Celebrity Pets – Burmese Cats On The Red Carpet

Cherry Judd Instagram (c) Rebecca JuddCelebrity pets have not often been Burmese cats – until now. Australian fashion model, speech pathologist, and TV presenter Rebecca Judd and her family recently adopted a Burmese cat they’ve named Cherry.

Miley Cyrus has kennels full of dogs, and has helped Liam Hemsworth choose a new dog for himself. Paris Hilton commissioned a two-level air conditioned doghouse for her managerie.  And Rebecca Judd seems very taken with her new Burmese!

In a recent Daily Mail article, Judd enthuses about the family’s new feline companion:

“For everyone asking, she’s a lilac Burmese. I’ve always had cats but never a Burmese but chose her as apparently they are great with kids.  One hour in and she is obsessed with them and they love her too.”

Burmese kittens | Herding catsAs Ms Judd discovered, Burmese are very good around children. We get lots of inquiries about cats & kids here at Carmelkats, and the answer is always a happy “Yes”! As we explain in our FAQ, “Due to their outgoing and confident nature, Burms will adapt quickly to many household situations and noises. They enjoy cuddling and lots of attention, however, always caution young children to be loving and gentle with their Burm and to please not pull their tail.”

We wish the Judd family and Cherry all the best!

"Lazzy" - Ayshazen Lazzyruss - The IAMS TV cat - Chocolate BurmeseAnd while we’re on the subject of celebrity pets, sometimes the pets are bigger celebrities than their owners. A recent article on Priceonomics.com gives an excellent overview of the phenomenon.  For example, most folks have, by now, encountered Grumpy Cat.  There’s also Esther, the Wonder Pig and Toast, the tongue-dragging King Charles Spaniel.

Then there is perhaps the most famous Burmese celebrity, Ayshazen Lazzyruss, the IAMS TV Commercial Cat. For several years, “Lazzy” was the TV spokescat for IAMS cat food. Sadly, Lazzy passed away in 2014.

Does your pet (Burmese, bulldog, ferret, hamster, goldfish) have what it takes to be a star? Feel free to let us know, in the comments below!

Burmese Cats – Companions, Temple Guardians, Or Ultimate Weapons?

Thai templeOur beloved Burmese cats have always had a close connection with temples and monasteries in Asia. A recent article in the Sacramento Bee suggests that cats have been welcome guests for centuries, at monasteries all over the world.

The author and journalist, Kim Campbell Thornton, paid a recent visit to Gachen Lama Khiid at Erdenetsogt in Mongolia’s Khangai Mountains. She reports, “nearly the first thing I saw was a cat sunning himself outside the temple.”

“Is it common for monasteries to have a cat?” I asked.

Our guide, Batana Batu, translated his [the monastery’s head lama’s] response. Yes, he said. The cat is there to protect food stores from mice.

Cats have served as pest control at temples and monasteries throughout the world for centuries.

Medieval catThornton’s article continues to describe the symbiotic relationship between cats and monks the world over. In Medieval Europe, cats were employed to keep rats and other pests from eating the stored food. Cats also helped prevent mice from nibbling on manuscripts. Monasteries even budgeted a small amount per week to provide for their sentry cats.

The Egyptians benefitted from a partnership with cats, being among the first to use their hunting talents to manage pests such as snakes and rodents.

The article also briefly mentions the origins of the Burmese breed:

Several cat breeds are reputed to have originated as monastery or temple cats. The legend behind the Burmese is that Buddhist monks regarded the shorthaired brown cats as embodiments of gods.

Quite an impressive heritage!

Chicago rat infestationWe’ve also learned that cats are now being considered by the city of Chicago as an “ultimate weapon” in their war on rats. Rats there are causing some serious concerns for the public health, transmitting diseases such as drug resistant C. Diff and MRSA. Officials have called in the Tree House Humane Society to provide cats to “work” as mousers! Many locals are pleased that “jobs” have been found for feral cats that previously would have been euthanized.

Two important online resources, PestWeb and Pet360, consider Burmese to be among the top 10 breeds for controlling pests. We agree, having seen them in action!

Egyptian god Bast

Embodiments of Gods, or just plain felines, today’s Burmese cats provide their humans with much more than simple mousing, of course. They are devoted companions, very affectionate and playful. As the breed continues to recover from its genetic crisis, we expect Burmese cats to become increasingly popular as pets and in the show world.

You can read more about the Burmese genetic diversity issue here. Feel free to comment below!

(Bast sculpture  image courtesy of Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

A Genetic Emergency For Burmese Cats?

We ran across a post the other day from a fellow Burmese breeder in the UK. She is concerned about the poor genetic health of the Burmese, as are we here at Carmelkats. In fact, she believes the Burmese breed is in crisis.

Chrissy with Thai-born Burmese Mook Dta - Genetics Burmese cats
Image courtesy of Ayshazen Thai Burmese Cats

Chrissy Russell runs a small breeding operation something like ours, called Ayshazen Thai Burmese Cats. And like Jenny, the founder of Carmelkats, she is deeply concerned about the lack of genetic diversity within the Burmese breed. Ms. Russell cites a recent study by the The Feline Genetics Laboratory at the University of Missouri, which seems to indicate a genuine crisis for the breed.

Why the concern about the genetics of Burmese?

Over the years, Burmese have been inbred to excess. This inbreeding has resulted in some extremely serious – even fatal – genetic diseases. Kittens are dying young of truly horrific conditions such as Burmese Head Defect and Feline Orofacial Pain Syndrome (FOPS). Changing the way Burmese cats are bred can avoid these terrible consequences.

Ms. Russell advocates outcrossing to suitable breeds, and importing native Thai-born cats as a source of fresh genetic material. We both also support Wat Taphan Temple Cat Care as a means of ensuring that Thai-born breeds not only flourish, but remain available to improve the genetics of our beloved Burmese.

The Burmese Breed Crisis - The Case For Using Thai-Born Cats - Genetics Burmese cats
Image courtesy of Ayshazen Thai Burmese Cats

What can be done?

You can read her article (PDF) here and the University of Missouri study (PDF) here. You might also consider supporting Wat Taphan Temple Cat Care with a donation. It will also help the situation greatly if you take action.  Contact cat breeding associations such as The National Alliance of Burmese Breeders and The Cat Fanciers’ Association to insist that the genetic health of the Burmese is put ahead of cosmetic considerations of breeding strictly for show.

Together, we can save the Burmese from a painful extinction, and make the breed strong and healthy once again.

Please feel free to contact us any time with any questions.

A Forever Home For Doc Holiday

Doc Holiday
(Click for a bigger image)

One of our “retirees”, Doc Holiday, is now looking for his forever home.  We were all set to put him on a plane, but at the last minute, the vet disqualified him from flying.  Grounded?  What a pain!

So, Doc is still available to a good home, but he will need to travel by car.

Dagnabbit.

Doc is a really mellow fellow, and a great companion!  Plus, he has his own little song.  According to Jenny:

All my boys and girls have a song.  Doc’s is to the tune of My Darling Clementine.  It goes sort of like this:  “Oh my Doc Doc, Oh my Doc Doc, Oh my Doc Holiday, You’re my Doc Doc, My Doc Doc, my Doc Doc Holiday.  You’re a good boy, You’re a good boy, That’s my Doc Holiday, You’re a good boy, Such a good boy, That’s my Doc Doc Holiday…” The words are never important, just their name and the tune, they come to know it.  Their songs help for painful vet visits, as well as just to sing to them.  It calms and soothes, that is why I do it.

If you have a place for Doc Holiday in your home, or you know someone who does, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to make arrangements.

UPDATE – June 14, 2016:

Doc Holiday has a promise of a new home in Texas!  His travel arrangements are being finalized, and we’re excited that Doc will have a new loving home!  Thank you everyone, for the inquiries and good wishes.

UPDATE – July 7, 2016:

Doc is on his way to his new home in Texas!  Again, thanks to all who asked about him.  If anyone is still interested in adopting an adult female, our girl Sparkle is looking for a new home.  Click here to find out more!

Burmese Cats Returning to Myanmar

Burmese-Cats-via-South-China-Morning-PostAfter 70 years, cat fanciers and breeders in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) are rediscovering a part of their heritage.  Burmese cats are being reintroduced to the country by Wan Hong Lu of the Hong Kong-based China Exploration and Research Society.   You can read the entire story here:

Inle Lakes, Myanmar cat village: The return of Burmese felines

(Photo courtesy of South China Morning Post.)

A 21 minute video entitled The Burmese Cats Journey Home recounts the efforts being made to bring the Burmese breed back to their home country.  You can watch the entire video below.

If you have a story to share, or you have any questions, contact us any time!

Newborn Kittens

One of our girls has just had some kittens!  Here are the first pictures:

(Click the thumbnails for bigger images.)

There will be more pictures posted soon.  All the kittens from this litter will be available for adoption this summer.  Contact us any time with questions, or to reserve one of these adorable little kittens for your very own!

Doc Holiday

Doc Holiday is one of our “retirees”.

Happy Doc

He loves to snooze on my bed.

Chilling and waiting for his new home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Click the pics to view full-size images)

As always, contact us if you have any questions.

 

Ready And Waiting For Their New Homes!

Here are three of our kittens who have been sold, and are moving to their new homes very soon!

(Click the thumbnails for full-size images)

Some folks wonder why they are in these cages… Well, it’s springtime in Arkansas, and there are snakes on the move everywhere!  Our little boys and girls stay safe inside!