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Characteristics, History, and Health


Eastern Breeds

The Burmese is a curious cat with an intriguing background. While widely admired for their gorgeous looks, these cats also make for the most purr-fect and loyal of cat friends. Always by your side, they truly enjoy the company of their favorite humans.

Main Info
Coat Pattern
Solid, tortoiseshell
Coat Length
Health Issues
  • Feline hyperesthesia syndromeFeline hyperesthesia syndrome
  • HypokalemiaHypokalemia
  • Eye conditionsEye conditions
  • Diabetes mellitusDiabetes mellitus

Main Characteristics of the Burmese

The Burmese are people-oriented and affectionate, making excellent pets in households with families. They are known for their dog-like loyalty and tend to form strong bonds with their favorite humans. A Burmese cat will genuinely enjoy being a part of your daily activities and is not considered an independent companion. They tend to cling and dislike being left alone for extended periods of time.

Burmese Origin

The Burmese cat was originally created from crossbreeding between the dark brown cat named Wong Mau and the sealpoint Siamese named Tai Mau. Wong Mau was imported from Burma to San Francisco by Dr. Joseph Thompson in 1930. Many fanciers admired Wong Mau for her dark coat and close resemblance of the Siamese, which led Dr. Thomson to suspect that she was a cross between a Siamese and an unknown dark cat.

The modern Burmese breed was developed in the United States and Britain under distinct breed standards. Such an unusual breeding program resulted in the development of a number of different features among the two groups, but most cat registries still do not formally recognize them as distinct breeds.

The British Burmese (or "traditional" or European Burmese) has a long, slender body, long legs, and oval paws. The head is wedge-shaped with a long muzzle and almond-shaped eyes. The tail is usually medium long. The American Burmese (or "contemporary" Burmese) has a significantly stockier body and its legs are proportionate to the body. The head is much broader, muzzle shorter and flattened and the eyes are round. The ears are wider at the base in comparison to the British variant. The paw shape and tail length are similar in both groups.

Burmese Personality Traits

The Burmese make excellent family pets due to their loving, affectionate and playful nature. They are considered attention seekers and tend to cling to their fur-parents every chance they get. Because of their clingy personalities and puppy-like behavior, Burmese are often considered to be the dogs of the cat world. These people-oriented cats often carry their energetic and playful kitten-like personality into their older years. Like their Siamese ancestors, Burmese are very vocal, affectionate and sweet. They are not independent and don't like being left alone for long periods of time. They get along very well with kids and other pets, including dogs.

Burmese Common Health Issues

The Burmese is a fairly healthy and robust cat breed, with an average lifespan of 10 to 17+ years. Some published studies recognize the breed, among several others, to be at a higher risk for diabetes mellitus. Hypokalemia, a genetic disease characterized by low levels of potassium in blood plasma, has also been linked to the Burmese breed.

Burmese Fun Facts

  • The name of the Burmese breed in Thai means "beautiful, fortunate and of splendid appearance". We believe that these sleek, good-looking cats are well worth the title.

  • Burmese love to investigate. To call a Burmese curious would be a daring understatement. This is the cat that will keep an eye on absolutely everyone and everything around them. With a Burmese, you will have the most committed participant in pretty much anything you do.

  • They are not well-suited for outdoors. This curious cat is too trusting and will easily get in trouble. Their survival skills are not among the best in the cat world either. This is why it is generally not recommended to let them freely roam outdoors.

  • Together with Siamese, they were the founders of the Tonkinese cats. Tonkinese cats were created in Canada by a crossbreeding program between the Siamese and Burmese, with the aim of creating the purr-fect combination of the best features of the two breeds.

Burmese Cat Characteristics

12+ years
Good with
Children, Cats, Families
Shedding amount
Affection level
Activity level
Medium to High
Tendency to vocalize
Exercise needs
Medium to High


The International Cat Association (TICA) “Introduction to the Burmese”

Cat Fanciers' Association "About the Burmese"

FETCH by WebMD "What to Know About Burmese Cats"