Are you familiar with Siamese cats? If you know enough about cats, you probably know some of the most popular cat breeds, and Siamese is one of them. These cats are famous for their color-point short fur. But did you hear about a Balinese cat breed?
This cat breed, although less famous than Siamese, is extremely similar to Siamese cats except for the fur length. Balinese cats are basically the long-haired versions of Siamese cats, and I will talk a bit more about them in this article!
Balinese Cat Characteristics
|Fur color||White and cream fur color with lilac, blue, chocolate, and seal color points.|
|Fur pattern||Color point|
|Fur length||Medium to long|
|Eye color & shape||Shades of blue, almond-shaped, slanted, and medium-sized eyes|
|Weight||Males 6-11 lbs|
Females 4-8 lbs
|Expected lifespan||12-20 years|
|Temperament||Friendly, active, vocal, affectionate, loyal, and intelligent.|
|Kids and other pets||Friendly towards children and other pets.|
|Sociable and cuddly||Likes to cuddle and sit in the lap, friendly towards strangers and can easily be socialized.|
Requirements & Traits
|Feeding||Meat-based foods rich in protein, in both dry and wet forms. Adults should eat 2-3 times a day, and kittens should eat more often.|
|Grooming||Frequent brushing, occasional nail trimming, ear and eye cleaning, and proper dental hygiene.|
|Hypoallergenic||No, although this cat breed allegedly produces fewer proteins responsible for allergic reactions.|
History and Origins
The origin story of Balinese cats is quite interesting. The first Siamese cats were imported to the US from Thailand in the mid-1800s. Some of those cats carried the recessive gene for long-haired fur. Occasionally, these cats gave birth to long-haired Siamese kittens. At first, the breeders considered these kittens to be an anomaly.
Breeders didn’t consider these long-haired kittens to be show-worthy, and they only sold them as pets. That changed in 1928 when long-haired Siamese cats gained recognition and were finally registered as a separate cat breed with the American Cat Fanciers’ Federation.
In the mid-1950s, cat breeders showed interest in developing this breed. One of the first breeders to do so, Helen Smith, decided that this breed’s initial name, “The Longhaired Siamese,” was dull and boring. She named them Balinese cats, referring to Balinese dancers and their grace.
A breeder Sylvia Holland further developed the breed in the 1960s and 1970s. She refused to recognize any Balinese or Siamese cat that wasn’t color point in the seal, chocolate, lilac, or blue color. However, the American Cat Fanciers’ Federation recognized red, cream, tabby, and tortoiseshell Siamese cats as acceptable.
Balinese and Javanese Cats
As a result, the long-haired cats derived from these newly recognized Siamese cats were also recognized as a new cat breed and named Javanese cats (after another Indonesian island). Over the years, this caused a discussion about whether the Javanese and Balinese cats should be merged into one cat breed.
Both the Balinese Breed Council and Javanese Breed Council supported the merger, but the American Cat Fanciers’ Federation was against it. Finally, in 2008, the American Cat Fanciers’ Federation agreed to recognize two breeds as one breed that will be called Balinese.
Old vs. Modern Balinese Cats
There was another interesting development with Siamese and, subsequently, Balinese cats. Both breeds have split into two varieties, traditional and modern.
Traditional/old Siamese and Balinese cats resemble the cats from the initial breeding programs. They are more rounded and stocky with broad facial and physical features. On the other side, modern Siamese and Balinese cats have more slender and elongated features, with distinctively wedge-shaped heads.
Balinese Cat Personality
Since Balinese cats are practically long-haired Siamese cats, their personalities are also the same. Balinese cats are friendly, curious, outgoing, intelligent, and communicative. They are extremely vocal, and they often engage in “conversation” with their owners.
They are also capable of recognizing the tone of your voice. If they notice you scolding them, they might even get sad! Balinese are also playful and active cats that will spend most of their days jumping around. Don’t be surprised if your Balinese learns how to jump on your shoulders and decides to spend some time there.
Apart from being playful, these cats are also affectionate and loving. They can be left alone for a few hours, but not longer because they can develop separation anxiety.
Balinese Cat Appearance
Balinese cats are highly praised for their appearance, and if you wonder if your cat is Balinese, check out if it has these features:
The first thing you will notice about Balinese cats is their fur. Just like Siamese cats, Balinese have bright fur with their heads and sometimes legs and tails being significantly darker. This color distribution pattern is popularly known as color point.
The main difference between Siamese and Balinese cats is the fur length. Siamese cats are short-haired cats, while Bailense has medium and long hairs.
Interestingly, when you breed two long-haired Siamese cats (the first-generation Balinese), the offspring will have noticeably longer fur than its parents.
Although it isn’t proved yet, there is a claim that Balinese cats are almost hypoallergenic. This claim is supported by the fact that although they are a long-haired breed, they don’t produce as much Fel D proteins as other similar cat breeds.
Another striking feature of Balinese cats is their blue eyes. Their eyes can be bright blue, dark blue, almost violet, or any other shade in between. They are large, almond-shaped, and slanted.
Balinese are medium-sized cats, with males being slightly larger than females. The typical body weight for a male Balinese cat is 6-11 pounds, while females usually weigh 4-8 pounds. Additionally, on average, Balinese tomcats are 18 inches long, while females range around 15 inches.
Other Body Characteristics
Describing other body characteristics of Balinese cats can be a bit tricky when you remember that there are actually two Balinese types. The first one, the traditional and old Balinese type, is characterized by round, broad, and stocky body features. The head is round and wide, and the ears are medium-sized and also rounded.
The modern Balinese cats are more slender. Their bodies are elongated, and their legs are longer and thinner than in the old type. The head is distinctively wedge-shaped and narrow, with large, pointed ears.
Both types have plumed, slightly tapered tails.
Daily Life With Balinese Cat
Balinese cats can be great pets, and you just need to know how to take care of them. They can be a bit more demanding than some other breeds, but let’s be real: they are worth all the effort.
Taking good care of your pet can be time and money-consuming, but it is also extremely rewarding. After all, you choose to have that pet; the pet didn’t choose you. With some general tips, you will easily learn how to take care of Balinese cats or any other cat breed.
All cat breeds are obligate carnivores, and Balinese cats are no exception. This means that they can only eat meat, so no vegetables, fruits, dairy, grains, or sweets. Feeding your cats non-meat foods can cause digestion and metabolism problems, which can evolve into even bigger health issues.
To prevent that from happening, feed your Balinese cat high-quality commercial cat food. You should give your cat both dry and wet foods. Balinese are known to be picky eaters, and they usually prefer wet food over dry food. However, it is important that they also eat dry food because it is healthy for the teeth.
Since Balinese cats need a lot of activity to stay healthy, you should feed them accordingly. For example, if your Balinese is not as active, don’t feed it too much because it isn’t spending as many calories as it should, and it could quickly become obese.
Since this can be a bit confusing, instead of figuring out the portion size by yourself, consult the vet. They will be able to tell you how much your Balinese should eat on a daily basis. Divide that amount of food into 2-3 portions for adult Balinese cats and 3-4 portions for kittens and juvenile cats.
Since they are long-haired cats, many people think that Balinese are high-maintenance. Although they might require more brushing and care than short-haired cats, Balinese cats don’t have thick undercoats, significantly reducing hair tangling and matting.
Brushing their fur once or twice weekly should be enough to keep their fur shiny and beautiful. Trim your Balinese cat’s nails once every two weeks or at least once a month. Occasionally clean its ears and eyes with a damp cotton cloth or pad.
Dental hygiene is also important. Teach your Balinese kitten to tolerate teeth brushing and make it as pleasant as possible. This way, when it grows up, you will be able to brush its teeth regularly enough to keep them healthy. If, for some reason, you can’t brush your Balinese teeth regularly, offer it teeth cleaning snacks.
Balinese cats are extremely active cats by nature. They enjoy running, climbing, and jumping. People often call Balinese “vertical cats” because they always look for somewhere to climb. That’s why you need to provide your Balinese with enough space and scratching/climbing cat towers.
Various toys, especially interactive ones, are also a great way to entertain your Balinese cat. Additionally, you will have to take some time out of your day to play with your Balinese cat. This cat requires attention, and you will need to provide it.
If you leash-train your Balinese cat, you can take it outside for a walk. If you have small children that are also bursting with energy, they could be great playmates for your Balinese cats. You can also consider getting a second cat or other pet that could be friendly towards your Balinese while having the same energy levels.
Most Common Balinese Cat Health Issues
Balinese cats are generally healthy, but they are prone to some conditions, just like any other cat breed. As direct descendants of the Siamese cats, Balinese cats are prone to similar conditions as Siamese. Some of these conditions can be serious, but if you learn how to spot their symptoms soon enough, you can provide the best treatment for your cat!
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
One of the conditions that affect Balinese cats is Progressive Retinal Atrophy. This is actually a group of degenerative diseases that affects the photoreceptors in the cat’s eye. As a result, those photoreceptors slowly deteriorate, leading to blindness.
One telling symptom of Progressive Retinal Atrophy in cats is dilated pupils, which do not react to changes in lighting. This can be an early sign of Progressive Retinal Atrophy, so if you notice this happening, it is a good idea to have your cat’s eyes checked by a vet as soon as possible.
In some cases, the retina starts to deteriorate, and the optic nerve can become damaged before any other symptoms are seen. If you notice that your cat’s pupils are larger than normal or that it has difficulty adjusting to changes in light levels, then have its eyes checked out immediately since these could be early signs of PRA.
Some other symptoms include squinting and eye rubbing, and if you notice either one of them, take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.
This condition usually affects older cats and can be fatal to them. This condition is caused by the build-up of amyloid proteins in the body. Amyloids are insoluble proteins that form from the normal cellular breakdown of hematopoietic (red blood cell) materials. These amyloid proteins then deposit in the liver, interfering with normal functioning.
The symptoms of amyloidosis may include difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, weight loss, and jaundice or yellowing of the skin caused by defective liver function. In some cases, swelling or fluid buildup in certain parts of the lungs and abdomen may also occur. This can cause pain and make it difficult for your cat to breathe normally.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you must take your cat to the vet. The vet will be able to prescribe the best treatment. This may include giving him anti-inflammatory medications to help with pain and swelling. Your vet will also likely recommend a special diet that is low in protein and fat, as well as steroids or other drugs to help keep fluids from building up in the lungs and abdomen.
The most common respiratory issue that Balinese cats experience is asthma. Asthma in cats is an inflammatory condition that causes constriction of the airways, resulting in difficulty breathing or wheezing.
Several factors may contribute to the development of feline asthma, including allergies, bacterial infections, stress, and exposure to certain chemicals or fumes. If your Siamese cat develops asthmatic symptoms such as coughing or wheezing, it is important to take him to see a veterinarian as soon as possible for a medical evaluation.
Other respiratory problems that Siamese cats may experience include rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal passages) and tracheobronchitis (inflammation of the airways that connect to the lungs). These conditions can be caused by environmental factors such as dust, dander, smoke, and fumes, as well as various diseases, such as upper respiratory infections.
This is a rare condition characterized by excessive sensitivity to touch, pain, and sound. The symptoms typically manifest as irritability or uneasiness. In most cases of hyperesthesia syndrome, the presence of fleas is evident in the cat’s environment.
Hyperesthesia syndrome can occur for many different reasons, including an underlying infectious disease such as hypoglycemia or rabies. Certain medications can also cause a reaction leading to this peculiar neurological disorder. It may also be caused by severe trauma that affects their spine and nerve roots, exposure to certain toxins or insecticides, and underlying psychological trauma.
A careful examination of your cat should be performed when this symptom is exhibited to avoid further complications due to allergies or exposure to toxins like insecticides and pesticides.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a serious problem that can affect Balinese cats. It is a condition of the heart muscle that does not pump blood effectively to all body parts.
The heart muscle loses its ability to contract and stretch normally, causing weakness and enlargement of the cardiac chambers. This causes fluid accumulation in the lungs (pulmonary edema) and other body parts. As a result, your cat could be at risk of congestive heart failure (CHF).
The symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy can vary widely depending on the severity of the disease. Some common symptoms include weight loss, increased respiratory rate, difficulty breathing, and exercise intolerance.
Other symptoms may include coughing, vomiting, and fainting. In more severe cases, sudden cardiac death is possible. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.
Balinese Cat Name Suggestions
Such stunning cats deserve stunning names, so let’s go over some of the best name ideas. These names are mostly based on the Balinese language. Although Balinese cats aren’t really from Bali, I think it would be cool to give them some of these names:
Buying or Adopting Balinese Cat
If you want to adopt a Balinese cat from a shelter, it shouldn’t be too hard because, although rare, this breed can be found all across the US. As usual, the adoption will cost you $75-$150. This is an affordable and great way to give a good life to cats that would otherwise be euthanized or spend their whole lives miserable.
Still, it is understandable that some people still prefer to buy their Balinese cat directly from a reputable breeder. In this case, you will have to pay $800-$1500 for it. The price may be much higher, up to $3000, if you buy a kitten from a well-known pedigree.
Balinese Cat Alternatives
Balinese cats are often considered long-haired versions of Siamese cats, but they are less popular and common. Of course, this means that if you can’t find a Balinese cat, you should definitely consider getting a Siamese cat instead.
Balinese cats were created by crossing Siamese and Persian cats, so buying a Persian cat instead of a Balinese might also be a great idea. Finally, if you want something more uncommon yet similar to the Balinese cat, consider getting a Ragdoll, Cornish Rex, or a Himalayan cat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Balinese cats are classified as a rare cat breed.
Yes, but not for too long. If you leave them for more than several hours, they will become bored, lonely, destructive, depressed, and anxious. If you have no other option than to leave them alone, consider getting one more cat to keep them company.
Yes, Balinese cats are good indoor cats. Although they are highly active, if you provide them with enough exercise, Balinese cats will have no problem staying indoors.
These cats are highly intelligent and like to please their owners, making them perfect for training.
Yes, Balinese cats are vocal and can get quite loud. If you can’t stand the noise, it is best that you don’t get a Balinese cat at all.
Balinese Cat Fun Facts
- A color point pattern in Siamese and Balinese cats is a form of partial albinism. It is caused by a mutation in tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in melanin production. This mutated enzyme is light sensitive, and it causes the hair on cooler body parts to be darker, while the hair on warmer body parts becomes light. For this reason, Siamese and Balinese cats have darker faces, legs, and tails than the rest of the body.
- Many people think that Balinese cats are from Bali, but they are actually from the US.
- Cat experts consider Balinese cats as the most intelligent among long-haired breeds.
Balinese cats are true champions of body positivity. They proved that things that seem like an error or anomalies could become desired features that set you apart from everyone else. Initially rejected as less worthy, Balinese cats are a highly valued cat breed today.
These active and intelligent cats will make sure your life is filled with play, fun, and love. If you want a cat that you can “talk” with, getting a Balinese cat should be your top priority!