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Burmese vs. Siamese Cat: What’s the Difference? (With Pictures)

If you are looking for a feline companion with lots of personality, you can hardly go wrong with either Burmese or Siamese cats. In addition to being personable, they are both extremely intelligent, animated, and affectionate.

This makes both breeds ideal candidates for people looking for a loyal companion, including self-proclaimed “dog people.” In fact, unlike most felines, Burmese and Siamese cats have a seemingly unending thirst for attention.

So, do their differences come down to looks, or do they differ in other ways? The following article will take a closer look at each breed to help you make an informed decision.

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Visual Differences

burmese-vs-siamesecomparison

At a Glance

Burmese Cat
  • Average Height: 9–13 inches
  • Average Weight: 8–15 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10-17 years
  • Grooming Needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Yes
  • Trainability: Intelligent
Siamese Cat
  • Average Height: 8–10 inches
  • Average Weight: 6–14 pounds
  • Lifespan: 15–20 years
  • Grooming Needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Yes
  • Trainability: Intelligent

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Burmese Cat Overview

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

With their expressive eyes, high intelligence, and outgoing personalities, Burmese cats are some of the most unorthodox felines out there. When you couple their high degree of sociability and intelligence, you have yourself a cat with dog-like tendencies. These cats are tailor-made for people who consider themselves dog lovers.

Appearance 🐈

There are two versions of the Burmese cat, the American and the European. While they both originate from the same stock, they have developed noticeable differences over time. Nonetheless, most cat registries still consider them the same breed since they are not different genetically.

The European Burmese features a more slender frame, has a wedge-shaped head, almond-like eyes, and small, pointed ears. The American Burmese, on the other hand, is stockier, has a wider head, rounder, more expressive eyes, and slightly wider ears.

Both versions, however, sport short, silky coats with a single, solid color in most cases. Initially, all Burmese cats sported a sable coat. In the course of the 20th century, however, colors such as blue, lilac, and fawn started to become more common.

Today, British cat registries recognize colors such as solid brown, lilac, chocolate, cream, and red, in addition to the tortoiseshell pattern on a base of chocolate, brown, lilac, and blue. The Cat Fanciers’ Association, on the other hand, has been more conservative, only recognizing Burmese cats that sport a solid sable, champagne (chocolate), platinum (lilac), or blue coat.

Temperament

Burmese cats are some of the most social felines around. They are also incredibly playful, loving, and loyal. It is no wonder, therefore, they are often described as “dog-like.” These felines develop such deep attachments to their humans that it borders on obsession. As a result, these cats are not well-suited for solitary living like most other felines. In fact, Burmese cats develop negative stress-coping behaviors such as aggression when they feel isolated.

The upside is that they are extremely family-friendly animals, reveling in the company of humans, other cats, and they can even learn to tolerate the dog.

Their high intelligence allows them to pick up skills and training at an incredibly fast rate, which comes in handy when you are looking to teach them new games. Burmese cats are renowned for playing popular dog games such as fetch, hide and seek, and tag.

What’s more, if you are a fan of cat shows, the Burmese cat is perfect for you, as these felines absolutely love being the center of attention.

There is a caveat; you do not get to choose when to give them attention—they do, and they will certainly let that be known through their constant talking. Burmese cats are among the most talkative cat breeds out there, although not as much as their Siamese relatives.

Diet

Burmese cats require plenty of protein and nutrients to sustain their active lifestyles. High-quality dry food is an excellent option since it stays fresher for longer, in addition to being good for their oral health. However, make sure to supplement their diet with wet food occasionally. Additionally, to prevent the possibility of your cat becoming a picky eater, make sure that you switch cat food brands regularly so that they do not become accustomed to a particular brand. Lastly, have the vet check the cat out so they can help you figure the ideal nutrition requirements for your pet.

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

Grooming ✂️

As mentioned, Burmese cats sport short coats, which makes grooming a breeze since there is little to no shedding. As a result, you will rarely have to brush or bathe them, as the cat will clean themselves without a lot of hassle.

Health 🏥

This is a fairly healthy cat breed. However, European Burmese cats have been found to have a higher risk for diabetes mellitus than their American counterparts. However, both cats are predisposed to hypokalemia, which is a disorder characterized by low potassium levels in the blood. Fortunately, both conditions are easy to keep at bay with proper dietary practices.

Suitable For 👪

Burmese cats are best suited for active households due to their social nature. They also make excellent pets for people who are at home all the time. Do not get one if you know that they will be alone for extended periods. Doing so will only increase bad behavior. If you must, then consider getting a pair.

Additionally, if you do not like noisemakers, this cat is also not for you, as it is quite talkative. For the average household, however, Burmese cats should make excellent pets.

Pros
  • Attentive and loyal
  • Long lifespan
  • Gets along with others
  • Active
  • Highly trainable
Cons
  • Susceptible to hypokalemia
  • Can be too demanding of attention
  • Gets depressed when left alone for extended periods

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Siamese Cat Overview

Siamese staring
Image Credit: webandi, Pixabay

If you are looking for a charismatic, fun-loving, and affectionate feline companion, the Siamese cat is for you. However, this breed can be incredibly possessive and even territorial. Just like their Burmese cousins, Siamese cats are also attention hogs. Here is everything you need to know about Siamese cats:

Appearance 🐈

Siamese cats have lean, muscular, lengthy frames. Their limbs, as well as their tails, are long and thin and sport a coat featuring a contrasting color point pattern. Color point means that there is a disparity in the intensity of coloration between the body and the extremities, with the latter being much darker. All Siamese cats have blue eyes, which gives them a striking appearance.

Their coats are short and light, meaning that they do not shed much. Thanks to that, Siamese cats are not predisposed to many allergies.

These felines come in four main color types: chocolate point (an ivory body and dark brown points), seal point (a cream or fawn body and dark seal points), lilac point (a light cream body and pink-gray points), and blue point (a light silver body and dark gray-blue points).

Temperament 🧶

The typical Siamese is a highly social, fun-loving, and affectionate cat. It also happens to be one of the most intelligent felines in the world. Their social nature means that they do best when receiving lots of attention. If you thought Burmese cats are noisy, Siamese cats take it a few notches higher. They are arguably the noisiest of all housecats. They are especially talkative with those they love and trust.

Like all felines, they also love their space, which to Siamese cats means hanging out a couple of feet away from you.

These cats, however, are not very generous when it comes to sharing the object of their affection, which is you. This can make them aggressive towards other pets seeking your attention. This is why you should train them to get along with others from an early age.

Siamese cats are people-oriented pets, which means that you cannot fulfill their attention needs by getting them another pet friend. Therefore, if your lifestyle does not allow you to spend extended periods with your furry companion, a Siamese cat might not be a good fit for you. Additionally, you will have to keep finding new games, tricks, and toys to satiate their intelligent minds; otherwise, they will quickly wear you down.

Diet

Provide your Siamese cat with both dry and wet cat foods. Dry food is good for healthy teeth and gums, while wet food provides them with the fluids they need, as cats tend to go for long periods without drinking water. Talk to your vet so that they can help you curate a proper diet plan for your kitty.

Siamese close up
Image Credit: webandi, Pixabay

Grooming ✂️

Thanks to their short coats, Siamese cats do not require much grooming. In fact, weekly brushing is all they need from you, as they will take care of the rest. Pay attention to their claws, trimming them at least every fortnight. Make sure that you provide them with a scratching post as well to save your woodwork and upholstery.

Brush their teeth regularly, too, while scheduling dental cleanings at the vet for optimal dental health.

Health 🏥

While Siamese cats have one of the longest lifespans of any cat, often living for up to 20 years, nearly all of them have trouble with their vision. Their vision is not as acute as that of other cats, making them vulnerable to accidents, especially after dark.

Suitable for 👪

Siamese cats are best-suited for individuals who have the capacity to fulfill their attention needs. Left alone, they become highly susceptible to depression.  Also, they tend to build strong bonds with a particular human.

As such, we recommend Siamese cats to people who work or stay at home. However, if you do not like noisy pets, these cats are not for you.

Pros
  • Bonds strongly with its humans
  • Exotic, elegant look
  • Gets along with other pets and family
  • Energetic
  • Extremely intelligent
Cons
  • Predisposed to eye problems
  • Needs constant attention and enrichment
  • Depressed if left alone
  • Highly vocal

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Which Breed is Right for You?

As you have seen, there are not many differences between Burmese and Siamese cats. They are essentially the same cat, only that the Siamese amplifies the traits that they share. As a result, your choice might come down to looks, and you can not go wrong with either.

Nonetheless, they both require someone who is in a position to meet their attention needs, as these are people-oriented pets.

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Featured Image Credit: Pixabay / CNuisin, Shutterstock