Living With Birmans



The Birman is an intelligent, intuitive, inquisitive, charming, curious, polite, playful, people-oriented, alert, adventurous, sweet, opinionated and dignified feline. It would seem that each country that has nourished it has imparted to it some of their national traits. There is the French flair for the dramatic; the Gaelic loving and affectionate nature tempered by British reserve and dignity. Add a touch of the inscrutable for the Far East, a bit of German patience and practicality, some American ingenuity and Australian adventurousness, and you’ve got a Birman. 

These cats would make great silent actors, imparting so much with their eyes and body positions, especially those soulful blue eyes that look at you so directly and expressively. 

Birmans are people-orientated cats. When you come home, they’ll always greet you at the door; thrilled to see you again. By the time they are 6-8 weeks old, they have fully functioning purr-motors, easily started by just being picked up or spoken too. This continues through out their lives. 

Some will sit next to you for an hour or so, purring softly the whole time, just happy to be near you. Kittens will race to the sound of your voice, but in adulthood this is modified by the cat’s inherent dignity. 

If you are in one room and the Birman is in another, in a very short time they will casually saunter in, even if it’s a seldom-used room. They just happened to wander in, and how nice to see you! If you close the door with Birmans on the other side, there will be a scratch at the door, and indignant “meow” and when you open the door, several pairs of eyes looking at you—how could you close the door in my face? 

They are so sweet, but not coyingly so. If you are busy and one decides it need attention, (it will tell you by sitting on your paper), all you have to do is give it a few minuets of petting, remind it of your undying love and devotion and affirm that it is the most wonderful and beautiful cat in the world. Then you can gently put it down and it will curl up nearby and leave you to your work. It does get the final “word” in with a long look as if to say “Well, it’s your loss, but I’ll leave you to do it.” 

As a breed, Birmans are mostly relaxed and easygoing, but they are certainly curious. A paper bag turns a Birman into a spelunker. An open cupboard or closet raises an immediate exploration expedition. Anything new is just wonderful, to be sniffed at, and then slept on or in, if feasible. Birmans love new things. They are playful, even in adulthood, chasing pens, and pencils, Ping-Pong balls, felt mice, digging through an entire box of Kleenex to see what is at the bottom! Paper towels make great toys, and helping to measure something with a real metal tape measure is the best it can get!! Kitty teaser toys are enjoyed but not only by kittens, but even with adults! Any paper that is left out always has Birman signatures on the corners and sometimes in other places too!!! 

Birmans are very intelligent. They can come when called by name; open cupboards and drawers, carry off whatever catches their fancy. You can be in a room with several Birmans and call just one name, and the one you called will be the one who looks with love and devotion in its eyes and a wave of the tail. 

Birmans also have the power to de-materialize at will… or its very own very private hiding place. I personally am sure that they can de-materialize whenever the mood strikes them. You can and will lose them occasionally.. .you will look everywhere, call frequently, search the entire house, and just when you are ready to call the cat-police and the missing cat-bureau, the miscreant will re-materialize right in front of you, usually yawning! So from that, we must assume that re-materializing is exhausting!!!!! 

Birmans are polite. When one gets a treat, the rest will wait patiently until you give them theirs. And if you are late. Well!!!! You don’t know what guilt is until you have been silently reproached by Birman eyes! Of course, you have to give in, and you are guilty, at which time your actions are approved. They just knew that you would do the right thing, sooner or later! If you are late feeding, there is never a harsh word, just patient waiting, though if you take too long, they may just fall over from starvation, usually faking a faint!!

Birmans are never wrong. Nor do they ever do anything not right!!!! Should you be so rude as to suggest that a Birman has misbehaved or so crass as to scold it, it will look at you in utter amazement—”who moi” it is fortunate that they are generally very well behaved cats.

 Birmans have unusual vocalization when they are annoyed, We affectionately refer to this as the Birman huff. The sound they make is like a combination huff/bark. Pet owners if not warned, think that the cat is coughing and one might think that the cat is really upset but it is no big deal simply the Birman vocal equivalent of a frown. Tiny kittens will huff; some huff and purr at the same time! Birman conversation voice is small and quiet, and some people say that they sound “bell-like”. 

 Birman fur is soft and silky, stuff dreams are made of.  Occasionally mats do occur, but are easily brushed out with a gentle hand. They do not require much if any grooming, they keep themselves very clean and neat. Brushing for most Birmans is a treat, a one-on-one enjoyment between you and your best friend. 

Birmans are basically healthy and live a long life. Many Birman owners have cats that have reached and passed the ages of 12-15 years old. Perhaps their eating habits have something to do with this. Birman do not pig out.

They never over eat and therefore they do not get fat. Birman owners normally leave out dry food all the time

With of course, fresh water.

Birman are forever enchanting, beautiful and wonderful companions. They retain their playfulness into adulthood but manage to remain dignified always.

Never try to stay awake when there are sleeping Birman in the room. That is an impossible task!!!! It is always Much better to nap together, and go to sleep hearing the soft purr of a Birman.

Birman are very helpful. They are quite willing to jump in to whatever you are doing and of course, they already know how to do everything and remember they are never wrong!!! Keep this in mind when you are loading the dishwasher, the dryer, washer, freezer, fridge, making beds or trying to put laundry away. Whatever you have to do, be willing to do it with a Birman, and the chore becomes a game.


Written and shared by Birman breeders and Birman lovers