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Balinese Cat

The Balinese is an oriental cat with long hair and Siamese-style markings, "points". It is a Siamese with a medium-length silky coat, plumed tail albeit less "fluffy" than the Himalayan.

Though the coined name is misleading the "Balinese" is not a cat from Bali or any part of Indonesia. It is not a natural occurring breed, but originates from human controlled breeding efforts.

The Balinese was originally registered as a "longhaired Siamese", and examples were known from the early 1920s. The occasional long-haired kittens in a Siamese litter were seen as an oddity, and sold as household pets rather than as show cats. This changed in the mid-1950s, when two breeders, Mrs. Marion Dorsey of Rai-Mar Cattery in California and Mrs. Helen Smith of MerryMews Cattery in New York, decided that they would commence a breeding program for the longhaired cats.

The name was chosen on subjective grounds: Mrs Helen Smith named the cats "Balinese" as she felt they showed the grace and beauty of Balinese dancers, and because "longhaired Siamese" seemed a rather clunky name for such graceful felines. The breed became quite popular after this, and a number of breeders began working on "perfecting" the Balinese appearance. This led eventually to the development of two entirely separate "strands" of Balinese cat - some owners prefer a traditional or "apple-headed" Balinese, while breeders and judges tend to prefer a more contemporary appearance. It is unknown whether or not Mrs Smith actually visited Indonesia. 


Like the Siamese, there are now two different varieties of Balinese being bred and shown - "traditional" Balinese and "contemporary" Balinese. The traditional Balinese cat has a coat approximately two inches long over its entire body and it is a sturdy and robust cat with a semi-rounded muzzle and ears. The traditional Balinese closely resembles a Ragdoll cat although they do not share any of the same genes or breeding other than having a partially Siamese ancestry. A "contemporary" Balinese has a much shorter coat and is virtually identical to a standard show Siamese except for its tail, which is a graceful silky plume. Like the Siamese, the Balinese has a long, slim body, wedge-shaped head, and vivid blue eyes. Its soft, ermine-like coat is short in comparison to those of other longhaired cats, and doesn't form a ruff.

Balinese Cat Breed Data

- Physical description, characteristics and temperament, training, and breeders of Balis and Javanese. 
- Balinese information and links. 
- San Diego-based Bali cattery, Bali FAQ, and information about the breed. 
- Also works with Javinese and Oriental Longhairs. Photographs, breed information. 
- Explains the differences between "traditional" and "modern" (also known as contemporary) Balinese. 


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