Birmans, according to breeders, are one of the best cats for families with children of all ages. A Birman tends to be gentle with children, regardless of how the children treat her.

Common Characteristics

  • Size: 1 to 20 pounds
  • Lifespan: 16 to 25 years
  • Pet purchase cost: $1000+
  • Allergies: Severe
  • Shedding: Severe
  • Primarily suited for indoors


Common Reasons for Surrender

Birmans are typically only surrendered “out of necessity,” such as the family had to move to a home that isn’t pet-friendly or the Birman’s owner died without leaving provisions for the cat’s continued care.


Those who have Birmans compare them to dogs in their desire for affection and attention from their families. Birmans love and depend on their humans. Most have excellent litter box habits and even enjoy being brushed and taking a bath.


Some Birmans also give love nips and will require training to stop the nipping. Other Birmans, particularly kittens, enjoy chewing on blankets, socks, and even electrical wires. Keep electric cords out of your Birman’s reach. You can also purchase cord covers at stores like Home Depot and Lowes. Birmans do not make a good pet for those with allergies.


Feed your Birman a high quality dry or canned cat food. Popular options include Authority, Blue, Iams, Purina Pro Plan, and Royal Canin. Birmans love treats, especially small pieces of boiled chicken. Packaged treats that you find at the pet store, such as Pounce and Tempations, also make good treats when given in moderation.


You don’t have to worry about your Birman needing a lot of exercise. Most prefer simply to lounge around and have earned a reputation for being lazy. However, you should make sure your Birman engages in some play time each day to keep her mentally and physically stimulated.

Possible Health Issues

Overall a healthy breed, some Birman cats are prone to such hereditary problems as heart disease. As your Birman grows older, he (like other cats) will be more susceptible to kidney and liver failure.


Unlike some cats, Birmans generally aren’t picky when it comes to litter. Birmans have good litter box habits. If you notice your Birman isn’t using his litter box, he may be suffering from a medical condition so consult with your veterinarian.


Birmans must be housed indoors only. Breeders have specifically bred Birmans to be indoor cats, ensuring they are not “street” savvy.  


Your Birman will require little grooming as the breed’s hair typically does not mat. However, grooming provides an ideal opportunity for you to bond with your Birman. Most Birmans love being brushed. You may even find that your Birman likes taking a bath from time to time.


While not necessarily known for their intelligence, Birmans just want to please their humans. You should have little trouble training your Birman to respond to basic commands, such as stay, or to do basic tricks like giving you his paw.


A Birman’s favorite pastime is arguably hanging out with his humans. Most also love playing with sparkle wands. Wave the wand around and your Birman will expend energy leaping and pawing at it. To encourage activity, you may also want to try a laser toy, which most cats love.

We want to thank Annbirwaves Birman Cattery for help with this article.


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