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Birman vs Siamese Cats: The Differences (With Pictures)

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Hepper - Birman vs Siamese featured

Cats come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Some are petite, while others are large and bulky. Then, there are medium-sized cats like the Birman and the Siamese. These two cat breeds have a few similarities, but there are also many differences. For example, the Birman cat originated from Burma (Myanmar) before being transferred to France, where they still thrive today. On the other hand, the Siamese cat is an Asian feline that comes from Thailand. So, what are the other differences between these two equally interesting cat breeds? Read on to find out!

Visual Differences

Hepper - Birman vs Siamese side by side
Image Credit: Left: Birman Cat, Patrik Slezak, Shutterstock | Right: Siamese Cat, rihaij, Pixabay

The most notable differences between the Birman and Siamese cat breeds are physical. First, the Birman cat has longer hair and looks fluffier than the Siamese. The Siamese cat’s ears are longer and more pointed than the Birman’s. Both cats have blue eyes, but the Birman’s eyes tend to be a little brighter in color. Siamese cats are long and lanky-looking. Birman cats are more compact and bulkier.

The Birman cat’s head is usually more rounded than the Siamese cat’s long, triangular-shaped face. Both breeds have color points on their ears, face, legs, and tails, but the Siamese cat’s markings tend to be darker than those of the Birman. Also, the Birman cat’s tail is shorter and thicker than the Siamese cat’s tail.

At a Glance

Birman Cat
  • Origin: Burma and France
  • Size: 10–12 pounds
  • Lifespan: 13–15 years
  • Domesticated?: Yes
Siamese Cat
  • Origin: Thailand
  • Size: 7–11 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10–15 years
  • Domesticated?: Yes

Birman Cat Overview

This curious, affectionate cat originated from Burma, where it was renowned as a sacred spiritual animal that required respect. These are typically quiet cats that tend to stick to themselves when strangers are around. They enjoy the company of family members in the household, even younger children. Their reserved personality means that they won’t wreak havoc around the house. Instead, they prefer to snuggle up on a bed or lap and nap.

birman kittens
Image Credit: Borkin Vadim, Shutterstock

Characteristics & Appearance

This medium-sized cat has long hair and a heavyset bone structure and can weigh in at more than 10 pounds when fully grown. Boys are typically a little larger than girls. They have soulful blue eyes, an impressively broad skull, and fluffy tails. Their ears are medium in size and rounded at the top. Their legs are short yet strong, and their coats are typically white with black or brown markings, especially on the legs, ears, and face.

Siamese Cat Overview

The Siamese cat is an outgoing, boisterous animal that enjoys being the center of attention. They have an independent streak, but their loyalty and affection make them the perfect pet choice for families of all shapes and sizes. This breed likes to talk — morning, noon, and night — as long as someone is willing to listen to them. Siamese cats do not like to spend much time all alone. They should have another feline friend to spend time with if their families won’t be home during the day.

tabby siamese cat waiting to eat dry cat food
Image Credit: monte_a, Shutterstock

Characteristics & Appearance

Siamese cats are long, sleek, and elegant. Their heads are triangular in shape, their ears are long and pointed, and their lengthy tails taper off into a fine point. Their coats are short, low-shedding, and easy to take care of. Their eyes are blue, and their bodies are typically white or cream in color. The points of their bodies on their ears, face, feet, and tails can be a variety of different colors, including chocolate, lilac, red, silver, black, cinnamon, and fawn.

What Are the Other Differences Between Birman and Siamese Cats?

There are more differences between the Birman and Siamese cats than their looks. First, the Birman cat is quiet and laidback, while the Siamese cat never seems to quit talking and likes to be a part of all the action in the household. Another difference is their sociability. The Birman likes hanging around family members but prefers to hide away when other people are around.

Conversely, Siamese cats like meeting new people and never seem shy when strangers visit their homes. Both breeds are good with kids, but the Siamese tends to be more interactive with the little ones. Siamese cats are typically more active than their Birman counterparts and tend to better enjoy toys and scratching posts.

Siamese cats will never turn down the opportunity to get attention or interact with other beings. The Birman cat would rather snuggle up on their bed or watch what’s happening from afar rather than join in on the activities. Finally, the Birman cat does not mind spending the day at home alone while everyone is at work and school. But Siamese cats need company during the day, whether with a human or another cat friend.

siamese kitten in the bed
Image Credit: Guillermo Rico, Unsplash

Which Breed Is Right for You?

It can be tough to choose the right type of cat to bring home as a family pet, which is why it is always a good idea to take a good look at the differences between any breeds that you are considering investing your time, money, and love in. The Birman cat and the Siamese cat are quite different, but what they have in common is all the good stuff: affection and loyalty.

Your decisions of which one of these two cat breeds to choose should be based on how well you identify with the characteristics, personalities, and temperaments of each breed. If you aren’t keen on having a cat that likes to talk, the Birman cat might be a better choice for you. If you are looking for a boisterous cat that wants to get in on all the action at home, the Siamese may be ideal for your family.

Related Read: Birman Cat vs Balinese Cat: Pictures, Differences, & Which to Choose


Featured Image Credit: Left: Birman Cat, Daydream Photographie, Shutterstock | Right: Siamese Cat, rihaij, Pixabay

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