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Birman Cat Breed Profile

Weight 6.6-13 lbs (3-6 kg)
Origin France
Color Gold with chocolate, lilac; white paws
Fur Medium to long, silky
Lifespan 12-16 years
Personality Curious, docile, quiet, intelligent

Birman Photo: Borkin Vadim/Shutterstock

Breed Characteristics

The Birman, also known as the Sacred Birman, is a medium-sized cat breed with a half-length coat and a cute, soft voice. Its special features are its white paws that are also called white socks.

Personality and Temperament

The Birman cat has a very docile and peace-loving character. It’s said to be one of the most easy-going cat breeds. Nevertheless, they still like to be in the center of everything and like to be involved in anything that goes on in their homes. They love bathing in admiration for their gorgeous fur, and enjoy plenty of love and attention.


Keeping Them Happy

The Birman is a very social cat so they really don’t like being alone. It’s best to keep a Birman with another pet, such as another Birman, a different cat or a dog. They are curious and open with strangers. If a Siamese is too lively and needs too much attention for you but a Persian would be too quiet and reserved, the Birman is the perfect cat as it has a mix of both characters.

Birman Photo: Vika Hova/Shutterstock

Pros and Cons


  • Very affectionate and cuddly
  • Docile
  • Sociable
  • Playful
  • Learns Tricks
  • Gets along well with other pets


  • Lots of grooming required
  • Gets overweight easily

Birman Photo: Vika Hova/Shutterstock

Birman = Burmese?

Watch out: Birman and Burmese might sound similar but are actually two completely different cat breeds. Birma is the French form of Burma and refers to a country in South-East Asia. Burma is used in the English-speaking world, while Germany refers to Birma. Burma and Birma therefore mean the same thing. But the official term is actually Myanmar.


The Birman has a round head, short legs and broad paws. Its paws are always white and its eyes are always blue. Their lovely dense coat doesn’t get matted as it doesn’t have an undercoat (unlike that of the Persian or Himalayan). Their coats can be seal-point, blue-point, chocolate-point or lilac-point. Point means that the cat’s fur is light on the body but darker on the face, ears, tail and legs. These areas are called points.


Birman Photo: Borkin Vadim/Shutterstock


It still isn’t completely clear where the Birman comes from. According to legend, there was a cat in Myanmar (see above) that was so loyal to a priest that a goddess rewarded her with light fur and blue eyes. One thing’s for sure: this cat comes from Asia and probably comes from a Siamese cross or a Siamese/Persian cross. In Europe, they first appeared in France in 1920.

Fun Facts

The German designer Karl Lagerfeld had a Birman cat called Choupette.

Comparable Breeds

Birman Photo: Borkin Vadim/Shutterstock