Burmese Cat

The most popular groups of pedigree cat, the Burmese is internationally recognized and currently rates fourth on the registration list in Britain. Though neither as glamorous or distinctively marked as its Siamese relations, the Burmese has personality plus, and its people-orientated character has gained it a firm following within both the Cat Fancy and with pet owners.

Often described as the "dog cat", the Burmese will follow its owner with almost doglike devotion — but with a proportionate sense of feline humor. While Burmese adore company (this is a breed that gets along with anybody and any animal), they also have a serious “don't mess with me" attitude and need to be treated with the respect they deserve.

The type of Burmese varies quite radically between the U.S. and Britain. In the former they tend to be of a much cobbier overall type, with a distinctively rounded head, which is often described as an "apple head". These traits are far less apparent in Britain, where the standards require a cat with an elegantly balanced shape, and in general a more modified and less extreme appearance than its American counterpart. Terminology also varies between the two countries. The U.S. terms for the original colors — sable, champagne and platinum—were replaced in Britain by brown and chocolate; conversely, the colors developed in Britain (red, cream and tortie) are regarded as a different breed — the Malayan — in the U.S.

Although the Burmese cat is best known as a solid-coated cat, it is not strictly speaking a solid variety. Solid cats have kittens that are born the same color as the adult. Burmese kittens, however, are born a very pale color. At birth, it can be difficult to decide what color the kittens will become in adulthood and, in the early days of the blues, chocolates and lilacs, it was not unknown for a cat to be re-registered (some times twice or more) as a different color.

At the end of the day, however, it does not matter at all what name the cat is given — a Burmese cat will always be a Burmese.


It is well documented that the first "Burmese" was a little brown cat named Wong that was brought from the Far East (probably Burma) to the West Coast in 1930. It is open to debate as to whether she was a true Burmese or a hybrid — indeed, it is often said that she was what is now considered to be a Tonkinese. As there were no similarly colored cats available to mate her with, she was mated to a Siamese, and the resulting kittens were obviously hybrids. A generation later, mating one of her male kittens of similar color back to her meant the progeny then included kittens of similar appearance and color. These are what are considered as the first Burmese cats, and Dr. Thompson, the owner of Wong Mau, continued breeding cats from these original lines. Burmese arrived in Britain in 1948. Other colors developed: in the U.S. the Chocolate (Champagne) and Lilac (Platinum); in Britain the Blue arrived by natural mutation, and later the Red, Cream and Torties were created by a dedicated band of breeders in the UK.


The Burmese is a medium-sized breed, strong and muscled. The head is rounded, displaying, for perfection, a domed skull with wide-set, medium-sized ears. In profile the nose should display a distinct break. The golden-colored eyes are almond-shaped and expressive; overall, these cats have an expression that is often described as "wicked", but this could just as easily refer to their wicked sense of humor.

Origin: Burma

Grooming: 1/5

Activity: 5/5

GCCF Group: Burmese


This is a breed that loves its owner to death; it wants to be with you all the time and enjoys joining in with your activities.

Suitability as a pet

Although the Burmese cat is generally a gregarious breed that enjoys the company of humans, other cats and dogs, it does not like to be overcrowded — a Burmese cat needs its own space. With too many cats in a multicat household, a Burmese can become territorial, which can lead these usually sweet-natured, friendly and clean cats to display distinctly antisocial behavior.

Gallery of Burmese Cat