The Balinese cat is a domestic feline known for its long fur and Siamese colouring. People first took note of this type of cat in the 1920s, when a Siamese kitten was sometimes, though rarely, born with a long coat. It was not until several decades later that two cat breeders on opposite sides of the United States sought to intentionally create a long-haired type of cat. Though the resulting breed was essentially a Siamese with a longer coat, Helen Smith, who was one of the breeders, felt that it deserved its own distinct name. From this, the Balinese was born. Smith’s inspiration is thought to stem from her admiration of the beauty and elegance of female dancers from Bali.
Breeders continued to refine the breed, eventually developing two types of Balinese cats that differ in appearance: the traditional and the contemporary. The traditional Balinese has long fur and a larger body while the contemporary Balinese has shorter fur, much like that of the Siamese. The tail on both types is full and plumed, which is the only notable difference between the contemporary Balinese and Siamese cats.
The average weight of the Balinese ranges from 8-16 pounds depending on type and gender. The Balinese has a slender body with large ears and stunning blue eyes. Crossed eyes are not uncommon for this breed, though it generally does not negatively impact the cat’s life. Its coat comes in a variety of shades, including blue, chocolate, lilac and seal. Its fur is smooth and silky to the touch. The Balinese is similar in colouring to the Himalayan cat, both of which are descendents of the Siamese.
Balinese cats are known for their remarkable intelligence and they are rated higher in intelligence than many other popular cats such as the Himalayan. The Balinese is a lovable and playful breed with an easygoing nature, enjoying human company as well as the company of other animals. The Balinese is active and energetic in nature, requiring exercise or toys to keep it occupied. It is a vocal cat that will meow with and without purpose, but mostly does so when it wants attention. It is affectionate with its family, achieving a nice balance between lap cat and playful kitten.
The smooth coat of the Balinese is not prone to shedding or tangling, though occasional brushing will help keep its coat healthy. While some owners choose to allow their cats to spend time outside, the friendly nature of the Balinese cat could lead to its approaching of strangers. It may also wander, become lost. Barring any health problems, the Balinese can live 20 years of age or longer.
Though the Balinese cat was developed in the United States, it is now internationally known, with a strong presence in Australia and Europe.