Breed standards: CFA, FIFe, TICA, ACF, ACFA/CAA, CCA-AFC, GCCF | Size: Medium | Life expectancy: 10+ years | Training: Average | Coat: Medium/Long | Origin: United States
The Balinese cat does not actually originate from Bali or Indonesia, it is instead a cat breed that comes from the United States. It is a medium-length cat which is also referred to as the purebred long-haired Siamese.
Origins of the Balinese cat
No one is entirely sure of the origins of the Balinese cat. Some legends say that the ancestors of this cat were sacred temple cats and others say that they were bred under the supervision of the Siamese king in Thailand. Other legends would also state that Siamese were presented to the English as sacred cats to prevent the theft of the real lucky cats, the Khao Manee (ขาวมณี in Thai).
The breed was imported to Europe by the English in the late nineteenth century. Between 1930 and 1954, the color of Siamese cats became considerably more diverse. Some were seal point or chocolate point, among others.
It wasn’t until 1928 that the long-haired Siamese breed was discovered. This particular characteristic was due to a spontaneous genetic mutation. As they did not correspond to the Siamese standard, they were excluded from the breeding network. The breed arrived in the United States after the Second World War where it quickly gained popularity. It is then that two American breeders decided to launch the breeding of the “Long-haired Siamese”. They had named them Balinese because of their appearance comparable to that of the Bali dancers. Many breeders then worked on the recognition of the breed through cat shows.
History of the Balinese cat
In 1970, the TICA and CFA recognized the Balinese as a cat breed. Other federations such as the FIFe and LOOF also accepted the cat as a breed in 1970 and 1983. To refine the silhouette of the cat, the breeders resorted to breeding between the Balinese and Siamese. The popularity of the Balinese declined with the appearance of new cat breeds. The cat was still rare (0.08% of all pedigree cats) in France in 2008. Since 1997, the GCCF has recorded an average of 172 Balinese births in England.
Physical characteristics of the Balinese cat
The characteristics of the Balinese cat are more or less similar to those of the Siamese.
The Balinese is an elegant cat with an athletic figure and is fine-boned. Its body is medium sized, sturdy and long. The width of its hips is equal to the width of its shoulders and its thin and long legs are proportional to the rest of the body. Apart from its small oval paws, the Balinese has a whip-like tail. Comparable to an ostrich feather, the tail has fine and light hair.
The Balinese cat’s head is triangular in shape and of medium size. The skull and forehead are a little curved or flat, its profile is straight or a little curved. The Balinese has almond-shaped blue eyes, which are slanted and set wide apart. The ears are large and well spaced on his head.
The Balinese cat is characterized by its semi-long-haired fur without an undercoat. The coat is fine and silky. The breed does not have a ruff, but has a lot of hair around the rump and tail. The hair is sometimes shorter at the shoulders. The coat can be seal, blue, chocolate or lilac. However, the color point is the only pattern accepted by the LOOF. The color of the tips is uniform. The contrast between the extremities and the rest of the body is well highlighted. In addition, the Balinese can be crossed with many breeds of cats including the Siamese, Mandarin and Oriental. It can also be coupled with the color point shorthair.
The personality of the Balinese cat
Like the Siamese, the Balinese is an intelligent cat, talkative and particularly lively. The breed can sometimes be presumptuous. They are very sociable and affectionate towards their masters. The breed can sometimes show extreme jealousy. The Balinese is also playful by nature, they have a great need to exercise daily. Unpredictable and acrobatic, they love interactive games which allow them to practice running and jumping. They are not afraid of the unknown, but are quite reserved. Nevertheless, they needs to rest from time to time with their masters.
Does the Balinese cat get along well with others?
Even though they like to be the only animal in the house, Balinese can live very well with dogs and other cats. The introduction should be done at a distance and gradually, each needs time to get used to the other’s presence. Also, the environment must have heights and hiding places to allow the cat to rest in peace. Moreover, Balinese cats like to be in the company of children. Curious and lively, this breed is interested in what the little ones do for fun, however, good supervision is necessary during games to avoid any mischief.
Caring for and grooming the Balinese cat
Brushing and combing once a week is essential to preserve the beauty of the Balinese fur and to avoid knots. As the cat has no undercoat, it loses very little hair during the molting period. Apartment life suits the Balinese cat, but it needs freedom especially during the mating season.
The Balinese can live up to 20 years. As they are very active, they need a high-quality and adapted diet. This allows them to stay in good health and to avoid being overweight. If the Balinese cat gains too much weight, it may be subject to certain diseases.
Amyloidosis is a disease that affects oriental cats such as the Balinese cat. It causes chronic and potentially fatal kidney failure. It is a recently discovered pathology. In fact, its mode of transmission is still unclear to this day. However, an analysis of pedigrees has shown that amyloidosis is a hereditary disease. It presents itself as diarrhea combined with depression and lack of appetite. There is still no treatment to cure the disease. However, the treatments offered by veterinarians are more dedicated to relieving symptoms, avoiding inflammation, and slowing down the progression. Veterinarians may have to resort to transfusions if the cat suffers from anemia.
Cats with a color point coat are sometimes subject to convergent strabismus. This is a defect caused by many nerve fiber abnormalities, especially when they do not reach the correct hemisphere of the brain. The cat’s visual acuity is then diminished and their three-dimensional vision is altered. Strabismus can also be caused by the allele encoding the color point coat. This allele modifies the presence of melanin in the retina.
The Balinese is a cat breed that is characterized by its long-haired coat. It is a talkative cat that likes to share its needs with its owners through its meows. Therefore, this cat breed likes to be given attention and can sometimes be jealous of people he has become attached to. Lively, curious, and active, they love to play at heights and discover new things.
The Balinese cat at a glance
Size: around 25 to 30 cm for females and for males.
Weight: around 2 to 4 kg for females and around 2 to 5 kg for males.
Life expectancy: around 10 to 15 years.
Is the Balinese cat good with children? This cat breed is an excellent companion for children.