Burmese | Cat Breed Guide

Burmese | Cat Breed Guide

by Scritch

Burmese cats are compact, but they tend to be a bit heavy, which is the reason for their nickname, “bricks wrapped in silk.” They are affectionate cats who like to play and are highly adaptable.

Weight - Female: 8-12 pounds; Male: 12+ pounds

Life Expectancy: 9-13 years

Temperament: outgoing, playful, and affectionate

Energy Level:

Ease of Training:

Grooming Requirements:

History and Personality

The Burmese breed descends from a single chocolate-colored cat named Wong Mau. Cat breeder Dr. Joseph Thompson acquired Wong Mau from a sailor or from his travels. He was intrigued by the chocolate-brown cat and its darker brown points, and he began a breeding program using seal-point Siamese cats since he didn’t have access to other cats like Wong Mau. The brown kittens that didn’t have any markings became the foundation of what’s now known as the Burmese. The Cat Fanciers’ Association started registering Burmese in its studbook in 1936. However, the breed didn’t become fully recognized by the association until 1957.

This breed has been developed in both Europe and the US, resulting in what Burmese aficionados consider two distinct cat breeds. The American Burmese (also simply known as Burmese) breed is charming, sweet, and loves to cuddle. Burmese cats thrive on companionship with their family and other pets. It’s ideal to get your Burmese a friend so he won’t get lonely while you’re gone.

The original Burmese was a dark solid brown color, also known as sable. Now this breed comes in different shades as well: platinum, champagne, and blue. American Burmese cats have a round head and compact body. They have big expressive eyes that are yellow or gold. Their medium-sized ears are rounded on the tips and tilt slightly forward.

An interesting and fun fact about the Burmese is that in the United Kingdom, it was crossed with a black British shorthair instead of a black American shorthair. This cat is a perfect choice for families with children. This cat can also be introduced slowly to dogs who will respect him.

While there’s no doubt this cat likes to curl up in your lap, he loves to play as well. If nobody is around for several hours during the day, getting a kitty friend for your Burmese is highly beneficial; they thrive on attention and love to play. You can even teach them tricks and play puzzle games with them.


Burmese cats don’t shed much, making them easy to groom. Weekly brushing is enough to keep up on their coat, and a rubber curry brush works just fine. Other basic grooming includes weekly nail trimming and ear cleaning if his ears are dirty.

Health Concerns

  • Lipemia
  • Corneal Dermoid
  • Orofacial Pain Syndrome
  • Congenital Peripheral Vestibular Disease
  • Burmese Head Defect (craniofacial abnormality)
  • Hypokalemic Polymyopathy
  • Flat-chested Kitten Syndrome
  • Kinked Tail
  • Elbow Osteoarthritis
  • Endocardial Fibroelastosis
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Diabetes Mellitus

Some Burmese cats can be perfectly healthy, but some may suffer from any or multiple of the above conditions. It’s best not to take your chance with your cat’s health by keeping a routine of regular veterinary visits. Having pet insurance can help save you money on any health problems that may develop down the road.