The Birman cat is an increasingly popular breed that many people seek out because of their attractive appearance and long fur. However, before purchasing one, it can be helpful to learn as much about them as possible to ensure that they will be a good match for the household. If you are thinking about adding a Birman to your family, keep reading as we list several fascinating facts about this breed so you can make an informed purchase.
The 16 Facts About Birman Cats
1. No One Knows Their Origin
Unfortunately, the origin of the Birman breed has been lost to time. Some believe that priests in Burma created them inside their ancient temples, while others think that these long-haired cats appeared in France after arriving from somewhere in Asia. Despite the many stories, the only fact is that Birman cats were in France in the early 1920s.
2. The Long Coat Is Comparatively Easy to Maintain
The long hair on Birman cats is easier to maintain than that of many other longhaired cats because there is no undercoat, so it’s easy to brush and comb and less likely to tangle and matte. The lack of an undercoat also means your cat will leave less fur around the house.
3. The Birman Cat Is Color Pointed
Birman cats are color-pointed, a type of albinism that affects the cat based on body temperature. Warmer areas, like the torso, will not have color, while cooler areas, like the face, feet, and tail, will. Other color-pointed cat breeds include the Siamese, Balinese, and British Shorthair.
4. Birman Kittens Are All White
When a Birman kitten is born, they are all white, and color will start to appear on their face, tail, and feet after a few weeks, with darker colors appearing before lighter ones.
5. Birman Cats Continue to Change Color
Since the form of albinism that affects the Birman cat breed is temperature controlled, you can expect your cat to change color slightly but continuously throughout their lifetime, with many older cats sporting darker colors than young ones.
6. All Birman Cats Have Blue Eyes
Another trait of Birman cats that results from their color-point albinism is their blue eyes, which remain throughout adulthood. many owners select this breed for their eye color alone.
7. Birman Cats Are Extremely Healthy
The Birman cat has no breed-specific health problems, so they tend to live long and healthy lives, sometimes as long as 12–6 years. However, this longevity depends on the diet, exercise, and medical attention that they receive.
8. Birman Cats Are Doglike
Many owners describe their Birman cats as dog-like because they are fairly easy to train and can fetch, retrieve items, and perform other tricks. They are also playful with children and other pets and tend to follow you around the house and wait at the door when you leave.
9. There Is a Naming Tradition
While you are not obligated to follow it, the Birman cat breed has a naming convention¹ that began in France during the 1920s and continues today. It states that the first letter of your pet’s name should coincide with the year that they were born. For example, kittens born in 2022 have names starting with “T,” and those born in 2023 will have names starting with “U.”
10. Birman Cats Are Intelligent
Many owners describe their Birman cats as being highly intelligent. They are easy to train and can solve complex puzzles, making it difficult to keep them out of areas where you don’t want them. Interactive cat toys can help stimulate the cat’s mind, keeping them happy and out of trouble.
11. Birman Cats Are Quiet
Many owners describe their Birman cats as quiet, with limited soft vocalizations that perfectly match their gentle, playful nature. They will also sneak into your room and even onto your couch or bed without your knowledge!
12. The Birman Is Not Genetically Diverse
The Birman cat breed is not as genetically diverse as many other breeds. Scientist M. J. Lipinski wrote a book titled, “The Ascent of Cat Breeds: Genetic Evaluations of Breeds and Worldwide Random-bred Populations,” which showed that the Birman breed is the least diverse breed studied. Experts blame this lack of diversity on the breed’s shrouded history.
13. The Birman Breed Doesn’t Like Perches
While most cats enjoy seeking out high spots in your home to watch over their territory, the Birman cat breed usually prefers to stay on the ground. There can be several reasons for this, but it likely has to do with their sensitive eyes.
14. The Birman Breed Can Be Territorial
One thing that the Birman cat breed has in common with many other cats is that they can become territorial, especially if you didn’t get to socialize them with other cats as a kitten and you are introducing two male cats to the same environment. While the Birman is usually quite friendly, you might need to take the time to introduce the cats slowly to help them get along better.
15. The Birman Is a Social Cat
Despite the occasional territorial tendencies, the Birman breed is a great choice for multi-pet households because they are outgoing, friendly, and playful, especially if you socialize them with other animals while they are still a kitten.
16. The Birman Cat Almost Went Extinct
During World War 2, many dogs and cats died, and many species were in danger, with the Birman breed being one of them. Fortunately, breeders brought them back after the war ended, and they are now one of the most popular breeds.
The Birman cat is a color-pointed breed with a white body and color on their face, legs, and tail. Kittens are all white, and their color will appear a few weeks later and change slightly throughout their lives, darkening as the cat ages. This is a healthy breed with no known health problems, and they like to follow you around the house, which causes many people to describe them as dog-like. They’re easy to groom because they have no undercoat, and they are a great choice for multi-pet families.
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