The Birman is a tender and docile cat with fascinatingly deep sapphire blue eyes and soft silky coat of unique colourings. Although its true ancestry is impossible to recover, most of historians agreed about its oriental origin. Nowadays the breed is revered by feline experts for its captivating appearance and gentle nature.
Photo: © cattery Adoration (sacred-birman.ru)
There is an entertaining legend about the initial appearance of the Birman. According to this myth, at the beginning it was called the Sacred Cat of Burma since its specimens dwelled in the temples of this city. One of these cats became famous for its unshakable loyalty and affection to the local priest so a blue-eyed goddess decided to single it out among other felines and endowed it with golden coat and blue eyes. Paws of this cat remained spotlessly white as a sign of its purity. Ever since, cats in this temple have worn symbols of divine goodwill and it was believed that all churchmen who passed away took on a new life in the cats’ bodies.
Cat fanciers formed several hypothesises as far as the ancestry of the Birman is concerned. It’s fairly possible that it’s appeared as the result of crossing the Siamese with the Angora or the Persian somewhere in Southeast Asia.
Other theory suggests that the breed was developed by two European travellers in 20s of XX century. In 1919 the Frenchman called Auguste Pavie, and the Major Gordon Russell were presented with a couple of temple cats in consideration of helping the priests. The animals were transported by ship to France but the male didn’t survive hardships of sea traveling. Fortunately by that time it had already had its way with the feline and her kittens served as a stock foundation of the Birman in Europe. It was formally acknowledged in France in 1925 as the Sacre de Birmanie from which was derived the modern name of the breed.
The Birman found its way to the United States in 1959 and deserved recognition of the Cat Fancier Association in 1967. It is also recognised by the Cat Fanciers Federation, the International Cat Association, the American Cat Fanciers Association and the Canadian Cat Association.
The Birman is notable for its obedient and peaceable disposition and exceptional fondness of people. That’s why this cat will make a perfect pet, which will easily adapt for any lifestyle. It doesn’t tend to be as bossy as the Siamese and will humbly ask for your attention by quiet and gentle meows. The breed member likes being useful so it will be actively helping you while you are making your bed, working on the computer or doing your laundry.
Be mindful that the Birman requires nearly 3 years to fully mature so you should make allowances for its occasional mischiefs or kitten-like behaviour. The breed is definitely endowed with typical feline curiosity so it should be provided with interactive toys, which will offer the cat the source of amusement while you are out working. Nonetheless the Birman likes more than to relax in your laps for countless hours. On the whole this breed is moderately active indoors so if it gets enough affection and caress from its master it will be well-behaved in his absence.
The Birman is a good-natured and companionable breed, which can live with few issues with other pets, including a non-aggressive dog. It’s quite ok with children but it will avoid too boisterous games. Make sure that a child treats this cat with a due respect and carefulness.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· congenital hypotrichosis;
· corneal dermoid;
· spongiform degeneration;
· shaking and trembling in kittens;
· unusually high concentrations of urea and/or creatinine in the blood.
The Birman should receive relatively standard maintenance. Its silky single coat isn’t apt to matting so weekly combing with a stainless steel comb will be enough to distribute natural oils and get rid of loose hair. This cat is a seasonal shedder and will replace most of its coat in the spring. A warm bath and more thorough brushing will greatly reduce shedding period and amount of dead cat hair found on your carpets, furniture and clothing.
The rest includes such grooming routines as nail trimming and ears cleaning, which should be performed every couple of weeks. Daily teeth brushing will minimize the possibility of any problems in this area but weekly dental hygiene is better than nothing. The litter box of the Birman should be frequently and thoroughly cleaned as this cat doesn’t tolerate negligence of bathroom hygiene.