Often called the sacred temple cats of Burma and they originate from this Asian country. It is said that this cat with its distinctive coat pattern and white paws sensed that the high priest was dying and comforted him by putting its paws on his body to be near him in his last hours. As the priest was dying the cats feet turned white and that is how they are today. It is also said in the legends surrounding this cat that because of its loyal devotion to the priest every time a Birman cat dies, the soul of a priest accompanies it to heaven.
The breed was probably created much later by crossing a Siamese with a bi-color Longhair cat. This happened in France in the 1920s. It's coat color were similar to the Seal-point Siamese.
In a temple built on the sides of Mount Lugh, there lived in prayer the very holy Kittah Mun-Ha, the one which the God, Song Hio himself, has braided his golden beard. His whole life was dedicated to the adoration, contemplation, and holy services of Tsun Kyan-Kse, the Goddess with the sapphire blue eyes, who presided over the trans migation of souls, the one who permits the Kittahs to live again in a holy animal for the duration of it's animal existence, before once again joining with a haloed body with the full and holy perfection of the great priests.
Near him, Sihn sat meditating. Sihn was a dear oracle, an all-white cat whose eyes were yellow from the reflection of the golden whiskers of his master, and from the golden body of the Goddess with the heavenly eyes. Sihn, the cat to advise, whose ears, nose, tail and extremities of his legs were dark like the color of the earth, mark of the stain and impurity of all that touches or can touch the ground.
One night, raiders attacked the temple, and Mun-Ha was mortally wounded. At the moment of the Mun-Ha's death, Sihn placed his feet on his master, and faced the Goddess. That is when the miraculous transformation took place. Sinh's white fur took on a golden glow, reflecting the golden goddess. His eyes became as blue as hers. His face, ears, legs and tail remained the brown of the earth, but his four paws, touching the white hair of his beloved master, became pure white - a symbol of purity. The other priests watched the transformation in awe, and were inspired to fend off the attackers.
Seven days later, Sihn died, taking the soul of Mun-Ha to paradise. And when seven days later, the assembles priests consulted before the statue to decide on the succession of Mun-Ha, all the cats of the temple ran up. All were dressed in gold with white gloves and all their eyes had changed from golden, to the beautiful sapphire blue of the goddess. In complete silence they surrounded the youngest of the Kittahs, thus the reincarnated ancestors were designated by the will of the Goddess. The legend states that each Sacred Cat carries the soul of a priest on its final journey to paradise
Type and characteristics
Body, legs and feet
Massive, long body with medium length, thick legs and long silky fur with a neck ruff.
Broad, round, strong head
Roundish, should be bright sapphire blue.
Set well apart in profile
Should be bushy an proportion to the body
Should be evenly marked with points, confined to face, ears, tail and legs and with white paws. The markings must be symmetrical, with the "gloves" on the front legs ending in a straight line and extending no further than the top of the paws; rear leg markings should stretch up to the back of the hock. The semi-long coats do need extra grooming, but not as much as Persians.
It is a clever cat, not as demanding and noisy as the Siamese or Burmese cats. They are ideal pets and good with kids and other pets.
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Birman Breeders and other other Links
More Breed Descriptions on the Net
CFA Breed Profile: Birman
CFA Breed Standards Birman
ACF Breed Standard - (The Australian Cat Federation)
ACFA Breed Standard - The American Cat Fancier Association
CCAFC Breed Standards - Canadian Cat Association Feline Registry
FIFe Breed Standards - Federation Internationale Feline
GCCFBreed Standards - Governing Council Cat Fancy
LOOF Breed Standards- Livre Officiel des Origines Felines
WCF Breed Standards - World Cat Federation
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