The Birman communicates in a soft voice, mainly to remind you that perhaps it’s time for dinner or maybe for a nice cuddle on the sofa.
There is no clear record of the breed’s origin. They are most often claimed to have originated as the companions of temple priests in Northern Burma in the Mount of Lugh. There are many stories extant of how the cats first came to France, including pairs of cats being given as a reward for helping defend a temple, or being smuggled out of Burma by a Vanderbilt. Another pair of Birmans (or a pregnant female called Poupée de Maldapour) were said to have been stolen and later imported to France by Thadde Haddisch. The first traces of historical Birmans go back to a Mme Leotardi in the city of Nice in France.
Birmans have a medium-sized, rectangular body with a broad face and distinct Roman nose. Their ears are ideally as wide on the base as they are tall and should be set as much on top of the head as on the side. The eyes are rounded and should be a deep sapphire blue.
The Birman’s fur is medium-long and should have a silky texture. Unlike a Persian or Himalayan, they have no undercoat, and are thus much less prone to matting. Coat colour is always pointed, save for the contrasting pure white, symmetrical “gloves” on each paw that are the trademark of the breed. The white must involve all toes and in front must stop at the articulation or at the transition of toes to metacarpals. These gloves should extend noticeably further up the back of the leg (referred to as the “laces”), finishing with an inverted V extended 1/2 to 3/4 up the hock. Any other spot of white on the points is considered a serious fault. The base body colour is white to cream, with a wash of color that corresponds to the points but is much paler.
If you like the pointed pattern of the Siamese but not the yowly voice, a Birman might be the cat for you. He is a docile, quiet cat who loves people and will follow them from room to room. Expect the Birman to want to be involved in what you’re doing, and be grateful that he’s not as bossy as the Siamese.
Docile doesn’t mean dumb. The Birman is a smart cat and, of course, curious. He likes to explore his environment and has been known to get trapped underneath floors that are being replaced or to accidentally (maybe on purpose) go for a ride on top of a car. It’s a good idea to always keep tabs on where he is.
He communicates in a soft voice, mainly to remind you that perhaps it’s time for dinner or maybe for a nice cuddle on the sofa. He enjoys being held and will relax in your arms like a furry baby.