In a nutshell, the graceful, majestic Balinese is a Siamese with a long coat. But they are so much more than this! The long coat of this affectionate cat flows over the long body without obscuring any of its elegant lines as it seeks its next adventure with eyes glinting with mischief. The fine-boned, slim Balinese has the grace of the dancers of Bali and its muscular body is covered with a long, silky ermine coat. Its sapphire blue eyes sparkle with intelligence and curiosity as it surveys its kingdom but at a moment's notice the Balinese discards its regal bearing to engage in a game clowning around with a toy mouse. Its princely bearing and fluid grace constantly remind one that its ancestors were considered sacred in Siam surrounding it with an air of royalty.
The early history of the Balinese is unknown although sporadic references to it occur from early on. Some say there is a Chinese tapestry depicting a longhair, an 1871 Penny Illustrated magazine contains a reference to a longhaired Siamese, and we find a CFF registration record for one in 1928. While the longhaired kittens were showing up sporadically, the history of the Balinese starts with the first breeding programs in the 1950s. Two Siamese breeders, Marion Dorsey (Rai-Mar) in California and Helen Smith (MerryMews) in New York, both fell in love with the beauty of some longhair kittens that appeared in their Siamese litters and decided to develop more of the lovely cats. Helen Smith coined the name Balinese to reflect their grace and elegance that reminded her of Balinese dancers.
The Balinese was originally recognized in four colors: seal, blue, chocolate and lilac. In 1979, red and cream along with the tabby pattern were also accepted rounding out the color palette to include red, cream, tortoiseshells of all color combinations as both solid color points and tabby points. More recently, these colors in combination with white were accepted widening the color spectrum to include bicolor points. TICA recognized the Balinese for competition in 1979.
Balinese have extremely loving temperaments and bond closely with their families. They will be your best friend and want to be involved in everything you do from helping you make the bed to working on the computer (surely you really meant to send those cryptic messages of love your Balinese typed in for you?) to joining in all kinds of games. These gregarious cats will chat with you about any and all subjects while calling your attention to something you may have missed. They demand lots of attention and get into mischief so should not be left alone for long periods. They love to play and can make a toy out of anything-that little toy mouse, a leaf that blew indoors, a piece of paper, a teaser toy-that will amuse them for hours. Balinese get along well with children and other pets, fitting easily into the family.
The Balinese has a single coat that lies close to the long, slim body. The lack of undercoat reduces the likelihood of matting. The soft coat is fine and silky and is half an inch to two inches long over the body. There is no ruff at the neck but the tail carries a magnificent plume where the hair can be up to 5 inches long. They have the same stunning deep sapphire blue eyes as the Siamese. The Balinese also has the pointed pattern where color is restricted to the mask or face, ears, legs and tail with a contrasting creamy white body. It comes in a wide variety of pointed colors and patterns from the commonly known seal point to the rare lilac tabby & white point.
Balinese are sleek, dainty cats with long tubular bodies and fine boning. In fact, the Balinese is the epitome of long-long svelte body, long tail fringed with long hair, long fine-boned legs, and a long straight profile. From the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail and down to the tip of its toes the dancing Balinese is long and graceful. The head is a long tapering triangle that flares out from the nose to the tips of the ears. While dainty and elegant, it is all muscle giving it the feel of silk-covered steel. It is a medium-sized cat with males weighing from 6-8 pounds and females ranging from 5-7 pounds.
The Balinese is a vocal cat that enjoys conversing with you. Its voice is a bit quieter and softer than that of the Siamese and it is not quite as insistent as the Siamese. If you are looking for an interactive vocal cat, the graceful Balinese may well be just what you are searching for.
The silky single coat makes the Balinese an easy longhaired cat to keep in perfect condition. It rarely tangles or mats and a quick combing easily removes any loose dead hair while keep the spectacular plumed tail at its very best. Other than that, all that is needed is a quick wipe of the ears with a cotton swab to remove any wax and a quick nail trim to keep your cat perfectly manicured.
Health Issues Common to Balinese
All pedigreed cats have some sort of health problem, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Any breeder who claims that her breed has no health or genetic problems is either lying or is not knowledgeable about the breed. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
Balinese are generally healthy. Health issues that may affect the Balinese are the same as those for Siamese: an inherited neurological defect that causes crossed eyes; hereditary liver amyloidosis, which leads to liver failure; and dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that reduces the heart’s ability to contract. Never buy a kitten from a breeder who does not provide a health guarantee. A guarantee does not mean that your kitten will not ever get any of these conditions, but it indicates a breeder who is willing to stand behind what she produces.
Although Balinese kittens are almost never found in shelters and rescue, adult Balinese, both pedigreed and mixed, are not so fortunate. You may find the perfect Balinese for your family by asking breeders if they know of any Balinese that need a new home or checking your local shelters.
Pet Insurance for the Balinese
Pet insurance for purebred cats costs more than for mixed breed cats. This is because a purebred cat is more likely than a mixed breed cat to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.
Embrace pet insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which purebred cats are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your cat is when he’s a healthy kitten. You can’t predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can’t get when you need it the most.