Balinese (cat)

The Balinese is a breed of oriental cat with long hair and Siamese-style markings, or points. It resembles a Siamese with a medium-length silky coat and a plumed tail, but is not nearly as fluffy as a Himalayan, and requires much less grooming. Balinese are extremely intelligent cats, although less talkative than their Siamese ancestors.
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. Helen Smith named the cats "Balinese" because 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.
According to "Encyclopedia of Cat Breeds" by J. Anne Helgren 1997 Barron's Educational Series Inc., which has a rating scale on intelligence and other breed traits, the Siamese and Balinese are rated the highest 9-10 on a scale of 1 to 10. The Balinese is rated the highest in intelligence of all the long-haired breeds. Other breeds such a Persians rate a 6 and Himalayans a 7.
Life span Balinese tend to live between 18 to 21 years.
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.


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