It is thought that all Burmese cats around the world, outside of Southeast Asia, are descended from a single female cat that was brought from Burma to San Francisco in 1930 by Dr. Joseph Thompson. He named her Wong Mau and he suspected her to be a new breed of cat.
Attracted by her type and disposition, he worked with Mrs. Billie Gerst who was quite familiar with genetics, holding a Master's Degree in Animal Husbandry. Looking back at the records of their breedings, it is likely that Wong Mau was not actually a "pure" Burmese, but a hybrid – what we now call a Tonkinese, a cross between Siamese and Burmese. As a result of their diligent efforts, some kittens bred true, and thus the start of the breed, an “American Breed” (although with routes in Burma).
And thus, from their love of a single cat, they sparked a love affair for these little brown cats all around the world. Dr. Thompson, and quite a few other breeders back in the 1940’s continued their struggle to breed a rich dark sable “oriental” type cat, however as with all art, the standard has changed quite a few times since then. Through much hard work by all Burmese breeders throughout the years, we have the Burmese today, with their joyous personality, their bravery, humor, athleticism, and stunning good looks. In the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA), the largest registry of purebred cats, there are only 4 approved colors of the “American Burmese”: sable (the most predominant), blue, champagne and platinum.
For more information on the breed, and a wonderful article, visit
Maikiki Burmese Cats