The Birman Cat
Known as the Sacred Cat of Burma, the Birman is a rare and beautiful animal. The ideal Birman is large, long, and heavily built. It is color-pointed and has a single coat with medium-long hair of a silky texture, resistant to matting.
Pure white gloves are worn on all four feet and white gauntlets, or “laces” must extend 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up the hocks. However, faultlessly gloved cats are a rare exception, and the Birman is judged on all its parts, as well as the gloves.
The head is large and strong with a firm chin and a Roman nose. The ears are medium in length, as wide at the base as they are tall. Ideally, the eyes should be a deep sapphire blue, almost round, and set wide apart giving the Birman a sweet expression.
Birmans are affectionate and faithful cats. Moderate in temperament, they are extraordinarily social and soft-voiced. Because of its exceptionally sweet nature, the Birman is easy to handle and makes an ideal pet. The Birman is sociable, gentle, quiet, loving, and companionable. They love to be with people and are playful and desirous of attention. They are social with both people and other animals. The Birman is a hearty, healthy cat that does not reach full maturity until approximately 3 years of age.
Kittens are born completely white and although they begin to show point color anytime from two days to two weeks, it takes much longer for them to show their potential quality. Birmans come in a rainbow of colors, including seal, blue, lilac, chocolate, red, cream, and tortie. All these colors can be either the traditional solid pattern or the dramatic tabby pattern, formerly called lynx point.
The Birman is unconditional love in a fur coat and will bring pleasure and happiness to your home and family. It is said, "You will never be alone with a Birman in your home".
The Birman Legend
Many centuries ago, by a sparkling lake, in a valley surrounded by majestic mountains, the temple of Lao-Tsun was guarded by 100 yellow-eyed white cats with long silken hair. The temple housed a beautiful golden goddess with sapphire blue eyes who watched over the transmutation of souls.
The head monk, Mun-ha, whose beard had been braided with gold by the enlightened one, often knelt in meditation before the golden goddess, Tsun-Kyan-Kse. At his side was his faithful and beloved companion, a beautiful temple cat named Sinh. Sinh would always share in his master's meditation. As the monk meditated, Sinh would gaze steadily at the golden goddess's beautiful sapphire blue eyes.
One night as the moon rose, Mun-ha was in communion with the sacred goddess, Tsun-Kyan-Kse. He was deep in a transcendental state. So deep was his devotion, that he suffered no pain when the temple was attacked by marauders and Mun-ha was killed.
At the moment of his master's death, Sinh placed his paws upon the monk's flowing robes and faced the golden goddess. Instantly, an amazing transformation took place. The hairs of Sinh's white fur were as though misted with a golden glow that radiated from the beautiful golden goddess. Her deep sapphire blue eyes became Sinh's very own. His face, ears, legs, and tail became the velvety brown color of rich earth, but his four paws resting gently on his master, remained perfect white, a symbol of purity.
The next morning the temple radiated with the transformation of the remaining ninety-nine white cats which with Sinh reflected the golden hue of a hundred brilliant sunrises. Sinh did not move from his place He stayed on the spot of his master's death and gazed fervently into the sapphire eyes of the goddess. Exactly seven days later Sinh died carrying with him into Nirvana the soul of his beloved master, the monk Mun-ha.
This legendary breed once believed to be the sacred companions of priests in the temples of Burma, first appeared in France in 1919, where they were recognized as a separate breed by 1925.
By the end of World War 2, hardly any Birmans were alive, and it was necessary to re-establish the breed. This was done thanks to devoted breeders and by the 1960s; Birmans were again plentiful and exported around the world.
They found their way to the USA and in 1967 they were recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association.