Zibeline Cat

This is a domestic breed of cat. The name is a French term for the sable Burmese. It means "like the sable", which is very dark brown. It was suggested as an alternative to "Burmese", but it was never widely accepted. In 1957 Dechambre proposed that the modern, pedigree Burmese cats should be called "Zibelines or Sables, because of their coat, and to distinguish them from the true Burmese".

Burmese 'Raison' standing on hind legs
Burmese 'Raison' standing on hind legs. Photo copyright Helmi Flick.



The body type of the Burmese varies from country to country. This cat breed has a longer body and legs in some countries which makes the breed different from those bred in the United States. In the Australian breed standard for this cat, they are described as of "foreign type" which means slender, such as the Oriental Shorthair. In North America, under what I presume is the CFA breed standard for the Burmese this cat is a round, cobby, small but heavy individual.

In the early 1930s Dr. Joseph C Thompson brought back from Burma to San Francisco a chocolate-coloured Burmese cat named Wong Mau. This cat was bred to a Siamese as no other cats of her colour were available for mating. It's been decided that Wong Mau may be regarded as the first Tonkinese according to Gloria Stephens in her book Legacy of the Cat. Although she says her 'type' was different to today's. The history is complicated but if would like to read more about this breed then please click on this link. There are many pages on this cat breed.

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