Balinese and Siamese cat breeds are very much alike, except for the cat’s fur length. The cat is called long-haired Siamese not in vain. And what is more the cat has nothing in common with Bali Island. The cats are very good-looking but not so popular, as Siamese ones. Why? Maybe they have a bad temper? Or maybe they are prone to get ill? Or are they rare and expensive? Let’s find out.
The history of the breed
Balinese cat originated from short-haired Siamese cats, when long-haired kittens started to appear in their purebred offspring in the beginning of 30s. First officially registered long-haired kitten was born in Siamese cat couple in 1928 in the USA. Such incidents happened quite regularly, but the breeders tried to keep this out of the public eye and long-haired kids of their short-haired parents didn’t take part in cat shows.
Natural mutation has attracted the breeders attention and they’ve started to cross mate such cats, earlier condemned as defective, with each other. This work was started by Helen Smith from New York and Marion Dorcy from California, who developed selective breeding methodology. In relatively short term the scientists achieved obtaining of pure line long-haired Siamese cats. The breed was first acknowledged in 1963 and it was called “long-haired Siamese” breed. Five years later the breed got its modern name. It was given by Helen Smith – she rather poetically compared the cat graceful walk with Balinese dancers movements in flowy dresses.
In 1965 the cat breed was registered, in 1970 it was acknowledged as Balinese cat breed in Cat Fansiers’ Association and in TICA, and in 1972 the breed was recognized by FIFe and in 1984 the breed was catalogued by it. Balinese breed first standard was specificated in 1967 and it was revised in 1970. This last standard from 1970 was accepted by Cat Fansiers’ Association. Sylvia Holland then joined breeders and fans of the new cat breed into one association — the Balinese Breeders and Fans of America (B.B.F.A.).
At that time Siamese cats were phenotypically different. Some of them had round “apple shaped” head and compact graceful body, the others had some elongated proportions and wedge shaped “weasel” head. In 1958 the second ones “won” – Siamese breed standard was changed in favor of elongated body proportions and more extreme type. Balinese cats looked rather old fashioned against the new Siamese ones. It was required to cross breed Balinese and Siamese cats, but not all of the breeders agreed for this. Their main reason was loss of the cat’s fur quality and length as a result. Aside from disagreements as for the type, also there was no agreement as for the colors. On Balinese cat historical homeland in the USA they stick to the traditions: in CFA standard for Balinese breed only 4 colors are acknowledged, which the cats took from Siamese – seal, blue, chocolate and lilac point. This is where from comes the difference between Balinese types in America, Britain and Europe. Although all felinological associations standards are quite close.
According to CFA, FIFe, GCCF standards Balinese and Siamese should be alike, except for their fur length. Its body is graceful and flexible, its flowing lines are combined with muscularity and perfect physical condition. The cat body should be perfect, elongated and proportional – its legs, neck and tail. The head is average sized, elongated wedge shaped, proportional with graceful neck and widely set ears, pronounced chin and anatomic bite. The cat profile is straight from the top till the nose tip, without any bulges or dips. The chin is average sized, well developed, its bottom is on one vertical line with the nose tip.
The ears are surprisingly large with wide earset, widely set; they continue the “wedge” lines. From the chin till the tips of the ears straight lines go continuously without breaking on cheek-bones and form a triangle.
The cat has “eastern” almond eyes, obliquely set – it seems that they are imitating the “wedge” lines. The eyes should be bright, intense blue and the brighter is blue color the better. However, deep set or protuberant eyes, lackluster and subhyaline eyes are considered to be a fault. Squint isn’t allowed.
Balinese cat has average sized, graceful, elongated body on slim tall legs with elegant oval paws. This is a beautiful combination of strong backbone and well-developed muscles. Shoulders and hips continue the lines of elongated tubiform body. The hips shouldn’t be wider than the shoulders. The cat hindpaws are a bit taller than the forepaws; it has tight abdomen. Balinese cat males may be larger than the female cats.
The cat’s tail is long, thin, whip tail, which gets thinner up to the tip of the tail. No nods or bends are allowed. Long flow fur on the tail makes it feather like.
The fur is average length, thin, silky and snug without underfur; it gradually becomes longer from the head towards the tail. The longest fur is on cat’s tail.
Balinese cat color is colorpoint. Points are cat’s body areas which have bright and intense fur color: ears, “mask” on the head, limbs bottom and tail. All other body parts – usually this is cat’s body should be maximally bright and contrast clearly with the points. A light tint of points color is allowed on the cat’s abdomen. “Mask” on the head completely covers the whole cat’s face, including whiskers bottom and it touches the ears, but it doesn’t merge. The “mask” shouldn’t become a “hood” and expand towards the head occipital lobe. The points on all body parts should be uniformly colored and of one color. In the points area there should be no white spots or separate white hairs. Adult Balinese cats’ fur tends to get darker through the whole body. Experts shut their eyes to this.
Balinese cat isn’t a lap cat, so it won’t be just a decoration in your house. These are very active cats, clever, brave with well developed predatory drive. They won’t feel comfortable in a small flat, they need some space to run, jump and climb. So, if there is no special cat climbing frame in the house, then closets, shelves and wall carpets will be used for this purpose. At the same time Balinese cats are very affectionate and sociable. As a rule, they easily get along with other cats and dogs, and children – if the latter behave properly. The cat likes to be the center of attention; it follows his owner everywhere and sticks its nice snout everywhere.
The cat is very talkative and musical – these cats don’t yell like other cats do, they “talk” in different tones and tell their story. Their favorite thing is to sit on a windowsill and “comment” everything that is going on outside. Just listen to them! Usually Balinese cats easily make themselves at home in a new house and become a “top dog”. Keep in mind that this cat isn’t just a fluffy toy, it is ready to communicate all the time, but the cat won’t let anyone touch or hug it any time. So, if the cat doesn’t like such an attitude it won’t be so tolerant and may bite or scratch rather painfully. The East temper shows – there’s nothing we can do!
So rather severe punishment or the one the cat didn’t deserve will make the cat feel offended, therefore you should be very attentive and tolerant in this case. They say that anybody will love this breed after spending some time with these cats. I doubt it, since all people are different and we all have different temper and preferences. However, for active, sociable people, who spend enough time at home and have a friendly, large family these cats can become perfect companions.
Balinese cats have good health and live a long life; however, the owner should understand that any pet requires special care. Since these cats don’t have any underfur, they don’t have any knits in their fur, like longhaired cats do, therefore comb your cat once a week make him look good. For cats with “Siamese” color it’s not recommended to lie on a cold floor or windowsill – the fur of their abdomen and sides may get darker because of this.
Balinese cat fur almost doesn’t need any care and the cat can deal with it itself. The cat hair-coat is completely formed by the age of 12-18 month. Adult cats sometimes need combing. To wash the cat use special shampoo for longhaired cats. It’s recommended to dry cat’s fur with hot towels, because a fan may overdry its tender skin. It’s important to make sure that the cat stays in a warm place after washing.
Cats of any breed require special oral care since some cats prone to tooth stone formation, gingivitis and paradontium, which leads to teeth loss. Therefore it’s necessary to check your pet’s teeth state at vet and perform regular hygienic procedures.