The Balinese cat is a kind of long-haired cat. It looks a lot like the Siamese cat, which makes sense because it came into existence through a mutation in that cat breed. As such, the Balinese cat is sometimes called either the Long-Haired Siamese cat or the Purebred Long-Haired Siamese cat.
1. The Name Refers to Bali
For people who are unfamiliar, the name Balinese refers to a number of things associated with the island of Bali. To name an example, there are the Balinese people, who are native to the island with the result that they continue to make up 89 percent of the island’s population. As such, it should come as no surprise to learn that other examples include but are not limited to Balinese art, Balinese language, and Balinese mythology. Bali itself is quite notable. After all, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia.
2. Has No Connection to Bali
A lot of cat breeds and dog breeds are named for their place of origin. As a result, interested individuals might be tempted to guess that the Balinese cat can trace its roots to the island of Bali. However, they would be mistaken because the Balinese cat came into existence because of cat breeders in the English-speaking world. Furthermore, while these animals can trace their roots to Southeast Asia, their roots lie elsewhere.
3. Named for Balinese Dancers
Instead, the Balinese cat is named for Balinese dancers. A lot of Balinese dances are connected to the stories of the Balinese people. For example, there are dance-dramas that focus on the great conflict between Barong and Rangda. The first is a leonine beast who leads the forces of good. Meanwhile, the second is a child-eating demon queen who leads the forces of evil. Similarly, there are numerous dances inspired by Hinduism as well as traditional folklore. Of course, there are also plenty of Balinese dances that have no connection with spiritual matters but are instead meant for secular concerns. In any case, the Balinese cat is named for Balinese dancers because of the latter’s grace, which was already well-known in the 20th century.
4. Came From a Mutation of the Siamese Cat
As mentioned earlier, the Balinese cat came from a mutation of the Siamese cat that causes the latter to grow long hair rather than short hair. In other words, there is a very simple reason why the Balinese cat is also sometimes called the Long-Haired Siamese cat.
5. Can Trace Its Roots to Thailand
Due to this, the Balinese cat can trace its roots to Thailand. This is because the Siamese cat was developed using the Thai cat, which is one of a number of cat breeds that are native to Thailand. As for why the Siamese cat is called the Siamese cat, well, suffice to say that Siam is a historical name for the country.
6. Developed in the English-Speaking World
The Balinese cat wasn’t developed in Thailand. It couldn’t have been because it was developed from Siamese cats with the mutation for long hair, which is relevant because Siamese cats were developed in the English-speaking world. Similarly, the Balinese cat was developed in the English-speaking world as well, with U.S. cat breeders having played a particularly prominent part in said process.
7. Started Coming Into Existence in the 1950s
Apparently, the long hair mutation isn’t particularly uncommon. As a result, there are examples of long-haired Siamese cats known to have existed as far back as the 1900s. Still, it wasn’t until the 1950s that cat breeders started working to turn these animals into a true cat breed in their own right. The very name of the Balinese cat was introduced for the purpose of providing these cats with a name other than Long-Haired Siamese cats, which had a couple of major issues. One, said name was too cumbersome. Two, said name made it too difficult for these cats to stand on their own.
8. Not Necessarily the Same As the Colorpoint Shorthair
Balinese cats may or may not be considered the same as Colorpoint Shorthairs. Said animals were created by crossbreeding Siamese cats with American Shorthairs. However, they came in non-traditional colors such as red, cream, lynx, and tortoiseshell, with the result that they were refused recognition as Balinese cats. Nowadays, Colorpoint Shorthairs receive a wide range of treatment from a wide range of organizations. Just a couple of organizations recognize them as a cat breed in their own right. Meanwhile, the others either recognize them as members of some other cat breed or refuse to recognize them altogether.
9. Not Necessarily the Same As the Javanese Cat
Speaking of which, Balinese cats may or may not be considered the same as Javanese cats, which would be the long-haired counterparts of the Colorpoint Shorthairs. As such, these are another kind of cat that receives a wide range of treatments from a wide range of organizations. Sometimes, they are considered to be a sub-division of Balinese cats. Other times, they are considered to be their own thing, which may or may not be a separate cat breed.
10. Has Split Into Two Varieties
Balinese cats have long since diverged from Siamese cats. However, it is interesting to note that these animals have mirrored Siamese cats by splitting into two varieties. The traditional version of the Balinese cat looks like the so-called apple-headed Siamese cats, which are sometimes now called Thai cats. Later, when the Siamese cat became popular, there was interest in creating a similar-looking version of the Balinese cat, thus resulting in a more slender animal with a wedge-shaped head. These two varieties have gone their separate ways, with the result that the modern members of one variety share relatively little recent ancestry with modern members of the other variety. It will be interesting to see whether this will result in the recognition of two separate cat breeds at some point in the future.
11. Have Point Coloration
Since the Balinese cat came from the Siamese cat, it should come as no surprise to learn that it has point coloration. Essentially, this means that it has a pale body matched with darker-looking extremities. The Siamese cat might be the single best-known example of point coloration. However, it is something that can be show up in other species as well, with examples including dogs, rabbits, and horses.
12. Born Either Pure Cream or Pure White
It is interesting to note that Balinese cats are born either pure cream or pure white before developing their characteristic coloration as they grow up. By the age of four weeks, it should be possible to tell what a particular Balinese cat’s final color scheme will look like for the most part. This qualifier is important because some of these cats have been known to darken with age, meaning that their adult color scheme might not be their final color scheme.
13. The Darker Parts Are Caused By Cooler Temperatures
It is no coincidence that the darker parts of point coloration are found on the face as well as the extremities. In short, point coloration is caused by a kind of partial albinism, which is connected to a mutated enzyme. Warmer temperatures causes the mutated enzyme to become non-functional. As a result, it doesn’t take effect except in the face and in the extremities, which have cooler temperatures. After all, the face is cooled by the passage of air through the sinuses. Similarly, the extremities aren’t kept as warm as the core parts of the body.
14. Not Quite Hypoallergenic
Some people have been known to make claims about the Balinese cat being hypoallergenic. This hasn’t been proved 100 percent, so interested individuals shouldn’t get too excited. Still, there are some studies that suggest that Balinese cats produce less of the proteins responsible for triggering cat allergies when compared with other cat breeds. As a result, there are ongoing efforts to produce truly hypoallergenic Balinese cats, which is similar to how there are ongoing efforts to do the same for Siamese cats.
15. Considered to Be Relatively Healthy
Balinese cats are considered to be relatively healthy. However, they are far from being problem-free in this regard, so it is a good idea for interested individuals to keep a close eye on their health for potential issues. For example, Balinese cats can suffer impaired vision because of a degeneration of their retina. Similarly, Balinese cats can inherit both heart issues and liver issues. On top of these, they can become cross-eyed as well, which is something that they share with their Siamese counterparts.
16. Very Playful
Personality-wise, Balinese cats are like Siamese cats, which is to say, they are very playful animals. As such, it is a good idea to make sure that they have plenty of toys, scratching posts, and other ways to occupy themselves. Otherwise, being bored won’t be good for a Balinese cat’s health and happiness.
On a related note, Balinese cats are also quite clever. Thanks to this, they are easier to train than a lot of other cat breeds out there so long as interested individuals make sure to use positive reinforcement. Having said this, it should be mentioned that the Balinese cat’s cleverness doesn’t prevent them from getting into shenanigans, particularly since they can be rather clownish by nature.
18. They Need Company
Generally speaking, Balinese cats are very social animals. As a result, if people are looking for an affectionate feline companion, they could do much worse than one of these animals. On the negative side, this means that Balinese cats need plenty of company to keep them happy. Without that, they can become distressed, thus leading to destructive as well as otherwise problematic behaviors. Fortunately, company doesn’t necessarily mean human company. Balinese cats can get along very well with humans. However, they can also get along very well with both cats and dogs. Of course, early socialization will be very useful in this regard if that is what interested individuals have in mind.
19. Not a Quiet Animal
Balinese cats aren’t necessarily suitable as a companion animal for every single individual out there. One of the biggest issues with these animals is that they are on the vocal side of things for cats. Simply put, Balinese cats like making themselves heard by their owners, meaning that they won’t hesitate to vocalize when they believe that to be necessary. This is particularly true when they are trying to get their owners’ attention, which can be quite distracting to say the least. Balinese cats are supposed to be quieter than Siamese cats. A difference that serves as an interesting illustration of the extent of the divergence between the two cat breeds. Even so, that doesn’t mean much because Balinese cats are still very much on the vocal side of things for cats.
20. Don’t Need Too Much Maintenance
Even though Balinese cats were once called Long-Haired Siamese cats, it should be mentioned that the term was relative. This can be seen in how these animals have medium-length coats when compared with cats in general rather than Siamese cats in particular. In any case, one of the nice things about owning a Balinese cat is that it won’t need a lot of maintenance. To a considerable degree, this is because these cats don’t have an undercoat, meaning that there is a reduced chance of mats and tangles. Balinese cats will shed from time to time though, so interested individuals will want to be ready for that.