Jocelyn's Other Desk

The writings of Jocelyn Smith, aspiring author, soon-to-be lawyer, once and future politician, all-around opinionated twentysomething.

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Location: Orlando, Florida, United States

I'm a lawyer in Florida, working on three novels, a screenplay, and half a dozen pieces of fanfiction at any given moment.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Feline Profile: The Birman

I'm drawing from the inspiration of Steel Spike Heel, wherever she has disappeared to, with a little twist of my own: cat breeds.

Whilst at my friends' wedding last weekend, I had a moment of great squealing over the presence of a darling little cat at the wedding brunch. Barely anyone knew what I was talking about when I said, "It's a Birman!"

So I shall educate any inquiring minds about the different cat breeds.

Today's cat: the Birman.

To the uninitiated in cat breeds, they resemble a Siamese--only with long fur. Another big difference is the "mitts"--the little white ends of their paws. Many cats purebred and otherwise have the classic white "boots", but "mitts" are different. They cover just about half of the paw, front and back. Birmans are one of the so-called "mitted breeds," which includes the Ragdoll and the Snowshoe.

If the name isn't a hint, they are said to have originated in Burma, and there's a legend associated with how this pretty breed came about. They do not appear to be bred from Siamese, despite the resemblence in their markings. They do share a few Siamese characteristics, most notably that their "points" (the dark areas on face and legs and tail) come in different colors. The darkest is the "seal point", followed by "chocolate point," and both refer to shades of brown, which are the most common Birman colors. My example kitty above is definitely one of those two. The different Birmans are identified by their point colors, which also include lilac point, cream point, red point, blue point, seal tortie point, seal tortie lynx point, blue lynx point, and seal lynx point, among others. (Click on the links for example pictures.)

Birmans are well-known for their sweet temperatment; they are intelligent and playful, but also gentle and "unobtrusive if you are busy with other things," according to their Cat Fanciers' Association profile (linked above if you want more info about them.) Their fur is not as long as the famous Persian, but it is thick and silky and incredibly soft.

The darling Birman I encountered at the wedding brunch came to me with a bit of coaxing when we met him outside on the way to the cars. Having been sitting in the sun, his coat was marvelously warm and thick, and he wasted no time nuzzling my hand.

They're one of my favorite breeds.


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