The beautiful and mild-mannered Birman cat is beloved due to its sweet soft voice, and it's silky coat of white fur with tinges of gold.
Do Birman Cats Shed A Lot? Contrary to its appearance the Birman cat doesn’t shed more than any regular cat would. You will still have to maintain upkeep on your Birman's coat. However, unlike most long haired cats the Birman doesn’t have an undercoat. Due to this they do not get tangled or matted like the typical long hair.
Even though they don't shed more than the typical kitty, you will still need to keep up their coat by regular grooming and a well-balanced diet. Read further for tips on how to groom, the right food, and the dreaded cat bath.
How to groom your cat
Lucky for you the Birman cat doesn't have a thick undercoat that is the bain for any longhaired kitties owner. So matting and tangling isn’t a typical issue for you, all that you need to take care of is the long top coat.
Which leaves you without a frustrated and angry kitty while you are trying to get rid of a plethora of knots. What you will need:
- Wide tooth comb
- Fine tooth comb
- Rubber comb (optional)
- Small scissors for knots
Now with grooming your feline for the first time keep in mind that it might take several sessions for them to get used to the experience.
With the effort to make this an enjoyable experience for them and to save you some scars try to play with them first to wear them out.
After playing with them give your kitty coo a treat to make sure that they know this is a good experience, not a punishment.
After they are tired put them on your lap so that they are comforted by your presence and warmth. Start with the wide tooth comb which is necessary for long hair cats just in case there are any knots.
While the Birman isn't known to knot easily, it will be painful to them if you use a fine tooth metal comb and then come across a tangled piece of fur. If you do find any knots in your cat's hair, do not try to brush it out.
Just cut it away with a small pair of scissors, trying to brush it out will cause them pain and make them view the experience negatively.
Brush with the fur, not against it, starting on their belly (if they let you) all the way down.
Then continue with this process on their back, tail, and sides. After using the wide tooth comb, use the fine tooth comb to get any debris that might be caught in their fur.
Using a fine tooth comb will also indicate if they are having any issues with parasites such as the evil flea. Most fine-tooth combs are made of metal so be careful when using these and make sure not to hurt your cat with aggressive brushing that might damage their skin.
Nice smooth and soft brushing is the key.
To end the session use the rubber comb to remove any loose hairs that your cat might have so that it doesn't end up on all of your furniture.
If your kitty is one that just hates being brushed, there are grooming mitts and gloves to save you from new scars.
The Dreaded Bath
While some cats enjoy the water, the Birman is not known for this quality. Felines are celebrated for how well they self-clean so owners might think that they never have to bath their cat.
You don’t have to bath them often though, maybe once or twice a year, but it is still necessary for proper grooming.
I have painful scars from childhood washing our cat, and it is a stressful experience for everyone involved. So here are some tips to make that process more comfortable for you and less stressful for your kitty coo.
Items that you will need:
- At least three full-sized towels
- Soap or shampoo with a neutral PH, ex. Unscented baby shampoo, unscented castile soap, or even dawn dish soap
- Large cup for rinsing
- Blow dryer (doesn’t work for me, but try it at least)
Remember earlier about playing with your cat and a treat before brushing, while that might be necessary for grooming it is absolutely needed in the case of bathing. TIRE THEM OUT!
Playtime will put them in a better mood and make them more easily manageable.
Make sure your home is warm, this is for after your cat has gotten out of the bath because without that undercoat the cold of getting out of the tub will hit your Birman in a very pitiful way. If your kitty is on the smaller size, it is best to use your sink rather than the bathtub.
First, shut the door, trust me on this. Run the bath and make sure that it is warm, not scolding hot. Since cats tend to get cold after being cleaned, we don't want to accentuate it with colder than needed water.
You want the water to hit right at their belly so it will not disorient them when placed in the water. Depending on your bathtub situation, kitties tend to lose balance when in water.
Place one of the towels on top of the water to give them something to hang onto.
Then the bath. Well if your cat isn't shredding your arms while in the bathroom you do not need that third towel.
I am not that lucky, so I generally have to put the folded up towel on my upper less dominant arm so that I can hold or hug their upper body with their upper legs folded.
It will give them balance while in the bathtub while they freak out and make me feel like I’m the worse person in the world.
Wet them gently with the water leaving their face alone. Massage the shampoo of your choice into their back, belly, legs, and tail making sure to cover their whole body excluding the face. Use the damp washcloth to clean their face.
Now if you are still alive use the cup to rinse them off. Ensuring your kitties fur is soap free is the most important step because we don’t want the detergent to linger on the coat and irritate their skin.
After rinsing towel dry as much as possible because after the door is open they will take off to their favorite hiding place. I have heard that some people can use their hair dryer on the low setting to dry the cat’s fur.
My felines respectfully decline this, but try it just in case.
Eventually, they will love you again.
Normal shedding means that they are healthy. While it might sound logical that cats only shed during the warmer months, due to air conditioning and artificial light indoor cats shed all year long. However, patches of baldness and thinning hair is not regular.
Universal across mammals is hair loss due to food sensitivity. If you notice that your kitty has missing patches of fur and seems to be overgrooming first look at the food that you are giving them.
Cats need protein as the first ingredient on the label. Something rich with omega-3 acids to provide them with adequate and healthy fats for a healthy coat.
However, if the food has protein in the first ingredient and your cat still has missing patches of fur they might have a food allergy that is affecting them.
Start with the bland diet with the ratio of one part protein with two parts carbs/fiber:
- Chicken without fat, skin or bones
- White rice
- Sweet potatoes
After putting them on this diet for at least a week see if there is any new hair growth. If you do see new fuzzy hairs start to re-introduce other food one at a time so that you can pinpoint what food was the issue.
Other issues that might cause over shedding is stress, pregnancy, compulsive over grooming, and old age.
Be sure to visit your vet if you notice that there are any bald patches on your kitty so you can be sure that there is nothing seriously wrong with your feline.
Are Birman cats hypoallergenic? They are not officially a hypoallergenic breed because they do shed fur. However with the lack of an undercoat and the fact that they don't over shed they might be safer on cat allergies.
Are Birman cats affectionate? Yes, they are known for their sensitive and quiet nature that loves to be near their human. Birmans are one of the best lap cats that merely love to relax with you as long as they possibly can. This is a cat that does not like to be left alone for long periods.
We actually created more articles on those topics. Read here more about Birman cats being lap cats. Also, read here about whether or not they like being held.
Are Birman cats good with dogs? They are a highly sociable cat that gets along with humans including children, other cats, and dogs. Since they don’t like to be left alone for long periods of times, it is recommended that they have a companion animal if you are away from home for long periods.