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The Balinese can basically be thought of as long haired Siamese Cats. Like the natural breed Siamese Cat, they sport a distinctive Asian appearance, so are also referred to as the Oriental Longhair. Balinese Cats have many of the same characteristics as the Siamese including the Siamese-style markings or "points", but with an added feature of medium to long hair, and a beautifully plumed tail.
Balinese are not natural breed cats, but are believed to be a spontaneous mutation of the Siamese, or perhaps the result of previous breeding between Siamese and Angora cats. Although the Balinese has a long coat, it requires little grooming since unlike most long-haired cats, it does not have a double coat. This breed also has very graceful movements resembling those of a Balinese dancer. It didn't originate from Bali, but its elegant, flowing movements did influenced its name. This cat is a social, loving, active breed that is excellent for families or individuals.
Balinese cats are very friendly and social. They generally enjoy being around people and other cats, though they are likely to become more attached to one person than the others. They are affectionate, lively, and curious. Being quite active, these cats can leap like acrobats and just enjoy playing in general. The Balinese is a loud cat, like the Siamese, but it is slightly less vocal and has a softer voice than the Siamese.
The Balinese is descended from the Siamese, whose origin is not known for sure, but is suspected to have come from Siam (Thailand). It is not known where the first long haired Siamese cat was born, but the first purposefully bred Balinese was born in the United States. Before they were called Balinese, they were known as Long Haired Siamese Cats. In other countries they are known by a variety of common names including Oriental Longhair in Australia, Balinais in France, and Balinesen in Germany. They are not uncommon in the United States, but are still uncommon in Europe.
BackgroundThe Balinese is usually considered to be a mutation breed cat. Rather than being purposefully created like some other breeds, the Balinese appeared spontaneously. It is believed that the long hair was either created by a spontaneous mutation of a natural breed cat, the Siamese Cat, or it was a result of previous breeding between Siamese and Angora cats.
Balinese Cats were originally thought to be mistakes, and were not used for breeding, since they were longhaired versions of the Siamese. However, in the 1940s, in America, Marion Dorset decided that these cats should be bred all on their own, rather than just labeling them as undesirable Siamese. She began a breeding program in the 1950's and was joined in her endeavor by Helen Smith in the 1960's. Helen suggested that the breed's name be changed from "Longhaired Siamese" to "Balinese".
Though they do not originate from Bali, these cats descended from the Siamese, which was thought to have originated from Siam (Thailand), which is close to Bali. Also, their graceful movements resemble those of Balinese dancers. By the late 1960's, the Balinese had reached championship status in America, and by the 1980's it reached championship status in Europe. Common names for this cat breed include Balinese Cat, Oriental Longhair (Australia), Balinais (France), Balinesen (Germany), Long haired Siamese (former name before they were called Balinese).
Description The Balinese has the same body type as the Siamese, except for its medium to long coat and plumed tail. It has a long, slender, medium-sized body. The head is a long, medium-sized tapering wedge shape. The eyes are almond shaped, medium-sized, and slant towards the nose. The ears are quite large, pointed, and wide at the base. The nose is long and straight. The neck, legs, and tail are long and slender like the rest of the body. It weighs 6 to 11 pounds.
The coat length is medium to long. It is longer on the body, belly, and tail. The fur creates a plume on the tail, which is a prized characteristic of the Balinese. The coat is fine and silky, with no undercoat. The Balinese is accepted in the same colors as the Siamese. These colors include Seal Point, Chocolate Point, Blue Point, and Lilac Point. If they have other color point patterns, such as Red Point and Cream Point, they are known as Javanese. However, in the UK, this separation is not made, and all color points are considered to be Balinese.
Care and Feeding Balinese cats are not picky and require no special diet. Unlike a number of other popular cat breeds, Balinese Cats are not prone to becoming overweight.
Housing Your Cat This cat is a good apartment cat, and does not require open spaces all the time. However, it is also an active cat that enjoys going outside when it can. It is a good mouser and enjoys going hunting. It should be provided with toys to play with while inside.
Maintenance Unlike most longhaired cats, the Balinese requires minimal grooming. Its coat is long, but also thin, silky, and has no undercoat, which decreases the occurrence of matting. It should be brushed once a week.
Social Behaviors Balinese cats are social, active cats. They enjoy being around other cats, people, and friendly dogs. If the owner is not able to provide much attention during the day, it is advisable to provide the cat with a playmate, as it dislikes being alone.
Activities This cat is naturally active. It enjoys playing and exploring, but does not generally need a regular play and exercise schedule to maintain its health. It will initiate various activities on its own.
Breeding/Reproduction Balinese cats are great parents that enjoy playing with their children. They have three or four kittens in each litter. They mature sexually earlier than other longhaired cats. If they are bred with Siamese cats, the young inherit the Siamese traits, except that they have a felt-like short coat.
Common Health Problems The Balinese is a generally healthy cat. However, some lines of this breed have been known to have weak hind legs. Some have also had nasal obstructions that caused them to breath from the mouth.
Availability Balinese are not as common as Siamese, but they are readily available from breeders on the web and in local areas. Their adoption fee ranges from $100 for a retired adult to $900 for a kitten in certain color variations.