Birman

Felis catus

Last updated: July 9, 2021
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff

Also known as the Sacred Cat of Burma!



Birman Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Felidae
Genus
Felis
Scientific Name
Felis catus

Birman Conservation Status

Birman Locations

Birman Locations

Birman Facts

Fun Fact
Also known as the Sacred Cat of Burma!
Other Name(s)
Sacred Cat of Burma
Temperament
Intelligent, sweet and affectionate
Diet
Omnivore
Average Litter Size
6
Common Name
Birman cat
Group
Semi-Longhair

Birman Physical Characteristics

Colour
  • Brown
  • Red
  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Lilac
  • Caramel
Skin Type
Hair
Lifespan
12-16 years
Weight
Up to 12 pounds

Birman Images

Click through all of our Birman images in the gallery.

View all of the Birman images!



The first thing you notice about a Birman cat is its glittering blue eyes! These cats are very popular with families due to their affectionate, playful nature.

They have medium to long silky hair and can be found in many unique colors. These adaptable felines are good with children and adults alike.

Birman Traits: What to Know Before You Buy

There are some important things to consider before buying or adopting a Birman:

  • These cats have a coat of medium to long hair that needs combing once or twice a week to keep it looking healthy.
  • These cats can sometimes be wary around strangers so it may be necessary to put this pet into another room when unfamiliar people visit.
  • They are prone to obesity

Birman Personality

This breed of cat is known for its friendliness to other pets in a household. They are also known for their intelligence and playfulness. Dangle a piece of yarn in front of a Birman cat and let the games begin!

Some cats are known for their vocal behavior. But, these cats are known for being on the quiet side.

These cats are affectionate and love to be around their owners. They are friendly with children, too. While some cats are known to keep to themselves, Birmans love lots of petting and attention!

Seal point Birman cat sitting in the grass in the garden.
Seal point Birman cat sitting in the grass in the garden.

Birman vs. Ragdoll

Look at a Birman and a Ragdoll sitting side by side and they look a lot alike. But there are both similarities and differences between these two breeds.

A lot of the similarities between these two cats relate to their personality. They can both be described as gentle and playful especially with other pets. They are intelligent, quiet felines.

It’s hard to miss the glittering blue eyes of both the cat breeds. They share many of the same colors.

One difference is found in their history. Birman cats are sometimes called Sacred Cats of Burma. They were raised in the temple of Burma by Kittah priests. Folklore claims this cat’s blue eyes were inherited from a goddess with sapphire blue eyes. Their glowing white paws are a symbol of purity according to the Kittah priests.

The history of the Ragdoll cat has less folklore attached to it. Ragdolls were bred by a woman named Ann Baker back in the 1960s. Ann had a beloved and very affectionate Persian cat named Josephine. Josephine had a habit of going limp in her owner’s hands when she was picked up. This is how the name Ragdoll came about. Ann filed the paperwork to trademark the name Ragdoll and started breeding more of these gentle, sweet cats with this unique habit.

Though these cats look similar there are some subtle differences in their colors and physical appearance. For one, Birman cats have round eyes of medium size while Ragdolls have large eyes that are oval-shaped. Also, a Ragdoll cat’s fur is soft and cushy while the Birman has just one layer of silky hair without any undercoat. A Birman’s tail is shorter than a Ragdoll’s. In addition, adult Birman cats weigh less than adult Ragdolls.

Birman Size and Weight

Adult Birman cats are between 15 and 18 inches long. Adults grow to a height of between 8 and 10 inches. Males are usually bigger than females.

Adults weigh between 6 and 12 pounds. A female Birman usually weighs between 6 and 10 pounds while a male weighs 10 to 12 pounds.

As mentioned, Birman cats and Ragdoll cats are similar in many ways. But, in terms of size, Ragdolls weigh more than Birmans. Male Ragdolls can weigh 12 to 20 pounds while females weigh 8 to 15 pounds.

Birman Price

Purebred kittens cost anywhere from $600 to $3000 when purchased from a breeder. But, that price varies by the breeder.

One alternative to buying a Birman is adopting one from a rescue organization. Some rescue organizations have adults as well as kittens available. A Birman cat rescue organization charges an adoption fee. Adoption fees of Birman rescue organizations range from $60 to $150.

The annual vet costs for Birman cats range from $400 to $600. When it comes to this cat’s food budget, the monthly cost ranges between $20 and $30.

Birman kittens are so popular many breeders have waiting lists. Of course, the kittens stay with their mother until they are able to live independently.

Birman Kittens

Although these cats have coats in a variety of colors, the kittens are born with all-white fur. As they mature, kittens start to take on their adult colors. Of course, they all have glittering blue eyes from birth and keep the white ‘mittens’ on their paws.

Newborn kittens weigh from 3 to 5 ounces and are about 3 inches long. Their eyes and ears don’t open until they are around 9 days old. They reach puberty between 15 and 18 months old. However, they don’t achieve full maturity until they are 3 years old.

A full-grown male Birman cat measures between 15 and 18 inches long and weighs from 10 to 12 pounds. A full-grown female Berman is from 15 to 18 inches long and weighs between 6 to 10 pounds.

Some of the coat colors include lilac, blue, chocolate, cream, red, tortie, and seal.

These kittens are friendly and affectionate with kids.

Birman kitten in front of a blue background.
Birman kitten in front of a blue background.

Birman Lifespan

Birman cats reach an average age of 14 years. Of course, how long this cat lives depends on its overall health. The oldest known Birman cat, Minx, reached the age of 23!

Birman cats are hardy and don’t suffer from any unusual health issues. But they do share some general health issues of cats. For one, they are prone to obesity. Obesity in a cat can lead to other issues like heart and kidney problems. An owner who gives their Birman the appropriate amount and type of food can avoid this health issue.

Birman Breed vs. Mixed

Purebred Birman cats have white paws, silky fur without an undercoat, a playful nature, and an affectionate personality. A kitten with only one Birman parent may not take on all of these features and qualities. The kitten may inherit more of the other parent’s qualities.

The Cat Fanciers Association lists the colors of purebred Birmans as seal, chocolate, blue, lilac, red, cream, and tortie.

Types of Birman Cats and Colors

Some of the names of the colors attributed to these cats are somewhat challenging to imagine. What’s a lilac cat?! Take a closer look at some of their coat colors:

  • A Seal Coat – A Birman with a seal coat has cream fur on most of its body with dark fur or seal patterns, on its face, tail, ears, and legs. It kind of looks a lot like a fluffy Siamese cat!
  • A Blue Coat – When a cat enthusiast says blue fur, they really mean fur with a grayish tone. A Birman with a blue coat has mostly cream fur with blue (gray) fur on its face, tail, ears, and legs.
  • A Chocolate Coat – A Birman with a chocolate coat has mostly golden/ivory colored fur with chocolate brown fur on its ears, face, tail, and legs.
  • A Lilac Coat – A Birman cat with a lilac coat has mostly pale ivory fur on its body along with pink/gray fur on its face, ears, legs, and tail.
  • A Red Coat – This cat has a cream coat with red/gold fur on its ears and face.
  • A Tortie Coat – A tortoise shell or tortie coat, has a swirling pattern of black, blue, chocolate and gold fur.
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Birman FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Birmans herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Birmans are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do Birmans belong to?

Birmans belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What class do Birmans belong to?

Birmans belong to the class Mammalia.

What phylum to Birmans belong to?

Birmans belong to the phylum Chordata.

What family do Birmans belong to?

Birmans belong to the family Felidae.

What order do Birmans belong to?

Birmans belong to the order Carnivora.

What genus do Birmans belong to?

Birmans belong to the genus Felis.

What type of covering do Birmans have?

Birmans are covered in hair.

How many babies do Birmans have?

The average number of babies a Birman has is 6.

What is an interesting fact about Birmans?

Birmans are also known as the Sacred Cat of Burma!

What is the scientific name for the Birman?

The scientific name for the Birman is Felis catus.

What is a Birman?

A Birman, also called the Sacred Cat of Burma, is a feline with a gentle, affectionate personality. It’s also well-known for its silky hair, gleaming blue eyes, and ability to get along with other pets.

Are Birman cats expensive?

Yes, they can be expensive when purchased at a breeder’s price. But families can also adopt from a rescue organization for a minimal adoption fee.

Are Birmans good cats?

Yes! They are popular because of their sweet, quiet nature.

Do Birmans shed a lot of hair?

They shed a low to moderate amount of hair.

What’s the difference between a Birman and a Ragdoll?

A Birman is smaller in size than a Ragdoll cat. Also, a Ragdoll cat is known for the white fur on its chin. Ragdolls are named because they go limp in an owner’s hands whereas Birmans are not known for this habit.

Sources
  1. Ragalon Ragdolls, Available here: https://www.ragalonragdolls.com/history.html
  2. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birman
  3. National Birman Fanciers, Available here: http://www.birmansusa.com/BirmanColor.aspx
  4. VCA Hospitals, Available here: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/obesity-in-cats

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