Feline Breed Spotlight: Balinese

 

A look at the Balinese!

History

Contrary to what the name suggests, the Balinese does not come from Bali or any part of Indonesia. The Balinese actually comes from the same linage as the Siamese, but they are expressing the recessive long haired gene. Originally, when these long haired cats were found in Siamese litters were they were sold as pets, as they were considered an imperfection. They then became registered as “Long Haired Siamese”. It wasn’t until the 1950s that breeders focused on breeding them as a distinct breed and changed the name to Balinese.

Temperament

Like their relatives the Siamese, these cats are also very vocal. They do however have a somewhat softer voice. They are a fun, affectionate and busy breed of cat. The Balinese like to be around their people and can be very sensitive to their owner’s moods. They will try to cheer you up if you’re feeling down with cuddles and chatter. They are a very social cat and they enjoy riding on their owners shoulders. The Balinese will entertain you with their playfulness all day long.

Health concerns

Both pure-bred and domestic mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be either influenced by genetics or environmental factors. Problems that may affect the Balinese more frequently include the following:

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a genetic disease that causes the retina to degenerate in both eyes, leading to progressive vision loss and ultimately blindness.

  • Hereditary Liver Amyloidosis is a disease that occurs when a type of protein called amyloid is deposited into the liver, which can lead to organ failure. This disease can be hereditary in members of the Siamese and Balinese family.

  • Asthma/Bronchial Disease is common in cats and Balinese and Siamese cats appear to be particularly predisposed. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe and the signs can include difficulty in breathing, reduced exercise tolerance and frequent episodes of coughing.

Balinese cats can also suffer from two eye issues are considered normal for this breed. As long as the nystagmus and stribismus are mild and not causing any problems they are nothing to be concerned about.

  • Nystagmus is a neurological disorder that causes involuntary rapid eye movement of one of both eyes. This is a normal finding and is common in certain breeds such as the Balinese.

  • Strabismus is a hereditary disorder of the optic nerve that causes cross-eyes seen in Siamese and Balinese cats and their relatives.