Temperament: extroverted, social, playful
Cost: from $650 to around $850
Lifespan: 15 years plus
Maintenance: low (short hair) medium (med-long hair)
Recommended for: families and elderly
GROOMING: Once weekly
CHILD COMPATIBILITY: Gentle and accepting of kids.
TEMPERAMENT: Loves human companionship.
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Spurts of energy tempered with lazy lie-ins.
AVAILABILITY: Not one of the most commonly bred cats. Waiting lists may apply.
TRAINABILITY: Intelligent and responsive to education.
SATISFACTION RATING: Owners are always smitten with these kittens.
AGGRESSION: Not aggressive.
HEALTH & LIFESPAN: Very good health and long lived.
NOISE: Vocal but not demanding.
INDOORS POTENTIAL Great indoors.
IDEAL FOR: Apartments and families.
POPULARITY: Rising in popularity.
TURN-ONS: Great temperament and healthy vigour.
TURN-OFFS: Nothing. A great breed.
INTERESTING FACTS: Semi-long haired varieties are called ‘Tiffanies’ in NSW.
Burmillas are elegant looking cats with a distinctly ‘foreign’ appearance, reminiscent of Burmese and Chinchillas. It is in fact these two breeds that started the Burmilla. It is a medium-sized cat, with a gently rounded head, wider at eyebrow level and tapering to a short, blunt wedge. The ears are medium to large with slightly rounded tips. The coat is short with a silky texture and smooth lying with sufficient undercoat to give it a slight lift. There are five coat colours; black, brown, blue, chocolate and lilac. The coat may be either ‘tipped’ or ‘shaded’. Tipped means that only 1/8 of the hair tip is coloured, so the coat will actually look paler. A shaded coat is 1/4 coloured. Large, expressive, luminous green eyes are a key feature of the breed. In red, cream and tortie varieties, the eyes may be amber and are surrounded by dark rims, much like eyeliner.
Coat length can vary from short to semi-long. In N.S.W. the semi-long haired variety is also called the ‘Tiffanie’, however for all intents and purposes, it remains a Burmilla.
The Burmilla developed as a result of an accidental mating between a lilac Burmese and a silver Chinchilla in the 1980s in England. The breed is promoted as having the colours of the Chinchilla with the Burmese shape, coat and temperament. The first Australian litter was born in 1994 and received official national recognition in 1999.
Unlike many cats, which may be either distant or demanding, the Burmilla is curious and affectionate, without being too cloying. Strangers may take some time to be accepted, but once introduced, a Burmilla will happily seek out the occasional stroke.
Dr. Chris Brown, Burke’s Backyard resident veterinarian is very impressed with the breed and says that there is very little to worry owners of the breed. A once yearly vet check is suggested, including a teeth clean. Feeding chicken necks will also help keep gums free from gingivitis.
A balanced diet of raw meat, canned food, dry food is ideal to maintain health and teeth. It costs about $7.00 a week to feed an adult Burmilla.
Breeders spend a great deal of time to produce the ‘true’ Burmilla.
Breeding programs must only use Burmese and Chinchilla cats. After matings, longhaired kittens can appear in the same litter as the shorthair types, but all make good pets.
Unlike the Chinchilla, the coat isn’t too long, does not matt and is easy to manage. It requires a comb once a week. The double coat means that there is more fur to shed during moulting.
Housepet potential and ideal owner
Since we last road tested the Burmilla, it has become more popular and easier to obtain a kitten. It is an excellent indoor’s breed, ideally suited for apartments. Burmillas are equally popular with families and as companions for the elderly.
We filmed this segment with Burmilla breeder Tina Teasdale. Tina can be contacted on 02 9548 3808 Phone: (02) 9548 3808, Mobile 0416 127 917.
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