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Birman Cat

With mysterious origins and exquisite good looks, the Birman is a sweet and gentle cat that is perfect for families with small children. 

Although the exact origins of the Birman are unclear, It is thought that they came from Burma (now Myanmar) and were imported into France where they were first recognised as a breed in 1925.

The Birman is now a popular breed throughout the world. They are a medium sized cat, weighing around 3 to 6kgs with a life expectancy is around 12 to 16 years. They have a pale body with darker colour on the tips of their ears, nose and tail known as colour points, and have white feet. They come in a range of point colours including seal, chocolate, blue, lilac (light grey), red, or cream and have spectacular blue eyes.

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Cat Breed Facts & Characteristics

Origin

Unclear, Possibly Burma (Myanmar) or France

Size 

Average, 3 to 6kgs  

Weight Range

3 to 6kgs  

Colours

Light with “points” which can be seal, chocolate, blue, lilac (light grey), red, or cream

Life expectancy

12 to 16 years  

Coat

Long with no undercoat

Temperament 

Affectionate, patient

Exercise requirements

Low

Best suited for 

Singles, couples, families, elderly

Apartment Friendly

Yes 

Personality

The Birman is known for being a gentle and patient cat, making them a good choice for families with small children. They typically enjoy lots of attention. Encouraging your Ragdoll cat to play daily will help keep them fit and healthy. Playing with your cat also strengthens your bond. Be sure to provide your cat with plenty of cat trees and toys to play with.

Grooming 

Birmans have long, soft fine fur with no undercoat and moult at least once a year. It is wise to gently brush kittens from an early age, so they become comfortable with it. A slicker brush may be a good choice to gently brush your Ragdoll with several times a week. That long coat can hide nasties like fleas and ticks, so make sure your Ragdoll is on tick and flea control all year around. 

Feeding

When choosing a food for your Birman, select a premium food appropriate to your cats age and life stage. As Birmans can have urinary tract issues, consider foods that promotes urinary tract health and wet food to help keep the urine more dilute. A dry biscuit that promotes urinary tract health as well as dental care. Ensure that you follow the recommended feeding guides on the food appropriate to your pet's size to help avoid obesity and ensure your fur baby gets appropriate nutrition. Always ensure your Birman has a supply of fresh water available, and consider providing them with a water fountain, as many cats prefer drinking moving water. 

Common Health Concerns 

Most common pet insurance claims for this breed, (PetSure data, 2020*)

Rank

Condition

Average cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)

Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)

1

Gastrointestinal problems, including gastritis and colitis

$369

$2,293

2

Urinary tract problems, including kidney disease and Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD)

$220

$2,012

3

Foreign body or toxin ingestion

$779

$7,031

4

Cancer, including Mast Cell Tumour and Lymphoma

$550

$3,685

5

Neurological problems, including seizures and vestibular disease

$275

$1,039

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

Birmans are prone to kidney disease as well as Feline Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) which is an inherited disease in Birman cats. In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy the heart muscle becomes abnormally thickened, impairing heart function.

Most popular Birman names

Common names (PetSure data, 2020)

  1. Luna
  2. Buddy
  3. Alfie
  4. Basil
  5. Bunny
  6. Chevy
  7. Coco
  8. Eevee
  9. Frankie
  10. Harley

Most common female names

  1. Luna
  2. Bunny
  3. Eevee
  4. Indi
  5. Kirra
  6. Mabel
  7. Mia
  8. Mochi
  9. Rosie
  10. Sophie

Most common male names

  1. Buddy
  2. Alfie
  3. Basil
  4. Chevy
  5. Coco
  6. Frankie
  7. Harley
  8. Henry
  9. Hercules
  10. Jasper

Did you know?

According to a study from 2015, Birman cats (as well as Siamese) are more prone to compulsively sucking on or ingesting things that they shouldn’t. This is sometimes also known as pica. This may explain why ingestion of foreign objects were featured in both the top claimed conditions as well as the highest pet insurance claims for the Birman. 

Where can I get a Birman cat? 

Your local animal shelter or rescue organisation is the best place to look for a cat as shelters generally have many cats looking for loving homes. It may also be possible to find a Birman through a breed specific rescue organisation. 

References

  1. Borns-Weil, S, Emmanuel, C, Longo, J, Kini, N, Barton, B, Smith, A, Dodman, N, 2015, A case-control study of compulsive wool-sucking in Siamese and Birman cats (n = 204) Journal of Veterinary Behavior, vol 10, Issue 6, Nov-Dec 2015, Pages 543-548, Accessed on 27/10/20
  2. Cat Fanciers Association, About the Birman, Accessed on 27/10/20
  3. Wikipedia, Birman, Accessed on 27/10/20

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Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie's pets

Noah
Noah
Bei Bei
Bei Bei
Meeka
Meeka