The Birman is a domestic cat breed. Also called the "Sacred Cat of Burma" it is not to be confused with the Burmese, which is a separate and dissimilar breed. The Birman has a pale coloured body and darker points with deep blue eyes. Even though the cat is pointed, the color of the paws are white. The Birman breed is recognized by the Cat Fanciers' Association Canadian Cat Association (CCA).


While there is no clear record of the origin of Birmans, one origin story is that the Birman cat originated in Burma where they were kept by temple priests. There are many colorful stories of how the cats first came to France, including pairs of cats being a reward for helping defend a temple, or being smuggled out of Birma by a Vanderbilt.
The breed was officially recognized in France in 1925.Birmans were almost wiped out as a breed during World War II. Only two cats were alive in Europe at the end of the war, a pair named Orloff and Xenia de Kaabaa, both belonging to Baudoin-Crevoisier. The foundation of the breed in postwar France were offspring of this pair. Manou, Lon saito, Djaipour, Sita 1 and Sita 2, and they had to be heavily outcrossed with long-hair breeds to rebuild the birman breed. By the early 1950’s, pure birman litters were once again being produced. The restored breed was recognised in Britain in 1965 and by the CFA in 1966.
The Birman first arrived in Australia in 1967. "Grand Champion Stacpoly Kharma" and "Praha Shigatse" were imported from UK by Mrs J Starky of Sydney.


Birmans have semi-long, silky hair, a semi-cobby body and relatively small ears compared to other cat races. In order to comply with breed standards, the Birman's body should be of an eggshell colour or golden, depending on the intensity of the markings colour. The markings can be pure seal, chocolate, blue, red, lilac or cream. Tabby variations are also allowed. Tortie cats can be seal, chocolate, blue or lilac. Birmans have sapphire coloured eyes.
The Birman's coat is unusual due to the white 'gloves' on each paw. They are one of the few cat breeds in the colourpoint coat that has fingers and toes in pure white colour. The genetics of this feature may not be not fully clear, though a gene conferring the white 'gloves' has been identified.
Points of Birman are: Seal-point, Blue-point, Chocolate-point, Lilac-point, Seal Tortie-point, Cream-point, Blue Cream point, Chocolate Tortie point, Lilac Tortie point. The same colours in Tabby version (Lynx): Seal Tabby point, Blue Tabby point, Chocolate Tabby point, Lilac Tabby point, Red Tabby, Cream Tabby point, Tortie Tabby point, Lynx or Red Factor colors on the legs, tail and face. Birmans differ from conventional colour-point cats by their white paws called gloves. The coat is medium-length, not as long and thick as a Persian's, and does not mat. A notable feature is their blue eyes which remain blue throughout their life.
The only allowed white areas are gloves. A spot of white in another area is a fault in a Birman cat. Gloves are symmetrical in all four feet. The white must stop at the articulation or at the transition of toes to metacarpals; and all fingers must be white too. The posterior gloves on the back paws finish with an inverted V extended 1/2" to 3/4".


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