An elongated Sacred Birman with big blue eyes

Introducing the Birman

Find out everything you need to know about the Birman: its characteristics, its behaviour, its training and how much one costs.

THE BIRMAN

The Birman, the ultimate gentle soul

A beautiful blue-eyed Sacred Birman

The Birman is a cat with a mysterious past. Also known as the Sacred Cat of Burma, it is often said to have royal origins. One thing is for sure, this breed was first developed in France. The Birman is a sweet-tempered, endearing and very affectionate cat. Very sociable and gentle, it is a great friend for children and families. Its unusual physique, undeniable elegance and sweet nature make it an extremely popular cat, loved by all. It is the ultimate feline friend!

BIRMAN FACT FILE

This section outlines the unique features of the Birman breed of cat.

Size

The Birman is a medium-sized cat. It is about 12 inches tall and weighs around 15 pounds.

Coat length

The Birman has medium-long hair. It is longer on the back, flank and around the neck. It has a very fine undercoat.

Allergies

The Birman is not a hypoallergenic breed. If you have allergies, another breed would be a better choice.

Coat colour

All colour combinations are permitted. Birman markings must be colourpoint with white "gloves" on each paw.

Living environment

The Birman can adapt easily to any living environment. Living in a flat is no problem for this breed.

Sociability

The Birman is a friendly and very sociable cat, both with humans and with other cats. It usually gets on well with children.

Health

The Birman is generally a very healthy breed of cat. Nevertheless, the breed does have some predispositions.

Training

The Birman is a gentle, highly intelligent cat that will do anything to please its owner!

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PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The Birman, a breath-taking beauty

The Birman is a cat with a distinctive and unique appearance. Its blue eyes and silky coat give it a regal elegance.

Size and weight of the Birman

Portrait of a cream-colored Birman

The Birman is a medium-sized breed with a balanced build. Male and female Birman cats are both around 12 inches tall.

Similarly, there’s no real weight difference between the sexes. Regardless of gender, a Birman cat weighs between 9 pounds and 15 pounds.

The Birman has a long growth phase. Puberty starts at around 6 months of age and it reaches its adult height and weight around its second birthday.

The Birman coat

A Birman looking up

Coat length

The Birman has a medium-length coat that's oh so silky! The coat is an irregular length and is longest on the back, flank, tail and around the neck giving the cat a little mane. Its undercoat is very fine and light.

Like the Maine Coon, the Birman is not a hypoallergenic cat, so if you're allergic we suggest you look for another breed.

A white Sacred Birman lying on a table

Coat colour

Like the Siamese, the Birman must have a colourpoint coat. This coat is defined by a dominant colour on most of the body and a darker colour on the tips: the mask, the ears, the bottom of the legs and the tail. Its distinguishing feature is that it has to have white "gloves" on its paws.

The dominant colour has to be white or another very light shade. Anything goes for the tips: Seal point, Blue point, Chocolate point, Cinnamon point, Cream point, Red point or Lilac point.

Lastly, the only acceptable markings for the Birman are:

Tortie: red patches
Tabby: striped
Silver: silvery
Smoke: smoky

A white Sacred Birman kitten

Coat care

With a medium-length coat and very fine undercoat, the Birman is a surprisingly low maintenance cat. It just needs brushing once or twice a week to untangle any knots and to keep its coat silky and soft.

When moulting in spring and autumn, you should brush more frequently to remove dead hairs and keep your Birman comfortable. You may need to brush them as often as every day.

Other characteristics of the Birman

A reclining Sacred Birman

Other physical characteristics

The Birman is an elegant looking cat. They are a well-balanced breed with a rounded body. They have a strong, muscular build. Their wedge shaped head features a rounded forehead, full cheeks and a broad muzzle. The Birman has beautiful blue eyes, the deeper blue the better! Its small ears are wide at the base and rounded at the tip. It has medium length legs and a full tail in good proportion to the body.

A Birman standing on a sofa

Grooming

There's nothing unusual about grooming your Birman cat! Apart from weekly brushing, you can also give them a bath if you think they need one. If they are an indoor cat, one bath a year is plenty. If they go outside and enjoy playing in the garden, 2 to 3 baths a year would be better.

TEMPERAMENT & BEHAVIOUR

What is the temperament of the Birman?

The Birman is full of surprises! In keeping with its cuddly look, this is a very affectionate, gentle and sociable cat.

Birman sociability

A Birman lying on his back

A real cuddle bug

The Birman is love on legs! This very affectionate cat is bursting at the seams with love! They adore cuddles and any kind of love and affection. The Birman takes a very dim view of being ignored. They need to feel loved and appreciated to be happy. With a tendency to be clingy, they often follow their owners everywhere they go. You have to make it clear from an early age that you need your personal space!

Everybody's friend

The Birman is an incredibly friendly cat. This outgoing breed gets on well with humans, cats and even dogs. It's the perfect choice if you have children. These laid-back cats are extremely hard to annoy. If they do run out of patience, they prefer escape to confrontation. They don’t like to sulk though and will soon be back for more cuddles.

Living environment of the Birman

Profile of a Birman on a ladder

A chameleon cat

The Birman is a real chameleon! They will happily adapt to any environment as long as they're with their family. These cats like their indoor comforts, but they won’t say no to an outdoor adventure either! The Birman is an inquisitive breed of cat that enjoys hunting and exploring new places and smells. It's important that they have their own space where they can exercise, rest and indulge in some quiet R&R whenever they want.

If your cat enjoys going outdoors and you're worried about them getting lost, you can fit them with a little cat tracker which will allow you to track their every move. This handy device will keep your Birman safe wherever their adventures take them!

Training the Birman

A Main Coon raising its paw

The Birman is a very gentle cat, highly attentive and responsive to training. Often described as canine cats, they are intelligent and fast learners. It’s important to start training them from early kittenhood Birman cats respond well to play-based training with lots of rewards!

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HEALTH & NUTRITION

How to take care of the Birman

The Birman is generally very healthy. However, it is susceptible to a few particular conditions.

Health of the Birman

A Sacred Birman lying on a white background

Common conditions

The Birman is a very healthy breed of cat. It does have some predispositions, though. The Birman may develop polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder where cysts form in the kidneys. They are also susceptible to hypomyelination, a fatal genetic condition specific to the Birman. It often manifests in kittens as young as 3 weeks of age, with acute tremors and seizures.

Lastly, there are also the common feline diseases like hypertrophic heart disease, which causes a thickening of the heart wall.

Portrait of a young Birman

Routine care

Your Birman needs daily care to stay in good condition. Their eyes are ears are quite sensitive and need regular cleaning. Plus, their claws are always growing and need to be clipped regularly.

Last but not least, their vaccinations should be kept up to date to protect against common diseases, as should their worming and flea treatments.

Birman cats have a life expectancy of between 14 and 17 years.

Feeding the Birman

A Birman eating croquettes

A balanced diet

Birman cats have different nutritional needs depending on their age and activity level.

Like all cats, the Birman needs a balanced diet that includes high quality protein, fats and carbohydrates. If they are very active, their diet can be supplemented with animal protein like red meat or chicken.

Weight management

The Birman is a breed of cat that is prone to being overweight. If your cat’s weight creeps up too high, this can lead to serious health problems. Wet food should only be fed occasionally as it may contain preservatives and additives. You should also avoid pre-prepared meals as they often contain a lot of sauce and can be rich in bad fats.

BREEDING OR ADOPTION & COST

What does a Birman cost?

The Birman is an extremely popular breed that people are eager to add to their families! Here are some tips for a problem-free purchase.

How to choose your Birman

A beautiful reclining Birman

Finding the right breeder

The Birman is quite easy to find in the UK as it's such a popular family pet. We strongly advise you to find a professional cattery or breeder. To check you're dealing with professionals, it’s a good idea to pay them a visit before agreeing to buy your Birman. You’ll see how the cats are living, their health and their behaviour.

Remember to make sure everything checks out before you take your new friend home! Kittens should be at least 12 weeks old and they need to be wormed, vaccinated and chipped. The breeder also needs to provide you with their paperwork as well as the parents' health records.

Lastly don’t forget that every Birman cat should be registered with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), Felis Britannica (FB) or The International Cat Association (TICA)..

A Birman kitten sitting on a carpet

The price of a Birman

The Birman is a purebred cat. This means that prices can range from

to

depending on the sex, bloodline, age or reputation of the breeder. Females are often more expensive.

On top of the purchase price, you need to pay for their upkeep. If you're looking at buying a Birman, you need to factor in the cost of providing your cat with everything it needs. This comes to between

and

per year.

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