Burmese cats lived for centuries in Burma, Thailand and Malaya.
In the late 1800's they were known in England as Chocolate Siamese, but because they were not favoured they gradually died out in England and Europe.
The ancestry of Burmese cats can be traced back to one cat named Wong Mau, who was a brown female from Burma and arrived to San Francisco in the early 1930's to Dr. Joseph Thompson.
Through selective breeding to Siamese, the Burmese was established as a distinct breed.
Lighter coloured kittens were occasionally produced and eventually the American breeders requested recognition from CFA for these "dilute" colours; first, as another breed named Malayan, then later as a dilute division of Burmese.
The Burmese Appearance
The Burmese is a strong, athletic and elegant short haired cat that carry surprising weight for its size and has often been described as "brick wrapped in silk."
It has a fine, close, even, and glossy coat . Their coats are very short, satin-like in texture, and generally require little grooming other than daily petting.
At maturity males are large, the females are more delicate and graceful, and the difference in weight between them may be two or three pounds.
The Burmese is a compactly built cat with a small round head and wide-set eyes which are yellow or golden.
The Burmese cat has ten main recognised colours in NZ, Australia, UK and Europe:
- Seal – the original Burmese color, a rich warm seal brown (See Kittens top right)
- Blue – a soft blue-gray with a silver sheen
- Chocolate – a warm milk chocolate
- Lilac – a pale delicate dove gray with a pinkish cast
- Red – tangerine
- Cream – cream with a distinct bloom on the head and back, giving a powdered effect
- Seal tortie – brown with shades of red
- Blue tortie – Blue with shades of cream
- Chocolate tortie – Chocolate with shades of red
- Lilac tortie – lilac with shades of cream.
- Russet - can be a chocolate or Seal coloured body with a reddish tint on their heads. see kittens above right. The ears have thumb prints on them and the underbelly is a cream/Ivory colour. The body tends to go redder as they get older.