As is the case with numerous other domestic animals, Cats have played their role as Human companions for thousands of years. Domestic Cats are thought to have originated from the African Wild Cats, with the oldest breed widely believed to be the Abyssinian which was traded on the banks of the River Nile in Ancient Egyptian times.
The Egyptians believed that domestic Cats were protected by Bast, the daughter of Ra, who was either represented as a woman with a Cat's head or as a Cat. Many thought that Cat's depicted the epitome of beauty, with woman often wearing make-up (particularly around their eyes) to give them a mysterious cat-like appearance.
As trading between countries increased Cats were taken into both Europe and Asia, where they were primarily kept as mousers on farms and in houses. Despite the fact that many people did not see Cats in the same sacred way that the Egyptians did (and indeed still do), in the secluded mountains of Northern Burma, one breed of domestic Cat had managed to maintain this high status.
The Birman is one of the most popular breeds of domestic Cat today, but they did not appear in Europe until the late 1800s. Found living with priests that had hidden in the mountains to escape persecution, Birmans were kept in large numbers and made perfect companions - they were treated with the highest respect and so are commonly known as Sacred Temple Cats.
Sacred Temple Cat
The Birman is loving and gentle by nature and has long, silky fur with white socks. The most distinctive feature of the Birman however, is their sapphire-blue eyes that were often depicted in art in the region of Burma where they originated. They are now found in a variety of colours and have even been used to create the Ragdoll breed in North America.