~ burmese breed description ~

The Burmese Cat - History

The Burmese cat is named after its country of origin, Burma (now Myanmar). In the early 1930’s, Dr Joseph Thompson of San Francisco acquired an attractive walnut-brown female called Wong Mau, the “founding” cat for the Burmese breed as we know it.

A breeding program was established to produce offspring which bred true. Dr Thompson enlisted the help of Virginia Cobb (Newton Cattery), Billie Gerst (Gerstdale Cattery) and Dr Clyde E Keeler. Wong Mau was bred to a Seal Point Siamese called Tai Mau in 1932 and the resulting litter consisted of two colours, some just like the Siamese kittens and brown kittens with darker points (just like Wong Mau). Wong Mau was mated to a son from this litter (Yen Yen Mau) and this litter contained three colours, again, some like Siamese kittens, brown kittens (again like Wong Mau), and dark brown kittens. The dark brown offspring did indeed breed true and became the foundation cats of the Burmese breed. Wong Mau continued to produce kittens with three colour variations, and it is now accepted that Wong Mau was in fact a Siamese x Burmese hybrid.

The Burmese cat has ten recognised colours in South Africa:
        Brown – the original Burmese colour, a rich seal brown
        Blue – a soft blue grey with a silver sheen
        Chocolate – a warm milk chocolate
        Lilac – a pale delicate dove grey with a pinkish cast
        Red – tangerine
        Cream – cream with a distinct bloom on the head and back giving a powdered effect
        Brown tortie – brown with shades of red
        Blue tortie – blue with shades of cream
        Chocolate tortie – chocolate with shades of red
        Lilac tortie – lilac with shades of cream 

Burmese are surprisingly heavy for their size, described as “bricks wrapped in silk.” Burmese bodies should be well muscled and athletic. Their coats are short with a satin – like texture that requires little grooming other than daily petting.

As kittens, Burmese are lively and remaining playful well into adulthood. They can be clumsy and will be hugely embarrassed when laughed at! On the other hand, Burmese love to be the centre of attention and many can be taught to retrieve.

They love warm laps and loving hands and enjoy cuddling on your bed or under the covers. Typically, Burmese want to be with their people. The females tend to favour centre stage and take an active role in ruling the household. The males prefer to supervise and are usually more laid back and less opinionated.

There are so many positive ways to describe Burmese cats – friendly, inquisitive with an outgoing and gregarious nature. Like dogs, they will greet you at the door and comfort you when you are ill or down. Burmese love unconditionally and have converted the most anti-cat person into a Burmese enthusiast.

They adapt well in large households, quickly becoming part of the family, thriving on being part of all the activities. For those who want a less interactive pet, Burmese would not be the right choice. Likewise, an only Burmese is not ideal for people who are out of their homes most of the day. Their sociable nature means they need company – human and feline. Toys cannot replace this company, rather consider getting two kittens, ideally from the same litter.

Burmese should never be allowed outdoors unsupervised. Their trusting nature makes for poor survival instinct.

A Burmese kitten should be purchased only from a reputable breeder; avoid pet shops and be wary of scams. Kittens should be energetic, curious, and easily handled. The breeder should be very happy for you to make a home visit. As I live in KZN this may not always be practical, perhaps a friend could visit on your behalf. I would also willingly supply contact details of owners of my kittens. Use this opportunity to see the health of the cats, check for clear eyes and noses, clean ears, and healthy-looking coats. It is advisable to check with the SACC registrar that the breeder is in good standing.

In addition, good breeders should guarantee the health of the kitten or cat (for a reasonable length of time), sterilise and microchip kittens, provide certified pedigrees and registration papers, always be available to discuss your cat’s care and well-being and be willing to take responsibility for the cat if the owner’s circumstances change.

Mela kittens are ready to go to their new homes at 3 months of age. They may stay longer, but I will not consider kittens leaving at a younger age! Your kitten will be sterilised which is also non-negotiable.

All kittens are micro-chipped and dewormed and will have been given the first two (of three) core vaccines, and the first one (of two) Rabies inoculations. At 16 weeks they require a visit to your Vet for their boosters. After this, inoculations are done annually or bi-annually. Your Vet will advise.

They leave for their new homes with their SACC registration papers, pedigrees and all the necessary information required to raise them into healthy, well-adjusted adults. You will also receive a Hills starter pack, a goody bag containing a selection of Feline Fun Factory toys and a soft cuddly blanket that your kitten/kittens have slept on prior to leaving Mela Cattery. The familiar smells are very important in helping them settle in their new home.

Prospective owners are screened to ensure the safety and well-being of my kittens. I reserve the right to refuse the sale of a kitten to any persons for any or no reason whatsoever.


If you be unable to visit the breeder's home it is advisable to check with the SACC registrar that the breeder is in good standing.

Information obtained from the following sources:



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