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Balinese Cat History, Character, Health, Breeding & more

To friends of the Siamese and Birman, the Balinese immediately catches the eye: just like the Siamese, the cat shows a striking point pattern, but its coat is semi-long.

Balinese History

Despite its name, the Balinese cat does not originate from Bali or Indonesia. The breed was created by breeding and not by natural selection.

In fact, some Siamese cats imported from Thailand to the United States and England in the 1800s carried the long-haired gene. However, these animals, called "long-haired Siamese," were not used for breeding. In order not to distort the breed's standard, they were sold as pets or killed if no buyer could be found. In 1928 the breed was registered for the first time and shown at cat shows. Finally, in the 1950s, American breeders discovered the potential of the breed and began to selectively breed them. "Longhaired Siamese" seemed too bulky for cat lovers. The name "Balinese" was born - however, it does not indicate the geographical origin of the breed, but the dainty, graceful nature of the cats, comparable to Balinese dancers.

In the 60s and 70s, only animals of the classic point colors seal, chocolate, blue, and lilac were allowed for Balinese breeding. At the same time, the Cat Fanciers Association called Balinese of the colors red, cream, tabby, and tortoiseshell "Javanese". This naming is still used today but often causes confusion.

Also, the original type of the Balinese cat underwent a change. Purposeful breeding shifted the ideal of the Balinese from the traditional appearance to an increasingly slender build with a triangular head and larger ears. Today, the physique of the Balinese resembles that of the modern Siamese cat. The original type is maintained only by a few breeders.

Balinese  Appearance



Balinese are muscular yet slender cats. The medium-sized animals weigh between three and four kilograms - males can weigh up to five kilograms. Balinese look like original Siamese cats, but their coat is long and bushy, especially on the tail.  However, the modern variant of the Balinese cat is very similar to the modern Siamese with an elongated body and triangular face.

Just like Burmese and Siamese, Balinese cats belong to the so-called point cats. This striking coloration immediately catches the eye: The predominantly light coat is only darkened at the tips of the body such as the muzzle, legs, tail, and ears. The coloration is based on a mutation that leads to a deficient function of the enzyme tyrosinase and thus disturbs the production of the pigment basic substance melanin. This leads to so-called partial albinism and coloring of the "cold" parts of the body. According to the genetic principles, every coat color can also occur as a point color.

In Balinese breeding, according to the European Breeders' Association, the following colors are permitted:

  • Seal-point: The basic black coloration prevails in the "cold" body regions.
  • Blue-point: A black base color is diluted to "blue". The markings appear dark gray.
  • Chocolate-point: Balinese in the chocolate-point show a brown base color, which, as usual in point cats, prevails in the body points.
  • Lilac-point: The dilution of brown is called "Lilac". The almost light gray color is of course only visible in the point tips.
  • Cinnamon-point: A cinnamon red base color, visible only in the point tips.
  • Red-point: A Balinese cat with redpoint coloration is called red-point.
  • Fawn-point: The basic color in "cinnamon" is diluted to "fawn". It shows itself by a gray-beige coloring of the points.
  • Cream-point: The term "cream" is used for red - Burmese cream-points show cream-colored points.
  • Foreign White: There are actually Balinese, which show only white fur without any Point coloration! These are called "Foreign White" in the technical language.
The eyes of the Balinese cat are strikingly bright blue. They make the cat look alert and intelligent and indicate its talkative and active character.

Balinese cat allergy

Balinese are often sold as supposedly hypoallergenic cats. Unfortunately, science has not yet produced a cat breed that can be unreservedly recommended for cat hair allergy sufferers. Cat allergy is caused by the enzymes Fel d1 and Fel d4 contained in the saliva of the animals. In fact, the oral fluid of Balinese cats contains a relatively low concentration of these proteins.

Balinese cat character

The character of the Balinese is typical for oriental cat breeds: The animals are particularly active and talkative. They show themselves to be particularly people-oriented, they love the attention of their humans and like to demand it loudly. The intelligent Balinese want to be kept busy - and preferably around the clock! Intelligence toys and puzzle games are especially popular, but the cats prefer to play with "their" human. Although they belong to the more dominant cat breeds, they are therefore suitable for families with children and other animals, such as dogs. The main thing is that there is always something going on!

Attitude and care

Balinese are easy to care for, robust animals. They do not require any special grooming or health care. However, like all cats, they benefit from combing or brushing once or twice a week. During the shedding season in spring and fall, cat grass and malt paste help to naturally eliminate swallowed hair.

Annual preventive examinations at the veterinarian are also a must. Here your Balinese cat will be put through its paces - literally. During the short examination, any questions can also be clarified.

As intelligent animals Balinese get bored quickly. A species-appropriate attitude of oriental cat breeds should therefore always include a varied environment with opportunities for climbing, playing and hiding! Scratching trees with several floors are recommended here since cats prefer elevated places. Also, playhouses and cat tunnels can be offered to the fur noses. Thus, your Balinese cats can really let off steam and also retreat if necessary.

Who does not want to release his Balinese cat uncontrolled into the wild, is well advised with a secured balcony or garden. Water pools, outdoor climbing trees, and a bowl with cat grass provide fun and games.

Balinese Diseases

Due to their close relationship to the Siamese, Balinese cats, unfortunately, show some hereditary diseases typical for this breed. These include Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a hereditary thickening of the heart muscle. Cardiac ultrasound is the tool of choice to diagnose HCM and to screen breeding stock. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy cannot be cured, but an early diagnosis can eliminate diseased animals from breeding. HCM is not a death sentence - the animals can live long, healthy lives as family cats! However, they should be excluded from breeding to avoid the inheritance of the disease.

Balinese cat diet

A species-appropriate diet with plenty of healthy protein is essential for all cats. Active breeds like the Balinese often need a lot of energy. Since cats can only utilize carbohydrates to a limited extent, you should therefore primarily focus on high-quality cat food with a high meat and protein content. You can find out more about this topic in our article "How can you recognize high-quality cat food?

Perhaps you are also considering alternative feeding methods such as BARF and home cooking? In raw feeding, often called BARF, the daily food portion is composed of raw meat, a small portion of offal, and specific supplements. a thorough training period is essential. This will ensure that your cat gets everything it needs to stay healthy. The same applies to cooking the cat food yourself.

Balinese Breeding

Like the Siamese breed, Balinese come in two types: The original, more stable breeding type, and the more modern breeding variety. The latter is the more popular type, often seen at breeding shows. The type of Balinese cats is becoming more and more similar to the modern Siamese. To achieve this, Siamese cats are deliberately crossed to breed Balinese. The resulting "Siamese variants" appear as short-haired Siamese cats, but carry the gene for a long coat. This long coat gene makes it possible to use variants for Balinese breeding.

You see: Cat breeding is not a simple matter and requires genetic background knowledge as well as an exact knowledge of the respective breeding regulations. Professional cat breeders are therefore members of a breeding club. This is the only way to ensure that breeding animals and offspring correspond to the type of the respective breed. By a purposeful, thought-out mating hereditary diseases and inbreeding are avoided. At the same time, responsible breeders pay attention to the regular health care of parents and kittens. Also, species-appropriate cat food and rearing in the family association are a must. In the first twelve weeks of life, kittens learn everything vital from parents and siblings - they should not be placed in a new home before the end of this imprinting phase.

Breeding papers are therefore more than just a piece of paper. Even if you do not think about future breeding, you can be sure that your Balinese is really a Balinese cat. But cat breeding is an elaborate, expensive hobby and a pedigree cat has its price. If you are interested in intelligent Balinese cats, you will have to dig deep into your pocket: The cats cost several hundred to a thousand euros. If you want to save money, however, you should not fall for dubious brokers of "pedigree cats without papers". Breeders who bypass the breeders' association not only save on show fees. Often there is a lack of knowledge of cat genetics here, also the species-appropriate husbandry and nutrition of the animals are often lost. The supposed bargain comes so expensively to stand when suddenly signs of a hereditary disease or consequences of malnutrition appear.

But there is an alternative for cat lovers who do not want to spend several hundred euros on a pet. Animal shelters and animal welfare organizations are temporary homes for cats of all ages, breeds, and temperaments. Among them, you can also find many pedigree animals! Shelter cats are often given away for a nominal fee. This fee often does not cover the veterinary and food costs incurred by the association but discourages spontaneous purchases. In addition, you support with this protection fee the rescue of further animals!

We wish you and your Balinese cat a good time together!

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