VCA Avalon-Heart of Gwinnett Animal Hospital



Basic Birman Information

  • Lifespan: 15 - 20 years
  • Weight: 6 - 15 pounds

Medical Conditions Seen in Birman

Birman Traits

  • Lap Cat
  • Intelligence
  • Ease of Training
  • Grooming Requirements
  • Shedding
  • Good with Children
  • Good with Dogs
  • Chattiness

Birman History

  • Originated in western Burma, but the circumstances remain unclear. One popular belief touts that these cats served as feline companions for Kittah priests. When bandits fatally injured a high priest while attempting to steel a golden statute of blue-eyed goddess Tsun-Kyan-Kse, his loyal Birman, Sinh, stayed by his side as he was dying. Sinh's fur was turned golden like the goddess and his eyes turned blue. His paws were turned to pure white to symbolize his devotion to his dying priest.
  • The breed arrived in France around 1919 and the first Birmans came to the United States in 1959.
  • Birman breeders name their kittens born in a specific year with the same letter of the alphabet. This naming convention makes it easier to determine the age of a Birman. For instance, all Birman kittens born in 2007 in the United States are registered with names beginning with the letter, "E."
  • Accepted by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1967 and attained championship status in 1972. All major cat breed registries now recognize this popular breed.

Birman Behavior Concerns

  • Speaks in soft tones.
  • Welcomes being part of a multi-species pack in the household.
  • Seeks your company in a sweet, quiet manner.
  • Gentle, playful and inquisitive.
  • Learn commands and tricks easily.
  • Does better with another cat or pet in the house when owners are at work.
  • Not noted for climbing counters or hanging out on high shelves.

Look of Birmans

  • Large, cobby-shaped body with medium to long silky hair that doesn't mat.
  • Features a body that is golden or eggshell in color with darker points displayed on the face, legs and tail.
  • Points come in such colors as seal, blue, chocolate and lilac.
  • The eyes are round and always deep blue and the ears are small. The head is round.
  • All four paws are always white and called gloves. It is genetically unclear why this occurs with such consistency.

Grooming Birman Cats

  • Its silky coat lacks an undercoat and mimics the feel of rabbit fur.
  • Comb through the coat once or twice a week to keep looking healthy.

Suggested Nutritional Needs for Birmans

  • To prevent this breed from becoming overweight, measure food portions and feed two or three small meals daily.

Fun Facts of Birmans

  • According to popular legend, it is said that when a Birman cat dies, the soul of a priest chaperones the feline up to heaven.
  • All Birman kittens are born all white and gradually develop colors and points with the final colors established by age 2.
  • Easily mistaken for a longhaired Siamese or Ragdoll.

Did you know?

  • A decrease in cat grooming behavior may indicate they are in pain.
  • Some cat parasites are transferable to humans.
  • Many common pet ailments may be detected early and prevented by visiting your veterinarian twice yearly - saving both time, money, and most importantly, ensuring the best quality of life for your cat.

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Ask the Vet

Have unanswered pet health questions? Dr.Donna Spector, with 10+ years of hands-on Internal Medicine experience, is here with your answers every Friday.


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency during normal business hours, please call us immediately. If you have an emergency outside of our normal business hours, please contact a local emergency animal hospital.