Birman Cats and Forest Cats Show

20 May 2017
10:00am-3:00pm

Wesley Uniting Church, National Circuit, Forrest

The Details

Judy Lewis, a Patron of the Birman Cat Club of Canberra Inc, was the first person to import Birman cats into Australia. Judy is an internationally respected and trained cat judge and will be in Canberra cutting the spectacular 50th anniversary cake lunchtime on Saturday at the show.

The venture to bring the beautiful Birman cat to Australia started around a kitchen table in the 1960s, looking at cat books and dreaming. Judy Lewis decided that the Birman breed in those books looked so beautiful, with its semi-longhair coat, chocolate mask and big dark blue eyes and unusual white feet on all four paws ( Gloves and Gauntlets), that she wrote to various breeders in the United Kingdom (UK) to see whether kittens or breeding cats were available to Australia. There was no email in those days, just air mail. By October 1967, the first pair of Birmans arrived.

It took ten years to build the breed and for Judy to realise her dream. Judy says, ‘Our ten year effort to establish a new breed in Australia was recognised by the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Year in 1977 and we were granted permission to the use the Silver Jubilee logo on all our letterheads and catalogues, which was a great honour.’

Like many migrants of this era, the first pair of Birmans imported to Australia came out by ship. However, these cats were treated like royalty by the shipping line. The ship’s Purser housed the cats in his own cabin to help them through a rough voyage. These two cats formed the foundation stock of Australian Birmans and were followed by more English imports. It was both a long and expensive process. Even these days flying in a male cat from overseas to invigorate lines is a long process without the sea voyage. It can cost $8 000 to import a cat by the time the chosen animal is purchased and has been raised overseas, tested, vaccinated, transported by air freight and quarantined.

Keen to get the Birman breed known, Judy Lewis took them to a major show in Sydney. She says ‘I remember the first cat show to which I took the Birmans to in Sydney. A well-known judge who bred Persians looked at them and said to me, “They won’t take off!” She said it was because of the semi-longhair coat, rather than the long fluffy Persian coat show people were used to. I just pointed out that they were a “drip dry” breed. Of course we now love that birmans have such easy care coats compared to other long haired breeds. They are really a no fuss cat that suits indoor life and busy families who want a calm cat that loves to be cuddled and is low maintenance.’

Birmans and Siberian and Forest cats can be viewed Wesley Centre in Forrest on 20 May. Visitors can talk to breeders and cats and shop for specialist supplies. Media ph Carol Cootes club President on 0407442256
For more information about this event, call 0417043103

How to get there

20-22 National Circuit, Forrest ACT 2603, Australia