The Burmilla cat breed was not purposefully created by breeders like most other breeds of cats. This elegant breed is the result of an accidental mating between a male Silver Chinchilla Persian and a female Lilac Burmese. Baroness Miranda von Kirchberg had the two original cats in her possession but they were to be bred to their own respective breeds and were isolated from one another. However, a cleaning person allowed Sanquist (the male) access to Faberge (the female) and the rest is history.
The mating of Sanquist and Faberge was not discovered until after Faberge returned from her trip where she was to be bred with another Burmese. When the four female kittens were born, they were clearly the offspring of Sanquist and the father was even showing his paternal instinct with his young by grooming and protecting Faberge's brood. The four girls were named Galatea, Gemma, Gabriella, and Gisella and would typically be spayed and given away or sold as pets. But the Baroness kept the "accidents" and used them as the foundation for a new breed which we now know of as the Burmilla.
The foundation stock was bred back to pedigree Burmese and the characteristics were again seen in the new generation. The Baroness continued her breeding program to perfect her new breed and she later formed the Burmilla Association to promote her creation. One of the original kittens, Gemma, was acquired by breeder Therese Clarke who formed the Burmilla Cat Club in 1984. In 1990, preliminary championship status was granted for the breed in Britain with official recognition obtained in 1997. This breed is not recognized in the US by the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) at this time.
The Burmilla has the overall appearance of a silver Burmese. The coat is short that is exquisitely soft and dense but sometimes can have a longer coat. These longhaired Burmillas are considered their own breed. Their eyes are outlined or have pencilling giving the appearance of wearing eyeliner. The eyes are generally green in color but blue eyes and yellow-eyed kittens are accepted by some groups. Breed standards for the coat can appear in both standard and silver varieties, can either be tipped or shaded and is accepted in a variety of colors including blue, brown, black, chocolate, and lilac. However, you can also find this breed in red, caramel, apricot, cream, black tortie, blue tortie, chocolate tortie, lilac tortie, and caramel tortie.
This breed averages 10 pounds and is one of the larger cat breeds of the Asian Group. The muzzle is short and the face is rounded. Burmilla breeders and owners describe these cats as playful, outgoing, companionable, and well-tempered. It definitely displays the best of both breeds in its personality and temperament. Although an independent breed, the Burmilla becomes quite attached to its owner and displays kitten-like qualities well into adulthood. This is an easy-to-care for breed with a huge personality that can make a wonderful addition to any family.
CAT BREEDS OF THE WORLD, by Desmond Morris, copyright 1999.
THE ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CAT BREEDS, by Angela Rixon, copyright 2003.