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Although the Burmese was originally native to Burma, the cats we see today were developed in the United States. Legend has it that ancestors of the breed were considered sacred and were kept in remote monasteries and temples in Burma. It is said, the cats were so revered, they were given their own servants whose task it was to look after them and to make sure no harm ever came to them.

It was in the late 1800s that the breed found its way to England, although at the time they were never as popular as their blue-eyed cousins, the Siamese. As a result, their numbers fell to dangerously low levels both in the UK and Europe. However, in the thirties breed enthusiasts rescued the Burmese by Dr Joseph Thompson, a medical officer who was serving in the US navy when he returned to the States after his tour of duty. He established a breeding programme using pure breeds to widen the gene pool.

In 1936, the breed was officially recognised by the Cat Fancier's Association (CFA) and then in 1952, the Burmese was officially recognised by the GCCF in the UK and was granted full Championship status a few years later in 1959. Today, the Burmese is among one of the more popular breeds both in the UK and elsewhere in the world, thanks to their charming looks and affectionate, playful and loyal natures.

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