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 that is exactly what would happen, a long-haired Siamese would turn up in a litter of kittens but these were sold as pets. It is not known if the longhaired 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 1950's when a lady by the name of Marion Dorsey of Rai-Mar cattery in California developed a breeding plan for these "longhaired Siamese". Then the early 1960's a second breeder by the name of Helen Smith of MerryMews Cattery in New York became involved. It is Helen Smith who came up with the name "Balinese" for the breed. She likened the cats to the Balinese dancers. Helen was the first breeder to show Balinese cats at in the AOV (any other variety) category with the CFA.
Marion sold her cattery in 1965 to Sylvia Holland of Holland's Farm Cattery who continued on with the Balinese breeding programme.
The Balinese was granted championship status with the CFA in 1970.
As would be expected, the Balinese has the appearance of the Siamese, only with a longer coat. They are a slender cat with fine boning, long tapering lines and a tubular body. The tail is long, thin and plumed.
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 but are generally can be found in the same colours as the Siamese. Some cat associations only permit the traditional Siamese colours of Seal, Chocolate, Blue and Lilac to be accepted under the Balinese name and other colours are shown under the breed name of Javanese.
Males are usually larger than females.
The Balinese is an extremely intelligent breed of cat with a similar personality to the Siamese. They are incredibly loving and bond closely with their human companions. They can become lonely if left for long periods of time and it is recommended if you are out a lot that you get your Balinese a feline companion.
They are a playful breed and enjoy games with the family. They like to be where you are, and will follow you from room to room. Just like the Siamese, Balinese cats are talkative.
Balinese are easy going and get along with people and other pets. They make an excellent family pet.
They are a fairly low maintenance cat, but will require a groom once or twice a week.
Special thanks to:
Jen Rogers of SmudgeWillow Cattery and Melanie Wood of Templeton Cats for the use of their photos.