Tuesday 17 May 2011

Balinese Cat

The Balinese cat is a semi-longhaired Siamese cat. As this is essentially an American cat (Made in America!)  and as in America the Siamese cat is a very slender, highly developed, cat breed, this cat is also slender. The cat body shape is called "oriental" in the cat fancy but I don't think the shape is actually truly oriental (see cat body types). There is some controversy over the original shape of the Siamese cat. The breeders of Siamese and Balinese cats say it was a very thin cat. I say balderdash. It was a normal shaped cat, which common sense dictates is the truth.

You have to be a fan of of the slender cats to like this cat breed. If you prefer what people refer to as the traditional appearance you will might find this cat too heavily bred.

Through selective breeding, breeders have gradually turned the Balinese cat into a large eared, long legged, tubular bodied cat with pointing and blue eyes and....a gorgeous plume of a tail.

Balinese cat
Balinese cat. Photo: Helmi Flick.


As is the case for the Siamese, the Balinese is vocal and quite loud! They like being close to their owners (I should say caretakers) and are sweet and loving cat companions. This cat tend to be energetic and "exhibitionist". They are said to be not quite as demanding as the Siamese, however. Demanding cats are nice if you like a close relationship with your cat.


How did the long hair get introduced into the Siamese cat? It seems that the recessive gene that produces the longer hair was introduced sometime between 1928 and about 1945 - or it may have been between 1918 and 1939. Dr. Fogle (Encyclopedia Of The Cat) says the date of origin is 1950s. Place: USA.

Finally, it seems possible that this gene may have been introduced naturally in Siam as it then was. You can see how cat history gets a bit fuzzy. Actually, I wrote a page about Balinese Cat History about four years ago. It may help.

The long haired Siamese must have been around informally for sometime before formally recognized. They were then formally recognised in 1961 as a separate breed and then recognised by the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) in 1970. It should be said that for the CFA the Balinese is a semi-long haired Siamese with the classic pointing colours of seal, lilac, chocolate and blue. If the cat has pointing beyond these core colours/patterns they call the cat the Javanese. This is particular to the CFA.

TICA recognise it as a Balinese whether the cat has the classic pointing or new pointing as they accept the full range of colour points for the Balinese. The CFA is rather old fashioned and some people like that. For example they don't recognise wildcat hybrids either. The Balinese is recognised by GCCF (UK association), FiFe (European mainland), CFA (USA) and TICA (World - International). See Cat Associations for a list.

The Balinese was imported into the UK in 1973. I think it fair to say that the slight differences in the breed standards between the cat associations results in a certain amount of confusion in respect of point colours. There is also the differences in modern (slender) and traditional (standard) appearances.

Balinese Temple dancer
photo by tripletrouble
Balinese Temple Cat

It appears that this breed was named "Balinese Cat" because it resembled the Balinese temple dancers.

I am not sure that I can see the connection. Perhaps the dancers wear robes that flow like the plumed tail of the Balinese cat. Wrong apparently! The temple dancers exhibit poise and a lithe physique reflected in the Balinese cat (src: Dr Fogle).

Balinese Cat Photo

Think Modern Siamese cat with medium long hair and a plumed tail. The hair however is not shaggy as for the Maine Coon but it lies close to the body. This must be a single coated cat. The hair looks fine, silky and slick. This will be nice to stroke and you will see and feel the body underneath. See Cat Hair.

I'll show you two photos. They are both by the professional cat photographer, Helmi Flick and are protected by copyright. Don't copy, please.

Balinese cat "Samson" - photo copyright Helmi Flick

All the photos and text on this page are protected by copyright except where indicated. Violations of copyright are reported to Google.com (DMCA).

Balinese cat "Kareem"
photo copyright Helmi Flick

As you can see the pointing is extremely subtle on occasions and the tail is very prominent as are the large ears. Breeders tend to like large ears. They stand out. In the wildcats, very large ears are rare. The serval has large ears as it hunts in long grass.

The Balinese as mentioned is a pointed cat and the point colours can range from solid points such as seal and lilac, the lynx points (tabby coat pointing), tortoiseshell pointing, silver lynx, shaded and chinchilla. When the pointing is broken up by the genes that produce the tabby coat or the tortoiseshell coat, it becomes more subtle, less obviously pointing.  You will get some banding (or barring) of the fur in lynx pointing on the legs and tail. A lack of barring on the body for all types of pointing is desired.

You also have what are called "Balinese Variants". These are shorthaired Balinese. Not sure why they aren't called Siamese cats.  Perhaps it is because they carry the recessive longhaired gene and because the coats are slightly different.

Southern California Balinese Cat Rescue

For me it is always better to see if you can adopt a rescue cat. Purebred cats can be rescue cats - sometimes. There are some great examples on PoC: Tootsie and a Princess of a RagaMuffin.

You will find traditional type Balinese cats I suspect at cat rescue organizations as well as the modern look.

Independent Balinese Rescue is based in Southern California (as at May 2011 it appears to be running). It is run by an individual, Marva, as I understand it. No website but contact details are as follows:
In the UK a good starting point I think is the Balinese and Siamese Cat Club. They have a re-homing page (click on "welfare cats" in the nav bar on the left of the page).

In the UK the website Cat Chat.org is a good resource for purebred cat rescue. Click here and scroll down the breeds.

In the USA "Specialty Purebred Cat Rescue" re-home Siamese and Orientals (a modern Siamese cat with a wider range of coat types) . I can't see Balinese but they may be able to help.

I have a page on PoC on purebred cat rescue that may lead to success. I would also recommend this Yahoo Group as it may well lead to finding a Balinese cat that needs a new home. I also have a page on Siamese Cat Rescue. People who rescue Siamese cats might also rescue Balinese.

Balinese Cat Breeder Victoria Australia

Guatama located in outer Melbourne, Victoria, Australia looks like a nice Balinese cat breeder. At the time of writing this they were rebuilding their site. Click here for their temp. site.

KUTIE BALINESE is another Victoria Balinese breeder.  Their cats look more traditional in appearance.

Please note that over time things change so these breeders may not in due course be breeding.

Balinese Cat Poo Coffee

In this instance the word "Balinese" refers to the country Bali, Indonesia, which appears to be the home of the civet that produces the poo that is used to make cat poo coffee, the most expensive in the world. A civet is not a cat however! The civet eats beans, partly digests them and then defecates the mashed beans...read on: Cat Poo Coffee.

Balinese cat breeders

Well, I think one of the best ways to find Balinese cat breeders is to go to the major associations and clubs and use them as a spring board to find more details. That and a general internet search.

I would start with TICA - errr.. they have no breeders listed at this time but they have a nice article about selecting a good breeder (PDF file).

The CFA list eight Balinese breeders on this search results page. Clubs are good resources for breeders. The Balinese and Siamese Cat Club in the UK has a nice list on their breeders page.

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From Balinese Cat to Home Page


  1. Nice informative article. Thanks.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Balinese cats are lovable and playful companion pets that are relatively easy to care for. Balinese cats are the result of a spontaneous long-haired mutation of the Siamese cat. They tend to be every bit as demonstrative of their affection as Siamese, although a bit less vocal.

  4. I have been breeding the rare and beautiful Balinese cats for 12 years and love them dearly as they are intelligent, affectionate. hypo-allergenic and easy care. Not as demanding or noisy as a Siamese, but just as stunning looking.

    1. Thanks Ros for commenting. The Balinese has the Siamese character and the Siamese character is one of the best. Very popular. No surprise you love this breed of cat. I agree that the Balinese improves on the Siamese for looks.


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