The Balinese descends from the Siamese. It is actually the long-haired variant of the Siamese, but has its own name for it. It is a breed developed by breeders and was not recognized as a real breed for a long time. It is a very affectionate cat with an elegant appearance. The best known characteristics are the azure blue eyes and the enormous jumps the Balinese can make with ease. Do you think you know how the Balinese got his name? Probably you are wrong. Read on!
The origin: No, unfortunately, not from Bali!
When you think of the name Balinese, you probably think of Bali, but this is not the case with regard to the origin of the Balinese. The breed has its origins in the East, but from Thailand. The Balinese is also not a naturally born breed, but was created by breeding the Siamese. Still in the 19th century Siamese cats were brought from Thailand to the United Kingdom and the United States. In these countries they were then bred on the basis of a breeding programme.
The resulting litters occasionally contained a long-haired Siamese kitten. These were not seen as purebred Siamese, so they were sold as regular pets. In fact, the value of these animals was so low that if there weren’t enough fanciers for the long-haired Siamese kittens, they would simply be slaughtered.
In 1950 when the breeding programmes for the Siamese had developed in such a way, there were still some long-haired Siamese kittens. Only from this moment on the breeders were charmed with this appearance and decided to breed them as well. They then found out that if both parents are long-haired Siamese, the whole litter of kittens would also become long-haired.
In 1950 this breed was finally recognized in the United States. Only the breeders didn’t agree on the name for this breed. The original idea was to call the breed the Long-haired Siamese, but according to some breeders more distinction had to be made with the Siamese. That’s why the breeders took a good look at the animal and found the elegant and graceful movements they make of natures fit well with Balinese temple dancers. This is how the name Balinese was coined in the end.
The character: a talkative high jumper
The Balinese is a very active cat. They have inherited these traits from the Siamese ancestors. The most characteristic of the Balinese is their urge to jump everywhere. On top of a high cupboard or on the door, they don’t turn their hand for it. It is therefore important for the Balinese to have enough space to express this active attitude. A garden or spacious house is therefore better suited for the Balinese than a cramped flat.
Furthermore, the Balinese is a very loving and affectionate cat. The Balinese like to sit on his owners lap to be petted and answer this by purring loudly. Because of the affection this breed is not suitable to be left alone at home for a long time. The Balinese loves to be kept busy all day by everything that happens in the house. They also like toys very much, but prefer to be kept busy by their owners. That is why the Balinese is also very suitable for families with children or with other animals.
Furthermore, the Balinese is a bit calmer than the Siamese ancestors. A characteristic that the Balinese also inherited from his ancestors is the talkative character. They like to let their voice be heard and this is a softer voice than most Siamese. The Balinese can have a conversation with themselves or with their owners for hours at a time.
Appearance: an elegant and slim appearance
The Balinese is a slim cat that looks muscular and supple. They belong to the medium-sized cats and are reasonably light with a weight between 2.5 and 5 kilograms. The males are often a bit heavier than the females.
The construction of the Balinese nowadays is different than it used to be. The breed was always fairly solidly built with a round head and small ears. Nowadays breeders think that the Balinese should have a slimmer cat with a triangular head and bigger ears. This is the image the Siamese has and after targeted breeding the Balinese also looks more like it. The ‘original’ appearance is almost no longer maintained by any breeding farm.
So the head of the Balinese is triangular with a flat and fine muzzle. On this are large, wide ears that are quite apart with a lot of hair on it. The eyes are almond-shaped and are known for their deep blue colour. The rest of the body is slender with fine bones, which gives it a lean appearance. Also the tail is thin and long. And finally this slender structure also applies to the legs, which are long and end in oval feet with tufts of hair between the toes.
The Balinese coat is long-haired and very soft. So this is a coat that requires a bit more attention than most short-haired cats. Only this breed has no undercoat. This is a short downy coat which is under the visible hairs. This undercoat provides an insulating effect, but this is not necessary with Balinese cats thanks to its long coat. This makes the coat easy to comb.
The coat colour and coat patterns that occur
The Balinese has inherited the coat pattern from his Siamese ancestors. This pattern is called colourpoint. This pattern has the characteristic that only certain parts of the coat are coloured. The pattern is created by a mutation of a gene that causes less pigment to be produced. This mutation is temperature dependent, which means that the mutation has more influence on warm spots. This causes the coat to be lighter in warm areas. These are areas such as the belly and neck. Colder spots such as the muzzle, tail and legs therefore colour darker.
When the Balinese is born the coat doesn’t show a colourpoint pattern yet. This will develop later and after a year it will be more or less its permanent colour.
The coat colours
The coat of the Balinese must comply with the colours that are also allowed for the Siamese. In America they are stricter with regard to the colours and these may only be the first four colours mentioned in the list below. In Europe they are less strict. The colours for the Balinese and Siamese are often mentioned together with the pattern. So instead of Lila, they say Lila-point.
The allowed colours of this breed are:
- Seal: This colour is often called seal, but with this the colour black is meant for the Siamese. So the cold parts of the body show black.
- Blue: This is a dilution of the black. This colour blue is not the blue as you might suspect. By diluting it, the colour becomes greyish and this can extend to the blue.
- Chocolate: This is a creamy brown colour.
- Lilac: Lilac is a dilution of the chocolate colour.
- These are the most common colours of the Balinese. The following colours also occur, but not among the American Balinese:
- Fawn: a diluted colour of cinnamon.
- White: in this colour the Balinese coat has no colourpoint pattern at all and is completely white.
The upbringing: make sure your kitten is socialised
With kittens it is important that they get used to people. It is important that kittens get used to human touch so they can take care of themselves. Once your kitten is used to human touch it will be possible to cut your kitten’s nails, not unimportant!
It is also important that your kitten gets used to other animals and unfamiliar sounds. If your kitten doesn’t get used to this, there may be complaints of anxiety and stress in the kitten. This can lead to several problems. For example, you may have problems with the kitten’s skin or the immune system. Behavioural problems can also occur. For example, the kitten may start to behave very aggressively. Absolutely not what you want!
So it is important that the cat is well socialized. This is especially important when the kitten is between 2 and 7 weeks old. In addition to this first socialisation period, there is also talk of a second socialisation period. This stops as soon as the kitten is 14 weeks old. If you want to get your kitten from a breeder who is a member of a cat club, you will only get your kitten when she is at least 13 weeks old. The kitten will then have spent almost the entire socialisation period with the breeder. It is wise to check whether the breeder has paid enough attention to this socialisation process.
The care of the Balinese
It is advisable to deal with the kitten a lot at a young age. For most people this will of course not be a problem. In this way the kitten can get used to the human touch and they won’t get scared of it at a later age. General care of the cat will then be much easier.
The Balinese is not difficult to take care of. It is an animal that can have a lot. The coat is longhaired, so try to comb it at least 2 or 3 times a week. In this way you can comb away all dead hairs and any dirt. It is also a good time to check the coat for vermin such as ticks and fleas.
It is also wise to pay attention to overweight. The Balinese is very slim by itself, so a little overweight will not easily be noticed. The long coat also creates a kind of cloak that could hide a possible hanging belly. Enough room to move is in principle sufficient to prevent and deal with overweight.
The food your cat needs
Caring for the cat of course also includes food. The Balinese do not need a special kind of food, but do not economise on this. A good quality food always benefits the health of the cat. The Balinese sometimes tends to become overweight, despite its active nature. Should the Balinese tend to be overweight, think a little better about the dosage of his food. The Balinese looks quite skinny by nature, but this is a healthy appearance for the cat. Should the Balinese be a bit overweight, this may get in the way of his jumping qualities. This can cause the Balinese to suffer from all kinds of other complaints.
Try to get the Balinese food that is higher in protein. Cats that are active and have a muscular appearance can make good use of these proteins to maintain their body. The Balinese can also appreciate a meat meal, these are also very protein-rich meals.
Diseases that are common in this cat
The Balinese have a predisposition for a hereditary disease originating from the Siamese. Fortunately this is not a very serious disease and the Balinese can still grow old with it.
HCM stands for hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy. This is a heart disease that causes the tissue of the heart to thicken. The cat itself does not suffer much from this and can be examined by means of an ultrasound. The cats that have this disease are no longer used for breeding. This ensures that the disease does not spread further.
How old can the Balinese become?
On average the Balinese becomes between 8 and 13 years old. This is a bit below the average life expectancy compared to other breeds. The spectrum is broad and good care of the Balinese can increase their life expectancy. Regular check-ups at the vet, good nutrition and sufficient exercise all contribute to the health of the cat.
What you need to know before you take this type of breed into your home
The Balinese is a long-haired cat, and this requires some extra care. It is recommended to give the coat daily attention, so make sure you have and take the time for this. It is also a very affectionate cat. They like to get a lot of attention, so a busy lifestyle outside the house will probably not be ideal for the Balinese. However, a family with children does suit the Balinese very well. The busier the better the Balinese enjoy themselves.
Another characteristic of the Balinese is that they love heights. That is why it is wise to bring seating for the Balinese in your home at height. For example, a high scratching post with a basket on top. It is also possible, for example, to make some space for the cat on top of a cupboard. The Balinese cat doesn’t turn his hand around to jump on it just like that.
Finally, it is useful for people who are allergic to cats to know that the Balinese is sometimes labelled as a hypoallergenic cat. There are certain enzymes in cats’ saliva that can cause allergic reactions. Research has shown that this is significantly less in Balinese than in most cats. However, these enzymes are still present, so this can still cause allergic reactions.
When you buy a kitten it is important that you do this at a well-known breeder. Sometimes breed cats are offered for a softer price, but often the paperwork is correct which shows that it is a real breed of cat from no side. It is also important not to buy a kitten when the mother cat is not present. For the development of a kitten it is very important that it is raised in a domestic circle in the presence of the mother cat. It is also very important that the cat has been vaccinated, dewormed and possibly chipped.
One of the big clubs is Felikat. Felikat is one of the two clubs that exist in the Netherlands at the time of writing and that are affiliated to FIFe, the Fédération Internationale Féline. Mundikat is the other association. The Fédération Internationale Féline is an umbrella body involving 40 countries.
After thirteen weeks Dutch breeders give the kitten to its new owner. Moreover, the cat associations all make extra demands. For example, the breeding animals have to be tested for certain hereditary diseases and blindness.
What price do you have to think of?
For a Balinese you pay around $600. The Balinese is a breed of cat with a fairly normal price tag. Therefore, the Balinese usually costs around $600, which is a fairly normal price. With a well-known breeder this will soon be a bit higher, but this is certainly more familiar. But of course only the purchase of the cat is not everything. There also needs to be a litter box with cat grit, cat food and trays for food and water.
For the Balinese you also have to take into account his jumping character. Extra baskets on high spots or large scratching posts with a sitting platform on top also cost a lot of money. And it is certainly advisable to get this for the Balinese to put them at ease. They are also very playful cats, so there is no need to cut back on toys either.
Do you also choose the Balinese?
Do you already have a Balinese cat in your home or are you planning to get one? Then let us hear from you! We are very curious why you choose this cat breed and what you think makes this cat so special. You can let us know by leaving a comment on this article!