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Cat Talk

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About This Breed

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What’s so great about a Balinese cat? Everything! Ask anyone who is owned by one of these fabulous felines what is so special about the breed, and you set off a glowing monologue that ends only when the speaker is exhausted. Despite his regal bearing and aristocratic appearance, the Balinese is a clown with a heart as big as a circus tent. To gauge the level of his intelligence, you have only to gaze into those sapphire eyes which sparkle with alertness and healthy curiosity. Although he is every bit as demonstrative and affectionate as the Siamese, he is somewhat less vocal, and his voice is softer.

Balinese enhance the elegance, grace and intelligence of the Siamese with the luxury of a silky flowing coat. Named for the graceful dancers of Bali, the coat is the most unique feature of the breed. It does not mat and lays close to the body, flowing along the cat’s lines, the tail forming a proud plume. It was initially accepted by CFA in the traditional Siamese colors. The lynx (tabby) point, tortie point patterns and other “non-traditional” Siamese colors were accepted in 1979 as a separate breed, the Javanese. In 2008, the breeders voted to merge the two, bringing the breeds more in line with other registries around the world.

It is generally accepted that the breed originated as a spontaneous longhaired mutation of the Siamese cat. Apparently, Mother Nature decided that the already glorious Siamese could be made even more glorious by adding the long, flowing coat to the svelte body lines of this graceful oriental beauty.

Coat length is the primary difference between the Siamese and the Balinese. Although it is probable that occasional longhaired kittens had been turning up in pedigreed Siamese litters long before they attracted the interest of a few imaginative breeders, no serious effort was made to promote the longhairs as a new breed until the 1940’s.

The breed standard of the Cat Fanciers’ Association describes the ideal Balinese as a svelte cat with long tapering lines, very lithe but strong and muscular, unique with its distinct range of colors and silky coat that hides a supple and athletic body. Like its ancestor breed, the Siamese, nearly everything about the Balinese is l-o-n-g, including body, head, legs and tail. It goes one step further than the Siamese in that its coat length is also long. The most distinctive feature of the Balinese is its luxurious tail plume.

Because the Balinese has a single coat, in contrast to the double coat of other longhairs, the hair lies close to the body, flowing naturally toward the rear. Thus, it does not detract from the long, slim lines of the basic body structure. Grooming is simple, for the coat does not mat like the double coat of most longhaired breeds.

Usually breeders make kittens available between twelve and sixteen weeks of age. After twelve weeks, kittens have had their basic inoculations and developed the physical and social stability needed for a new environment, showing, or being transported by air. Keeping such a rare treasure indoors, neutering or spaying, and providing acceptable surfaces (e.g. scratching posts) for the natural behavior of scratching (CFA disapproves of declawing or tendonectomy surgery) are essential elements for maintaining a healthy, long and joyful life. For more information, please send inquiries to CFA at cfa@cfa.org.