Origin & History
Balinese cats are derivatives of the Siamese cat breed. While little is known about the exact history of the Balinese cat, breeders believe Balinese cats come from a genetic mutation of the Siamese cat that makes their hair long instead of short. For years, Siamese cat breeders would occasionally find long-haired Siamese kittens in their litters. These cats were adopted out as pets, but were never used to breed. That all changed in the 1950’s. Two breeders, Marion Dorsey of California and Helen Smith of New York each had a fluffy, long haired Siamese cat in their litters. They fell in love with these long-haired Siamese cats and decided to breed them. Because of their lanky, graceful bodies, Smith named this breed “Balinese” because they reminded her of the dancers that made the island of Bali famous. While the Cat Fancier’s Federation officially recognized the Balinese breed in 1961, although records show the first Balinese cat was registered with them in 1928.The breed is also recognized by the American Cat Fanciers Association, the Cat Fanciers Association and the International Cat Association. In 2008, breeders voted to combine what was formerly known as the “Javanese” (any tabby, tortie or other non-Siamese patterns) breed with the traditional Siamese colored Balinese cats. Balinese cats are well-loved by those who own them. They are playful cats, highly sociable and loving. They are very active and clever and while they are affectionate, they are not lap cats. However, Balinese cats are not as popular as their Siamese counterparts. Perhaps it is because they are slightly different looking, with larger ears and eyes that are more wideset and almond shape and a more lean and lanky body.
As descendants of Siamese cats, Balinese cats are also extremely active. If you’re looking to add a Balinese to your home, consider cat trees or other modifications to your home as the Balinese love to climb and perch wherever they can.Balinese cats are powerful jumpers; owners often find them on top of bookcases, shelves, refrigerators and more. It is also wise to provide her with plenty of space to roam and run. Balinese cats certainly look sophisticated, but at heart, they are all about fun and attention. They love their owners and are known to follow them around the house, constantly demanding love, attention or playtime! They want to “help” with whatever you are doing. Balinese cats are exceptionally smart and paired with their desire to please you, they are also pretty easily trained. You might be able to teach your Balinese to play fetch, walk on a leash or do other little tricks.However, living with such a smart cat can be difficult and tiring, so make sure you are willing to commit to the time it takes to live with this breed before you bring one into your home. The active and social life of a Balinese cat blends perfectly with a family that has children or even cat-friendly dogs. In fact, your Balinese cat will likely play all of the games that you already play with your dog! A Balinese will live peacefully with other cats and dogs and will love being showered by the attention of your children. They love to talk, and it wouldn’t be uncommon for you to walk in on your child having a full on “conversation” with your family’s Balinese cat. You will never be without a friend when you own a Balinese!For as lively as these cats are they are also extremely loving and affectionate; they want you to pet them! You might not find them sitting on your lap for long, but you will constantly find your Balinese cat underfoot, weaving between your legs, and pawing your hand for attention. They will sit quietly when tired, and enjoy some pets and purrs.
Coat, Colors & Appearance
Balinese cats were first recognized in four colors: blue, chocolate, lilac and seal, but in 1979 cream, tabby and tortoiseshell patterns of all color combinations were added to the list. In recent years, white was also added as an accepted color. The pattern of the Balinese is known as “points” as the body of the cat is typically one color with the points, like its face mask, ears, legs, tail and feet being a darker color. The coat is very long, silky, and soft. Unlike most longhair cats that have a double coat, Balinese only have a single coat (no undercoat), which makes them unlikely to have matted fur and adds to their slim appearance as the hair stays close to their body. Their tails are reminiscent of an ostrich feather, spread out like a plume, with very long hair. Balinese cats are arguably the more elegant and graceful counterpart of their Siamese ancestry. Everything about this cat is long and lean. They are slender and long, with fine bones and a tubular body that is sleek and dainty. They are active cats, and their lean, muscular bodies show it. The head is triangular in shape and the ears are large, pointed and set far apart. Their eyes are also wide-set, and have an eastern Almond slant to them that is very distinct. They have very elegant oval paws, where the fur should be somewhat shorter in length. The Balinese’s back paws are slightly longer than its front paws, and while they are classified as a medium sized cat, the Balinese males are often larger than their female counterparts.
Grooming Your Balinese
The beautiful, long coat of the Balinese is relatively easy to care for. They do not shed much, as they have no undercoat and their coat is not easily matted. Brushing the cat’s coat once or twice a week with a stainless steel comb to remove dead hair is recommended.A bath is rarely needed, but at least once a week you should wipe the corners of their eyes with a warm, damp cloth (using different sections of the cloth on each eye to prevent the spread of infection) to remove discharge.Balinese cats do need weekly nail trimming and ear cleaning. Wipe out the inside of their ear with a cotton ball or cloth dipped in warm water or a 50-50 mix of water and cider vinegar. You should not use a cotton swab, as they could damage your cat’s ear. Like any other cat, it’s important to brush your Balinese’s teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste from your local pet store or veterinarian to prevent periodontal disease and wipe any discharge that comes out onto the fur around their mouth while you brush.Balinese cats are very particular about the cleanliness of their litterbox, so it is important that you clean it out daily, ensuring that all feces and urine is removed. Keep in mind, you should also have at least two litter boxes in your home per cat. It is best to keep Balinese cats indoors. Their long hair could easily be matted by burs and filled with dirt, and there is always the risk of disease when a cat is kept outside.
- Brushing the coat a couple of times a week at least is recommended. If you can do daily brushing, that is great!
- Daily Dental hygenie is reccommended, at a minimum once per week.
- Checking the ears once per week and keeping them clean is reccomended.
- Trimming the nails once every other week is advised.
- You should clean the area around the eyes with a damp cloth periodically.
What Makes The Balinese Different?
Balinese cats are great for those who want a Siamese cat with a more graceful, elegant long coat. They are nearly identical in all other aspects, except for their coat. Balinese cats are the perfect combination of sleek and beautiful, while also being active, loving and very sociable creatures. They are entertaining, smart, and playful and would make a great addition to any family. They are easy to care for, talkative and loving, making them a joy to be around.
Balinese cats face the same health concerns as their Siamese counterparts, however, they are generally very healthy animals, but all cats, whether they are purebred or mixed breed have the potential to contract diseases or inherit them. You should never buy from a breeder who doesn’t give a health guarantee. While it doesn’t mean your cat is guaranteed to be free from disease, it does mean the breeder stands by what he or she makes. According to VetStreet.com, Balinese cats can contract lysosomal storage disease, a condition that can affect them neurologically and feline acromelanism, a condition that can causes changes in coat color when the temperature changes. Your Balinese can also suffer from:-Amyloidosis, a disease that most commonly affects the liver of Siamese and Balinese cats-Asthma/bronchial disease-Congenital heart defects such as aortic stenosis-Crossed eyes-Gastrointestinal conditions such as megaesophagus-Hyperesthesia syndrome, a neurological problem that can cause cats to excessively groom themselves, leading to hair loss, and to act frantically, especially when they are touched or petted-Lymphoma-Nystagmus, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary rapid eye movement-Progressive retinal atrophy, for which a genetic test is availableWhile Balinese are so active, they are rarely obese, it can happen if an owner is negligent. Make sure to always provide your cat or kitten with enough opportunities to be active.
Buying a Balinese Cat
When looking to adopt a Balinese cat, always look for a reputable breeder who gives you a health guarantee. Do NOT buy a Balinese cat from a pet store; it is hard to determine where these cats came from and their true health. You can expect to pay more than $600 for a pedigreed Balinese cat that comes from a reputable breeder.
Adopting a Balinese Cat
It is rare for you to find a Balinese kitten in a shelter, but sadly, you can occasionally find adult Balinese cats at your local shelter, or often by working with local cat rescue groups. Resources like petfinder.com or adoptapet.com in helping identify adoptable Balinese cats near you. While not all Balinese cats found via rescues may be purebred cats, you’d be surprised at how many are and they will cost you far less than buying from a breeder.Plus you have the added benefit of knowing that you saved a cat’s life. Like any animal, slowly introduce your Balinese cat to your existing family members, particularly children and another cats and dogs. More information can be found here.