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Burmese Cats - American and European Breeds

Burmese cats are compact and muscular, with medium length legs and tail, and a short, fine, glossy coat. The American breed has a more rounded shape, while the European breed is more angular. The original Burmese temple cats came from Siam. In the early 1900's the Americans started breeding their own version known as the American Burmese. The European breed started in England after 1945 when soldiers returning from Burma brought home Burmese cats.


Burmese means: fortunate, beautiful and splendid appearance in the Thai language. Originally, this breed of cats were exclusively brown, but recently due to years of selective breeding the American Burmese cats come in a wide variety of colors; Sable, Blue, Champagne, Sable Tortie, Cinnamon and Platinum. And the European Burmese cats come in six additional colors; Red, Cream, Seal Tortie, Blue Tortie, Chocolate Tortie, and Lilac Tortie.

Although the American and European breeds are very similar there are subtle differences. The American Burmese cats are more rounded and compact with forward tilting ears and golden eyes. The rounded shape was a later development that sometimes resulted in an inherited deformity of the skull that can be lethal. The European Burmese cats are angular and more muscular with a wedge shaped head, upright ears and yellow to amber eyes that are slightly slanted.


In temperament, both breeds are intelligent, affectionate, loyal and friendly, and they enjoy human company. They make ideal household pets and require little grooming.


Burmese cats originated in Siam, now Thailand, and were not known outside of that region until the Burmese invaded Siam. In 1871 a pair of Siamese Cats was displayed at a cat show held at the Crystal Palace. These cats closely resembled the American Burmese cats but had the characteristic Siamese markings. The first Burmese cats in England were considered Chocolate Siamese, then in 1955, the first blue Burmese was born, followed by red, cream and tortoiseshell kittens over the next decade. In America the primary color was brown (aka champagne) then the first lilac kitten was born in 1971 and during the 1980's platinum and blues were accepted for registration.

Care and grooming of Burmese Cats ought to be kept up as any with other housecat; good nutrition, regular play and veterinary visits. For more information on the care and feeding of our favorite furry pets, visit:

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