Chocolate Shaded Burmilla Cat
Chocolate Shaded Burmilla Cat
Burmilla Cat and Kitten
Cream Silver Shaded Burmilla Cat
The medium-size Burmilla has a sweet expression, a laid-back but mischievous personality and two coat types. He’s generally family friendly, with a coat that’s easy to groom, albeit somewhat prone to matting.The Burmilla is the result of an “oops” breeding between a Burmese and a Chinchilla Persian, hence the cute name. First created in 1981, he earned recognition as a breed in 1987, a relatively fast ascension up the cat breed ladder of creation.

Because he’s the result of a cross between a shorthaired and a longhaired cat, the Burmilla comes in two coat lengths: short and semilong. It’s not uncommon for longhaired kittens to be born to shorthaired mothers.

This is a people-loving cat with a great disposition. He can be a gentle and devoted companion to adults and respectful children alike. True to his Persian heritage, he isn’t excessively active but is typically playful and affectionate.

Quick Facts

  • The Burmilla coat has a sparkling silver background tipped or shaded in black, brown, blue, chocolate, lilac, caramel, cream or red, or a black, brown, blue, chocolate or lilac tortoiseshell (tortie) pattern.
  • The Burmilla usually weighs around 8 to 10 pounds. He has a head that is gently rounded at the top, tapering to a blunt wedge; large green eyes; and a medium to long tail. His lips, nose and eyes look as if they’re rimmed with dark eyeliner.
  • The Burmilla can be outcrossed to the Chinchilla Persian or the European Burmese.

The History of Burmillas

When Bambino Lilac Fabergé, a lilac Burmese, escaped through an open door one evening in 1981 and met up with Jemari Sanquist, a male Chinchilla Persian, the result was four adorable shorthaired female kittens dressed in black-shaded silver. The cuteness overload led to a new breed, christened the Burmilla, after its progenitors’ breeds.

The breed is recognized by Britain’s Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, the global Fédération Internationale Féline, The Australian Cat Federation and The Cat Fanciers’ Association. The International Cat Association classifies the Burmilla as an Advanced New Breed.

Burmilla Temperament and Personality

The Burmilla can seem independent on the surface, but then he does something silly and kittenlike just to make you laugh. He generally loves his people and is a pleasure to live with, thanks to his easygoing, quiet nature. From the Burmese side of his ancestry, he brings a tendency to be sociable with others, including other cats, dogs and children.

He also tends to be a playful and inquisitive animal. He’s smart and mischievous, but not so much so that he’s always in trouble. The Burmilla likes being part of the family and is well suited to most types of homes. He’ll appreciate having an enclosed outdoor area where he can climb or lie in the sun, but he shouldn’t be allowed to roam.    

What You Need to Know About Burmilla Health

All cats have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on her kittens, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.

Burmillas are generally healthy, but there are some health conditions you should be aware of. They can be predisposed to developing allergies as well as to a condition called polycystic kidney disease. Choose a breeder who tests the parents’ kidneys via ultrasound before breeding and who provides a written health guarantee.

Remember that after you’ve taken a new kitten into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common feline health problems: obesity. Keeping a Burmilla at an appropriate weight is one of the easier ways to protect his overall health.    

The Basics of Burmilla Grooming

The coat of the shorthaired Burmilla has a silky texture. Longhairs are dressed for the ball in a fine, silky, medium-length coat with ear tufts, furnishings (a fringe of fur on the legs, chest and belly), and a fully plumed tail.

Grooming tends to be easy, whether the fur is short or long. Comb or brush the coat weekly to distribute skin oils and prevent or remove any tangles or mats, which this cat can be prone to.

The only other grooming the Burmilla requires is regular nail trimming and ear cleaning. Brush his teeth often with a vet-approved pet toothpaste, and schedule veterinary dental cleanings as needed. Start brushing, nail trimming and teeth brushing early, so your kitten learns to accept these activities.

Finding a Burmilla

Whether you want to go with a breeder or get your cat from a shelter or rescue, here are some things to keep in mind.

Choosing a Burmilla Breeder

You want your Burmilla to be happy and healthy so you can enjoy your time with him, so do your homework before you bring him home. For more information on the history, personality and looks of the Burmilla — or to find breeders — visit the websites of the Cat Fanciers’ Association and the Fanciers Breeder Referral List.

Put at least as much effort into researching your kitten as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money and frustration in the long run.

A reputable breeder will abide by a code of ethics that prohibits sales to pet stores and wholesalers and outlines the breeder’s responsibilities to their cats and to buyers. Choose a breeder who has performed the health certifications necessary to screen out genetic health problems to the extent that is possible, as well as one who raises kittens in her home. Kittens who are isolated can become fearful and skittish and may be difficult to socialize later in life.

Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include kittens always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any kitten and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Quickie online purchases are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.

Whether you’re planning to get your feline friend from a breeder, a pet store or another source, don’t forget the adage “let the buyer beware.” Disreputable breeders and unhealthy catteries can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100 percent guaranteed way to make sure you won’t purchase a sick kitten, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals) and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization or other reliable source for healthy kittens.

Be patient. Depending on what you are looking for, you may have to wait six months or more for the right kitten to become available. Many breeders won’t release kittens to new homes until they are between 12 and 16 weeks of age.

Before you buy a kitten, consider whether an adult Burmilla might better suit your lifestyle. Kittens are loads of fun, but they require a lot of time and can be destructive until they reach a somewhat more sedate adulthood. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health. If you are interested in acquiring an adult cat, ask breeders about purchasing a retired show or breeding cat or if they know of an adult cat who needs a new home.

Adopting a Cat From a Burmilla Rescue Group or Shelter

The Burmilla is not your everyday shelter cat, but sometimes a pedigreed cat ends up at a shelter or in a foster home after losing his home to an owner’s death, divorce or change in economic situation. 

Here are some tips to help you find and adopt the right cat from a rescue group or shelter.

1. Use the Web

Sites like and can have you searching for a Burmilla in your area in no time. These sites allow you to be very specific in your requests (housetraining status, for example) or very general (all the Burmillas available on Petfinder across the country). can help you find animal rescue groups in your area.

Social media is another great way to find a cat. Post on your Facebook page or Twitter feed that you are looking for a specific breed so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.

2. Reach Out to Local Experts

Start talking with pet pros in your area about your desire for a Burmilla. That includes vets, cat sitters and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a cat, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.

3. Talk to Breed Rescues

Networking can help you find a cat that may be the perfect companion for your family. Most people who love Burmillas love all Burmillas. That’s why breed clubs have rescue organizations devoted to taking care of homeless cats. You can also search online for Burmilla rescues in your area. The websites of the Cat Fanciers’ Association and the Fanciers Breeder Referral List may be a good place to start.

4. Key Questions to Ask

You now know the things to discuss with a breeder, but there are also questions you should discuss with shelter or rescue group staff or volunteers before you bring home a cat. These include:

  • What is his energy level like?
  • How is he around other animals?
  • How does he respond to shelter workers, visitors and children?
  • What is his personality like?
  • What is his age?
  • Is he litterbox trained?
  • Has he ever bitten or scratched anyone that they know of?
  • Are there any known health issues?
Wherever you acquire your Burmilla, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers an Adopter’s Bill of Rights that helps you understand what you can consider normal and appropriate when you get a cat from a shelter. In states with pet lemon laws, be sure you and the person you get the cat from both understand your rights and recourses.

Kitten or adult, take your Burmilla to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems and work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.