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Frequently Asked Questions
Why is this cat called a Birman and
not a Burman?
The name Birman originates in France where the cat is known as "Le Chat Sacred de Birmanie".
is the difference between a Birman and a Burmese?
The Birman is semi longhaired and displays the Himalayan coat pattern (pointed), and blue eyes. The paws are large and round but with distinctive pure white 'gloves' on the front paws and 'gauntlets' on the rear paws. The body is long and muscular but quite stocky with thickset, strongly boned legs which have a stiff rear-legged gait. The head is rectangular with wide cheek bones and wide set ears. On the other hand Burmese are a medium size breed with well muscled, medium length body.
Distinguishing features are wide cheek bones tapering to a short blunt wedge at the nose which has a slight break, ears set well apart and eyes of varying shades of yellow. The coat is short, close-lying and very glossy, of satin-like texture. As the Burmese is in fact a pointed breed, in all colours the underparts are slightly lighter than the back. Although the Birman is a longhair cat, they require far less grooming than a Persian cat. As the coat of the Birman is silky it is less inclined to mat. The coat of a longhaired cat must be thoroughly combed at least once a week, preferably every day. In the spring and autumn, when the cat grows a new coat, daily combing is necessary because the fine hair of the undercoat can mat at these times. Of course there will be differences between individual cats, but over all the Birman can be described as loving, affectionate, outgoing, faithful and loyal. Some people describe them as the dog of the cat family. A Birman will often follow its chosen human about the house or garden and be quite vocal if it feels it is missing something. However, they generally have soft sweet voices and are rarely noisy.
A wide variety of colours is available in New Zealand. Most common of course are seal and blue point Birmans', but increasingly the chocolate and lilac, tabby point, red, cream and torties points as well as silver tabby and smoke point Birmans' are being bred. A full list of the colours possible to breed in the Birman is available on the Birman Standard. However, some of the colours are still very rare and it would be almost impossible to find a seal tortie silver tabby Birman. New colours appearing in New Zealand include, cinnamon, caramel and apricot but once again these are not readily available. For a full description of the Birman Standard and many of the colours, visit Birman Standard on the New Zealand Cat Fancy Inc Web Site. A cat purchased or bred for showing must conform as closely as possible to the Birman Standard. A good breeder will be to tell whether a cat has show potential or not. However, it certainly cannot have any of the withholding or disqualifying faults.