The Russet

History of the Breed

The Russet cat, a relatively recent addition to the feline world, has quickly captivated cat enthusiasts with its unique and vibrant coat. Originating from Lowenheim Cattery in Upper Hutt (operated by the Bob and the late Nicki Mackenzie), the Russet cat is a variation of the Burmese breed. The story of the Russet began in the late 20th century when Bob and Nicki noticed a distinct reddish-brown kitten among the typically sable Burmese litters. Through selective breeding, this unique color was perpetuated, and the Russet cat was born.

The Russet color is caused by a genetic mutation that affects the production of eumelanin, the pigment responsible for black and brown colors in fur. This mutation results in a dilution of the black pigment to a reddish-brown, giving the Russet cat its characteristic appearance. Although still relatively rare, the Russet cat is gaining recognition and popularity among cat fanciers worldwide.


Russet cats are renowned for their affectionate and sociable nature. They are incredibly people-oriented and thrive on human interaction. These cats are known to form strong bonds with their owners, often following them around the house and seeking constant companionship. Their playful and curious demeanor makes them excellent pets for families and individuals alike.

Russets are intelligent and quick learners, often enjoying interactive toys and games that challenge their minds. They are also quite vocal, using a variety of meows and purrs to communicate with their human companions. Their friendly and outgoing personality makes them well-suited for households with other pets, including dogs, as they generally get along well with other animals.


Russet cats exhibit a range of behaviors that endear them to their owners. They are known for their playful and energetic nature, often engaging in spirited games and activities. Despite their lively disposition, Russets also have a gentle and loving side, enjoying cuddles and lap time with their favorite humans.

These cats are highly social and do not like to be left alone for long periods. They thrive in environments where they receive plenty of attention and interaction. Their inquisitive nature often leads them to explore every nook and cranny of their home, and they can be quite adventurous.

Russets are also known for their adaptability. They handle changes in their environment well and are generally easy to train. Their friendly and affectionate behavior makes them excellent therapy animals, bringing joy and comfort to those in need.

In conclusion, the Russet cat is a remarkable breed with a rich history, endearing personality, striking colors, and delightful behavior. Their unique appearance and loving nature make them a cherished companion for many cat lovers around the world. Whether you are looking for an energetic playmate or a gentle cuddle buddy, the Russet cat is sure to steal your heart with its charm and warmth.


The defining feature of the Russet cat is its striking reddish-brown coat. This unique color can range from a light, almost coppery hue to a deep, rich mahogany. The coat is usually short and sleek, characteristic of the Burmese breed, with a fine texture that is soft to the touch.

In addition to the primary reddish-brown color, Russet cats may have subtle variations in shading, giving their fur a dynamic and shimmering appearance. Their eyes are typically a bright gold or yellow, which contrasts beautifully with their russet-colored fur.

Burmese Cat Club

of New Zealand

We are a progressive, welcoming, non-profit organisation and our key mission is to promote the welfare of the Burmese breed of cat, responsible and ethical breeding of the Burmese breed, and the showing of purebred cats and de-sexed domestic cats.

We are affiliated with New Zealand Cat Fancy and as a specialist club we are focused on the Burmese cat (and related breeds) to offer breeder advice and guidance where possible.  We  also organise two annual cat shows per year.

Our North Island and South Island committees meet on a monthly basic to discuss specialist issues to assist breeders and owners, breed standards, and the welfare of the breed.

Contact the club for more information