TEMPERAMENT & CARE OF YOUR BIRMAN
For those enthusiasts who like to have their feline with long fluffy coats, but are unable to cope with daily grooming: the Birman is for you. The Birman is intelligent, inquisitive, charming, playful, and very people orientated. When you walk in the door, your Birman will be waiting to greet you - and probably everyone else that comes to your door too!
Birmans are wonderful characters and because they are a very loving, gentle cat, they will fit into virtually any home. They are very devoted to their owners and will either walk with you or even between your feet. They are not vocal cats but still manage to make their feelings known. They thrive on your companionship and appreciate the company of another cat, especially if they are to have long periods on their own while you are out at work for the day.
Birmans are classed as a semi-longhair due to the fact that their coats do not achieve the length or texture of the Persian. The Birman coat has a silken feel without the fine undercoat of a true longhair.
The coat, however, still does reach a reasonable length and although you have the added bonus of not having to groom daily, a comb once a week with a wide toothed comb will keep your Birman looking great. They do love to be groomed and preened, and will happily lay fully stretched out for you while you do this; they love to get in on the action as well and will help you do it! You can also wash your Birman as this helps to remove any dead hair, and assists both you and the cat with the grooming. Cats generally do not enjoy being immersed in a bath, so the best way to do this is with a gentle spray nozzle in the bath, laundry sink or shower. Products for washing cats are available from your local pet store or supermarket.
It is a good idea to clip your cat's claws on a monthly basis. This will prevent the claws from growing too long, particularly in an indoor cat, as well as protect your furniture. It also lessens the chances of the cat doing any damage if it accidentally claws a person.
The breeder you purchase your Birman from should provide you with a diet sheet that will ease its transition from their home to yours. Remember of course that the kitten will grow and its needs will change as it gets older. There are many cat foods on the market, from the supermarket varieties to premium pet foods obtained from pet stores, to special diets only available on prescription from your vet. Raw pet meat is available from supermarkets and pet stores, but some of these contain preservatives that may not be good for your cat. You can also purchase human grade meat for your cat.
Cats should always have access to fresh water.
Cats can also suffer from gum problems like gingivitis, so it is worthwhile encouraging your cat to chew on bones such as chicken winglets. You should check your cat's mouth from time to time to ensure it is healthy.
Worming - Routine worming every three months is a good precaution. There is a number of quality worming tablets on the market. If unsure, it is best to get the routine worming medication from your Vet.
Immunisation: Your kitten should have had at least one vaccination. The certificate supplied by the breeder shows when the kitten is due for its next vaccination, and boosters must be given each year. You should also check with your preferred boarding cattery regarding their immunisation requirements.
Desexing: Many of our breeders sell their kittens desexed, or will ask you to sign a desexing agreement stating that you will have this procedure done before the kitten is six months old. A desexed cat makes a much better pet: less inclined to wander, mark its territory, and of course, it cannot produce unwanted kittens.
Microchipping: If you cat should become lost, a registered microchip may assist you in being reunited with your cat. If your kitten has not been microchipped before you purchased it, you can have this done at your vet, or perhaps your local vet may offer microchipping at reduced prices.
It is advisable to book early for school holidays/Easter/Christmas periods. Keep your current immunisation certificate handy, as reputable boarding catteries will insist on written proof of your cat's immunisation before they accept it as a boarder.
Kittens are toilet trained to use a litter tray by their mothers. To ensure it retains its good habits, the new owners should show the kitten where its litter tray is located, and make sure it has free access to it at all times. Accidents do happen if the kitten is disorientated or frightened. If an accident does occur, take the kitten and place it in its litter tray.
Cats are fastidious animals that do not like to use a soiled litter tray, so make sure the litter is changed when necessary. A cat may soil elsewhere in the house if the litter tray is too dirty.
You should enquire as to what type of litter the breeder uses and, at least for the first few days, try to use the same. However, when changing from one type of litter to another, it is advisable to mix some of the old litter with the new. There are many excellent products available at your local pet shop or supermarket.
Indoors or Outdoors
The safest environment for your Birman is inside the home. This is because unsupervised outside cats are likely to wander and perhaps be stolen, run over, attacked by dogs, or fight with other cats, as well as catching native animals and birds.
If your cat wanders and becomes lost, a microchip may assist you to identify your cat if it is found and handed in to the RSPCA or Animal Welfare League. However, you should not rely upon the microchip if someone decides to take your cat home.
You may wish to construct a suitable outdoor enclosure for your Birman where it can experience the fresh air and sunshine in a safe environment. You can purchase ready-made or made to measure commercial products, or if you have the skills, construct something yourself. Remember that the cat must have access to water as well as shelter from the weather while outside. This can be achieved by connecting the enclosure to the inside of the house with a pet door.