Birman is a semi-longhaired cat with color points. Among it's most
distinctive features are the white paws (called gloves) on all four
feet, and white on the rear legs coming to a near point up the back like
a gauntlet (called laces). The cats nose is a "Roman" shape
with the nostrils set low, and a flat on the forehead. The high
cheekbones set off large, almost round deep blue eyes. The Birman has a
strikingly beautiful well balanced appearance. Birmans are medium in
size with large leg boning. Only Birmans with perfect or near perfect
gloves and laces are shown.
Research indicates the
Birman came from Southeast Asia and introduced to Europe in 1916. In
1925, the Birman was recognized by the FFF of France. It is thought that
most "sacred cats of Burma" in the world today are descendents from the
small cat population of the French Birmans. The breed is considered
French, even though it is not indigenous to France.
The Birman was endangered when only one pair survived during World
War II. In order to keep the breed alive, other longhaired and
shorthaired breeds were bred to the Birman. The first Birmans to be
exported came to the United States in 1959 and to Great Britain in 1965.
The Birman was recognized in the United States by the Cat Fanciers'
Association in 1967 and is now known throughout most of the world.
Birmans are a delight to
care for. As their silky fur does not mat, little grooming is required.
They are outgoing cats, often following their masters around like a
puppy. They give the impression of quiet power and harmony through
rather pensive, sweet eyes. Birmans greatly appreciate companionship,
especially that of younger children, and more readily display happiness
than anger. The breed is robust and hearty, and easily adaptable to most
Legend of the Sacred Cat
In a temple built on the
side of Mount Lugh, there lived a very old priest. This priest had a
long golden beard, which the god Song-Ho was said to have braided. His
life was dedicated to the holy service of Tsun-Kyan-Kse, the goddess
with the sapphire blue eyes. This goddess supervised the transmigration
of souls, allowing some to live again in a holy animal. The priest's
favorite cat, Sinh, was always sitting near him. Sinh was a white cat
with yellow eyes. The cat's ears, nose, tail and extremities were dark
like the color of the earth.
One night a group of bad men came to rob the temple and murdered the
priest. Then the miracle came about: in a bound, Sinh jumped to the
throne and sat at the head of his dead master. As the cat sat, the
bristly white hair on his spine suddenly became a golden yellow and his
golden eyes became blue. The part of his paws touching the dead priest
The legend says that when a priest dies, his soul transmigrates into
the body of a cat, and upon the cat's death, the transition of the
priest's soul into heaven is accomplished.
The story sadly continues that for the next seven days, the loyal cat
refused all food and on the seventh day, he died, knowing that only with
his death could he take his master into heaven. After this, all the
temple cats had a golden mantle and their gold eyes turned blue. And to
this day, Birmans have a golden mantle, white feet and blue eyes.