My Birman Cats

Cirrus and Sirocco

Caring for Cats

Pages moved to new site 4 November 1999.
Substantially updated 26 August 1999

A Brace of Birmans

Cirrus and Sirocco are pedigree Birman kittens, born at the beginning of April 1999.

Many thanks to Richard for scanning in these pictures.


1 March 2001 - Sirocco has some kind of fit in the night. Is fine by the time we reach the vet.
27 September 2000 - Cats come back from vet with antibiotics and are put on a strict diet of chicken and white fish. I begin to wonder if this was their plan all along.
25 September 2000 - Both cats taken into vet for observation to determine which has a suspected bladder infection.
29 May 2000 - Cirrus leaps from first floor window. Found happily sunning self on compost heap.
10 May 2000 - Cirrus rescued from behind washing machine. Suspicions of teleportation ability aroused.
7 April 2000 - I'm beginning to suspect Sirocco of deviousness beyond the call of duty. Item: one broken plate. Item: one cat who suddenly loves to be picked up and cuddled. If you think being adorable will save you, you're dead right.
28 March 2000 - My kitchen sink seems to have sprouted a fluffy tail. Hmmm.
27 March 2000 - The first ever hairball. Lovely.
10 January 2000 - How to turn miniature vacuums into spoilt brats in one easy lesson: Christmas leftovers.
25 December 1999 - I buy them expensive toys. They spend hours playing with the turkey neck I would otherwise have thrown away. Oh well.
14 November 1999 - Cirrus's new habit of keeping people company in the bathroom by sitting on the cistern is somewhat - disconcerting.
14 October 1999 - The largest event in their young lives - deprived of food for almost 24 hours. That they now have bits missing doesn't seem to have registered in comparison.
29 August 1999 - 6 am. That's all I'm going to say. 6 am.
25 August 1999 - Woken absurdly early by bored kitten. Image before blurred eyes seems Cirrus-shaped. Hypothesis confirmed by vociferous objections to being deported from the bedroom.
18 August 1999 - Sirocco turns into a lap cat. Owner is told off for fidgeting.
5 August 1999 - Sirocco's first purr. Very quiet, and in pulses that suggest he hasn't quite worked out how to purr while breathing in yet. Easily drowned out by Cirrus's lawnmower impression.


Sirocco at 
13 weeks

Sirocco is the nervous one, who refused to eat for a day after I brought him to my house, and who lets out plaintive squeaks as he watches his brother play with the toys he wants. Given Sirocco's comparative shyness, it seems somewhat odd that he is the more gregarious of the two. But then, it may just be because he loves to be stroked, especially under the chin. He usually saves this treat for people he knows, stretching out his neck and resting his chin on their hand, half-closing his eyes in pleasure. I often find him watching me silently - he rarely makes a sound.

Although it's difficult to see in most of the photographs which I've managed to corner him into (and you should see my fine photos of suddenly-empty areas of carpet - but I digress), Sirocco has lovely markings, fairly symmetrical at the front and higher at the back. Possibly fortunately for him, he also has a slight kink in his tail (or used to - I can't find it even by touch anymore) which prevents him ever being shown. I can't see him having enjoyed it much.

The Sirocco File


Cirrus at 13 weeks

Cirrus is a bold explorer, hedonist and spider-hunter extraordinaire. He likes to pounce on my rug and lick my toes, and follows me everywhere, winding around my ankles with total lack of sinuous grace. His tendency to get underfoot has led him to be kicked more than once, but not only has this failed to stop him, he has communicated the same desire to Sirocco. Throwing cat food in the air as cats dart underfoot has become a relatively common event in my household. Cirrus is also noisier than his brother, but saves his most heart-rending, broken meeps for really urgent occasions; such as when he's bored.

As you can see from his photos, Cirrus has very little fear of the camera. I can almost see him enjoying showing - doubtless far more than his harried owner would! Unfortunately his markings are more than a little dodgy, so that's an experience I'll spare the both of us.

The Cirrus File

The Sacred Cat of Burma

The Birman is also known as the 'sacred cat of Burma' because of the legend associated with the breed.

Before the birth of Buddha, the Khmer people of Burma worshipped a Goddess called Tsun-Kyan-Kse. The most beautiful of these temples was at Lao Tsan, and the priests of this temple kept pure white cats as companions.

One of the cats, Sinh, was especially devoted to the head priest of the temple, Mun-Ha. When raiders attacked the temple and killed Mun-Ha, Sinh leapt on top of his master's body to spit defiance at the raiders. In that moment the priest's soul entered Sinh, and his head and legs became the brown of earth, his eyes the sapphire of the Goddess, and his white fur misted with gold. But where his paws touched the holy man they remained pure white.

Inspired by the sign from the Goddess, the other priests rallied and saved the temple. Sinh lived for only seven more days before dying and taking Mun-Ha's soul into Paradise. The morning after his death the remaining temple cats were found to be similarly transformed. These sacred cats now contained the souls of good priests on their way to heaven.

Image of Cirrus (front) and Sirocco The Birman breed arrived in Europe as a gift to two men who are said to have assisted the Kittahs during an uprising. Although the male died during the long voyage, a pregnant female, Sitah, finally arrived in France, and is the basis for the breed today.

The original colour for the Birman was seal-point, later joined by blue-point. Today they can be found in all the colourpoint colours of the spectrum.

If my pair contain the souls of priests, then Sirocco is an earnest young novice - and Cirrus is Friar Tuck.

Applause Birmans

Both Cirrus and Sirocco were bred by Applause Birmans. Their father is the blue-point stud Rochico Heaven's Applause, and their mother the seal-point Cottonsocks Candice. Cirrus is blue-point, like his father, and Sirocco the darker seal-point, and although it can be difficult to tell them apart in photographs, it's very easy in real life.

Image of Candy

The mother, Cottonsocks Candice

Image of

The father, Rochico Heaven's Applause