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Balinese

| August 15, 2015

Origin

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The story of the Balinese began in the United States in the mid 50’s, when a long- haired kitten appeared among its shorthaired Siamese siblings. Initially the long-hair was considered an unfortunate mutation, but a few breeders in the USA were charmed and intrigued by these long-haired kittens appearing from time to time in litters of Siamese. These kittens were Siamese in type but had longer, silky hair and when mated were found to breed true. They consequently determined to establish them as a breed and to work towards recognition by the American associations.

Pioneer breeders were Mrs Marian Dorsey of California (Rai-Mar Cattery) and Mrs Helen Smith of New York (Merry Mews Cattery), with Sylvia Holland, an English lady living in California, most closely associated with the development of the breed under her famous “Holland’s Farm’ Cattery.

At first the breed was referred to as the ‘long-haired Siamese’ but by the late 1950’s the breed was recognized by the name Balinese and placed on the Foreign Long Hair division of the Cat Fanciers’ Federation. Over the years, Cat Fanciers’ Associations all over the world have recognized them.

Since the early days, the look of the Balinese cats has changed quite dramatically due to out-crossing with their Siamese cousins to achieve a true long-haired Siamese. Many Balinese breeders make a practice of introducing Siamese blood into their lines to improve the type and eye colour of Balinese. The short-haired kittens born as a result of these crosses are referred to as ‘variants’. These variants can make a valuable contribution to improving the Balinese type. The Balinese cats seen today are the result of much time and effort by a dedicated band of hard working breeders.

Physical Characteristics

Apparently Mother Nature decided that the already gorgeous Siamese could be made even more gorgeous by adding the long flowing coat to the sleek body lines of this graceful oriental beauty.

The Balinese is a svelte cat with long, tapering lines and a light but strong body structure. The head forms a long, tapering wedge with a long, straight profile. Ears are large and continue the wedge. Aside from the coat, the standard for the Balinese is identical to the Siamese breed standard. The Balinese coat is medium in length, fine and silky, without a downy undercoat. It lies close to the body, flowing toward the rear where it ends in a long, thin, gracefully plumed tail. Balinese have deep blue almond shaped eyes and pointed colours.

All Balinese kittens are born white but gradually develop their colour on the face, ears, paws and tail. The rest of the body is lighter. The coat takes a full year to develop its adult colour. Today the Balinese can be bred in several different colours including seal, blue, red, cream, chocolate, lilac, tortie and the foreign white without any points.

Graceful Dancers of Bali

The graceful physique and balance of the Balinese inspired one of the original breeders, Mrs Helen Smith, to propose the name Balinese, in honour of the equally poised and elegant temple dancers of Bali.
There is something very special about the graceful and elegant carriage of this cat. The blue eyes and exquisite coat on the long muscular body add to the aristrocratic expression.

Affection Personified

Devoted to their owners, the Balinese are sensitive, affectionate and endearing. They love company, despite solitude and require considerable love and affection. If you work or have to be out a lot, it is a good idea to keep at least two of these affectionate cats together.

Balinese demand attention and are sometimes referred to as Velcro Cats. They adore their owners and like nothing better than a cuddle or a lap to sit on and will often follow their owners around the house. When you sit down, so will your Bali, on your lap or next to you. When you go to bed, your Bali will to, and if permitted, will sleep on top of the covers, or underneath them, pressed right up against you.

Balinese love to live in groups and unlike most other breeds, seem to have no need for their own space. If you have a couple or more Balinese they will share their whole life in close friendship. If their owner is not home, you will often find them sleeping entwined around each other. They are generally very good natured and get on very well with other breeds or even other pets.

Intelligent, Lively and Communative

The beautiful Balinese is rarely content to just sit back and look pretty. Extroverted, acrobatic, and athletic, this cat is no shrinking violet, but an active participant in it’s owner’s life. The Balinese character is very similar to that of the Siamese, very intelligent, lively and with a strong personality. They are curious about almost everything and are happiest at the centre of activity and enjoy being part of the family. They learn extremely quickly and can often be taught retrieving tricks. Balinese are playful and remain so throughout their lives. They can amuse themselves all day long with all sorts of cat toys, and will generally make good use of a scratching post.

Although more even tempered than the Siamese with softer voices, they are very communicative and love to speak to their owners.

How to care for your Bali

Balinese are easy to care for because they have a single silky coat that doesn’t tangle or mat. All that is needed is an occasional brush or comb and routine nail clipping. More bathing and grooming is necessary for the show cats.

A good diet and plenty of exercise is essential to maintain the Bali’s firm, tubular body and silky coat.
Balinese are quite content to live indoors. To prevent boredom, plenty of toys must be provided and space for them to exercise. They should not be left alone for long periods without company.

What’s so great about a Balinese cat?

Everything! Ask anyone who is owned by one of these fabulous felines what is so special about this graceful breed and you will set off a glowing monologue that ends only when the speaker is exhausted.

Balinese make delightful companions, loving friends and great playmates. They are chatty, persistent, entertaining and sociable. When you share your life with a Balinese, you will have a best friend for life!

Information sourced from:

The Complete Encyclopedia of Cats, Esther J J Verhoef-Verhallen
The Cat Fancier’s Association, Inc.
The Balinese and Siamese Cat Club
American Cat Fanciers Association
Dr Mirjam and Harald Kessler, Switzerland

 

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