The Burmilla, as the name might suggest, is half Burmese and half Chinchilla. Its existence was the result of an accident, a beautiful one that is. This unplanned mating happened in England in 1981. The Burmese cat responsible was said to belong to Baroness Mirnda von Kirchberg. It escaped the house one day and bred with the Chinchilla Persian cat next door. This led to the unexpected production of a litter of four female kittens with black shaded silver coat and a considerably breathtaking appearance.
A breeder soon took notice of this stunning breed and decided to develop it to recognition. Together with other breeders, a campaign was organized, leading to the successful recognition of the cat by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in 1989. The name Burmilla was given to reflect it as the beautiful combination of its parent breed.
By breeding the cat back to the pure Burmese cat every alternating generation in the early days has helped to establish the Burmese type of the breed in its coat texture and temperament. Even so, the Burmilla also has a beautiful coat on the side of the Chinchilla. As it has two standard looks, the Burmilla cats do not always look alike. It took a few years, from 1981 to 1987, for the Burmilla to be recognized internationally as its own breed. On a side note, it is possible for longhair kittens to be born to a Shorthair Burmilla.
Physical appearance and attributes
The Burmilla is a medium sized cat that has an average weighs of between 8 – 10 pounds. It has a muscular body that is of a foreign type. The level back and rounded chest add both strength and elegance to its stance. It has a complementing tail that is thick at the base and tapers into a rounded tip. The legs are well proportionate, with the hind legs being slightly higher than the forelegs. They extend into firm, oval paws
Head of the Burmilla is gently rounded and taper into a blunt wedge. Atop the head is a pair of medium – large ears that are widely set. They are broad at the base and taper into a vaguely rounded tip. Viewed in profile, a slight forward tilt is evident. The muzzle also appears relatively short and blunt with a gentle nose break. The tip of the nose should be aligned to the tip of the firm chin. Burmilla has large eyes that are about an eye width apart with the outer corners slanted slightly towards the ears. What makes this breed unmistakably Burmilla is that the lips, nose and eyes are outlined with a dark smoky color. It appears as if it has undergone a quick makeover. However, such feature has given it an exceptionally charming appearance and has helped to accentuate its beautiful eye color, which comes in any shade of green. Gold or yellow tinge in kittens or young adults is acceptable.
The coat of Burmilla can come in two different lengths, namely the shorthair and semi-longhair. The Shorthair variety is more popular. The hair lies close to the body and it feels slightly padded like the Burmese cat due to an extra layer of undercoat. It is soft and silky to the touch. The Longhair variety will appear when two Longhair Burmillas are mated together. It is the result of a recessive longhair gene inherited from the Chinchilla. Thus, shorthair Burmilla can also produce a Longhair Burmilla if it carries the longhair gene. The hair texture of longhair variety is also soft and silky. The hair length runs longer towards the hind legs and along the tail, which extends into a full gorgeous plume. Ear tufts may also furnish the inner side of the ears.
The coat stands out with a silver white base color that is either tipped or shaded with another contrasting color. In the tipped pattern, the color runs about 1/8 of the entire hair shaft and is well distributed across the entire body, giving the coat a lustring effect. The tipped pattern usually appears lighter than the shaded pattern. In the shaded pattern coat, the color runs about 1/3 of the hair shaft, which explains why it appears darker than the tipped pattern. The colors for both patterns include tortoiseshell, red, cream, chocolate, lilac, blue, brown and black.
Personality and temperament
The Burmilla has a personality that reflects the qualities found in both its parent breeds. It has an extroverted, friendly and sociable side like the Burmese; as well as an easy-going and relaxed side like the Chinchilla. Its mischievousness is more evident when it is a kitten, but the Burmilla grows to become a remarkably intelligent and affectionate breed. It is not as noisy as the Burmese and is more fearless and inquisitive than the Chinchilla.
This is a sociable and friendly breed that bonds well with children and enjoys being part of the family. Even though it is playful, it is not overly active and a preference over resting in your arms or cuddling on your laps would even be made over long hours of play. While it does not shy away from showing its affections to its favorite people, it does become wary towards strangers. Attributing to the build of its body, the Burmilla is also an avid climber, but it is might not be as careful as other cat breeds. Thus, caution would have to be taken over breakables.
Care and health issues
The Burmilla is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 15 years. However, it is prone to kidney diseases and allergies. Thus, it is necessary to visit the vet yearly to maintain the overall good health of the cat. It is also important to obtain a written health guarantee from qualified breeders when purchasing the cat. This will help to ensure that the cat is not contracted with any common feline diseases.
Grooming the Burmilla is relatively easy. The Shorthair variety will require only a weekly brushing to help distribute skin oil evenly. Brushing will be more frequent for the Longhair variety to help remove tangles and prevent matting. Brush the teeth frequently with vet-approved toothpaste to prevent periodontal diseases. The nails will need to be trimmed whenever necessary. Also, check the ears for redness or odors that might indicate infections and clean them with a damp cloth if needed.
The ideal home
This inquisitive and playful breed would appreciate an outdoor space where it can explore and run. However, the outdoor space would need to be safe and escape-proof. Burmilla can adapt well to indoor living, provided that an adventure zone, equipped with interactive toys, cat trees and cat gym sets, are available to encourage a hearty and active growth. The even temper, sociable personality and adaptability have made Burmilla a suitable breed for most homes. Coupled with is charming appearance and affectionate nature, the Burmilla is sure to be a winsome pet to have in the home.