The Birman is a creamy white, semi-longhaired cat with a contrasting colour on the face, ears, legs and tail. A striking feature of the cat is their brilliant sapphire blue eyes and dark mask. The feet are coloured white to match the coat, giving the appearance of 'socks' on the feet. They are an ideal companion cat happy to be indoors playing with children or at their favourite spot – near the computer keyboard.
Mystery and legend surrounds the origin of the breed, with the first cat appearing in Paris in the early 1920s. One version of their origin is that they were temple cats in a Buddhist temple in Burma, and a breeding pair was removed secretly from the temple by a member of the wealthy American Vanderbilt dynasty. As a result, the Birman is known as the Sacred Temple Cat of Burma.
The original Birman's coloured points were a very dark brown, known as seal. They now come in a large variety of colour points, including blue, red, cream, chocolate, lilac, tabby and tortoiseshell.