Burmese cat breed at The Great CatHISTORY

At the first cat show in 1871, there appeared to be a pair of Siamese cats that looked like modern day Burmese cats; however, they were not. The first attempts to develop the breed resulted in Chocolate Siamese cats. The breeding program was not quite successful and the breed died out in Britain.

In 1930, Dr. Joseph C. Thompson imported a cat from Burma named Wong Mau to the United States. Because the cat’s build was somewhat different from that of a Siamese, Thompson believed it had potential to become a separate breed. Again, because the cat was a very deep brown color, many thought the cat was just a dark-colored Siamese. To refute this claim, Dr. Johnson set about a breeding program which revealed that Wong Mau was, in fact, a hybrid of a Siamese and a dark-colored unknown cat.  Wong Mau is considered the beginning of the Burmese breed. The Cat Fanciers’ granted formal recognition of the breed in 1936.

However, because of the use of hybrids in shows, which is against the Cat Fanciers’ rules, the recognition of the Burmese breed was withdrawn. It was only restored in 1954 with the guarantee from the Burmese Cat Society of America that it would not happen again.

Meanwhile interest was growing for the breed in the UK. These British Burmese had varying builds. In 1952, three generations had been by then produced and the breed was recognized by the UK’s Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF). Today most countries in Europe and the Commonwealth base their standard on the British breed.


The two versions of the breed were kept apart genetically. The British Burmese, also known as the traditional Burmese, were removed as a breed by the CFA in the 1980’s. And the GCCF banned all registration of Burmese from America to uphold the British Burmese’s bloodlines. Recently the International Cat Association and CFA clubs have started using the American breed standard at select shows in Europe.

It has been established that Wong Mau was actually a crossbreed between a Siamese and a Burmese type cat. Later this crossbreed was developed into a separate breed known as the Tonkinese. Burmese cats have also contributed to the development of the Bombay and the Burmilla among others.

Burmese kittens at The Great Cat



WEIGHT RANGE               Males average more that 12 lbs and Females 8–12 lbs
EYE COLOR Gold or yellow.
COAT The coat is short and smooth and there is a low tendency to shed. 
COAT COLORSColors: Sable, Champagne, Blue, Platinum, Lilac, Fawn, Red, Cream, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Tortoiseshell
Pattern: Solid color, Tortoiseshell 
OVERALL APPEARANCEThe British and American variations differ mainly in head and body shape. The British or traditional is a more slender, long-bodied cat with a wedge-shaped head, large pointed ears, long tapering muzzle and moderately almond-shaped eyes. The legs are long, with oval paws. The tail is medium length. The American (also called “contemporary”) Burmese is a stockier cat, with a much broader head, round eyes and distinctively shorter, flattened muzzle; the ears are wider at the base. Legs and tail are proportionate to the body, medium-length, and the paws are also rounded. 
PRICE $ 600-2,500 depending upon the breeder. Recognized by Cat Fanciers Association, The International Cat Association and The Governing Council of Cat Fanciers. 


Burmese cat



The Burmese is a lovely cat that is easy to care for as far as grooming is concerned. Unfortunately, Burmese do have health issues such as Hypokalemia, a lack of potassium. The gene for this is recessive. However, it can cause the cat to have difficulty in walking and holding its head up.  

Life expectancy: 10-17 years. 



National Alliance of Burmese Breeders

Burmese Rescue

Burmese Rescue Group

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