5 Things to Know About Balinese Cats

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Balinese are known for their graceful looks and long coats. By: iStock.com/aleishaknight

1. Key Characteristics

  • Weight: 6–8 pounds for males, 5–7 pounds for females
  • Life Expectancy: 15–20 years or longer

A Balinese is a Siamese with a long coat. The graceful, aristocratic cats are medium-sized, muscular cats with a fine bone structure and a long, slim body. They have a long, silky coat, but no undercoat. The hair can be as long as 2 inches and comes in many different colors.

The coat is typically pointed, meaning concentrations of color appear on the face, ears, legs and tail. This breed enjoys a variety of colors and patterns. The eyes are sapphire blue, and the long, plumed tail has long hair.

2. Where They Came From

Early reports of longhaired Siamese kittens are sparse.

But a breeding program was started in the 1950s to isolate the Siamese kittens with the unique coat. Breeders Marion Dorsey and Helen Smith developed more of the cats, and Smith named them Balinese because of their graceful movements, which reminded her of the Balinese dancers she admired.

The cats were originally accepted in 4 colors: seal, brown, blue and lilac. The International Cat Association recognized the breed in 1979, and in that same year, other colors were allowed, including red, cream, tortoiseshell and pointed coats in various shades and patterns.

Balinese cats are known to be pretty vocal. By: iStock.com/Yura2087

3. How Friendly Are They?

Balinese cats are affectionate and bond very closely with their family members. They require (and may demand) a lot of attention and don’t like being left alone for long periods of time.

They can also be very mischievous, so keeping a close eye on them is never a bad idea.

They can be chatty and vocal but are a little more quiet than the typical Siamese. They are active and athletic, and they enjoy playing with toys. They get along well with other animals and children, making them ideal for families with existing pets.

4. Is This the Right Cat for You?

Exercise Needs

High

HIGH: While it may be a challenge to get cats to play and exercise, Balinese cats are very active cats who love playing with toys or making up their own games. Expect to provide toys, scratching posts and other playful items to help your cat expel energy.

Balinese can be destructive at times, so keeping them mentally stimulated is important, especially since they should stay indoors.

Grooming Needs

Medium

MEDIUM: Because the Balinese does not have an undercoat, the likelihood of matting or tangling is low, as is shedding.

Even so, they should be brushed a few times per week to remove dead hair, prevent mats and keep the coat healthy. The quality time you spend brushing your cat will only help strengthen your bond with them.

In addition to brushing, keep the claws trimmed, the ears cleaned and the teeth brushed. This last point is especially important because this breed is susceptible to periodontal disease.

Health Problems

Medium

MEDIUM: While this cat breed is considered to be generally healthy, Balinese cats are susceptible to the same illnesses that can affect Siamese cats, such as:

  • Respiratory problems (chronic bronchial disease)
  • Crossed eyes
  • Kinked tail
  • Bladder stones
  • Eye problems (glaucoma and retinal atrophy)
  • Heart problems
  • Cancer
  • Periodontal disease

Wow, talk about vocal! Watch this Balinese kitty get a human’s attention:

5. Where to Adopt One

Purebred cats like the Balinese do occasionally end up in shelters and rescues. Start with our pet search and select the “cats” tab to find one near you.

If you contact a Balinese breeder, be watchful for signs that the breeder is running a kitten mill.

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