There are many different cat breeds out in our society today that continually win the hearts of cat owners and cat lovers all across the globe; However, among all of these cat breeds, one of the most popular that we often see in homes everywhere (especially those with big families, children, and other animals) is that of the Birman Cat.
Not only are they absolutely beautiful feline creatures, but they are also fun loving, spirited cats with an intelligence and playfulness that is undeniable. They are also known for many different features and characteristics that truly make them one of a kind when it comes to the numerous cat breeds out there, which is why they are so beloved and cherished by families and individuals all across the world.
With all of these characteristics and facts about the breed that are spread about, it can be hard to determine what truly makes them so great, and that is why we are here, to differentiate these felines from the rest. In this article, we are going to reveal to you the top twenty fun facts you more than likely didn’t know about the Birman cat breed, and what to expect if you bring one into your home. With all of that said, let’s get started.
1. No Ones Knows Exactly Where The Breed First Originated
Although the breed does indeed have a legend or folktale that describes where many believe they first originated (as we will discuss later in the article), it is not actually for certain where the breed first came from. Many believe, as legend will tell, that the breed originated in Burma (now known as Myanmar) among the temples of ancient times and alongside priests;
However, there are also some that later believed the felines came to Europe, namely France, from somewhere in Asia, which has been spread from other legends and stories passed around as well. Regardless of the numerous stories and folklore that go around, there is a positivity that the Birman cat breed was found in France as early as the 1920s, and many different stories continue to surface about the mystique that lies behind their history.
2. They Have Distinct And Stunning Features:
It is no surprise that the Birman cat breed is most well known for some of its magnificent physical features, including its beautiful coat and bright blue eyes. The medium sized cat has a delicately soft single layer coat that is stunning, and is not likely to matte, which is a godsend for cat owners. As for coloration, the Birman often has a beige type complexion with its fur, with some darker colored fur features as well that can come in a variety of colors (lilac, seal, chocolate, and even blue). The breed is also known to have white glove like features on its paws, which is a genetic pattern that holds a place in its DNA. That is, every single Birman has white pads on their paws, regardless of their coloration that they have on the rest of their body. Along with all of these, the Birman is also known for its unique Roman nose and facial features. These many features are why the Birman is so unique, and so cherished, by cat lovers and cat owners all over.
3. Bill Of Health
The Birman cat breed is one of the healthiest cat breeds that exist in the world today. The only reports that have been made to date of these cats having any major health issues that are associated with them often refer to a congenital heart problem that is not always found in each cat of the breed itself. Although the idea of heart disease can be serious, making the annual trips to your vet and keeping their health on track will keep your kitty living to his or her full potential. That being said, the Birman cat breed will often live to be anywhere between twelve and sixteen years old. This can be a great thing, as there are a handful of breeds that often comes with some not so great bills of health as they continue to age and mature.
4. Dog Like Characteristics:
What makes the Birman cat breed so appealing to hundreds of families all across the world is there loving and loyal personality that they have. These felines are well known for being extremely playful, especially with children and other animals, and are even known to have some dog like characteristics to their personality as well. You can even go so far as to teach your cat a number of new tricks, like how to fetch their toys or other play things, and walking them on a leash for outings in the yard or around the neighborhood. With so many family homes that are looking for pets that are good with children and other social settings, it is clear to see that the Birman is definitely a tough one to beat.
5. Naming Traditions
When it comes to the naming of the Birman cats that you bring into your home, there are many people and breeders all across the globe who follow the same or similar naming traditions that were first used by the French, where the breed was first prominently found during the ’20s. The tradition that many follow is to name the Birman kittens that are born with the letter of the alphabet that coincides with the year of their birth.
As an example, any Birman kittens that were born in 2017 would have names that begin with the letter ‘O’, while those born in 2018 would have names that begin with the letter ‘P’, and the pattern continues on as the years go on. Several countries, as we said before, use this traditional naming pattern, including that of the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, France, Canada, and Australia. Needless to say, it makes it a bit easier to pick out the perfect name for the new addition to your family for sure!
6. They Are Highly Intelligent
Don’t let their looks fool you in the least, or their docile and good tempered demeanor for that matter. The Birman cat breed is a highly intelligent breed, and they often thrive with various types of interactive play that is designed for cats. The best thing you can do is to find them some puzzle type toys to allow their minds to thrive in that mindset. As we will talk about later in the article, however, their intelligent mind set can also lead to a great deal of curiosity, which is something to pay attention to, as your cat could get themselves into quite a handful of situations when exploring!
7. Coloration That Changes With Age
As we mentioned before, the Birman cat is well known for its beautiful beige coat and other color features with its physique. However, the Birman is actual born completely white, and the color that is present at adulthood continues to change throughout their life. You will often notice that the majority of these older cats have much darker legs, ears, and facial features than those of younger kittens. However, this does not effect the white paws that they have beginning at birth (often referred to as mittens or gloves), as this is a genetic trait that is found in every Birman cat to date. This is a nice feature to know before you adopt a Birman as it can be a clear indicator of how old the cat is exactly.
8. Strange Origin Folklore
Many different animals have fascinating legends that surround their origin story, and the Birman is one of them. According to legend, the breed is a descendant of a cat who lived in a temple with a priest in the country of Burma (which is today also known as Myanmar). One day, a group of thieves came to the temple and attacked the priest. As he lay dying on the holy ground, his cat remained by his side.
While the cat lay there next to the dying priest, a strange transformation occurred, in which the cat took on a fur with a gold tint and beautiful blue eyes, resembling the goddess that the priest worshipped before his passing. Although this isn’t the only legend that has gone around throughout its history, this is the story that many will stick to, as it was common for priest and other religious figures to have kitty companions during worship. Talk about mystical.
9. Breed Similarities:
When looking at the Birman cat breed, there are many individuals who often compare the breed to that of the Siamese breed that first originated in Thailand. However, these breeds have no distinct relation to each other, as there is no clear history of the Birman breed itself. These two breeds also have many differences in regard to characteristics, as the Siamese cat is not as laid back as the Birman, and is often described as bossy by many cat lovers and cat owners alike. There are also some who see other similarities in the Birman when compared to Persians, but like we said, there are no factors that indicate any of these breeds being related in any way, as there is so much mystery surrounding the history of the Birman.
10. Soft Tone Of Voice:
Along with their beautiful features and sweet demeanor, these felines are also known for having a soft voice that matches their personality. They are not known to meow and use their voice very often, but when they do, it is just a soft toned bell like pitch that is pleasant to the ear. In fact, if you didn’t keep a watchful eye on your Birman, you probably wouldn’t even know when they sneak up behind you or make their way next to you on the sofa.
11. Lack Of Genetic Diversity Within The Breed:
This is pretty self explanatory, due to the fact that no one is quite sure where the Birman cat breed first originated from, but the breed itself has a genuine lack of diversity when compared to other breeds in our society today. Often more than not, we will see different variations in breeds that relate them to one another, like cousins, if you will; This is not the case with the Birman breed. In fact, in a study that was conducted just about ten years ago, it was concluded that the Birman is actual one of the breeds with the lowest genetic diversity out of all the breeds that were researched.
12. Could Potentially Be Considered A Hypoallergenic Breed:
This is an intriguing tidbit for those that are allergy sufferers when it comes to cats and their dander. Many cats have thick double coats that are prone to heavy shedding, making it hard for allergy sufferers to even be around them. But, when it comes to the Birman breed, they have that unique single layer coat of finely laid and soft fur, making it less prone to shedding dander and fur throughout the home. Although they aren’t classified as a completely hypoallergenic cat breed, the Birman is an excellent choice for a pet if you love cats, but often get the sniffles from them.
13. Strange, Compulsive Behavior:
Along with their loving personality, these cats can also display some unusual characteristics during their day to day. Just like there are some compulsive issues that can be present in humans, the Birman cat can also be seen sucking on, chewing on, or even swallowing non food items that are found in the home. Now, not all cats will have these compulsions, but it is most prevalent in the Siamese cat breed and the Birmans, as we mentioned before. In studies conducted a few years prior, it was shown that there are some factors that could possibly contribute to the possibility of your Birman having these compulsions, which can include the size of the litter from which they were born, and early weaning.
14. Not A Fan Of The Bird’s Eye View:
Most cat owners and cat lovers out there will know that the majority of cat breeds love to climb and be high above the rest. However, the Birman is a breed that typically likes to stay on the floor and at ground level. Although they are playful, this calm and cool breed likes to chill and relax with the best of them. You may, however, find them trying to explore their surroundings, and getting themselves into situations where they just can’t make their way down. Make sure to keep a watchful eye on your Birman to keep them out of trouble and out of danger as well, as their docile demeanor can’t always handle the adventure!
15. They Are Often Territorial:
We don’t want to confuse you with this fun fact, as we have talked up their personality and loving spirit almost the entire article; But Birman cats, just like other cat breeds, are often territorial, especially in their home. However, this never translates into aggression when it comes to these felines, as they are very fun loving and loyal creatures, like we have said over and over again; But, they may let their playfulness take charge when it comes to other pets that may be in the home as well. With that said, there is really no need to worry about the territorial aspect of their personality, as their loyalty is quite prevalent.
16. They Need Hardly Any Grooming:
Typically with cats, you will find that they need substantial amounts of grooming as many of the breeds have thick coats that are prone to shedding at high rates. However, when it comes to the Birman cat breed, there is minimal grooming that is needed to keep them looking prim and clean. As we mentioned before, the Birman has a single layer coat that is soft and delicate. This means that they are not likely to have their fur matte; In fact, their coats only require a comb through or brush through about once or twice a week, and they should honestly be good to go.
17. They Have An Extreme Sense Of Curiosity:
We all know the phrase “Curiosity Killed The Cat”, and the Birman is probably one of the breeds that this phrase refers to. These felines are very well known for their curiosity, which ties in with their playfulness as well. Because of their curiosity, the Birman cats have been known to get themselves stuck into some sticky situations, such as getting trapped during home renovation projects, and even getting themselves stuck on the top of the family car. Since these cats are known for not liking to climb to high places, it may be good to keep a watchful eye on your cat, especially if something out of the norm is happening in your home.
18. They Can Easily Become Overweight:
Just like with many cats, the Birman cat breed can easily become overweight (especially since they have a stocky, stout, and larger boned frame to their physique already). Often more than not, cat owners don’t think to give their cats the exercise that they need to stay healthy and fit, especially if they are exclusively indoor felines, like the Birman breed. This is why it is so important that you take your Birman, or any other breed that you may have, out and about to get some exercise daily. This can also include activities in the home as well. As long as they have a balanced diet and some regular exercise or activity, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about their weight.
19. Their Social Side
Because the Birman breed is so well known for its social and loving behavior, it is always a great idea to have them in a multi pet household. Even if you have a big and energetic family, the fact that your Birman will have another furry friend to play with when everyone is out of the house will keep them from being lonely throughout the day, and will keep their spunky and playful attitude at the level that makes them so heartwarmingly wonderful. They typically will have a difficult time with any type of solitude as well, so get ready for them to tag along with you all throughout the home, all day and night. There is no place they would rather be, in all honesty, than curled up in your lap.
20. The Breed Was Almost Put On The Extinct Species List:
Yes, at one point in time, the Birman cat breed almost went extinct. It occurred during the era of World War II, when many of the breeders stop breeding the cats during the difficult time. It was even reported at one point that only two Birman cats were left, but thanks to the help of some crossbreeding with other breeds, the species made a comeback, and is one of the most popular cat breeds to date. Not until 1967, however, did the Birman made its way to the Cat Fanciers Association, as it didn’t become introduced as a cat breed to the United States until the ’50s (more specifically 1959).
From all of these fun facts, it is clear to see that the Birman cat breed is a force to be reckoned with. For years now, this breed has made it into the top ten cat breeds that are found in the homes of families and cat lovers world wide, and it looks like there is no stopping them any time soon, especially as they are so well taken with children and other pets that are in the home.
With their beautiful coloration, features, and their soft the touch coat, along with their general playful and fun loving personality, they are a cat breed that can make the most out of any situation. This has been our top twenty fun facts that you more than likely didn’t know about the Birman cat breed. If you would like more information about finding a Birman cat breeder in your local area, or information on various Birman rescue groups where you can potentially adopt from, you can find what you need both online or from your local vet.
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