The modern Burmese cat is an exotic and elegant short-haired cat, with a short well-rounded head,
large golden-yellow eyes, a compact athletic body, robust limbs with delicately shaped paws and a
fine lustrous coat of fur.
Burmese cats are surprisingly heavy for their size. Americans often refer to them as "bricks wrapped in silk." A distinctive coloration, in combination with expressive eyes and a markedly gentle face, distinguishes this breed from all others.
In the early 1930s, an American sailor brought the cat Wong Mau from Burma to the USA. From the color of Wong Mau, her new owner recognized a distinct genetic difference between this cat and the more popular Siamese. That recognition gave rise to the development of a new breed of cat.
Then, in 1949, the Burmese cat was introduced to England, where the breed quickly developed; but already in a fashion that made it distinct from cats in America. With the appearance of standards on breeding, American and European types of Burmese were acknowledged together as one breed, but the differences in color scale even now cause Americans to distinguish between the European Burmese and their own American Burmese.
However, in the late 1970s, the breed split into fractions in the USA when a small group of breeders and exhibitors began influencing the judging. There are now two types of American Burmese: Traditional and extreme (often called Contemporary).
Sable: the mature specimen is a rich, warm, sable brown; shading almost imperceptibly to a slightly l ighter hue on the underparts but otherwise without shadings, barring, or markings of any kind. (Kittens are often lighter in color.) Nose leather and paw pads: brown. Eye color: ranges from gold to yellow, the greater the depth and brilliance the better.
Champagne: the mature specimen should be a warm honey beige, shading to a pale gold tan underside. Slight darkening on ears and face permissible but lesser shading preferred. A slight darkening in older specimens allowed, the emphasis being on eveness of color. Nose leather: light warm brown. Paw pads: warm pinkish tan. Eye color: ranging from yellow to gold, the greater the depth and brilliance the better.
Blue: the mature specimen should be a medium blue with warm fawn undertones, shading almost imperceptibly to a slightly lighter hue on the underparts, but otherwise without shadings, barring or markings of any kind. Nose leather and paw pads: slate gray. Paw pads: ranging from slate gray to warm pinkish blue. Eye color: ranging from yellow to gold, the greater the depth and brilliance the better.
Platinum: the mature specimen should be a pale, silvery gray with pale fawn undertones, shading almost imperceptibly to a slightly lighter hue on the underparts, but otherwise without shadings, barring or markings of any kind. Nose leather and paw pads: lavender-pink. Eye color: ranging from yellow to gold, the greater the depth and brilliance the better.
Care and Grooming
Burmese generally have strong appetites. They are happy to share potatocrisp or popcorn with you. But be aware; they seldom stop with one piece. While most Burmeses can free-feed without becoming overweight, some Burmese owners find that they must ration the food or switch to a low-calorie feed. Most breeders use and recommend a high-quality dry food of good quality that buildes up muscles.
The tight, short coat sheds very little and requires practically zero maintenance. The Burmese is completely capable of grooming itself, but a rubdown with the palm of your hand or a rubber brush is always a welcome activity. There is very little seasonal variation in the coat.
In preparation for showing, exhibitors generally bathe the Burmese one week before the show. This gives the coat time to recover some of the natural oils that help give it the proper sheen and texture. On the day of the show, a rub with a chamois cloth puts a final polish on the coat. No texturizers, glosses, or powders are ever needed on the Burmese coat.
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