This beautiful breed is thought to have been the loyal companion of Kittah priests in Burma centuries ago. According to legend, the once white cats acquired their bright blue eyes and pointed coats when the temple was attacked and the head priest was killed. The priests cat, Sinh, placed his feet on his dying master and looked into the blue eyes of the temple goddess, Tsun-Kyan-Kse. The cats fur became golden; his face, legs and tail became the color of the earth; and his eyes turned blue. Because the cats paws touched his fallen master, however, they retained their white purity.
The Birmans modern history is almost as romantic as the legends. Around 1919, a pair of Birmans was shipped from Burma to France. While the male did not survive, the pregnant female, Sita, arrived safely. Her litter was the foundation of the breed in Europe. Careful breeding after World War II reestablished the breed, and the Birman was accepted by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1967.