Balinese CatHISTORY

The Balinese cat is a variety of Siamese with longer hair, and it is not from the island of Bali. Instead, the Balinese was named after the graceful movements and lines of Balinese dancers.

Since the Siamese was almost wiped out after World War I, some believe that other breeds were used, such as the Turkish Angora, to help bring back the breed. However, others believe that it is simply the occurrence of the recessive gene for long hair. These two hypotheses are disputed and cannot be proven. It has been recorded, however, that in the early 1900’s longhair Siamese kittens were being born.

As early as 1928, the Longhaired Siamese was registered as a show cat with the American Cat Fanciers’ Federation.

By the 1940’s, some cat fanciers thought that these longhaired cats could be promoted and would make a good addition to existing cat breeds.

Original Body Balinese Cat via Wikimedia

Sylvia Holland, who worked for Walt Disney Studios, began to establish the breed in the 60’s and 70’s. As a breeder, she only accepted cats showing the classic Siamese points in seal, chocolate, blue and lilac as true Balinese. The Cat Fanciers’ Association standard continues to accept the Balinese in only the classic seal, blue, chocolate and lilac points, with all other possible colors and patterns classed separately as Javanese.

Sylvia Holland's Balinese kittens, circa 1971

Sylvia Holland’s Balinese kittens, circa 1971, via Wikipedia


North American associations started to accept the Balinese in the 1970’s. Cats with color variations developed through breeding a Balinese with a Colorpoint Shorthair Siamese became known as the Javanese, named after the island in Indonesia. The Javanese was officially recognized in 2008.

A Balinese cat. Photo by Bildarchiv GMBH-iStock

Both Siamese and Balinese cats’ physical appearance has changed since the beginning of the 20th century. Today these cats are more slender with a distinctively wedge-shaped head. By the 1980’s, the old style Siamese and Balinese cats had disappeared from cat shows.


Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography



WEIGHT RANGE                6-11 pounds
EYE COLOR Deep vivid blue but can range from pale blue through sapphire/violet
COAT The coat is medium-length (although there can be considerable variance by individual) and should be soft and silky, without the fluffy undercoat typical of most long-haired breeds. In all cases, the tail should have a definite plume, or fringe, of longer hair. 

Creamy white body with a variety of possible color points of seal, blue, chocolate and lilac on the face, ears, legs, and tails

OVERALL APPEARANCEThe Balinese is 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.
PRICE $400-2,000 Recognized by Cat Fanciers Association



 The Balinese can suffer from various health issues. One of the most common health conditions seen in Balinese is progressive Retinal Atrophy and they can also be prone to being cross-eyed like their Siamese relatives. Another health related concern might be heart problems as well as neurological problems. Barring these issues, Balinese are known for their distinct beauty and intelligence. They can also be vocal and demanding. Life expectancy is from 12-22 years.  



Specialty Purebred Cat Rescue

Rescue Me! Balinese Rescue

Balinese Rescue Groups


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