Federation Internationale Feline World Cat Federation
One of the unfortunate consequences of any war is the resultant depopulation of domestic animals. So it was that in the course of World War I, the Siamese cat breed (along with most breeds) suffered terribly due to lack of attention and warfare. What typically must occur after the effects of wartime have decimated an animal population is that breeders must do the best they can, with what they have, to rebuild the all but lost breeds. Often, a breeder will choose the best match to the breed, and from there will choose the best of each subsequent litter, in the hopes of not only rebuilding a breed, but improving upon it, even. Crossing is a little spoken fact of breeding, and as often as not, the breeds used in the process are not recorded. Many times, breeders will insist that variations have naturally occurred, when in fact variations are directly linked to cross-breeding.
So it was with the Balinese breed, offspring to the Siamese. Long haired variations that were born of crossings were either discarded or petted out until the early 20th Century, when in 1928 the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) registered a longhair Siamese. Another war would come and go before the "longhair Siamese," as it was termed, would begin to take the notice of breeders. Three breeders, Marion Dorsey, of the Rai-Mar Cattery in California, Helen Smith, of the Merry Mews Cattery in New York, and Sylvia Holland, of Holland's Farm Cattery in California, would be instrumental in the direction and success of the longhair Siamese breeding program. Over the next several years, the breeders worked in concert to perfect the new breed, happily finding that when they bred two longhair Siamese, the litters were true to the long coat trait.
Cat fanciers tend to be inclusive circlets within the larger cat fancy circle, and Siamese fanciers are no exception. Siamese breeders were opposed to the new breed being called a Siamese, inspiring Helen Smith to crown this longhair Siamese the Balinese – by most accounts, a name taken from the famed dancers of Bali, and perhaps Ms. Smith wanted to retain the sonant likeness to the Siamese name. All agree that the Balinese breed is indeed as graceful as a dancer, with a soft and rhythmic ease of movement.
Finally, after the Balinese was shown at the Empire Cat Show in New York in 1961, under the Any Other Variety (AOV) heading, the breed began to gain acceptance and was allowed championship status by most American cat associations. By 1970, when the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) granted the Balinese championship status, the Balinese had a firm standard and a loyal following.
The ideal Balinese is a svelte cat with long tapering lines, very lithe but strong and muscular. The Balinese is unique with its distinct range of colors and silky coat that hides a supple and athletic body. A study of contradictions - elegant refinement, in reality firm and muscular. Excellent physical condition. Neither flabby nor bony. Not fat. Eyes clear. Balance is critical, all parts should come together in a harmonious whole, with neither too much nor too little consideration given to any one feature. Because of the longer coat the Balinese appears to have softer lines and less extreme type than their shorthaired parent breeds of similar body type.
Head: long, tapering wedge. Medium size in good proportion to body. The total wedge starts at the nose and flares out in straight lines to the tips of the ears forming a triangle, with no break at the whiskers. No less than the width of an eye between the eyes. When the whiskers and face hair are smoothed back, the underlying bone structure is apparent. Allowance must be made for jowls in the stud cat.
Skull: flat. In profile, a long straight line should be felt from the top of the head to the tip of the nose. No bulge over the eyes. No dip in nose.
Ears: strikingly large, pointed, wide at base, continuing the lines of the wedge.
Eyes: almond shaped. Medium size. Neither protruding nor recessed. Slanted towards the nose in harmony with lines of wedge and ears. Uncrossed.
Nose: long and straight. A continuation of the forehead with no break.
Muzzle: fine, wedge-shaped.
Chin and jaw: medium size. Tip of chin lines up with tip of nose in the same vertical plane. Neither receding nor excessively massive.
Body: medium size. Graceful, long, and svelte. A distinctive combination of fine bones and firm muscles. Shoulders and hips continue same sleek lines of tubular body. Hips never wider than shoulders. Abdomen tight. The male may be somewhat larger than the female.
Neck: long and slender.
Legs: bone structure long and slim. Hind legs higher than front. In good proportion to body.
Paws: dainty, small, and oval. Toes: five in front and four behind.
Tail: bone structure long, thin, tapering to a fine point. Tail hair spreads out like a plume.
Coat: medium length, longest on the tail. Fine, silky without downy undercoat lying close to the body, the coat may appear shorter than it is.
Colour: Body: even, with subtle shading when allowed. Allowance should be made for darker color in older cats as Balinese generally darken with age, but there must be definite contrast between body color and points. Points: mask, ears, legs, feet, tail dense and clearly defined. All of the same shade. Mask covers entire face including whisker pads and is connected to ears by tracings. Mask should not extend over top of head. No ticking or white hairs in points. Eye color: deep vivid blue.
Often compare to soft and elegant dances in temples of Bali.
Weight — 2.5-4.5 kg.
In personality, the Balinese is also very much like its parent breed. Speaking and interacting with humans is what it is most fond of. This breed is ranked as one of the most intelligent of cat breeds, and is also remarkable for its good humor, good nature, and high energy. Getting along well with both animals and people is one of the strongest qualities the Balinese possess. Its intelligence naturally pushes it to the top of the hierarchy amongst other animals, but it is amiable enough not to lord its superiority over them. Getting along with children is also one of the main pluses, but care must be taken not to allow active children to mishandle them, lest child-averse behavior form.
It is said that a Balinese can sense the mood of its humans, showing affection and staying close when people are blue. Although the demeanor of this cat is of an independent and reserved style, it is most content when being loved by a human. These cats also love to play, reveling in a good game of fetch, and back and forth ball play. Having a home that is friendly for jumping and climbing is a practical consideration for the Balinese fancier. Objects of value should not be displayed on open shelves, and silk curtains are certain to be frayed. The Balinese is well suited for indoor life, but the main concern is of a practical nature, since outdoor cats are more at risk of injury, illness, and abduction.
The fine, silky coat of the Balinese is easily cared for. Comb it once or twice a week with a stainless steel comb to remove dead hair. A bath is rarely necessary.
Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection. Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.
Keep the litter box spotlessly clean. Like all cats, Balinese are very particular about bathroom hygiene.
It’s a good idea to keep a Balinese as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases spread by other cats, attacks by dogs or coyotes, and the other dangers that face cats who go outdoors, such as being hit by a car. Balinese who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a beautiful cat without paying for it.
Lifespan — 15 years.
The active and social Balinese is a perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. He will play fetch as well as any retriever, learns tricks easily and loves the attention he receives from children who treat him politely and with respect. He lives peacefully with cats and dogs who respect his authority. Always introduce pets slowly and in controlled circumstances to ensure that they learn to get along together.
Both pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. The same problems that may affect the Siamese can also affect the Balinese, including the following:
Amyloidosis, a disease that occurs when a type of protein called amyloid is deposited in body organs, primarily the liver in members of the Siamese family.
Congenital heart defects such as aortic stenosis.
Gastrointestinal conditions such as megaesophagus.
Hyperesthesia syndrome, a neurological problem that can cause cats to excessively groom themselves, leading to hair loss, and to act frantically, especially when they are touched or petted.
Nystagmus, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary rapid eye movement
Progressive retinal atrophy, for which a genetic test is available.