If you want a cat which is not aggressive, loves to be with people, and is very placid, you may want to consider a Birman. Also, if you love the look of a long-haired cat, but do not want the constant grooming associated with breeds such as the Persian, a Birman would be a good choice.
Birmans are not what many people consider a "normal" cat, being too docile and people oriented for many. The biggest complaint is that they are underfoot too much!
General: The Birman is a longhaired, long (but heavy boned) cat which strikes a happy medium between the extremes of the cobby, heavy boned cats and long fine boned cats. No single attribute is to be emphasized over the overall impression of a well balanced aesthetically beautiful cat. The cat has a good disposition and is easy to handle.
Head: Skull strong, broad and rounded. Slight flat spot just in front of the ears, forehead slopes slightly back. Nose, itself is Roman in shape, medium length with nostrils set low. There is a definite stop between the eyes. Cheeks full, jaws heavy (allow for delicacy in females). There is a definite muzzle, which comes out from the rest of the head and which carries the Roman nose. Fur is shorter in appearance about the face, longer at extreme outer areas of cheeks.
Ears Medium in size, should be as tall as they are wide and they are as much on the side as the top of the head.
Eyes: They are blue in color, the deeper the better, almost round in shape and medium to large in size, in proportion to the head size, giving a pleasing expression.
Body: Long, but heavy boned. Males generally medium to large in size. Females generally small to medium in size.
Tail: Medium in length in pleasing proportion to the body. Fur long and flowing. Long light hair on back may spread over base of tail.
Legs and Paws: Legs medium in length and heavy (finer in females). Paws large, round and firm. Five toes in front, four toes in back. Paw pads - paws may be the same color as nose leather, mixed with pink or solid pink.
Coat: Abundant, medium to long, silken in texture. Ruff around neck (much fuller on males than females). Fur is of texture that does not mat with no undercoat (guard coat). Fur on belly may be slightly curly and very light in color (almost white).
Birmans are pointed cats. Like other pointed breeds such as the Himalayan and Siamese, Birman kittens are born all white and slowly develop color. The color continues to deepen for over a year.
The Birman coat has dark points and lighter body like any colorpoint cat, but also has white "gloves" on the front paws, white "laces" on the back legs and feet. The limits of the colors are shown at: Birman Markings
The four colors Accepted by CFA are "seal," "blue," "chocolate," and "lilac":
Birman Breeders often get questions about Birmans VS other breeds and while Birmans had to be outcrossed twice in their history they are not a "hybrid" breed! and have no acceptable outcrosses. (note: outcrosses have been used to bring in the new colors, See: new colors .)
Birmans are not a:
Balinese - Long hair Siamese, no white feet. The Balinese is dainty, long and svelte. The body is hard and muscular without indication of flabbiness or emaciation. Overall, the Balinese should have a long and tubular look, the shoulders and hips continuing the same sleek lines. The overall appearance should be that of a Siamese cat with a longer coat and plumed tail.
Burmese - Short hair The overall impression of the ideal Burmese would be a cat of medium size and rich, solid color with substantial bone structure, good muscular development and a surprising weight for its size. Has none of the traits of the Birman.
Himalayan - Colorpointed Persian, The Himalayan should resemble the Persian in type, confirmation, coat length and texture. The Pointed Himalayan has the eye color, coat color and pattern of the Siamese. No white feet.
Ragdoll - Hybrid breed, originating from a cross between a white Persian-type female and a seal point Birman male. Offspring were subsequently crossed with a sable Burmese. Ragdolls are found in three patterns: colorpoint, mitted, and bicolor, of which CFA registers only the bicolor. Unrecognized variants include Ragamuffins, Cherubims and Honeybears.
Siamese - Short hair point colored coat wedge shaped head, tubular bodies, no white feet. long and svelte. A distinct combination of fine bones and firm solid muscles giving a surprising sensation of solid weight without excessive built.
Snowshoe - Short hair cross between the American Shorthair and the Siamese. Pointed color short hair with white feet. The Snowshoe is a medium cat that combines the heftiness of its domestic short hair ancestors with the length of its oriental ancestors. The combination of the pointed pattern, the white spotting and the moderate body type sets the Snowshoe apart. Not accepted by the CFA.
Tonkinese - Short hair cross between a Burmese and the Siamese. The Tonkinese blends the best features of its ancestors into a medium-sized cat that is remarkably dense and muscular. Whether appearing in the coat pattern of its Burmese predecessor, with sparkling gold-green eyes, the pointed pattern of its Siamese ancestor, with glittering blue eyes, or the "mink" coat pattern
Birmans are extremely calm, docile cats. They tend to relax when held. They are very "people" oriented and love to be around others, which often finds them greeting guests and/or following their owners around in a fashion similar to a puppy. They are often quite an attraction in a show ring because of their docile dispositions and acceptance of the judge placing them on their backs, holding them like a baby, etc.
In general, Birmans are not extremely vocal, but they do voice their opinions concerning certain things (such as girls in heat). Birmans are generally placid cats, but they do love to play with all types of toys and like to be involved in whatever "action" is going on. This means they can and will find trouble, No loaf of bread or butter dish left out is safe in our homes.
The Birman have both A and B blood types within the breed this is not a problem unless you are breeding your cat. Birmans are sensitive to anesthetics. No specific medical conditions have been noted with this breed. However, as with all breeds, certain "lines" might have a tendency toward specific health problems. It's probably a good idea to talk to the breeder about whether his/her cats come from lines with any health risks.
Photography ©Korporate Kats, and Chanan