Introducing the Asian Group
The Asian Group was developed from matings between the Burmese and Chinchilla breeds. The history of the group's development can be found on the 'History of the Asian Group' page. In appearance, the group is essentially identical to the Burmese, but in other colours and patterns, and in the case of the Tiffanie, longer fur. It incorporates the Asian Self/Tortie, the Burmilla, the Asian Smoke, the Asian Tabby and the Tiffanie.
All of the Asian Group cats combine the best qualities of their two parent breeds, having inherited the mischievous, playful character of the Burmese and the easy-going nature of the Chinchillas. They are intelligent, active and extremely affectionate. While many breeds of cat bond to one particular person, Asian Group cats tend to form very strong bonds with their whole 'family', whether human or furry. These strong bonds make them exceptionally loyal and devoted companions.
They are remarkably sensitive to the feelings of those around them, and can reliably be expected to turn up at your side if you are ill or upset. At this time, they will come up quietly, making quiet 'creaking' noises at you, and follow up with a gentle prod with a soft paw if this doesn't produce a response. At other times they can be quite chatty, and will often answer back if spoken to.
They love to play, either with each other, with you or just by themselves. They seem to have amazing imaginations, and if left to their own devices appear to make up games involving imaginary toys, mice or who-knows-what. If you are prepared to devote time to playing with them, they will reward you with the most hilarious antics and then once they are worn out will usually come to you for a cuddle. If you are busy with something, you can expect your Asian/Tiffanie to be watching from close-by. They will seldom get in the way, however, preferring instead to keep to one side, where they can get a good view.
Although they can be quite demanding of attention, they tend to make their demands in a quiet voice and with gentle head-rubs and paw-batting with claws withdrawn. They will very seldom put out a claw when near their people, and if they do catch you with one, will tend to react with horror and come up to you with big eyes as if to apologise.
The Asian Self/Tortie is a self-coloured cat, meaning that it has no tabby markings, and is all one colour, or one colour and red or cream in the case of the torties. The only difference between these and the Burmese is that they are 'full expression' (FEX), meaning that they do not have 'burmese pattern' or 'burmese restriction' (BCR), which restricts the pigment levels in the fur, changing black into brown. When we get a self that also has BCR, it is known as a 'Variant' and is identical to a Burmese. The black Asian Self is known as the Bombay, and with its bright yellow eyes, is the closest thing we have to a little black panther.
The Asian Smoke is a self cat, but with a silver undercoat. It can come in either FEX or BCR, and should look almost identical to an Asian Self/Tortie or a Burmese, except that when the coat is parted back, it should be a sparkling silver underneath.
The Burmilla was the original member of the Asian Group, being the result of a mating between a Burmese and a Chinchilla. The breed's original founder wanted to call these 'Silver Burmese', but this did not go down well with the Burmese breeders of the time, and so it became the Burmilla, as a contraction of the two parent breeds' names - Burm-illa. It is a shaded cat, meaning that the pigment is restricted to the ends of the hair, with either a standard ('golden') or silver base coat. Ideally, they should have very few tabby markings, but many will show faint 'ghost' tabby markings as a kitten, and sometimes into adulthood. Like the Asian Smoke, they can be either FEX or BCR.
The Asian Tabby can also come in either FEX or BCR, and is essentially a Burmese cat (or Asian Self/Tortie) with a tabby pattern. It comes in all tabby patterns: ticked (each individual hair is striped, but there is no overall pattern), spotted, mackerel (thin vertical stripes) and classic (swirled/blotched/marbled). These can all be either standard ('golden') or silver.
The Tiffanie should not be confused with the American 'Tiffany', the Tiffanie is the semi-longhair member of the Asian Group. They are sometimes referred to as 'Burmese with frills', and should have a silky, flowing coat, with a slight neck ruff, bloomers and a plumey tail. They should not, however, have a thick or woolly coat - they are a Burmese with a longer coat, not a modified Chinchilla!
If the descriptions above sound like the 'perfect' pet cat, that's because they are if you're looking for a cuddly, playful companion animal. If the description above sounds too tame, and you would prefer more energy and inquisitiveness, read the description of the Ocicat, and see if that is more your cup of tea!