How to Identify Birman Cats
With beautiful blue eyes and a calm disposition, the Birman cat is a sought after breed. Arriving in the United States sometime in the mid-twentieth century, it quickly took hold as a favorite of cat enthusiasts and joyful pet addition. If you want a Birman cat, you'll need to know its identifying characteristics, what to look for, and how to make sure you're making an authentic purchase.
Recognizing a Birman Cat
Look for common Birman cat fur colors.Birman cats are known as color-point cats, and are born fully white with pink noses.They are known as pointed cats because the majority of their coloration will be at "points," like their face, ear, legs, and tail. Their color patterns will emerge as they grow, and can be diverse.
- Their traditional coat colors are seal or blue point but can also be found in: Red pointed, Seal Tabby (Lynx) point, Blue point, Blue Tortie, Chocolate Point, Lilac Tabby (Lynx), and Seal Tortie Tabby.
Look for a single layered coat.Unlike most cats who have double coats, a Birman only have a single layer coat. This will make their fur slightly lighter and softer to the touch with a ruff of fur around their neck.
Examine their paws carefully.While Birman cat colors can be similar to other cats, their white paws, really make them stand out. All Birmans will have four white paws that almost appear like gloves. The myths about the Birman cat's origins make a point to say the white paws remained so as a sign of their purity.
- If you plan on showing your cat, make sure the paws are fully white and as symmetrical as possible.
- This is also a way to tell the Birman apart from other pointed cats, like the Siamese cat. While they may have similar color patterns, the Siamese or Persian will not have the starkly white paws.
Take note of the cat's size.Birman's are an average sized cat. They generally range from 7-12 pounds with females being on the smaller end of this range. They are approximately two and a half feet in length and their height should be 12-16 inches. They are considered a medium to large cat.
- If you are looking at kittens, this can be more difficult. However, most reputable breeders will allow access to the parent where you can better gauge the potential adult size of your kitten.
Look closely at the eyes and head.While the white paws are a distinctive feature of the Birman cat, so are its deep blue eyes. The ideal eye color is a deep sapphire blue.
- Birman cats should have a rounded face, medium ears and a "Roman nose," which will give them a pleasant looking disposition.
Observe their behavior and personality.Over the years, purebred Birman cats have been selectively bred for a mellow disposition and to weed out any aggressive tendencies. Birman cats are quiet and have a chirp like meow. They are typically mellow, gentle, and sociable. They are very patient and gentle which makes them a great choice for a family or kid.
- They are very social cats so be prepared for a cat that will require a fair amount of attention and want to be near you often. Many people compare them to dogs for how attached they become to their owners.
- If they are kept with other breeds, they can sometimes act dominant.
Making Sure Your Purchase is Authentic
Ask for pedigree papers.Cats like the Birman that are more exclusive and expensive than the typical cat should come with some sort of paper validation affirming their pedigree. Various associations offer pedigree papers that demonstrate the cat's line. For Birman cats, choose a breeder whose cats are registered with a cat registry, particularly one that specializes in Birmans.
- You should also be careful of putting too much stock in this, as some kitten mills can purchase papers that do not necessarily reflect the cat's lineage. You can inquire into the breeders history breeding Birmans and to meet the parents to put yourself more at ease.
Get a DNA test.Even more certain than papers are scientific DNA tests. This may sound complicated and expensive but is both common and affordable for a prospective cat owner. Choose a reputable DNA testing service, particularly one backed by a university or your vet.
- These tests are typically over 90% accurate.
- You will only need to obtain a cotton swab sample from your cat's cheek and follow protocol and send it to the lab for testing. In exchange, they should be able to give you a full report that gives the cat's parentage. This can be done to kitten as well as adults, as your cat's DNA will never change.
Be weary of where you get your kitten.Especially with more expensive breeds, kitten mills that attempt to sell non-pedigree cats can be a problem. Make sure that you get to see where the kittens were raised, meet the parents if possible and inquire into their experience as a breeder.
- Be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true. Although the price of Birman cats can vary considerably based on where you are, you can expect to pay more than a typical cat, and sometimes several hundreds of dollars, depending on the pedigree. If there are Birman cats available for a price that seems too good to be true, inquire with the seller the reasons behind the low asking price.
Finding a Birman Cat
Contact local animal shelters.Shelters usually have an over abundance of kittens and cats. Although they are not usually purebred cats, there is a chance that you could stumble upon a Birman if you know how to recognize one.
Contact a breeders association.This is a sure way to make sure you are getting a reputable stock of Birman. A great example of this is the The International Cat Association (TICA) who's website includes breeder listings and criteria to look for on your own. They also have information on exhibitions and shows where you can get into contact with Birman breeders.
QuestionCan you get a Birman kitten if mom is a calico? Or do both parents have to full Birman?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe offspring would not be purebred. Both parents would need to be full Birman.Thanks!
QuestionWould it be possible for a litter of kittens to have only one Birman parent?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, a Birman cat can breed with a non-Birman, but the kittens will not be purebred.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I know if my cat is a Birman cat?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMost Birman cats have deep blue eyes and long white fur. Their faces have black/grey/brownish fur. They look similar to Siamese cats, but a Birman's fur is longer. The only way to know for sure is to take your kitty to a breeder.Thanks!
QuestionWhen should a Birman kitten start to eat cat food? When is it safe for a kitten to leave its mother?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerKittens usually start eating hard food at about 4 weeks of age, and the safest age to be given away is usually between 8 to 12 weeks old.Thanks!
- Other breeds (like the ) sometimes have similar coloration as Birmans, so don't get confused! People often confuse Birmans with Burmese. The Burmese is a totally different breed of cat with a solid colored short coat and are not pointed.
- Do not purchase a Birman from a pet store. Pet stores are well known to get their kittens from Kitty Mills. Contact a registered reputable breeder who provides registration papers and a pedigree. That is the only way to assure you are truly getting a Birman kitten.
Video: How to Take Care of a Birman Cat | Things to Know About Birman Cat
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