Burmese - breed information and advice

Playful and intelligent, the Burmese cat craves company and can show great sensitivity to its owner's moods and feelings. This elegant breed is easily recognised by its striking golden-yellow eyes and wide-set ears. The Burmese is kept happy with lots of attention and plenty of cuddles, and some even like other cats for company.
To ensure your Burmese cat is protected in the case of an emergency, take a look at our cat insurance policies.

Breed information


Colour: Burmese cats come in 10 recognised colours, including blue, chocolate, red, cream, lilac and tortoiseshell - all of which are partnered with entrancing yellow or gold eyes.

Coat: Short and glossy, so no grooming is required, but Burmese cats thrive on the human contact that brushing provides.

Life span: On average, 15+ years. The Burmese is an exceptionally long-lived breed and will often reach 18 or beyond.

Mouth and gum disease

Like most breeds, Burmese may suffer from gum and dental disease during their lifetime. Gum disease occurs when some (or all) of a tooth’s deep supporting structures become inflamed, and can include gingivitis and periodontal disease. Burmese may also suffer from mouth inflammation and ulcers, which can be triggered by viruses such as feline calicivirus (FCV). Feline orofacial pain (FOPS) may also affect this breed. This is a syndrome characterised by severe facial pain, and it is caused by a disorder of one of the main nerves to the head and face. Prevention is better than treatment for many of these conditions, although feline orofacial pain requires painkillers. In general, treatment for mouth conditions depends on their type and severity.


Gingivitis is the third most common illness we see in Burmese

Close information panel

Upper respiratory tract disorders

The upper respiratory tract is comprised of the nose, nasal passages and the back of the throat. Various conditions affect the upper respiratory tract, including infections (such as cat flu) and foreign materials (like blades of grass) that can become trapped behind the soft palate or at the back of a cat’s mouth. Other upper respiratory diseases include cancers of the nasal passages. Unfortunately some of these conditions, such as cat flu and nasal tumours, are incurable but can be managed. Cat flu can easily be prevented by vaccination, and foreign material, such as blades of grass, can usually be removed.


Respiratory disorders are the fifth most common illnesses we see in Burmese

Close information panel


Diabetes is a condition which can affect all cat breeds, but especially Burmese. It occurs when a cat’s pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin – the hormone that keeps blood sugars at a steady level – or when the cat’s body doesn’t respond normally to insulin. It can also be caused when a cat has been on long-term steroid medication (for another disease), which affects insulin production. Cats suffering from diabetes may be more hungry or thirsty than usual or may lose weight. Diabetes is usually managed with daily insulin injections and diet control. Unlike many other species, cats with diabetes may even be cured, if the condition is treated early enough.


In our experience, Burmese are most likely to need treatment for diabetes

Close information panel


Conditions that affect a cat’s bladder and urethra are collectively known as feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), which is more commonly referred to as cystitis. Burmese can suffer from these conditions, which can be caused by stress, not urinating enough, infections and bladder stones or crystals. Cats suffering from cystitis make frequent, painful attempts to urinate, and blood is often found in the urine. Treatment depends on the cause, but cats diagnosed with cystitis will usually require pain relief, access to plenty of water, special diets and perhaps some help to reduce stress.


We paid £2,841 to treat Keith the cat for a urinary problem in 2016

Close information panel

Kidney disease

Cats’ kidneys are responsible for filtering the waste products from their blood into their urine. Burmese may be affected by kidney disease caused by infections, blockages, tumours or toxins (especially licking anti-freeze) as well as age related changes. Chronic kidney disease occurs when the kidney function deteriorates gradually over a period of time. Treatment depends on the cause and the extent of damage, but usually begins by flushing the kidneys using intravenous fluids, followed by special diets and medications. Unfortunately kidney disease is irreversible, but with the right support many cats can enjoy a reasonably normal life.


We paid £1,840 to treat Nemo the Burmese for a kidney disorder in 2016

Close information panel
Back to top