Legends claim that the beautiful Birman originated from a longhaired white cat with yellow eyes named Sinh, who lived at the Temple of LaoTsun with the head priest, Mun-Ha. When the priest was attacked by temple raiders, Sinh placed his feet on his master at the moment of his death and faced the goddess of the temple, Tsun-Kyan-Kse. The goddess rewarded Sinh's fidelity to the priest by giving his white coat a golden cast, turning his eyes blue and adding the pointed earth colors to his face, legs and tail. His paws, where they touched the priest, remained white as a symbol of purity.
Probably around 1919, a pair of Birman cats was clandestinely shipped from Burma to France. The male cat did not survive the journey, the pregnant female did, providing the foundation for the breed in Europe. The French cat registry recognized the Birman in 1925, but World War II impacted the fledgling breed, requiring outcrossing to re-establish it.
The cat made its way to the United States in 1959, when the breed was imported by Dr. and Mrs. John Seipel. In 1961, Gertrude Griswold received two seal-point Birmans. As the result of careful breeding efforts, the Birman was accepted for championship status by the Cat Fanciers' Association in 1967.
From Cat Fancy April 2012