Since 1986, I have had fourteen different cats, and cannot imagine life without felines in my household. Seven of the cats I had have been of mixed breed, while the other seven were purebred. Of those pure breeds, I have had a Blue Point Birman (Natasha, 1991-2000), a Snow Bengal (Abbey, 2002-2005), a Scottish Fold (Sophie, 2000-2010), one European Burmese (Kazu, born in 2009 and part of my current brood), and three American Burmese (Taiko 2001-2009, Tenshi, born in 2008, Koji, born in 2021). From the moment I brought Taiko, a platinum male, home, I actually enjoyed how intensely social and needy Taiko was, and I completely fell in love with his doglike personality, which I quickly learned was characteristic of Burmese cats. It was enough to solidify my preference for Burmese cats, and now I insist on always having Burmese cats in my life.
Tenshi, my Blue American Burmese Male
Burmese cats truly are extremely friendly, need to be around their humans the majority of the time, and are so drawn to laps that they are referred to as “lap Velcro”. Having lived with Burmese since 2001, I can definitely vouch for the fact that these felines are attention whores, which is quite the opposite of what some cat haters think about cat temperament. My cats are social, playful, gentle, and intelligent, and they often want to cuddle, sometimes when I am trying to do housework or telemedicine! I’m also accustomed to having all my cats on my bed at some point during every night, and I will usually wake up with Kazu right next to me. These cats have tons of personality!
Kazu, my Cream European Burmese Female
There are some minor physical differences between American Burms and European Burms, such as head shape (American Burms have more rounded skulls, while European Burms have a slight wedge shape), and there are colors which are unique to E Burms (such as Cream, which is what my Kazu is), but both Burmese versions are very similar and also feature the same loveable personality profile. It is much more difficult to find European Burmese breeders in the United States, so if you have your heart set on an E Burm, you will probably have to travel out of state to find one.
Koji, my Sable American Burmese Male
The following are breed descriptions from CFA.org and TICA.org respectively. The CFA recognizes the American Burmese, while TICA recognizes the European Burmese.
AMERICAN BURMESE BREED DESCRIPTON:
The Burmese breed first came to America in 1930 when Dr. Joseph Thompson of San Francisco brought a small walnut brown female cat from Burma. He named her Wong Mau and bred her to Siamese cats. Through selective breeding the unique solid brown colored coat, now known as Sable, was isolated. This work demonstrated that these Burmese cats were a distinct breed and ultimately led the breeders to request championship recognition from the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). Along the way, the other colors seen in the Siamese breed were also seen in litters. Over time and with much controversy, these other colors were accepted by CFA. The four colors we now recognize in CFA are Sable, a rich dark brown; Champagne, a warm beige; Platinum, a pale gray with fawn undertones; and Blue, a medium gray with fawn undertones.
Burmese cats carry surprising weight for their size. Their coats are short and close-lying, and they have a very silky texture. They need very little grooming, usually requiring only some daily petting. You will see a range of styles of Burmese cats, with those with rounder heads and shorter bodies being the show cats. Their large, expressive eyes radiate an innocence that will seduce you, and they have an irresistible appeal that has won over many a person who thought he didn’t like cats. Burmese cats have an endearing quality that has won the hearts of those lucky enough to be owned by one. They have great affection for their people, wanting to be with them as much as possible without being overly demanding. Many Burmese will even play fetch with a toy, given the chance.
Burmese kittens can be quite spirited. They are playful and fearless, attempting feats beyond their means and landing on their sturdy little rear ends. A Burmese kitten will remain playful well into adulthood. As they mature, their unique intelligence will reveal itself as their personalities unfold. They will soon grow into confident and charming little executives who will rule the house and your heart. Burmese are soft-spoken beings who have little trouble making their wishes known. They adore their people and are known for being good with children as well as liking (or at least tolerating) the family dog. Burmese are extremely people-oriented companions. Their personalities are almost dog-like. They will follow you from room to room, and they greatly desire to give and receive affection. They seek out warm laps and gentle strokes of your hand, and they love to snuggle up with their owners when they are reading or watching TV. Come bedtime they look forward to sleeping in or on your bed if allowed. Burmese are convinced that it is their job to run the house. Females tend to demand center stage and take an active role in managing the household. Males on the other hand tend to be more relaxed, managing from a comfortable spot on your lap. Be forewarned – Burmese cats can be addictive! It is not uncommon for someone to acquire a Burmese and find one is not enough. Many people ultimately have two or more Burmese, one of each gender or of different colors. Being one of the most trusting cat breeds, Burmese should never be allowed outside. https://cfa.org/burmese/
EUROPEAN BURMESE BREED DESCRIPTION:
Burmese can be found in a range of solid and tortoiseshell colors: rich, dark sable brown; medium, warm blue; warm, honey beige chocolate with pink or fawn tints; lilac that ranges in tone from a bright pinkish grey to a silvery platinum with pink tints; reds of a light, golden apricot with melon-orange overtones; rich, warm deep creams with hints of apricot; and the soft mingling of red or cream with sable, chocolate, blue or lilac found in the tortoiseshells. In young cats, the points will be darker but as the cat gets older and the coat matures the body color becomes deeper and richer until there is only a very slight difference between its body and the color on the legs, head and tail. On Mar 29 1955, the first blue Burmese kitten, Sealcoat Blue Surprise, was born in England. Cats other than sable had appeared earlier, but most Burmese breeders chose to breed only the sable cats. It is now believed that Wong Mau also carried the genes for dilution and chocolate that resulted in the appearance of chocolate, blue and lilac kittens. The red factor was added later in Europe. The Burmese was one of the original breeds TICA recognized in June 1979.