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Burmese Cat

Height: 10-12 inches
Weight: 8-12 pounds
Lifespan: 9-13 years
Colors: Sable, blue, fawn, red, cream chocolate, cinnamon, tortoiseshell
Suitable for: Families looking for playful cats
Temperament: Active, curious, adaptable

The Burmese cat is a breed of domestic cat that originated from Burma, hence the name. They likely come from the Thai-Burma border, but they were primarily developed in the United States and Britain.

Most cats today are descended from one female cat named Wong Mau. This female cat was brought to America from somewhere in Burma in 1930. The female was then fed with the Siamese, which was already a developed cat breed in America.

Some Burmese cats were taken to Britain, where they developed their line of Burmese cats. While the two strains are very different, most people do not consider them to be different breeds.

Darker colored Burmese are the most common. However, they come in a variety of different sizes today. Formal recognition of the variety of colors varies considerably depending on the organizing body.

No matter their type or color, Burmese are well-known for being playful and loveable cats. They can be quite vocal.

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Burmese Kittens – Before You Buy…

burmese kittens
Image Credit: Dyadya_Lyosha, Pixabay
Energy
Trainability
Health
Lifespan
Sociability

Burmese cats are best known for their playful and loveable attitude. They tend to stay kitten-like for a very long time, which many people find attractive. If you’re looking for a cat that will be playful and active, this is the breed for you.

They are not as trainable as other cats. Not because they are smart but because they tend to be very independent. They would much rather be running around than listening to you. They tend to ignore commands and such because of this.

To be honest, this breed is significantly inbred. They are all descended from the same cat, so they tend to be prone to various health problems. This makes them live shorter lives than most other species of cats.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Burmese Cats

1. Burmese cats are quite muscular.

These cats are not slim and slender like most breeds. They are quite stocky and are incredibly muscular. They are relatively compact and are usually much more massive than they look.

2. They are very vocal.

Out of all the cat breeds out there, Burmese cats are one of the most vocal. They are quite chatty and will let you know what they want.

3. There are two versions.

An American Burmese is much different from a British Burmese. Americans Burmese cats tend to be stockier, while European Burmese cats are decently sleek. Their faces also look different.

Closeup Burmese Cat Stands on Gray background
Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Burmese

Burmese cats are people-oriented cats and are usually quite friendly. They tend to maintain their playfulness and energy well into adulthood. When other cats would rather lay around in the sun, Burmese cats tend to be far more playful.

They do have many dog-like characteristics. They form small bonds with their owners and will follow them from room to room. They can also play games like fetch and similar dog-oriented games. They have a high dependence on their humans, and some can develop separation anxiety.

They are incredibly vocal, but they do have soft voices. They are not as independent as other breeds out there and do not like being alone for extended periods. They are very similar to many breeds of dogs in that regard.

These cats are decently smart. However, they are very independent. Because of this, they do not take to training very well. They are more likely to ignore you than listen to you.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

Yes, these cats can be quite good with families. They are quite playful and enjoy the company of pretty much everyone. They are very people-oriented. Because of this, they are well suited to families of all sizes.

If you have smaller children, these cats are perfect. Older children will enjoy their company and affection.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Burmese cats are not always friendly with other animals, including other cats. Many will get along fine with cats they were raised with, but they may not accept other cats and dogs.

In this situation, socialization is critical. If you introduce a kitten to lots of cats, they will be fine with cats when they get older. The same is valid for introducing them to dogs. For this reason, we highly recommend getting your cat out and about after they receive their kitten shots. This is a cat that benefits from outings, just like a dog would.

Burmese
Image Credit: Mikael Tigerström, Wikimedia Commons

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Things to Know When Owning a Burmese Cat

Food & Diet Requirements

Burmese cats do not have any specific dietary requirements. Generally, they can eat any high-quality cat food.

Some particular cats may develop heart problems that require them to be placed on a special diet. The Burmese are prone to a variety of health problems. However, this is going to be related to the specific cat.

Exercise 🐈

These cats are quite active and require a bit of exercise. They are often very playful so that you can wear them out quickly with a few well-loved toys. However, not all cats are as eager to exercise as others. As cats get older, they can begin to slow down.

In some cases, this is where obesity sets in. For this reason, you will need to ensure your cat is getting the proper exercise. Often, playtime is the easiest way to accomplish this. You can install things like cat trees and similar climbing structures to encourage more climbing, which is a simple way to help your cat burn more calories.

Burmese cats are a bit more active than most cats, so expect them to run around more than others. They are not a “lay around in the sun all day” type of cat.

Brown Burmese cat in the garden
Image Credit: jojosmb, Shutterstock

Training 🧶

These cats are quite smart and can learn to do things consider to be fun, like fetch. However, they are very independent and have a mind of their own, which means they are not incredibly trainable. They will not learn commands that they don’t want to learn and will not listen to you when they think they shouldn’t.

There are other cat breeds out there that are far more trainable, like a Ragdoll.

Grooming ✂️

These cats do not have many grooming requirements. They are not prone to mats, so they do not need much brushing. They do shed, though. You may want to brush them once a week to get rid of this excess fur.

They tend to shed more during certain times of the year than others. You may need to increase your brushing during these periods. Usually, it correlates with the seasonal change, but it is driven primarily by hormones. For this reason, cats that are fixed usually do not have much fluctuation.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Burmese cats are not as healthy as some other cat breeds. They come from a tiny gene pool and are prone to a few different diseases. The disorders they are prone to somewhat depends on if they are American or British.

Burmese cats in Europe are more prone to diabetes mellitus. However, American Burmese cats do not share this increased risk. Some people believe that flat-chest kitten syndrome is more common in Burmese cats, but the evidence for this is mixed. It may depend on the type of Burmese, and we just haven’t figured out exactly what type or bloodline is more prone yet.

Certain bloodlines in the UK suffer from the acute teething disorder. This occurs when a kitten’s new teeth come in and cause significant pain as they do so. The cat may tear at their face in an attempt to fix the problem, resulting in self-mutilation. However, pain intervention is beneficial.

Hypokalemia is also prominent in some British bloodlines. This is a genetic disorder that involves low serum potassium levels. The gene is recessive, so both parent cats must have the gene to pass it on to the kittens.

Genetic testing is available for many of these conditions. For this reason, we recommend purchasing a kitten from a qualified breeder that performs health testing on their cats. Ask for each parent’s health testing upfront before deciding to adopt.

Minor Conditions
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypokalemia
Serious Conditions
  • Acute teething disorder
  • Flat-chested kitten syndrome

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Male vs. Female

Generally, there is no great size difference between male and female Burmese cats. Both are also playful and affectionate. However, their personalities are often affected by spaying or neutering. Spayed female cats can be more dominant, territorial, and combative than their neutered male counterparts. On the other hand, “unfixed” male cats can be more independent, aloof, and territorial. Breeding female Burmese can have a more relaxed and nurturing personality, especially after giving birth.

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Final Thoughts

Burmese cats are active, playful cats that can make a great addition to most families. They are very people-oriented and have many dog-like qualities. Some even enjoy playing fetch. With that said, though, they are a bit stubborn, so don’t expect them to perform any tricks.

Because of their small gene pool, they are prone to a few health conditions. Many of these are not severe and are treatable with proper medical attention. The acute teething disorder is treatable with medication and then surgery, for instance.

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Featured Image: Ivanova N, Shutterstock