Burmese can be described as a breed of domestic cat, originating in Southeast Asia and developed in the United States and Britain. The British or traditional ideal tends toward a more slender, long-bodied cat with a wedge-shaped head, large pointed ears, long tapering muzzle and moderately almond-shaped eyes.
The legs should likewise be long, with neat oval paws. The tail tapers to medium length. The American Burmese is a noticeably stockier cat, with a much broader head, round eyes and distinctively shorter, flattened muzzle; the ears are wider at the base.
Legs and tail should be proportionate to the body, medium-length, and the paws also rounded. The European Burmese and the Burmese we know in North America originated from the same source – Wong Mau, the first Burmese introduced to the Western world by Dr. Thompson in 1930.
As Wong Mau was the only example of her type, she had to be mated to another breed of similar type. The obvious choice then was the Siamese. Resulting litters revealed that Wong Mau herself carried a pointed gene, as kittens in her litters were both solid and pointed in color.
Burmese kitten CatThe solids were selected for further propagation of the breed. From the United States, the breed spread east to the United Kingdom, where the same lack of breeding stock led again to the introduction of the Siamese.
From then on, the breed followed different courses of development; today we have two very different looking cats with two different standards, both sharing a common ancestry.
His breeding program, in conjunction with breeders Virginia Cobb and Billie Gerst and geneticist Clyde Keeler, produced kittens with beige, brown and pointed coats.
The results, including the discovery of the Burmese gene, were so interesting that Thompson published an article on the subject in the Journal of Heredity, the first such piece on feline genetics. The brown cats were chosen to develop as a new breed: the Burmese.
The Cat Fanciers Association began registering Burmese in 1936 but suspended registrations in 1947 because breeders were still using Siamese in their breeding programs. Registrations resumed in 1953 after the practice was stopped.
The European Burmese is about as curious as cats come. Expect him to explore your home thoroughly and know all of its nooks and crannies. He is playful and remains so into adulthood.
Tease his clever mind with interactive toys, and teach him tricks that will allow him to show off for an audience. Besides sit, roll over, wave and come, he can learn to fetch a small toy or walk on a leash. With proper early conditioning, car rides and vet visits will be a breeze.