American Cat Fanciers Association        

Birman Breed Synopsis

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

  Birman Breed Standard

 

 

 

sacred cats of Burma 

The Birman is a semi-longhaired cat with color points. Among it's most distinctive features are the white paws (called gloves) on all four feet, and white on the rear legs coming to a near point up the back like a gauntlet (called laces). The cats nose is a "Roman" shape with the nostrils set low, and a flat on the forehead. The high cheekbones set off large, almost round deep blue eyes. The Birman has a strikingly beautiful well balanced appearance. Birmans are medium in size with large leg boning. Only Birmans with perfect or near perfect gloves and laces are shown.

 Origin:
Research indicates the Birman came from Southeast Asia and introduced to Europe in 1916. In 1925, the Birman was recognized by the FFF of France. It is thought that most "sacred cats of Burma" in the world today are descendents from the small cat population of the French Birmans. The breed is considered French, even though it is not indigenous to France.

The Birman was endangered when only one pair survived during World War II. In order to keep the breed alive, other longhaired and shorthaired breeds were bred to the Birman. The first Birmans to be exported came to the United States in 1959 and to Great Britain in 1965. The Birman was recognized in the United States by the Cat Fanciers' Association in 1967 and is now known throughout most of the world.

 

Temperament:
Birmans are a delight to care for. As their silky fur does not mat, little grooming is required. They are outgoing cats, often following their masters around like a puppy. They give the impression of quiet power and harmony through rather pensive, sweet eyes. Birmans greatly appreciate companionship, especially that of younger children, and more readily display happiness than anger. The breed is robust and hearty, and easily adaptable to most environments.

 

The Legend of the Sacred Cat
In a temple built on the side of Mount Lugh, there lived a very old priest. This priest had a long golden beard, which the god Song-Ho was said to have braided. His life was dedicated to the holy service of Tsun-Kyan-Kse, the goddess with the sapphire blue eyes. This goddess supervised the transmigration of souls, allowing some to live again in a holy animal. The priest's favorite cat, Sinh, was always sitting near him. Sinh was a white cat with yellow eyes. The cat's ears, nose, tail and extremities were dark like the color of the earth.

One night a group of bad men came to rob the temple and murdered the priest. Then the miracle came about: in a bound, Sinh jumped to the throne and sat at the head of his dead master. As the cat sat, the bristly white hair on his spine suddenly became a golden yellow and his golden eyes became blue. The part of his paws touching the dead priest remained white.

 

The legend says that when a priest dies, his soul transmigrates into the body of a cat, and upon the cat's death, the transition of the priest's soul into heaven is accomplished.

 

The story sadly continues that for the next seven days, the loyal cat refused all food and on the seventh day, he died, knowing that only with his death could he take his master into heaven. After this, all the temple cats had a golden mantle and their gold eyes turned blue. And to this day, Birmans have a golden mantle, white feet and blue eyes.



 

 

 

 

 

BIRMAN breed chair
Kathy Grant
33871 Canter Glen Dr,
Eagan, MN 55123-1673
651-688-7984
snowypaws@aol.com