Welcome to our complete guide to Balinese cats! Helping to you discover what is special about them, and the best way to care for them.
If you already have a Balinese cat, or if you think you’d like to get one, you’ll find some important information here.
Each breed of cat is different.
They’re all wonderful in their own ways.
And provide loving companionship.
But you should know if you can handle a Balinese cat and its special requirements.
We’re going to provide you with Balinese Cats 101! Read on.
What is a Balinese cat?
Balinese cats are sometimes misidentified as long-haired Siamese cats. They are closely related to Siamese, though.
They have been compared to Himalayan cats, but there is no close relation between these types of cats in reality. Despite appearances!
Balinese cats can also be mistaken for Javanese cats.
Javanese cats were created by crossing a Balinese cat and a Colorpoint Shorthair. However these cats are no longer recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association as a separate breed.
Like Siamese cats, Balinese cats have fine bones, and appear slim and silky.
The history of the Balinese cat is fairly short.
An 1871 magazine called Penny Illustrated refers to a long-haired Siamese cat, and there’s a registration record for one at the 1928 Cat Fanciers’ Federation.
The first breeding programs for Balinese cats began in the 1950s after long-haired kittens spontaneously showed up in two Siamese litters. The cats’ owners decided to develop more of them.
The cats were called Balinese because their grace reminded one of these owners of Balinese dancers. There is no connection between Balinese cats and the country of Bali.
Balinese cat personality
These cats are considered to be smart and loving. They like to be involved in everything.
Balinese cats are outgoing and gregarious. But with that comes a certain amount of demand for attention. They are also mischievous and playful.
But be warned, like some other outgoing cats breeds, if not given enough attention, they may become destructive.
They get along well with children and other pets. Sometimes they feel threatened by dogs, however. If you have a dog you’ll want to introduce your Balinese kitten to her carefully, and make sure that she is well socialized and happy in his company.
These cats may look aristocratic, but they are clowns at heart. Many believe they are less vocal than Siamese cats, with a softer voice, but they still like to talk.
Balinese cats like soft places to sleep and enjoy sharpening their claws, so a scratching post is a good investment if you want to get a Balinese cat.
The Balinese cat temperament
Balinese cats are affectionate. They are demonstrative about this affection too, which is lovely.
These cats bond closely with their families.
Balinese cats are good-natured, and have a lot of energy. They are considered one of the most intelligent long-haired breeds.
Their temperament ensures that they make great indoor cats for homes where someone is in for most of the day.
Balinese cat size
Balinese cats are medium-sized.
Males usually weigh between 6-8 lbs. Females weigh 5-7 lbs.
They are sleek and dainty cats with fine bones and musculature. They appear long and lithe in legs, body, and tail.
Balinese cats can grow to be about 1.5 feet long, with a one foot-long tail.
Balinese cat colors
Because they were originally bred from Siamese cats, pedigreed Balinese cats have the same colors as traditional Siamese cats.
They have sapphire blue eyes and a pattern in which the body is creamy white, while the face, ears, legs, and tail may have a contrasting color. These are referred to as color points.
There are seal point Balinese, red point Balinese, lynx or tabby point Balinese, tortoiseshell point Balinese, blue point Balinese, chocolate point Balinese, and lilac point Balinese.
Long-haired Balinese cat grooming
The coat length of a Balinese cat is really what separates it from Siamese cats.
The silky coat of these cats is fine, growing to half an inch or two inches over the body.
But, unlike most long-haired cats, which have an undercoat and an outer coat, the Balinese just has a single coat of hair.
Hair lies close to the body, flowing naturally towards the cat’s tail. So, a Balinese cat still looks slim and svelte. The hair does not obscure the long lines of the body.
Their tails, however, are often plumed and luxurious, with hairs up to five inches long.
Double coats can get frequently matted, but the single coat of the Balinese does not.
Balinese cats require just a quick combing now and then to remove loose, dead hair.
Balinese cat – hypoallergenic?
Some breeders and others claim that Balinese cats are hypoallergenic. This has not been scientifically proven.
In fact, scientific research has not shown that any hypoallergenic cat breeds exist.
Balinese cats do secrete less Fel d1, a cat-specific allergen that people react to, than some other cats.
Fel d1 is created in the saliva, tears, skin, and perianal glands. During grooming, it becomes distributed across fur. The perianal glands secrete it onto feces, too.
However, Fel d1 only accounts for about 60 percent of cat allergies. Over 12 other substances found in mammals can cause allergic reactions. So, there are other factors to consider.
The lack of an undercoat in Balinese cats makes it possible that allergy sufferers may react less to Balinese cats than to other long-haired breeds. Less hair means fewer allergens.
Spend time with a cat to determine if it triggers your allergies!
There are no guarantees for cat allergy sufferers. Frequent baths and brushings can help, however.
Balinese cat health
All pedigreed cats have health problems that are specific to the breed.
This is due to small population sizes, population bottlenecks, and founder effects, which occur when a population is descended from a small number of ancestors.
Siamese cats and their variants were once considered delicate and prone to health issues, but are much hardier today.
Chronic bronchial disease
Balinese cats may suffer from respiratory infections, especially when young.
Chronic bronchial disease is especially prevalent in Siamese-related breeds, causing inflammation of the airways and thickening and contraction of the smooth muscle in the walls of the bronchi and bronchioles.
This, along with the excessive secretion of mucus, leads to obstruction of the airways. Your cat may experience difficulties with breathing.
Chronic bronchial disease can be treated with oral, anti-inflammatory medications, but such drugs will be needed for life. Otherwise, the condition is life-threatening.
Central nervous system diseases
Siamese cats and related breeds are prone to central nervous system diseases. These include hydrocephalus, or “water on the brain,” a congenital abnormality that causes changes in behavior and appearance, and seizures.
Myelin deficiency is also a concern. Myeline is a fatty substance that insulates nerve cells, and aids cellular transmission of nervous system activities.
A lack of it can cause tremors in kittens, but symptoms may resolve later on. Affected cats may live normally.
Balinese cats are at higher risk for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy than other many other breeds.
Here, the muscle tissue becomes thickened, usually in the left ventricle of the heart. This affects the ability of the heart to fill and pump.
Eventually, this genetic condition can lead to heart failure, depending on its seriousness. But, it can be managed to extend your cat’s life.
Interestingly, Siamese-related cats have a much lower risk of developing hyperthyroidism that can lead to heart disease.
This is a rare condition in which an abnormal protein substance called an amyloid get distributed into different organs. In Balinese cats, this happens commonly in the liver.
Amyloidosis causes decreased liver function. Symptoms include dehydration, poor coat quality, gingivitis, excessive urination, lethargy, and weight loss.
Eventually, amyloidosis can lead to rupture and internal bleeding.
Balinese cats can be prone to feline hyperesthesia syndrome. This causes oversensitivity of the skin, and results in over grooming or rippling of the skin.
Doctors believe this is a nervous disorder that can resemble a skin disorder. Treatment consists of reducing anxiety, limiting physical activity, and perhaps anti-seizure drugs.
Balinese cats also been known to succumb to psychogenic alopecia, in which the cats groom themselves excessively. This can be a behavioral or dermatological issue, caused by allergies or stress.
Eye problems in the Balinese cat
Retinal degenerative disease is especially common in Balinese cats. This may lead to blindness, and should be evaluated by a veterinarian.
However, most cats can adapt to visual impairment using their other senses, especially if kept inside.
Also, Balinese cats may suffer from a neuroanatomical condition that results in crossed eyes.
Crossed eyes result from abnormal retinal pathways, and may cause impairment in depth perception. While in some cases this results in additional health problems, it usually does not affect their quality of life.
Balinese cat life expectancy
The life expectancy of a cat is based upon a number of factors, including diet, lifestyle, environment, and genetics.
Most Balinese cats live from 10-15 years.
Balinese cat price
Purebred kittens of any breed can cost quite a bit.
The amount you pay a breeder depends on factors such as age and the value each breeder assigns to individual genetic lines.
In general, expect to pay $600 or up for a Balinese kitten.
Good breeders normally charge more as they spend time and money ensuring that their breeding pairs are in the best possible health. This will include health testing as well as good diets and high levels of care.
Balinese cat breeders
If you want a purebred Balinese cat, make sure you are dealing with a conscientious and ethical breeder.
Find out if your breeder is registered, if you’re interested in a pedigreed cat. Do additional research to see if the breeder has a good reputation.
Meeting the kittens themselves is recommended. You can ascertain health and living conditions, and view the sire and dam of the litter for yourself.
Ask questions. Find out what kind of home the breeder is looking for to place the kittens in. This can tell you how concerned the breeder is about the kittens’ welfare.
Don’t forget to ask about health issues. Good breeders will have had genetic testing done, and can tell you the cats’ medical history in detail. View any health documentation before you commit.
If you have any concerns about the health of the parents or feel the breeder is being evasive on the topic of their family history, then walk away and re-start your search.
Kittens of any breed are adorable, and Balinese kittens definitely fall into the super cute category!
But remember that kittens grow up, and you need to be able to handle the kitten’s needs throughout its life.
Do your research about the breeder and the hereditary line of the kitten you purchase.
Breeders will generally make Balinese kittens available between 12-16 weeks of age. They should have basic inoculations at around 12 weeks.
At this time, they should have enough social and physical stability to thrive in a new environment.
Balinese cat rescue
Breed-specific rescues do exist for Balinese cats.
Balinese cats may also appear in regular shelters, but this is rare.
Getting a Balinese cat from a shelter costs less, but the chances of getting a purebred kitten are extremely low.
You may not have options regarding the cat’s age or pedigree status. Also, you may not receive any information on the cat’s health.
If these things don’t matter to you, adopting a Balinese cat from a shelter or breed-specific rescue might be a great idea!
But be patient. This process might take time.
Note, however, that Balinese cats sometimes don’t show well in shelters because they require so much attention.
Balinese cat mix
Be cautious and responsible when looking for a Balinese cat mix.
Keep in mind which qualities you’d like from a mixed breed cat.
Remember that your mixed breed cat may potentially have health issues unique to each breed. Make sure to test your mixed cat for genetic issues.
However, mixed breeds, because they have a more diverse gene pool, can be healthier.
Should I buy a Balinese cat?
Only you can decide if the Balinese cat will suit your needs.
They are beautiful, smart and graceful. But they need attention.
Does that sound like a cat you can live with for its lifetime?
If you’ve researched this carefully and think you can handle one, maybe you should get a Balinese cat!
Do you own a Balinese? Are you thinking of getting one? What’s yours like? Let us know in the comments!
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Resources and Further Reading
- Baker, H. J., et al (1987), “Sphingomyelin lipidosis in a cat,” Veterinary Pathology, 24.
- Butt, A., et al (2012). “Do hypoallergenic cats and dogs exit?” Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 108 (2).
- The Cat Fanciers’ Association, “About the Balinese.’
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, “Hyperesthesia syndrome.”
- Duncan, I. D. (2010), “Inherited and acquired disorders of myelin in the dog and cat,” Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings.
- The International Cat Association, “Balinese.”
- Kalil, R. E. (1971), “Anomalous retinal pathways in the Siamese cat: An inadequate substrate for normal binocular vision,” Science, 174.
- Lipinski, M., et al (2007). “The ascent of cat breeds: Genetic evaluations of breeds and worldwide random-bred populations,” Genomics, 91.
- Menotti-Raymond, M., et al (2007), “Patterns of molecular genetic variation among cat breeds,” Genomics, 91.
- Menotti-Raymond, M. et al (2010), “Widespread retinal degenerative disease mutation (rdAc) discovered among a large number of cat breeds,” The Veterinary Journal, 186.
- Moriello, K. A. (2005), “Dermatology Challenge: Self-mutilation and over-grooming in a Siamese cat,” DVM360.
- Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (2011), “Genetic Welfare Problems of Companion Animals: Siamese – Chronic Bronchial Disease.”