REINTRODUCTION OF BURMESE CAT TO MYANMAR

The Burmese Cats were once the pride of Burma, being royal and temple cats in past centuries. This regal breed, however, had disappeared by 1930 from its namesake country of Myanmar. CERS led the effort in restoring this pride to the country by sourcing the regal Burmese Cats from overseas, breeding and reintroducing this valued pedigree back into the country. In collaboration with a local partner, the Intha Heritage House at Inle Lake, the breed has now prospered once again at the famed Burmese Cat Cafe and become a much visited destination of tourists to Inle Lake.

In 2007, CERS began an extensive effort to identify thoroughbred Burmese Cats in the UK and Australia. After much effort and many disappointments, some of the very best source cats were finally acquired. With a total of six Burmese from Harrods in London and an experienced breeder in Sydney, CERS began breeding these felines at our Tai Tam Research Center in a village by the waterfront on the south side of Hong Kong. By 2008, when 13 more kittens in three litters joined the family, we felt safe to begin the reintroduction program.

After two bamboo breeding houses were built over Inle Lake, a CERS team transported seven Burmese Cats back to Myanmar. Through a controlled program, including supervision by our friendly breeder from Australia and in concert with local veterinary doctors, the Burmese Cats have now reproduced healthily to over 50 cats living in two separate colonies. About 40, at the Cat Cafe of the Inthar Heritage House are available to visitors to view and play with in regulated hours during the day. These cats even have their own bridge connecting them to a garden island on the lake. The remaining ones were kept at the breeding houses for the purpose of mating and reproduction of the cats.

As the project became a success, some cats were given away to high monks at temples. One kitten was even given to Aung San Su Kyi as her companion when she was still under house arrest. Many noted visitors traveled from overseas to see these cats. These felines have also become media darlings as international newspapers, magazines and even television channels from as far away as France (Agence France) and China (CCTV) have made programs about them.

Many cat lovers have left notes that these were the happiest cats they had ever seen. One even wished to return in her next life to become a cat living at the Inle Lake Burmese Cat Cafe.