How to define the Burmese Cat? Now I know how the Mother Superior in ‘The Sound of Music’ felt, trying to describe Maria! To me a Burmese is the essence of Cat; a conundrum of beauty, stealth, elegance, playfulness, selfishness and affection mixed with athleticism, resourcefulness and mystery.

In appearance it is a shorthaired, medium sized, muscular yet elegant cat of the foreign type. The short sleek coat comes in four traditional colours: brown (bournville), blue (silvery pewter), chocolate (café latte to mocha) and lilac (pale dove grey with a pinkish cast). It is also available in red and cream, which is sex-linked, thereby producing females in the four tortoiseshell colours of brown, blue, chocolate and lilac, an Impressionist type coat with dappled markings.

Kitten colours are always paler and all kittens have blue eyes until around eight weeks old. Later, the Burmese eyes should develop into any shade of yellow from golden to chartreuse. Their head should be gently rounded and the ears should be of a fair size following the line of the jaw. The eyes should be luminous and of good size with the bottom being fully rounded and the top having a straighter slope. The coat should be close lying and silky, particularly in an adult and the body should be muscular and feel heavier than it looks. The paws should be spoon shaped on neat legs and the tail should balance the body by reaching the shoulder blade.

More important than type (looks), is health and temperament. At Purfidelis we aim to breed healthy cats, raised lovingly in safe and hygienic surroundings on nutritious food, with much social interaction and affection. They just happen to be gorgeous too!

A Burmese kitten never really grows up and even as an adult it will clown around, showing off and attention seeking, whether it be by pouncing onto kitchen wall units, walking spider-man style up doors or playing fetch for hours. Very much people centred they enjoy ‘making’ beds, ‘sorting’ shopping and ‘answering’ phones. Many can open doors, those who can’t create such a hullabaloo that their slaves do it for them! Newspapers become a thing of the past, as there is little point when blocked out by a Burmese. Likewise, a curious cat with a penchant for pressing ‘Delete’, frequently graces the computer monitor.  It is imperative that the Burmese should oversee bath time as those popping bubbles are just too fascinating and some even enjoy a ‘sauna’ atop the shower screen.  Being heat-seekers, they will manipulate you into giving over the cosiest seat at the fire and will race you to bed for prime position beneath the duvet.

Many a visitor has been converted to cats by the charm of a Burmese. We’ve lost count of the ‘strictly dog only’ visitors who’ve been won over by the breed. Unfortunately their gregariousness can be their downfall, as they’ve been known to jump into vehicles and become lost.  For this reason and fears over theft, infection and road accidents, many owners prefer to keep them indoors. Others feel such an athletic cat will suffer by being confined. Perhaps the answer is interactive play, scratching and climbing towers and a safe cat-proofed garden or run. Ours can be seen in the gallery.

They are an adorable mixture of fun and faithfulness and thrive when they have company. Many working owners select two littermates for ultimate fun, but they also integrate well with existing cats or dogs. For people who are housebound, Burmese are terrific company and are also exceptionally good with young children, perhaps because they make such excellent parents themselves.