Renowned as the Siamese‘s longhaired cousin, the Balinese cat is an intelligent, playful, curious feline, with exquisite and elegant beauty. While it shares the same striking colorings, triangular, and lean body with the former, this furball boasts a lovely personality of its own. It is calmer yet still athletic, less chatty but opinionated, and social but often naggy for attention. Nevertheless, it is a people-oriented and loyal cat ready to lift its family’s spirit during tough times or celebrate with them during joy.
Origin of the Balinese Cat
While it may seem like it, the Balinese cat did not originate from Bali, Indonesia. Typically, it is a longhaired Siamese cat, brought by a recessive gene. Occasionally, longhaired kittens show up in their litter, but were not deemed desirable and were either given away or sold as pets.
It was only after World War II when a breeding program was developed for the longhaired Siamese cats. Californian breeder Marion Dorsey was responsible for intentionally producing the breed, which was then called the Longhaired Siamese. However, Siamese fanatics didn’t like the name and protested about its usage.
Fortunately, New York breeder Helen Smith from MerryMews Cattery came up with the name “Balinese” as the cats had a remarkable resemblance with the Balinese temple dancers. The Balinese was first recognized in 1961 in the United States and reached Europe in the mid-1970s.
Physical Characteristics of the Balinese Cat
Length: Approximately 18 inches, excluding the tail
Weight: 6 to 11 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12 to 20 years
Coat Color: Creamy white fur, with color points on the face, ears, tails, legs
Type of Coat: Long
Eye Color: Deep Blue
Balinese cats share the Siamese appearance, but the main distinguishing factor is that the former has a longer coat. Their body is fairish-sized, svelte, firm muscles, and fine boning, providing them with an exquisite and graceful look.
They have a triangular head, with large ears sitting atop completing the shape. Meanwhile, their nose is straight with no break. The eyes are also medium-sized, almond-shaped, and are in a deep blue tone, often looking intense. The legs, neck, and tail are slender, all matching its striking figure.
Their creamy white coat is fine, and gloss, lying close to the skin. Darker colors can be observed on the extremities called “points,” occurring in the face, ears, legs, and tail.
Balinese Cat Personality
Balinese cats are often referred to as the calmer version of the Siamese. Since they are closely related, these cats share many traits. Like the Siamese, these furballs have a chatty personality but not as loud as its cousin.
However, they are opinionated and will not hesitate to convey whatever they are thinking, often telling stories about their day or airing their comment on what their owners’ provided them for breakfast. They aren’t content with talking, though, as they want their families to pay attention to their monologue. Guests are no exception, as these felines will divulge everything to the visitors.
While adamant, Balinese cats have their loving, devoted side. They will be happy to help their families with each activity they do, follow them from room to room, and supervise them with every move. Once done, they’d be happiest to curl on their owner’s warm lap and or sleep with them at night. They long for attention and will languish if not given the affection they need. Nevertheless, these felines pay back, knowing when to lift their families’ spirits or celebrate with them during happy times.
Blessed with smarts and athleticism, Balinese cats also have a big heart for play. They love fetch but can also resort to other forms of entertainment when bored, such as rolling paper rolls or typing on your keyboard. Fortunately, as social cats, they can get easily amused with children and cat-friendly dogs and pets. These felines relish the attention they get with toddlers and would be happy to engage in playtime, as long as they are given the respect they deserve.
Generally, the Balinese can be a chatty creature that will demand their owner’s ears and attention. Yet, despite all the talks, lies a loving, devoted feline, making this cat an entertaining addition to any home.
Caring for the Balinese Cat
While they may have mid-long hair, Balinese cats are a low maintenance breed. Since they have no undercoat, they don’t shed a lot, and their fur is less vulnerable to mats and tangles than other breeds.
Brushing their fine, silky coat once or twice a week can suffice in removing debris and dead hair and keep their fur coat in tip-top condition. Bathing is rarely necessary and only becomes a requirement should they get into a dirty mishap.
Other grooming upkeeps are basic care. Weekly brushing using vet-approved toothpaste helps prevent periodontal disease. Supplementing it with plaque-removing treats can also boost their oral health, but should be the only means of cleaning their teeth. Nails must be trimmed every 10 to 14 days, while eyes and ears must be cleaned weekly to remove dirt build-up and steer clear of any infection.
As an intelligent and active breed, Balinese cats love to play. It is vital to provide them with lots of interactive toys and puzzle toys to keep their bodies and minds stimulated. Meanwhile, providing cat trees and high perches will ensure that they have safe climbing opportunities.
Like other oriental feline breeds, the Balinese is vulnerable to amyloidosis. This fatal condition results in protein build-up on these liver, affecting its functionality, eventually leading to organ failure. Same with other colorpoint cats, this breed is also prone to being cross-eyed, immensely reducing the sharpness of their vision. Getting proper immunization, preventative care, and regular visit to the vet can help prevent or detect any condition and ensure that these cats live a long, healthy life.
Balinese cats are perfect for families looking for a talkative companion who expects to be heard and attended to. They will pine if not given the attention they deserve but will shower loyalty and affection in the right homes.