At a glance
The Balinese is a longhaired Siamese who originated in the United States in the 1950s. They share many similar traits with their Siamese cousins, including intelligence, loyalty, and playfulness.
Image courtesy Derek A Young, Flickr
Despite their names, Balinese cats don’t come from Bali but originated in the USA. They are, in essence, a longhaired Siamese cat. The gene responsible for the long-haired coat is recessive, you need two copies of it, one from each parent. A cat can have short hair but carry the recessive gene for long hair, and you won’t know it unless it parents a longhaired kitten. Occasionally a long-haired Siamese would turn up in a litter of kittens, but these were sold as pets.
It is not known if the longhair gene was introduced to the breed at some point or if it occurred as a spontaneous mutation. The first longhaired Siamese cat was registered with the Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF) in 1928, however, breeding these cats didn’t begin until the 1950s when Marion Dorsey of Rai-Mar cattery in California developed a breeding plan for these longhaired Siamese. Helen Smith of MerryMews Cattery in New York became involved in the 1960s and came up with the name Balinese. She likened the cats to the Balinese dancers. Helen was the first breeder to show Balinese cats in the AOV (any other variety) category with the Cat Fanciers Association.
Marion sold her cattery in 1965 to Sylvia Holland of Holland’s Farm Cattery who continued with the Balinese breeding programme.
The Balinese has the appearance of the Siamese, only with a longer coat with a slender body, fine boning, long tapering lines, and a tubular body.
The head is wedge-shaped, with large ears continuing the wedge shape, almond-shaped blue eyes and a long, straight nose with no break.
The medium-length single coat is fine and silky, lying flat against the skin. Balinese colours vary between organisations. Some cat associations only permit the traditional Siamese colours of seal, chocolate, blue and lilac, other colours are shown under the breed name of Javanese.
Males are usually larger than females.
The Balinese has a similar strong personality to their Siamese cousins. They are talkative, intelligent, energetic, extrovert, athletic, acrobatic and loyal. Balinese cats bond closely with their human family and do not take well to being left alone for extended periods. Often a Balinese cat will form a particularly close bond with one member of the family.
Balinese cats retain their kitten-like playfulness way into adulthood and should be provided with an array of cat toys to keep them amused.
The Balinese is a reasonably low-maintenance breed but will require a daily groom to prevent mats. Dental care is extremely important. Brush teeth daily with a pet toothbrush and toothpaste (never use human toothpaste) and give raw chicken necks or chunks of steak two to three times a week.
Kittens require three vaccinations at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age and then every 1-3 years, or as your veterinarian recommends.
Frequently asked questions
Are Balinese cats hypoallergenic?
No breed is truly hypoallergenic, but it has been suggested that the Balinese sheds less Fel D 1 in the saliva than other cats.
Are Balinese cats talkative?
Yes, the Balinese is a talkative breed and is happy to give you a running commentary all day long.
Do Balinese cats scratch furniture?
All cats will scratch the furniture if they are not provided provisions to scratch. Every household should have at least one cat tree, which should be a minimum of 1.5 times taller than the cat.
What is the difference between a Balinese and a Siamese cat?
The Balinese has a long coat, and the Siamese has a short coat.
Are Balinese cats cuddly?
Yes, the Balinese is an affectionate and cuddly breed, however, early experiences can shape a cat. Generally, cats raised underfoot (in the home), and with a lot of positive human interaction in those critical early weeks shape a cat’s personality.
Do Balinese cats shed?
Yes, Balinese cats do shed. A daily brush can keep this under control by removing loose hairs from the coat. A premium diet, with fatty acids, can also promote healthy hair and skin and reduce shedding.