The Birman Cat Breed: What You Need to Know

The Birman cat was originally referred to as the Sacred cat of Burma. This ancient breed originated in Burma. These cats used to live in the temples and were said to be the companions of the Kittah Priests. 

These cats were taken to France in 1919 by two Englishmen, Major Gordon Russell, and Auguste Pavie. On the journey, the male cat died. But the pregnant female cat survived. She was named Sita.

With such a rich history, it is no wonder that the Birman cat is social. It interacts well with families, dogs, and other cats. 


Quick facts about the Birman

Weight: 6 to 12 pounds Height: 8 to 10 inches
Life span: 12 to 16 years
Intelligence: high Temperament: social | affectionate
Playfulness: medium Activity level: calm
Vocalness: quiet Coat length: long
Shedding amount: occasional
Good with: kids | seniors | dogs | other cats | families
Traits: The Birman cat is a breed of cat that has a very friendly personality. They are easy to groom and they enjoy human company. They are also friendly towards other pets and strangers. This makes them a good choice for people who are looking for their first cat.

They are playful and fun but do have an off switch. Often at night, owners will find them curled up on a lap or on a bed. 

They love their human’s bed, but it is essential to provide a bed just for them.

They have a sweet and affectionate way about them. They are known for being ridiculously precious. 

They are not loud cats. Mostly through the day, owners will find the Birman wandering around the house. 

Birman’s do well with other animals but are also happy to be the only pet. They are happy living in an apartment or house. Birman cats are laid back and perfect for families.

They are moderately active. And they are easy to train. 


These cats are happy with balls to play with and a cat tree. They enjoy a view and will often sit in a sunny window.  

This is a breed that enjoys taking a lot of naps.

Birman has a lush cream-color coat with contrasting points. Color is found on their lower legs, ears, face, and tail. Their color ranges from cream to blue cream.

All Birman are born with a white coat and develop color as they age.

They are known for their bright blue eyes.

They do not have an undercoat, so they are easy to groom. They need to be brushed once a week.

Recommended brushes to use are a de-matting comb (shed comb) with wide teeth.
A slicker brush with wide bristles to remove dirt and dander. And a flea comb (furminator) to remove any flyaway hairs).

It is advised to professionally groom Birman cats twice a year. They also need to go for sanitary shaves. This removes hair from genitals to eliminate the chance of infection.

Birman live between 13 to 15 years but have a few severe issues to look out for. 

They can suffer from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which affects the heart muscle.

They can also suffer from polycystic kidney disease (PKD), where numerous cysts grow in the kidneys. 

Other than that, they are typically healthy cats that need regular nail trimming and dental care.


Developed in France with foundation stock from Burma.


Dr. Adedapo Adisa:

An ancient cat breed, referred to by many as the sacred cat of Burma. The origin of the Birman cats has been basked by numerous myths, some believing to have come from a temple in Burma. Another account believes the cat must origin was established in France.

Birman cats are a quiet and docile breed with fanciful coats and a high sense of curiosity. Known for their relative healthiness, the Birman cats average about 12-16 years in lifespan.

Although the Birman cat breed does not have serious health issues to worry about, a few medical conditions the breeds are prone to include; Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). This condition is known to affect the heart. Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is another health issue associated with the Birman cats.

Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a common heart issue among pedigree cats; however, this is caused as a genetically inherited condition in the Birman cats. These health issues cause the walls of the heart’s left ventricle to thicken. 

This thickening eventually affects the way the blood is pumped out of the ventricles, leading to heart-related conditions such as congestive heart failure. In severe cases, blood clots form, occluding other blood vessels leading to paralysis in the limbs.

A few symptoms to watch out for in Birman cats prone to this health condition includes;

● Inability to tolerate stressful activities.

● Weakness and lethargy.

● Lameness or, in severe cases, paralysis.

● Cardiac murmurs 

● Fluid accumulation in the lungs.

Although this condition is known to be inherited, early diagnosis of the condition in the Birman cat showing symptoms is vital for their survival and to prevent the condition from progressing.

As such, Birman cats should be regularly screened for this condition, and if diagnosed, they should be stopped from taking part in breeding activities.

Another health faced by the Birman cats is at a high risk of is a condition affecting the kidneys, known as polycystic kidney disease. 

This is also a genetically inherited condition in the Birman cats, where multiple cysts (fluid-filled cavities) are formed in the kidney from birth. This later grows into larger cysts, which eventually alter the kidney functions and cause the organ to fail or lose its function.

A common sign of polycystic kidney diseases in Birman cats includes

● Excessive peeing in cats 

● cats drinking water more than normal

● Uraemic breathe (foul smell when the cats open their mouth.

● Vomition

● Ulcers around the mouth

If this condition isn’t properly managed, it can progress to form chronic kidney disease and untimely death in the Birman cats.

Diagnosing this condition is based on conducting multiple tests by a Veterinarian and also taking an adequate history of the cat with emphasis on the bloodlines.

Because polycystic kidney disease is caused by an autosomal dominant gene, meaning even if a single parent has the defective gene( PKD gene), such parents can still pass this health condition to the kittens.

It is highly important to regularly screen Birman cats for the PKD gene, and if found to be a carrier, such cats should be removed from breeding programs.

20 thoughts on “The Birman Cat Breed: What You Need to Know”

  1. At the beginning, I was still puzzled. Since I read your article, I have been very impressed. It has provided a lot of innovative ideas for my thesis related to Thank u. But I still have some doubts, can you help me? Thanks.


Leave a Comment