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Burmese Cat Facts

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brown Burmese kitten lying on a cream couch

Burmese cats have made quite the name for themselves. Between their dog-like personality and fascinating history, most people can't help but be smitten with these delightful cats.


As you may have guessed, Burmese cats received their name from their place of origin—Burma (Myanmar). Known as "copper cats" in their native region (for their intense coat color), these felines have been roaming around Southeast Asia for centuries. There is even mention of these cats in the ancient text "The Cat-Book Poems." This group of manuscripts originated in the Ayutthaya period (1350-1767).

In 1930, a female Burmese cat named Wong Mau was transported from Burma (present-day Myanmar) to the United States. Some historians believe that a sailor gave Wong Mau to Dr. Joseph Thompson, who brought the feline back himself, while other records state that the sailor took this feline back to the States and then gave her to Dr. Thompson.

In love with her beautiful appearance and the affectionate and charming Burmese cat personality, Thompson wanted more of a similar cat, so he bred Wong Mau with a Siamese cat. Wong Mau continued to have many other litters of kittens, and she is now considered the start of the Burmese cat breed.

The physical appearance of this breed has altered over the years, and there are now two types: the American Burmese and the European Burmese. These felines can be found worldwide, and they remain a relatively common breed to this day.

Legend has it that Burmese descended from a cat breed that was once worshipped in Burmese temples, as people believed that these cats were embodiments of gods.


If you are considering bringing a Burmese into your home, it's first important to consider that many people describe these cats as "dog-like." This is an active and social breed that can even learn how to play fetch. Although they are most rambunctious when they are kittens, most Burmese do not lose their spunk and remain active and playful until old age.

Perhaps another essential item to consider about this breed is that they feed off of attention. Chances are, when you're busy doing tasks around the house, your Burmese will be right beside you, helping every step of the way. When you're not busy, your Burmese will be ready for some games or a run around the house. Even when you sit down to relax, your feline friend will still find ways to gain attention, mainly by curling up on your lap or lounging next to you.

It is worth noting that there are slight variants in the temperaments between males and females of this breed. Males, on average, tend to be more docile and quieter. Females, on the other hand, can be more curious and dependent on their pet parents.

That said, all Burmese tend to be vocal, although not quite so much as their cousin, the Siamese. Often described as sounding raspy, these felines even have a unique sound when they speak. Another item to mention that is nearly true for all Burmese is that they love their food.

Before adopting a Burmese, most pet parents have some questions about the breed that they first want to be answered. Common questions include:

Are Burmese Cats Hypoallergenic?

Unfortunate news for cat-allergy sufferers, Burmese cats are not hypoallergenic. However, these cats do not shed excessively, like some breeds, so cat hair can be kept to a minimum.

How Big Do Burmese Cats Get?

These felines are medium size, typically weighing 8-12 pounds. Although sleek, Burmese are still muscular and have a strong, hardy build. If you pick one up, you'll surely be surprised at just how much they weigh. Due to their deceiving looks, these cats are often described as "bricks wrapped in silk."

What Are Common Burmese Cat Colors?

Among this breed, the most common colors include sable, champagne, platinum, and blue. For the European Burmese, colors can consist of chocolate, solid brown, blue, lilac, red, and cream. They can also have a tortoiseshell pattern with the base color of chocolate, brown, blue, or lilac. Their eyes can be any shade of yellow or gold.

How Long Do Burmese Cats Live?

The average Burmese cat lifespan can be anywhere from 9-13 years, but it is not unusual for these cats to live even to 16 years of age. Although this is the typical lifespan for Burmese, numerous factors can affect their life expectancy.

Burmese cats are overall friendly, sociable, and energetic felines. They can get along great with children of all ages, but interactions with young kids should be supervised. These cats can also get along well with cat-friendly dogs and other cats, particularly other Burmese.

Overall, these cats aren't too picky about their company, so long as they have someone to keep them company. If you have a time-consuming job or a hectic lifestyle that causes you to not be home for long hours every day, then a Burmese may not be the best choice.

 chunky chocolate Burmese cat

Grooming and Care

Music to some pet parent's ears, Burmese cats are pretty low maintenance when it comes to grooming. With a short, sleek coat that doesn't shed much, these felines only require a quick brushing once a week. It is also essential that you brush your cat's teeth a few times a week, just be sure to use a cat-safe toothpaste and reward your pal for sitting still during this process.

Other common grooming items include trimming their nails, which may need to be done a few times a month, and cleaning their ears whenever they appear dirty. For ear cleanings, make sure you use an ear-safe cleaning solution and never use cotton swabs, as they could accidentally cause injury.

It is vital that you begin your cat's grooming routine as early as possible in order to help your pal become acclimated. Plus, a regular grooming routine can help your pet stay looking and feeling good.

As for day-to-day care, it is crucial that you feed your cat a nutritious diet. It is almost guaranteed that your cat's dietary needs will change throughout their lifetime, so be sure to talk with your veterinarian about what food choices are best at which age. Plus, don't forget to take into consideration how much your cat is eating at each meal. A nutritious food won't help your cat stay healthy if they are always overfed.

Obesity can affect any cat breed, and weight gain can quickly lead to a myriad of other health concerns. An ideal way of managing your pet's weight is to ensure that they receive plenty of daily exercise. For cats, this exercise can look like a run around the house or playing various games.

Some people believe that pets reflect the personality of their parents. This means that if you are active throughout the day and always up and moving, then there's a good chance that your Burmese could follow suit.

Common Health Issues

Even though Burmese are a relatively healthy cat breed, they can still develop some health problems. According to our claims data,** common health issues for these cats include:

  • Asthma
  • Lymphoma
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Chronic renal failure
  • Weight loss

Although the above conditions are common among the Burmese breed, there is no guarantee that your cat will develop any or all of these issues. One of the best ways to keep an eye on your cat's health is to take them for yearly check-ups with their veterinarian. These annual appointments allow professionals the opportunity to update your pet on any necessary shots, and they can thoroughly examine your pal to make sure that there are no concerns.

In the instance that your cat does have a health condition, these check-ups are arguably even more important as they allow a professional to monitor your cat's well-being.

As a cat parent, it is essential to bring up any concerns you have about your pet's behavior during these appointments. Felines are notorious for hiding their symptoms, and it can often be difficult to tell when a cat doesn't feel well since they are naturally lethargic animals. That being said, even if your cat appears completely healthy, never skip their appointments. As the old saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Burmese cat lying in a basket atop a cream-colored blanket

Fun Facts

With a cat as spunky and unique as the Burmese, it should come as little surprise that there are fun facts to learn about the breed.

  • Burmese are also referred to as Thongdaeng or Supphalak, both meaning "copper color" in Thai.
  • The European Burmese is sometimes also called the British Burmese, and the American Burmese is also known as the Contemporary Burmese.
  • For Burmese cats in New Zealand, new colors such as cinnamon, fawn, caramel, apricot, and russet have become much more common.
  • The Burmese gene responsible for their dark-brown or sable-colored coat is part of the albino series of genes. In other words, this gene reduces the amount of pigment that's in the Burmese hair, making what would be a black coat appear lighter.
  • These cats love to watch the world go by, so don't be surprised if you find your Burmese perched on a windowsill or atop a high shelf.
  • The Burmese cat has influenced many other cat breeds, including the Burmilla, Tonkinese, and Bombay.

The Burmese is an exciting cat breed with an equally fascinating history.

Name Suggestions

Choosing a name for your feline friend is often a difficult decision. Most pet parents don't run into the issues of not finding a name they don't like, but instead, most people have too many names that they love, and they can't choose just one. Here's a list of possible names to help you narrow down your choices.

  • Agatha
  • Eloise
  • Jiji
  • Melody
  • Bowie
  • Mochi
  • Jett
  • Cosmo

If you find yourself still unable to narrow down your choices or if you're stuck between a couple of names, then maybe the solution is to adopt two Burmese.

**Internal Claims Data, 2015-20

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


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