Origin: United States
Size: Small to medium
Coat Length: Medium hair
Body Type: Svelte
Appearance: The Balinese is a small to medium-sized cat with long hair. Males weigh between 3-4.5kg and females from 2 to 3kg. The cat’s ears are large and pointy. Their eyes are medium in size, almond-shaped and bright blue in colour. The Balinese coat is fine and silky, it comes in many colours one main and another seen on the ears, face mask, feet and tail. Most common variants are deep brown, blue, red, cream, lilac, cinnamon and fawn.
Grooming Requirement: Every few weeks
Activity Level: Very high
Affection: Very affectionate.
Time Alone: No more than 4 hours a day
Attention: Needs a lot of attention
Talkativeness: Very vocal
Temperament: Balinese are people friendly and need a lot of attention, they will follow you everywhere around the house and even sleep in your bed if you let them. They are intelligent and playful pets and unlike most cats, they are in fact quite active. If you’d like a quiet cat, this might not be the ideal choice for you since the Balinese will “tell” you about all that concerns her.
Interesting Facts: This cat breed is actually named after the dancers of the Island of Bali.
Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Kids: You’ll have few if any problems with the Balinese but socialisation is always needed with animals. This is a great family cat, even if you have small children, though you should still teach them how to interact with animals unless you want the cat to take on this task for you! Balinese will live very happily alongside any other cat-friendly pets.
Common Health Problems: Some of the issues that may occur are amylosidosis, progressive retinal atrophy, asthma, crossed eyes, nystagmus, congenital heart defects, hyperaesthesia syndrome and lymphoma.
Lifespan: Average 9 to 15 years.
Despite what their name suggests, Balinese cats do not originate from the exotic land of Bali but the etymology of the breed’s name is attributed to the graceful dancers of the island. One of the breeders chose the name as the cats – with their elegance and ease of movement, reminded her of the soft rhythmic moves the dancers demonstrate. It is also speculated that she wanted the name to resound in a way that of the Siamese breed, since Balinese cats are Siamese’s offspring. It is unknown whether the long hair is the result of a natural mutation or a cross between the Siamese and a long-haired breed such as a Persian or Turkish Angora.
There have been sporadic mentions of long-haired Siamese kittens throughout the years – an illustrated magazine from 1871 contains a reference to a long-haired Siamese cat and there is a CFF registration record for one dating back to 1928 but it wasn’t until the 1950s that Balinese breeding programmes began. Two American ladies – Marion Dorsey from California and Helen Smith from New York, started selecting long-haired kittens from Siamese litters and developed the breed of the elegant svelte Balinese. The breed was officially recognised by the Cat Fanciers Federation in 1961 and the Cat Fanciers Association granted the Balinese championship status in 1970. TICA recognised the Balinese for competition in 1979.
According to the breed standard of the Cat Fanciers’ Association, the ideal Balinese is a sleek, dainty cat with a long body and fine boning. It is a medium-sized cat with males weighing from 6-8 pounds and females ranging from 5-7 pounds. The tail carries a luxurious plume, where the hair can be up to 5 inches long. Unlike other longhairs, the Balinese has a single coat, with the hair lying close to the body, not detracting from the long, slender lines of the basic body structure. Originally recognized in four colours (blue, chocolate, seal, and lilac), the Balinese colour palette now includes red, cream, and tortoiseshells of all colour combinations as both solid colour points and tabby points. Balinese cats share the same sapphire eyes as the Siamese.
Balinese may suffer from the same health problems that affect the Siamese. Never buy a Balinese kitten from a breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens, or one who claims that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems. All pedigreed cats suffer from varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. Balis are generally healthy, with a long life-span reaching up to more than 20 years.
Because of the Balinese’s slender slim and fine-boned build, these cats’ diet needs to be monitored in order to prevent excessive weight gain and obesity. They are active cats that need about 80 Kcals of food per kg bodyweight a day. Provide quality food, high in protein, so that your Balinese cat can get the proper amount of Taurine, essential to their well-being. Avoid foods containing artificial flavours, preservatives, and colourants. You can prepare home cooked meals with chicken, red meat, and organs, but don’t feed onions, garlic, and grapes – they are toxic to cats. The elegant Balinese cats are finicky eaters and rarely overeat, so your cat will soon show you the optimal amount of food it needs to be healthy and happy.
The fine coat of the Balinese does not shed much and is easily maintained looking silky with weekly brushing. Use a fine-toothed comb, like a flea comb but never use a curry brush – it will damage and strip out the coat. Your Bali does not require any special care besides the regular wiping with pet wipes, nail trimming and tooth brushing.
Other pets and children
Balis are highly intelligent and good-natured cats. They establish close bonds with their owners and fit perfectly into families with children and cat-friendly dogs. A Balinese cat is a loving companion and a great game partner for children. They can chase teaser toys and play fetch for hours but will also gladly nap on your lap and comfort you when you’re feeling down. You should be wary of introducing a Bali to small animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and course dogs.