Kitten History: Burmese

The Burmese kitten's ancestor, Wong Mau, passed along his good looks for generations.

By Stacy Hackett

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Burmese © Helmi FlickDid you know the history of your sweet little Burmese kitten started with a single cat? Your sleek brown bundle of fur can thank a cat named Wong Mau for his exotic good looks.

In 1930, Wong Mau arrived in New Orleans on a ship from the Orient. She made her way to San Francisco, where she was given to Dr. Joseph G. Thompson. He was so smitten with her walnut-brown color and dainty, compact body that he enlisted the help of experienced breeders to reproduce her beauty.

Working with strict scientific guidelines, the breeding program produced kittens with three distinct colors: some had points like Siamese cats, another group looked like Wong Mau with medium brown color and darker brown points and a third group were a deep, solid brown. The solid cats were considered the most attractive, and the breeders decided to work toward establishing the brown cats.

After being accepted by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1936, the breed gained popularity, and other stories and legends about the breed began to surface. Solid brown cats have been sighted on the Malay Peninsula, and legend has it that they were loved and cherished by Burmese kings. Today the breed captivates cat lovers all over the world. 

- Return to the Burmese Breed Profile -

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Kitten History: Burmese

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Reader Comments

Hank    New York City, NY

10/15/2014 1:25:47 PM

I adopted two Burmese from a breeder in 2011. By the end of 2012 I was addicted to them so much that they ran from me. Too much cuddling, petting and playing. So I adopted two more. Now I have four and they relieve the stress of life in NYC. As they grow older they become even more affectionate and yes they follow you everywhere; at least one of them does. I think the one tailing you reports back on what you did when possible. They all enjoy going out on the lash from time to time and I like taking them to the pet store for food and litter. Easy to train and far more intelligent than they should be. I'm a proud and happy Burmese dad.

Connie    International

2/22/2014 8:29:49 PM

Burmese cats are very loving and they make wonderful cats, however, they require a lot of time with their caregivers. They are intelligent and can be a bit saucy when they feel neglected. The one that I have now is lucky because I am home most of the time due to a disability. She snuggles and purrs me to sleep when it is bedtime.
She needs mental stimulation as she gets bored and craves breaks in her daily routine. In bad weather she will like a walk, on a leash, in our outside hall. In good weather she likes to walk outside. Her favorite toy is...wait for it...a toy mouse tied to a box with holes in it. She also has a large mouse which she takes out her frustration on by flinging it into walls, usually when she is upset with me. (I need to look at her gums for signs of infection and she hates this.) She will put her claws on me as a warning but she never uses them in anger.
She loves it when "Mummy" plays with her by putting my fingers on the back part of her tummy. Her eyes get all wild and she will bite my wrist and rake my arm with her back claws. She bursts into hearty loud purring and is kneading her front paws. She loves it when I "Play" with her like this. I wear a heavy sweater to avoid injury as she can bite very hard. She is so ecstatic while we are playing that I continue to indulge her behavior. She is the most loving cat that I have ever shared my life with. I would die to save her life as I love her so much.
We both have an emergency bag packed in case of evacuation situations.

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

9/5/2013 11:56:47 PM

Beautiful!~

Nancy    Enola, PA

1/7/2010 4:18:41 PM

My husband and I brought 2 Bermese kittens into our home about 2 months ago and they are wonderful!!! There names are Mesa and Sedona and they are the most loving, friendly, and personable cats I have ever been around. My husband and I enjoy them very much I can't imagine what life was like before they arrived.

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