Burmilla: Cat Breed Profile

Characteristics, History, Care Tips, and Helpful Information for Pet Owners

The Burmilla Cat

Jehandmade / Getty Images

The beautiful Burmilla is one of the newest breeds to be officially recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association. They came about as the result of an accidental mating between a Burmese and a Chinchilla Persian in 1980s United Kingdom.

The breed, while still rare, is known for being playful, inquisitive and gentle.

Breed Overview

Weight: 8 to 12 pounds

Length: A medium-sized cat

Coat: Usually a smooth, short coat but, can also come in a semi long-haired variety

Coat Color: Comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns, most commonly they are silver-white with tips or shading that can include black, blue, chocolate, cream, lilac and tortoiseshell

Eye Color: Green

Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

A darker shaded Burmilla
This Burmilla has a slightly darker shade to its coat. SynchR / Getty Images

Characteristics of the Burmilla

Affection Level  Medium
Friendliness  High
Kid-Friendly  High
Pet-Friendly  Medium
Exercise Needs  Medium
Playfulness  High
Energy Level  Medium
Intelligence  Medium
Tendency to Vocalize Low
Amount of Shedding Medium
A beautiful Burmilla Kitten
A Burmilla kittens coat will become thicker as they mature. Canaros / Pixaby

History of the Burmilla

The Burmilla has a rather noble and recent history. They first came about in the early 1980s, when a Chinchilla Persian and a Burmese, owned by a Baroness in the United Kingdom, accidentally mated.

The resulting kittens, with their darkly shaded, thick and short coats, were so striking that the Baroness, who already bred Persians, decided to develop a breeding programe for this type of cross.

They gained championship status in the United Kingdom in the 1990s, but it wasn't until 2011 that the Cat Fanciers Association recognized them.

They are still considered a rare breed, especially in the United States, although their attractive personalities and looks mean they are growing in popularity.

Burmilla Care

The Burmilla is a very adaptable breed, and they make excellent family pets.

The Burmese and the Chinchilla Persian both have very different personalities, and the Burmilla has inherited some of their most positive attributes.

The breed is affectionate and sweet-natured, but not in an overly demanding way as can sometimes be the case with the Burmese. They tend to be relatively quiet, although they do have a much more playful and curious streak than the Persian. They can even sometimes be a bit mischievous and are known for having slightly goofy, almost clown-like characters.

They often retain some of their kitten-like exuberance for life well into adulthood, and this can endear them to their owners. Because of this playful and curious streak, you should make sure they are getting enough stimulation and enrichment around the home. A bored Burmilla could seek out their own means of entertainment.

Although they do enjoy the company of their people, they can still have an independent streak and can make a good choice of cat for working owners. They also tend to get along well with other cats and dogs, providing the introductions have been done carefully.

The Burmilla has a thick, short double coat that feels very soft and silky. They do shed, but it is not excessive, and a weekly brush out to remove any dead hair is usually enough to keep it in good condition. Occasionally, Burmillas can have a slightly longer coat that is classed as semi-long hair. This is as a result of the recessive gene from the Chinchilla.

Burmillas come in a variety of coat colors and patterns. They are either tipped or shaded. If they have a tipped coat, this means they have a light color that covers a silver or golden undercoat. The silver-tipped cats can often look close to white.

Shaded Burmillas have the darker color pattern is mainly over the top of their back and shoulders and on the outside of their legs.

Common Health Problems

The Burmilla is not known for having lots of inheritable conditions. Of course, this will, in large part, be down to the fact that they are a new cat type with a rigorous breeding programme.

It is still, of course, important that you seek out a reputable breeder that only mates healthy cats that have undergone appropriate health checks.

Periodontal disease is one of the most common health problems for any cat breed. Making sure you provide a good quality diet and trying to introduce a dental hygiene regime from a young age can be beneficial.

If your cat tolerates having their teeth brushed a few times a week, this can make a big difference. You should always introduce the toothbrush gradually, keeping sessions short. If you pair it with lots of positive rewards, then your cat should learn to accept these sessions more willingly.

Diet and Nutrition

The Burmilla, like all cats, will need a quality, high-protein diet. They are not as prone to obesity as some other breeds, but care should still be taken to ensure you do not overfeed them.

PROS

  • Affectionate and playful

  • A healthy breed

  • Low maintenance coat

CONS

  • They are rare and can be hard to come by

  • Their curiosity can sometimes lead to trouble

Where to Adopt or Buy a Burmilla

Because of their rarity, you may have to travel a fair distance or be on a waiting list to secure a Burmilla kitten. You should also ensure that you have sought out a reputable breeder.

There are unscrupulous breeders out there, looking to make a fast buck by taking advantage of peoples desire to secure a more rare breed. This can result in you taking on a cat that is not actually a Burmilla. It can also mean the cats and kittens are not well looked after, and they can suffer from health and behavioral issues as a consequence.

While you may struggle to find a Burmilla in rescue, there are lots of other deserving cats looking for their forever homes in shelters across the country. Perhaps you could consider adopting a Persian or a Burmese if you are looking for a similar breed.

More Cat Breeds and Further Research

The Burmilla is closely related to a lot of the Asian cat breeds. By doing a little further research, you may find that another breed also appeals to you. Some other breeds with similarities to the Burmilla include:

By taking the time to find out about the different cat breeds out there, it will help you find one that will enjoy living in your home.