Everything You Need to Know About Burmese Cats
Hello Everyone! We have another we where I dive into specific breeds, tell you where they came from, some fun facts about them, health concerns and all about their personalities.
I have been having a lot of fun researching the different breeds especially cats. I had no idea the sheer volume of different breeds exists within cats. Since all of my cats have been rescues, we did not get a learn nearly as much about which breed we would want so I hope you are enjoying learning about these breeds as much as I am.
Today, we are going to be diving into the Burmese Cat Breed. I will be honest and say that I knew NOTHING about this breed going into this week. (But that makes learning about them more objective is what I like to believe). This breed was requested to be researched, so if you have a breed you’re interested in learning about, make sure you go to my contact page and let me know!
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History and Characteristics of the Breed
Alright, let’s start out with what some would consider the “boring” part of each breed, where they come from. They were first recognized as a breed around the late 1930s. It is believed that every Burmese breed is descendants of a single chocolate cat named ‘Wong Mau’ that came from Burma/Thailand region. Which makes me believe that was where they received their name is Burmese Cats.
Before I go any further there is one important thing I want to call out. There are actually two different Burmese cat breeds, American Burmese and European Burmese. Crazy right? So what is actually the differences between these two ‘breeds’? And I will give you a hint, it is not just the country they are from. European Burmese cats are actually American Burmese cats mixed with either Siamese and/or British Shorthairs. So the European Breed is actually more of a hybrid mix than the American breeds.
What Makes a Burmese a Burmese?
Burmese Cats are known for a few distinguishing characteristics. They are known to have large eyes, a stocky build, and a silky coat. While they are considered to be average in size compared to other cat breeds, they are supposed to “feel” heavy because of their stocky build. They are like the bricks of cat breeds if that metaphor makes any sense to anyone.
There are four distinct colors of a Burmese Cat, though there are a greater variety of colors and names for European Burmese. The colors of American Burmese cats are Sable, which is a rich brown, champagne, platinum (a pale, gray shade), and blue. European Burmese have additional colors such as a variation of the tortoise. In addition, they name the colors slightly differently than American Burmese so you can hear colors such as ‘chocolate’ (which is what European Burmese calls the Champagne color), and Lilac (which is what the European Burmese call the Blue color).
Have you ever seen a beautiful, Burmese cat with big blue eyes? If you answered yes to this, then that breed you saw was actually not a Burmese Breed. Burmese breed cats actually do not have blue eyes, they only have yellow or gold eyes. And what about long hair Burmese breeds? Those are gorgeous too, aren’t they? Did you fall into the trap again? If not then you know that there are actually NO longhaired breeds of Burmese cats. As of today, the breed of longhaired Burmese cats simply does not exist.
Alright, the trickery and questioning are over, for now at least.
Grooming and Health
So now you know what color fur, eyes, and ‘ethnicity?’ (American or European) to look for in a Burmese breed but what about their health needs? What about their grooming requirements? Basically, how much potential work goes into maintaining the Burmese cat breeds?
Let’s start with grooming first. I will just come straight out and say that this breed is actually a low maintenance cat when it comes to grooming requirements. (Yay! Go ahead and jump up and down!) They shed only moderately compared to other cat breeds and the shedding that does occur is considered mild. In fact, their shedding is considered so mild that they are actually considered some of the more hypoallergenic breeds compared to most. However, it is important that I call out that everyone has different sensitivities to cat breeds, so some individuals with cat allergies may not be bothered at all by Burmese cats, while others may still have some issues. It all boiled down to the person and the cat itself.
Since they don’t require much grooming their maintenance is low and basic when it comes to cat care. They require weekly brushing to keep their coats silky. Some people have differing recommendations on brushes, and I may do a brush recommendation section later but honestly for me, if the cats like the brush and the brush helps keep their fur from matting or causing excessive shedding, then I consider it a good brush. Indoor cats also require weekly nail trimmings to help prevent them from tearing up the furniture or use ‘other’ methods that they choose the shave their nails now themselves. Something else that is important but not always talked about is doing both teeth and ear cleanings as needed. This is not something you need to have a routine for but it helps keeps your cat healthy and prevents future issues as your kitten ages. That, along with regular vet visits are some crucial things for your cat’s health.
The average cat weighs between 8 and 13 pounds when they are fully mature (at about a year to a year and a half). Males are known to be larger and heavier than females so this can vary slightly. It is also important to call out that chubby cats are adorable and are usually not a cause of concern but it is important that you do not let your ‘chubby’ cat become obese at it will affect his or her quality of life, regardless of how ‘cute’ you think it is.
A healthy Burmese cat usually lives to between 16 and 18 years on average, those on interesting fact to call out is that the oldest Burmese cat ever lived to be 27 years old! That’s amazing! Nearly 10 years old than expected for that breed. (Don’t worry I’m sure your cat breed will live to be that old as well…I’m planning on all my animals breaking records too out of complete selfishness to them. But that is another tale another time).
The Grooming Factor
In terms of health terms that come with cat breeds, each one has similarities and differences. All cats run a risk of illnesses like cancer or organ failure, but there are usually some health concerns that are more breed specific. There are two illnesses that I have found that occur more commonly in Burmese breeds and those are a tendency for diabetes, and hypokalemia.
Luckily, most of these illnesses are not fatal and can be treated with medicine and treatments prescribed by a licensed vet. In terms of diabetes, most of the time the cats simply require insulin shots once or twice a day to keep them healthy and happy. Diabetes does usually come with cataracts, or blindness, which again the cat is able to live a full and happy life with. I, myself, had a dog that was diagnosed with diabetes and he was able to live a very long life with his insulin shots. Even when he became blind, his quality of life really did not seem to change at all. So diabetes is more an illness to be aware of for this breed more than a large concern.
The second illness that is commonly found in Burmese breeds is hypokalemia. Now, what is that? That is simply low potassium. (And no, they cannot simply eat a banana). This again can be regulated by medicine and seen very commonly in sick cats. As long as this illness is caught it can be treated with potassium supplements, and ‘in severe cases, potassium may be given intravenously’.It is important to call out that only a licensed veterinarian should be giving your cat any amounts of potassium because the incorrect amounts could cause heart failures or lead to more severe issues with potassium deficiencies, which could lead to kidney failure later on.
Again, hypokalemia is mostly a situation where, if you notice your cat is not acting right, you take them to the vet and he/she is able to access the situation, get your cat on the proper medicine, and your cat goes back to being happy and healthy. For more information on this, such as symptoms and more in-depth information as to the cause and treatment, check out Wag Walking.
Talking about health concerns is always my least favorite section to do because no one wants to know about how sick their pet could get, or even fathom the thought of them getting sick. There are also some people who are hypochondriacs who will now be on the lookout for ANY of the symptoms found above and believe their cat is extremely ill.
So, take all of this information at face value. If your cat is acting happy and healthy, then normal vet visits should be all that is required of you. If you notice your cat is acting differently, it is always a safe bet to consult with your vet, but like human children, sometimes a sneeze is just a sneeze.
Did that last section put you to sleep? Or worse, cause you to minorly panic about your Burmese cat and/or make you reconsider even getting a Burmese. Well, I hope it was none of those but now we can move onto the fun section! Learning about their personalities. Before I go any further though, as always I want to call out that every single cat is unique and special in their own ways. These personality traits are just that that are common in Burmese Cats, but like everything in life, there is a chance your kitten could be completely different.
First, this breed is known to be a highly intelligent breed that enjoys ‘learning’, so interactive games will keep them alert and sharp. There are many people who have Burmese cats who say that this breeds is able to, and enjoys, the game of fetch as it provides some mental stimulation for them. Burmese breeds are known for being very affectionate, loyal, and playful. Due to their playful behavior, they usually get along well with other cats, dogs, and adore children. Burmese cats are not a one-cat home for most cases, they enjoy interacting with others, even others outside of their species.
Burmese cats make great additions to families that already have cats or dogs and they are known to be very tolerant of children so families with infants and toddlers should have no concerns about a Burmese cat loving every member of their family. Their affectionate and ‘outgoing’ personality also makes the friendly to strangers and less fearful of people than a lot of cat breeds. (As an owner of a cat who is terrified of strangers, I am so jealous of this fact right now).
Burmese cats love people! They also adore ‘their’ people! In a lot of instances, this cat breed is almost considered dog-like their trusting and loyalty that comes to their owners. A Burmese will usually attach itself to its owner and will follow them everywhere (so personal space is a thing of the past for you). They are also a ‘vocally confident breed’ which means they can be extremely noisy when they want your attention.
If you are thinking about getting a Burmese cat, you need to be aware that this cat is going to want to spend time with you. They may not be a proper fit for someone who is gone most of the time or is not looking to spending a lot of extra time with their cat. It is important to call out though, even if you are gone during the day, that does not mean that you need to rule out Burmese cats altogether. Oftentimes, having a friend (an additional cat or dog) will help them not get lonely or bored while you are gone. If you are looking for a cat to cuddle up with at the end of a hard workday, the Burmese Cat is the perfect lap cat for you.
Burmese Cats have a great history and have been with humans for a long period of time. They make great family pets, require minimal grooming efforts, and are extremely intelligent, loyal creatures. This breed makes a great addition to any home that already has multiple members, whether that be a cat, dog, or human.
Their outgoing and energetic personality makes them a little bit of a handful for someone who is looking for a more hands-off pet, but an excellent cuddling partner for those who are searching for that. Like any cat breed, the Burmese have its positives and negatives, and as I stated before, each cat is different. It’s important to know that all cat breeds require love, care, and time to learn what works best for your unique pet.