unusual coloring of the Birman is the subject of a charming legend.
Centuries ago, the Khmer people of Asia built the Temple of Lao-Tsun
in which to worship a golden goddess with sapphire-blue eyes, Tsun-Kyan-Kse.
Mun-Ha, a much-loved priest, often knelt in meditation before the
goddess with Sinh, a beautiful white temple cat, beside him gazing
at the golden figure. One night raiders attacked the temple and Mun-Ha
was killed. As Mun-Ha died, Sinh placed his feet upon his fallen master
and faced the golden goddess. As he did so, the hairs of his white
body turned golden, and his yellow eyes to sapphire-blue, like hers;
his four white legs turned earthy brown - but where his paws rested
gently on his dead master, they remained white as a symbol of purity.
Next morning, the hundred white cats of the temple were as golden
as Sinh, who did not leave the sacred throne until, seven days later,
he died, and carried his master's soul into paradise. Since that time,
whenever a sacred cat died in the Temple of Lao-Tsun, the soul of
a priest was said to accompany it on its journey to the hereafter.
this point legend ends and history begins. The temple was left in
peace until it was raided at the beginning of this century. Two
westerners, Auguste Pavie and Major Gordon Russell, came to the
aid of the priests; as a gesture of gratitude the priests later
sent to the two men, then living in France, a pair of Birman; this
was in 1919. Unfortunately, the male did not survive the ocean trip;
but the female by then was pregnant, and the survival of the breed
in the West was ensured. The earliest pedigrees were lost; the breed
as we know it, and which was recognized in France in 1925, stems
from one pair, Orloff and Xenia de Kaabaa. But the Birmans were
to suffer further setbacks in Europe - after a relatively prosperous
period in France in the 1930's, by the end of the Second World War,
there was once again only a single surviving pair, and it took many
years for the variety to recover.
as a breed in Britain in 1966, the Birman was not recognized in
the United States until 1967, when the CFA approved the Standard.
They had, however, been shown in "experimental" classes
for several years before this, and appeared in championship competition
in 1965. Mrs G Griswold owned two, Phass and Klaa Khmer, sent to
her from Cambodia, and others were imported from Britain, but the
Birman is, nevertheless, a relatively rare cat in America. - from
so great about a Balinese cat? Everything! Ask anyone who is owned
by one of these fabulous felines what is so special about the breed,
and you set off a glowing monologue that ends only when the speaker
is exhausted. Under that long, silky ermine coat he wears so proudly,
this beautiful cat is all Siamese, and that includes his personality.
Despite his regal bearing and aristocratic appearance, he is a clown
with a heart as big as a circus tent. To gauge the level of his intelligence,
you have only to gaze into those sapphire eyes which sparkle with
alertness and healthy curiosity. Although he is every bit as demonstrative
and affectionate as the Siamese, he is somewhat less vocal and his
voice is softer. Grooming is simple, for the coat does not mat like
the double coat of most longhaired breeds. - from CFA.Org