Burmese cats: our 60-second guide

If you're looking for a pet that's blessed with both beauty and brains, then look no further than the elegant Burmese. Here's our quick guide to the breed

Not surprisingly, as it originates from Burma (or the Union of Myanmar as it is now officially known), this breed also has its roots in Thailand and Malaysia, where these strikingly beautiful felines began their regal existence lounging around the temples of South East Asia.

Adorned with striking golden eyes and shiny, silky coats, Burmese cats were first brought to the UK in the 1940s, many by returning servicemen who had fought in the region and found these affectionate cats hard to leave behind. Enthusiastically bred by cat lovers into a wide range of colours, the Burmese became a much sought-after pet in the UK over the coming decades, regularly featuring in the present-day 'top five' most popular cat breeds.

Are they for you?
Without being immodest, a Burmese cat would say they are for everyone. Sauntering its way into your heart with boundless affection and a keen intellect, the beautiful and generally healthy breed is fairly low-maintenance and requires little in the way of expert care. Preferring home comforts and generally thought of by its owners as 'a little clumsy', this is a cat who is perfectly happy living an indoor lifestyle. Capable of learning to retrieve and following people around the house with dutiful affection, its dog-like character makes owners feel that they have two pets for the price of one. Good with children and loving nothing more than being stroked and petted, this charming and playful breed suits an array of owners. Although assured a warm welcome when you return home, be prepared for the loud vocal greeting that the hungry or just plain bored Burmese will bestow upon you.

With a rounded head and short nose, its large, expressive, widely set and soulful eyes of golden yellow are its most beguiling feature. A muscular and leonine-looking creature, the Burmese is a medium-sized cat with a compact frame, which is surprisingly weighty considering its stature. Exhibiting a straight back, slender legs and neck, and slight taper to the rounded tip of its tail, elegance is a word synonymous with the Burmese. Its short and silky coat comes in a range of colours, with 10 registered varieties in Europe.

Mischievous and playful as a kitten, the wonderfully affectionate and trusting character of a Burmese cat is impossible not to love. They remain playful, lively and interactive well into adulthood, maturing into a generally good-natured and agreeable family pet. Affectionate to all and good with children, Burmese crave human attention and will shadow their owners around the home, sometimes to the point of distraction. Intelligent and capable of learning to retrieve, this acutely bright feline wants to be the centre of attention, and can be stubborn or naughty when not showered with the affection that he so plainly deserves.

With kittens costing up to £400, don't go and see an adorable litter of Burmese kittens if you don't want to take one home! After initial vaccination, micro-chippping and preventative treatments in the first
few months, there is little other expense beyond food, a cat litter tray and a few toys for this playful cat.

With such a short coat, which is seductively satin-like to the touch, usually a good stroke is enough to groom this low-maintenance breed. A light brushing every now and again will lift away dull and dead fur, leaving a lustrous coat that any cat would be jealous of.

Generally a strong and resilient breed, with a life expectancy of around 15 years, the clumsy Burmese can have the occasional accidental mishap around the home. One rarely seen inherited defect in Burmese cats is the corneal dermoid, which is a patch of skin and hair attached to the eye, but this is evident from birth and easily removable via surgery.

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