Newest Review: ... they where beautiful, the breeder had 2 sets of kittens most of them where boyes with 2 little girls. The breeder advised me birmans are no... more
Cobweb licking, Balcony jumping Moggie Mentalist!
Member Name: carly_pussycat
Date: 14/04/04, updated on 12/02/05 (1354 review reads)
Advantages: A beautiful affectionate loyal cat
Disadvantages: They shed fur around the house
Birmans are similar in appearance to a cross between Siamese and Persian cats. I dislike the frail build of Siamese cats; I think they look harsh and mean, kind of like a cat version of Posh Spice. Persian cats are gorgeous to look at but are no doubt a hassle with the constant worry of them turning into a massive fur ball! In my opinion Birman cats take the best points of both breeds and none of the faults.
At the age of 9, and when my sister was 8 our family started discussing whether or not we could have another cat in the household. We had previously had a cat called Jamie when we first moved into our house but unfortunately as it was near a main road and he was not accustomed to it he got run over quite soon after we moved in (RIP Jamie). With the discussion came the usual disagreements (mainly from my dad) with regards to who would feed it, who would clean out the litter tray and so on and so forth. We were eager for this kitten so we all agreed we would chip in equally and help with the moggie maintenance. My sister, my mum and I convinced dad that it would be the right decision and consequently went on a kitten hunt.
We needed a cat that didn?t mind staying in the house all the time and I think it was my mum who was quite familiar with the characteristics of the Birman breed and suggested that we search for a local breeder. We located a breeder just a few miles down the road who was very friendly and gave us the opportunity of going to see the kittens at h
er house as soon as we liked. My memory is a little vague as it was about 10 years ago now, but something that is still crystal clear in my mind is that we all instantly fell in love with the fluffy little kittens (even my dad, though he probably wouldn?t admit it in public).
The breeder gave us the opportunity of going back to see them on a regular basis and then deciding whether or not we wanted to purchase one. She was evidently very concerned for the future of her kittens and wanted to ensure that we were absolutely certain about it. It only took a couple of visits to have us absolutely convinced that a Birman kitten would be right for us, and we ordered one immediately. We were invited to visit the kittens every few weeks and see which one we liked best, and then decide which one we wanted. It was a hard choice as they were all so adorable, but one caught our eye and we were encouraged to name her so that she could get used to it. Kate, we called her - Not a very ?catty? name admittedly, but my sister and I were young and just happened to like that name!
June 22nd 1993 was the date we picked her up. I remember the exact date because it was the eve of my 10th birthday. What better present could I have asked for?! None, I promise you. My sister and I were so excited! We picked her up in her little plastic carry case and hurried her home.
Once home, we placed the box in the kitchen, opened the door of the box?.and waited?..and waited??and waited. She sat in the box for a good half hour ? I can?t blame her though, she was a tiny little thing in a totally unfamiliar world, astounded by all the new surroundings. As the time went by she slowly edged her way out of the box, cautiously, painfully shy. Once out, she hibernated under the kitchen table for the next few hours. In hindsight I guess it must be quite frightening being in a weird
place with four big people circled round you!
As the days went by she came out of her shell and we enjoyed every day with her, she was so cute, and so small that you could hold your palm out flat and just hold her there. We loved watching her grow up and learn new things but after a few months we couldn?t help but think that she may be lonely, with us being at school and our parents at work. What now? A companion of course! Much to my dad?s delight, who had by now taken on the majority of the maintenance required of Kate. How we ever convinced him I will never know, but we did, and began the search for an equally cute partner in crime for Kate.
We went through the same process and this time picked a stunning show quality male who happened to be Kate?s half brother (they had the same father). We named him Oliver, his show name being Mr Pickwick (how pompous!) We had to wait a little while until he was old enough to leave home and picked him up just over a year after we had Kate. Once at home Oliver was completely different to Kate. Perhaps he was in his alter ego as Mr Pickwick but he pranced confidently out of his cage to greet Kate, not fazed by his surroundings and the four looming humans in the slightest.
Over a short period of time Kate and Ollie became best of friends, and still are to this day. They play fight and talk to each other (often yowling at each other from opposite ends of the house). They cuddle up together to keep warm in the winter and clean each other?s coats if they think the other is looking particularly scruffy. When they were small enough they both used to sit in a small round fleecey tube at the bottom of their scratching post.
~ Different varieties of Birmans ~
The main variation in colour between the varieties of Birman occurs in the ?points? ? the fa
ce, legs, ears and tail. There are five main varieties of Birman, although there are slight variations on each one:
Seal Point: This is the original colour. The main body is gold, although it can vary between different cats. It can be very pale, through to a warm glowing rich gold.
Blue Point: A more subtle version of the Seal Point, the Blue Point has greyish/icy blue points and a pale creamy body.
Chocolate point: This variety has warm milk chocolate coloured points and also have particularly blue eyes.
Lilac Point: A subtle version of the chocolate point with pale, almost pinky grey points and a shiny coat.
Red Point: Red Points have a rich, fiery red points and a pale apricot glow to their main body.
The variations on these Points include Tortie points, Tabby points, and a mixture of those two.
The physical characteristics that all Birmans share are as follows:
A strong skull which is broad and rounded with a medium length nose, medium sized ears (well spaced) rounded cheeks and a well developed chin. They have a ?ruff? (like Henry the 8th wore!) and a long, well built body. Their legs are of medium length and their paws are short and strong. Their coat should be silky and long haired, with a bushy tail in proportion to their body. In addition to this they have striking blue eyes, which are almost perfectly round, some more than others.
We occasionally shower our cats to keep their coats looking their best, and after a shower they look like large rats hehehe.
~ Blue Point ~
The breeder that we bought our cats from only bred Seal Point and Blue Point. There really was no competition between the two for our family, our hearts
melted for the soft tones of the Blue Point. Kate and Oliver are both Blue Point, but you could be forgiven for thinking they were different varieties.
Oliver?s fur is darker than Kate?s and has a tendency to look a bit flatter as it is not so long. He was sold to us as ?show quality? hence us giving him the pompous name! He has all the perfect markings, and stunning piercing sapphire eyes.
Kate?s fur is longer and softer to the touch. She is pale cream with a fleck of gold to her coat. She has a larger ruff around her neck, a fluffier tail and large inquisitive eyes of a paler blue than Oliver?s.
~ Moggie maintenance ~
The decision to buy a cat, or any pet for that matter, should not be one taken lightly. Please take everything that you can possibly think of into consideration. Can you afford the initial cost of the pet? Can you afford to feed it, keep its litter tray clean, pay vets bills and vaccine injections? Do you have any other pets that may not get on with it? Where would you keep it? Do you have the time to devote to it, or are you out of the house for the majority of the day? Is anyone in the house allergic to pet hair? Do you mind having to de-hair your clothes before going out of the house? Are you willing to pay for a cattery when you go on holiday?
I?m sure there are many more questions but those are the main ones we asked ourselves before making the decision. After buying the cats we were landed with essential vaccines that we needed to give the kittens to stop them catching nasty diseases. In addition to that we had to pay to get both of them neutered and spayed (I think it?s a different word for male/female?) buy a litter tray and a large plastic carry case to take them to the vets in, and various bowls for food and drink. Inevitably from time to time they also get ill and yo
u have to pay for unexpected bills at the vets. One fortunate thing about Birmans is that although they are classed as long haired cats, their fur does not matt. It stays in tip top condition but just to keep them looking smart we occasionally groom Kate and Oliver with a small pet comb.
It is recommended that you don?t keep cats in the kitchen, but unfortunately that is the only room that was suitable for us to keep ours, so we just had to make sure that every time we cooked we cleaned everything thoroughly. We have an alarm on our house so when we are out of the house the cats have to be locked in their room, the kitchen. This is something you also need to take into consideration when buying a cat, as the room needs to be of a fair size if the cat is to be in there for a large part of the day.
~ Temperament of Birman cats ~
The Birman cat is renowned for its good temperament. My cats illustrate this beautifully and many visitors to the house have commented on it. I think temperament also has a lot to do with the way the cats are treated. If you constantly annoy a cat and irritate it until it lashes out, then that is going to be aggressive more often, as it will always be on the look-out.
My cats have been treated like royalty since birth, and as a result they are the tamest cats I have ever encountered. Kate will allow me to balance her on my head and wear her as a fur hat (much to any visitor?s amusement). They are friendly enough that a stranger could stroke them and they would stay still.
When they are happy they let out a soft, deep purr from the back of their throats. If they are really happy they will purr and speak at the same time, a sound which I love!
~ Mischievous streak ~
I would like to say that this is a characteristic of Birman cats, but on reflection I think it is jus
t Kate?s lively personality. She is a cheeky little character who will test the boundaries at any given opportunity. Take for example dinner time when I used to live at home. We would all sit down to dinner and when the table was extended it would be about a foot away from the cats? scratching post. This just so happens to be a little bit taller than the dinner table, and to Kate?s delight, this meant that my dad?s dinner would be a mere three feet away from her. If it was tuna or some other dish which tickled Kate?s fancy she would slowly edge towards the table and if no one reprimanded her she would reach out a paw as if she were going to get to dad?s food. Of course, she never got so far, but that is basically how she behaves.
Oliver on the other hand, is not so obvious. He is rather cunning and sly. He likes to pull the dishcloth off the radiator, but heaven forbid! If you catch him he will look extremely sheepish and rather than running away he will pretend nothing has happened in the hope he may fool you. However, that is basically the end of his mischievous streak. When he wants attention he WILL get it, either that or trip you over weaving in and out of your legs. As long as he has a little attention a day, he is happy.
And then back to Kate?.what a different kettle of fish! (pardon the expression).
If she isn?t causing a bit of trouble she?s not happy! She doesn?t wreak havoc but she certainly keeps everyone amused. If a tap is running she likes to put her tongue in the stream of water, and pat it with her paw. She has a certain fascination with water, and used to always come into the bathroom with me when I was running a bath. As they say, curiosity killed the cat?.but not killed in this case, just soaked! She used to like jumping into the bath after I had been in it. Not once either, on about a monthly ba
sis ? only she would realise that she didn?t particularly like it when it was too late and she was neck deep in bathwater.
Kate also enjoys licking any cobwebs she can find. I don?t know why? She just seems to like it. She is also a proficient spider catcher. One of her favourite pastimes is sitting on shelves looking like an ornament, which may not be particularly mischievous, but not what you really want if you have expensive things on show. She has been known to jump off my balcony (approx 10 foot high) and also to venture out onto the roof and onto the next door neighbour?s conservatory. She is a true mentalist.
~ Loyal companions or nosy parkers? ~
As I mentioned earlier, Oliver does not require a lot of attention. If he wants to be stroked he will ask you, but once he has had enough that?s the end of it. He will then proceed to go back upstairs and take residence next to the radiator or underneath my dressing table (where it is also very warm). He is the quieter of the two, and although he can be very affectionate he will only approach you for his benefit, not just to keep you company.
My mum doesn?t live at the house any more and my sister doesn?t give Kate much attention, so if either I visit the house to see my dad, or my dad is in the house on his own you can almost guarantee that Kate will be by one of us. Whether I am on the computer, watching TV or in the bath Kate wants to be there too. She used to sleep next to my pillow as well when I lived there. She will not abide by closed doors; this will be greeted by an onslaught of loud meowing. Birmans are said to have softly spoken voices, but if you heard Kate?s protests to closed doors you may well disagree!
She is so affectionate, and always willing to keep you company. If you are upset or crying she tends to sense it and will give y
ou a little nudge just to show she cares, or a little wet kiss on your nose. She enjoys being tickled just before where her tail begins, and if you do this in turn she entertains you with a little dance on her tiptoes. She howls at the door when my dad leaves the house as she loves him dearly. I think she also gets lonely from time to time now I am not living there, as I enjoy giving her a lot of attention. She will always greet any visitors immediately at the door, unlike Oliver who will stay firmly put (unless he hears the tapping of a spoon on a metal bowl).
Kate is possibly the best alarm clock you could own. I am not sure if she still does it to get my dad up for work, but she used to always start howling at the top of her voice at around 6.30 when my dad had to get up and get ready to take us to school.
~ The verdict ~
There only two possible downsides to this breed of cat. One might be the cost, as Kate cost around £100 and Oliver was £150 because he was show quality. The other being that they do shed a lot of fur around the house, so you need to wear scruffy clothes around the house to avoid getting fur all over your nice clothes.
After all this I think it is quite clear to see that I am absolutely infatuated by this breed. I find them absolutely stunning to look at, the most beautiful cat I have ever seen, and if I have a cat in the future it shall almost certainly be one of this breed.
It would be hard to describe the exact character traits of Birman cats in general because I only have two to comment on, but my two possess all the qualities I would look for in a pet ? gentle, never aggressive, affectionate and lively, if a little mischievous at times! If this sounds like your perfect pet then by all means ask yourself all the questions you can think of, and then get hunting for a decent breeder in yo
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