Florencia Birmans
 


About Birmans

*****

Birmans are affectionate and intelligent. They love to be near people and find a warm lap or to snuggle up beside you in bed at night. They follow you around a little like a puppy. Their beautiful blue eyes and their lovely faces soon win your heart. Birmans come with different colour- pointing. I have found that the two most popular colour points are seal points and blue points.

Seal points have a lovely rich brown colour pointing against their creamy-white coat of fur.

Blue points are a lovely blue - soft grey colour against their lovely creamy-white coats.

Seal points were the original colour for Birmans and later blue points were introduced. Other colours have since been developed. 

Chocolate points are a dilute colour of the seal point.

Lilac points are a dilute colour of the blue points.

Seal points were the original colours for Birmans and later blue points were introduced. Other colours have since been developed.  They are all so beautiful it is hard to decide which one you like best!

The Birman legend

Birmans are said to have originated in western Burma and certainly cats with similar markings are recorded in documents from ancient Thailand. 

The legend of the Birmans suggests that once upon a time, before the days of Buddha, the Khmer people built beautiful temples to honour their gods - particularly the god Song-Hyo and the Goddess Tsun-Kyan-Kse.  One of these temples was Loa-Tsun, built on the sides of MountLugh. Within the temple was kept a gold figure of the goddess, with her sapphire eyes and dedicating his life to prayer lived the very holy Kittah Mun-Ha - and also 100 pure white cats with golden eyes.  One of these was Sinh, the companion of the old priest.
One night Thai raiders attacked the temple, killing Mun-Ha as he knelt before the figure of the Goddess.  Immediately the cat Sinh jumped onto the body of his master and faced the Goddess. The priest's soul entered the cat, and as it did so the white hair of its body became golden and its eyes became sapphire-blue like the goddess.  Its legs turned brown, except where the feet rested on its master and they remained white.

The transformation inspired the other priests to drive the raiders away and saved the temple from profanation and pillage.  Seven days later, Sinh also died carrying with him into paradise the soul of Mun-Ha.  And when seven days later, the assembled priests consulted before the statue to decide on Mun-Ha's successor, silently all the other white cats ran up, all dressed in gold with white gloves and with golden eyes transformed to sapphire blue.  Transformed just like Sinh they surrounded the youngest of the Kittahs and thus the reincarnated ancestors were designated by the will of the Goddess.  From then on, the priests guarded their sacred cats, believing them to have custody of the souls of the priests.  When a priest dies his soul is transmigrated into the body of a cat and upon the cat's death the priest's soul's transition into heaven has been accomplished.

How the Birmans came to Europe is another tale. One story claims that a pair was given as a gift to an Englishman named Major Gordon Russell and his friend August Pavie by the priests of the Khmer people; another that the cats were acquired by an American named Vanderbilt from a servant who had once been at the temple of Lao-Tsun where the cats were kept as sacred animals.

Whatever the name of their new owners, most historians agree that the original two cats were shipped to France and that the male died on the way. The female, named Sita is said to have been in kitten and to have produced a kitten named Poupee de Madalpour. In 1925 it is recorded beyond doubt that the Federation Feline FranSais recognized the Sacre de Birmanie as a championship breed. A photograph taken in 1930 shows a male of the day named Dieu d'Arakan which became the blue-print for the breed. He was owned by M. Baudoin- Crevoisier, well known as a breeder of Birmans at that time. Later Dieu d'Arakan was sold, together with six other Birmans, to Princess Ratibor and she subsequently left them in her will to the Duke d'Aosta. Eventually their ownership was transferred to the Countess Giriode Panissera and their pedigree line became famous worldwide.

During the war M. Baudoin- Crevoisier managed to keep a few cats entire. His champion male Orlaff de Kaabaa and his female Xenia de Kaabaa became the breed's foundation cats. By following this tradition it is easy to tell a cat's age just from its name. (Note: the first word in a cats name is the breeder’s cattery, then the cats name, then if required the current owner’s cattery)In Germany a line of Birmans was maintained by Hanna Kreuger of the von Frohnau cattery and Liselotte von Warner of the von Irak cattery. Together with descendants of Orloff and Xenia they formed the nucleus of the post-war breeding stock. The Birman first traveled to the USA in 1959 when Dr and Mrs. Siepel of the Janacques cattery imported a male, Irrouaddi du Clos Fleuri. Birmans arrived in Britain in 1964 when a male and two females were sent from France to Elsie Fisher and Margaret Richards. These two breeders registered a joint cattery name, Paranjoti.

Vivienne Smith begins to describe some of the fascination of the Birman in her 'Introduction' to the excellent book 'The Birman Cat Worldwide' (Designed and printed by Bernard Kaymar Ltd., Preston, Lancashire.  PR1 4AL ISBN 0 9518799 0 1). She writes:

"Birmans, or the Sacred Cats of Burma as they are otherwise known, are a beautiful and unique breed of Oriental - type semi-longhair cat. Their colouring is similar to that of the Siamese, but there the resemblance ends.  They have long, silky coats, but they do not have the Persian type of face.  They are very affectionate and make devoted pets, simply demanding devoted owners!  If you are owned by a Birman, you will inevitably be under the paw.”  

 

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Jo Fletcher
fletcher.family@xtra.co.nz
Phone: 64 3 329 5530

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