The Burmese is a medium cat whose size belies its weight. Often described as 'bricks wrapped in silk', the body is medium in size and compact in appearance but very muscular. Legs are muscular as well but proportional to the body with round paws. Compact cats with round heads are the darlings of the show ring.
The head of the Burmese should be pleasingly round without flat planes; it is full with considerable space between the eyes. The Burmese should only have yellow or gold eyes of great depth and brilliance. The muzzle is short and should maintain the rounded contours of the head. In profile there should be a nose break and the head should be set on a well-developed neck. The ears should be medium in size and set well apart with rounded tips; tilted slightly forward, they help give the cat an alert appearance.
The coat of the Burmese comes in four solid colors: sable, champagne, blue and platinum. It is fine and glossy, with a satin like texture; short in length and lying close to the body.
The Burmese is a family cat through and through. Females are known for their desire to help you run your home, while males administer their thoughts from the comfort of a chair. They are active, preferring to be involved in all you do throughout your day, even traveling if introduced from a young age. As kittens they are lively, if a tad clumsy, with a propensity towards taking on feats a bit too big. This attitude develops into playfulness in adulthood with high intelligence and unique personalities. They seem to control their owners with their large, expression-filled eyes and are great advocates of dinner time. They are also known for their stubbornness, rarely accepting no and simply finding a way around the rules. They are also known for turning around and calling for your attention if they are playing as they are trying to entertain you. A soft voiced cat, they will converse freely when encouraged.
The Burmese is very easy to care for. Their coat is groomed simply through daily petting and they are not prone to health issues.
The history of the Burmese begins in the 1930's with Dr. Joseph Thompson. Dr. Thompson was something of an Eastern enthusiast, and during some time spent in Tibet as a Buddhist monk, he became fascinated by the cats in the area. One in particular stood out to him and when he returned to San Francisco, he carried the female Wong Mau with him. Determined to create a scientifically based breeding program, he outcrossed Wong Mau with a Siamese named Tai Mau. Their kittens came in three colors: beige, brown, and pointed.
Breeding back to find out the location of the sable gene, Dr. Thompson discovered that the gene responsible for the unique colors in the Burmese coat was a member of the Albino gene series. It took the black hairs of the Burmese and lightened them into the sable brown.
It was a hard road to professional recognition. Outcrossing to Siamese continued, and many breeders complained that the Burmese was nothing more than a poorly colored Siamese. Eventually, the CFA withdrew recognition of the breed. Despite this, breeders continued to work hard and eventually produced a solid colored cat. The breed was reinstated to the CFA in 1953 and received Championship status in 1957 with a new standard permitting only the four solid colored coats.