cat is different from the Burmese cat, although they sound the same.
  5. They already gained recognition in 1925 but by the end of World War II, people stopped breeding these cats. Thus, only two of this cat breed were left standing. 


The sweetness and beauty of the Birman Cat Breed have brought them lots of fame. A famous designer named Karl Lagerfield owned a Birman cat named Choupette. But the war has led to a decline in the population of this breed. As a result, it has become a rare breed. Yet it stands as the 15th most popular cat in the United States. 


Q. Do the Birman cats take part in cat shows?

Yes, even Birman cats take part in cat shows.

Q. What do Birman cats do to show displeasure?

A characteristic noise is made by these Birman Cat called the ‘Birman Huff’ which shows that they are highly upset about something.

Q. Are Birmans outdoor cats?

The Birman Cat Breed likes to stay indoors more than outdoors. However, with a few exceptions, these cats might like going outdoors.

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