The Balinese cat is a long haired variation of the Siamese cat and it is suggested that long haired Siamese cats appeared in purebred litters of Siamese cats as far back as 1871. Although these long haired Siamese cats were originally considered undesirable, a Longhair Siamese cat was registered with Cat Fancier's Federation (CFF) in 1928. It was discovered that the Longhair Siamese cats bred true and in 1955 breeders were determined to establish these cats as a breed and the name "Balinese" was chosen when one breeder remarked how they resembled "exotic Balinese dancers". By the late 1950s Balinese cats were recognised by the CFF and were later given championship status by all major American cat associations.
In early 1973 two Balinese cats were imported into the UK and further Balinese cats were imported in 1978/9. From these Balinese cats and outcrossing to Siamese cats, Balinese cats were established in the UK and gained recognition and championship status from the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy in 1986. The Balinese and Siamese Cat Club was formed in 1988.
The Balinese cat has distinctive almond shaped eyes that slant towards the nose and are deep blue in colour. The ears of the Balinese cat are large and pointed. The coat of the Balinese cat is long, fine and silky with a plume-like tail.
The Balinese cat of today has a sleek, muscular body with a long neck and fine head although the original Balinese cats were more stocky. Although the majority of Cat Associations favour the more modern slender Balinese cat there are many that favour the traditional stockier Balinese cats.
The coat of the Balinese cat is white to pale fawn in colour with darker coloured areas on the face, ears, lower legs and tail. These darker coloured areas can be brown (seal), chocolate, blue, lilac or red.
The Balinese cat is a medium sized cat.
The Balinese cat is intelligent, active, inquisitive and affectionate, enjoying human company and good with children. However, Balinese cats dislike being left alone for long periods. Balinese cats are vocal, often "talking" to their owners.
The lifespan of the Balinese cat is 9-15 years.
The Balinese cat is a demanding cat requiring lots of attention, an interesting environment and space in which to play. Their coat is usually no longer than 2 1/2 inches, does not mat and sheds very little, so requires little grooming.
Although most Balinese cats are healthy, hereditary diseases that are known to appear in the breed are crossed eyes and a kinked tail. Balinese cats can also inherit nystagmus (jerking eye movement) and congenital heart defects.