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Burmese cat breed

Burmese cat breed

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Burmese cat breed information and advice

The Burmese cat breed was developed in the US in 1930 after a dark brown cat called Wong Mau from Burma (now Myanmar) was mated with a seal point Siamese cat. The breed arrived in the UK in 1949. They are active, curious, friendly cats, and sometimes noisy. They’ll want to be involved in whatever you do. These charming cats love company and don’t like to be left alone all day.

Burmese facts

Lifespan 16-18 years
How much £450 and £650
Size medium
Weight >5 kg (male); 3-5 kg (female)
Grooming low
Temperament friendly, affectionate, sociable
Exercise medium

Burmese cat insurance

Burmese cats can have some inherited health issues, so it’s wise to take out cat insurance. Cat cover can help you manage financially with any unexpected vets’ bills.

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance

You can take out a cat insurance policy at Sainsbury’s Bank as long as your Burmese cat is over 8 weeks and less than 10 years old. If you take out a policy before your cat’s 10th birthday, they’ll be covered throughout their later years (as long as you keep renewing your policy).

How to care for a Burmese

Burmese cats can have some inherited health issues, so it’s wise to take out cat insurance. Cat cover can help you manage financially with any unexpected vets’ bills.

Feeding and nutrition

Burmese cats should be fed a high-quality cat food that matches their age, activity levels and health needs. Ask your Burmese breeder which cat food they used and continue with this brand. If you want to change their cat food, do so gradually to avoid any tummy upset. Feed according to the recommendations on the packet so you don’t overfeed them.


Burmese cats have a soft, short coat that doesn’t shed much. A weekly brush or comb is all that’s needed to keep their soft and silky coats in good condition. They’ll enjoy the attention that comes with the grooming sessions too.


Burmese cats are energetic and playful and can retain their kitten-like characteristics into adulthood. They’re best kept as indoor cats so make sure they have lots of interactive toys to play with to keep them active. They’re good climbers so provide a perch or cat tree, ideally by a window so they can view the world around them.


Burmese cats are highly intelligent and will pick things up quickly, including toilet training. They’ll enjoy puzzle toys and games such as playing ‘fetch’. They can also be taught to walk on a lead and perform various tricks.


Temperament and behaviour

Burmese cats love human attention and will follow you around the house. Be prepared for a constant companion. They’re often described as having a playful, ‘dog-like’ personality that’s affectionate, so be prepared for loving cuddles and snuggles. They can also be talkative and can carry on a conversation with a voice that’s described as being raspy or a soft rumble.

Not known to have a high prey drive, Burmese cats can be a curious and friendly nature makes them less fearful of strangers or threats. To keep them safe, they are best kept as indoor cats.

Common health problems

Burmese cats are generally healthy but there are a few health issues they can be susceptible to that it is important to be aware of.

Diabetes mellitus

Burmese cats have an increased risk of being affected by diabetes mellitus. The condition is likely to be inherited in breeding lines and can be fatal if left untreated. Diabetes usually affects cats aged between 7-14 years and occurs when there isn’t enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels at an optimum level. Most diabetic cats will need regular insulin injections to keep their blood sugar levels under control.

Burmese head defect

This head defect is seen in Burmese cats in the US and those imported from the US. The defect isn’t seen in European Burmese cats. Affected kittens are born with a severe malformation of the head and face and unfortunately have to be put to sleep. A genetic test is available for carriers of the defect; affected carriers shouldn’t be used for breeding.

Hypokalaemic myopathy

This is inherited in some Burmese cats. Affected cats will have muscle weakness and struggle to lift their head up (ventroflexion of the head and neck) so their chin tucks down onto their chest. It’s treated with potassium supplementation. A genetic test is available for the gene mutation responsible for the condition; if tests are positive, affected cats shouldn’t be used for breeding.

Flat-chested kitten syndrome (FCK)

This condition can affect Burmese kittens. It’s usually apparent when the kitten is about 10 days old. The chest is flattened, and the legs can be splayed. The kitten may be called a ‘swimmer’. Malformation of the chest can also occur (called pectus excavatum or funnel chest). Affected kittens may have breathing difficulties. Both conditions can occur together and can be mild or life-threatening. Splinting the ribcage can be successful.


Are Burmese cats hypoallergenic?

No cat is completely hypoallergenic – they all produce the protein in their saliva that is the cause of cat allergies. However, Burmese cats are considered to be one of the breeds that produce less dander and less of the protein Fel D-1 in their saliva. This means that they might cause less of an allergic reaction.

How long do Burmese cats live?

Burmese cats are a long-lived breed with a life expectancy of 16-18 years.

How much does a Burmese cost?

Burmese kittens will cost between £450 and £650. This does depend on the region and the breeder. Make sure that the breeder is a reputable and registered Burmese breeder.

What are the colours of Burmese cats?

Burmese cats come in 10 colours - brown, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, cream, and brown, blue, chocolate, lilac tortoiseshell. Their coats are lighter on the underside. A kitten’s coat will become darker as it matures. The most common eye colour is gold or yellow.

Is a Burmese cat right for you?

With their intelligent and playful personalities, Burmese cats charm everyone they meet. They’re low maintenance for grooming but don’t like to be left alone too long. Perhaps consider buying two, ideally a sibling, for company. They’ll fit in well in families with children and households with other cats and cat-friendly dogs. If you can give them lots of attention, the Burmese will be the perfect fit for you.

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Content provided from Vetstream’s Vetlexicon

Vetstream Ltd (online) Burmese. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

David Bruyette, Carmel Mooney, Nicki Reed (online) Diabetes mellitus. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Leslie A Lyons, Susan Little (online) Craniofacial defect. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

Prof Richard Malik, Severine Tasker (online) Hypokalemic myopathy (Burmese). In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

David Godfrey, Geert Verhoeven (online) Flat-chested kitten and pectus excavatum. In: Vetlexicon Felis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website:

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