Kitten History: Burmese

The Burmese kitten's ancestor, Wong Mau, passed along his good looks for generations.

Burmese © Helmi FlickDid you know the history of your sweet little Burmese kitten started with a single cat? Your sleek brown bundle of fur can thank a cat named Wong Mau for his exotic good looks.

In 1930, Wong Mau arrived in New Orleans on a ship from the Orient. She made her way to San Francisco, where she was given to Dr. Joseph G. Thompson. He was so smitten with her walnut-brown color and dainty, compact body that he enlisted the help of experienced breeders to reproduce her beauty.

Working with strict scientific guidelines, the breeding program produced kittens with three distinct colors: some had points like Siamese cats, another group looked like Wong Mau with medium brown color and darker brown points and a third group were a deep, solid brown. The solid cats were considered the most attractive, and the breeders decided to work toward establishing the brown cats.

After being accepted by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1936, the breed gained popularity, and other stories and legends about the breed began to surface. Solid brown cats have been sighted on the Malay Peninsula, and legend has it that they were loved and cherished by Burmese kings. Today the breed captivates cat lovers all over the world. 

Return to the Burmese Breed Profile

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