The Breed History
The gene for longer hair in Siamese cats is autosomal recessive in inheritance, and when these semi-longhaired cats were born into Siamese litters in the 1940s, they were selected for in a new breeding program. Prior to this time, they were considered an undesirable offspring type and called Longhaired Siamese. The early breed development occurred in California and New York during the 1950s. The TICA and CFA accepted this breed in 1970, and FIFe followed in 1972.
Javanese refers to semi-longhaired Siamese (e.g., Balinese) with lynx (tabby) and tortie point patterns instead of classic Siamese solid points (lilac, seal etc). The Javanese as a separate breed was accepted by CFA in 1979-in all other registries Javanese cats are part of the Balinese breed. Overseas the Javanese name is synonymous with Oriental Longhair.
Traditional (Applehead) Balinese cats are of a type derived from the Traditional (Applehead) Siamese. They are of heavier build with a much rounder face and head conformation, smaller ears, and longer haircoat over the body (>2") including ruff, pantaloons, and ear tufting. Most registries do not have a separate partition for this subtype. In the many registries, they are registered but are not generally show cats. Falling somewhere in between the Traditional Balinese and Modern Balinese type is another intermediate type termed "Classic". The name "Balinese" is thought to derive from these cats appearing as graceful as Balinese dancers. Outcrossing to Siamese cats is still allowed in the CFA registry.
Weight: 6-11 lb (2.5-5 kg). Traditional subtype cats average 10-14 lb (4.5-6.5 kg)
Coat: The semi-longhair single coat is fine, silky and flat lying and not much longer than a short haircoat; the longest hairs are found on the tail. They have a dark face mask. All of the Siamese color point coats are represented in the Balinese. In CFA registry, recognition is extended only to blue, chocolate, lilac and seal point-other pointed cats are referred to as Javanese, a separate breed. The body coat color and points of the Balinese usually becomes darker as the cat ages. Intermediate (medium) length coats result from outcross mating. These shorter haired cats are termed variants. This type of coat is short and plush, somewhat in between the shorthair and semi-longhair. These variants are not shown.
Eyes: Medium in size, sapphire blue, almond shaped. Deeper blue is preferred.
Points of Conformation: These cats share most of the same conformation points as Siamese cats; the longer coat with well-plumed tail is the distinguishing feature. Because of the longer cover of hair though, these cats appear less angular to the eye than the Siamese. Ears are large, with some interior furnishings. The Balinese are built like the Siamese. The head is an elongated tapered wedge with a fine muzzle and straight long nose. Paws are delicate and oval. The tail is tapering, thin and ends in a point.
Grooming: For the Balinese cat, there are low-moderate grooming needs and a low matting tendency.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
Reported breed characteristics include: Highly intelligent, friendly, though some individuals may be aloof. The Balinese are curious, playful and often less vocal, a bit softer voiced, and a bit less active than the Siamese cats. They are also highly social, and need plenty of human contact and mental stimulation; may follow favored people around the house. Balinese cats are content to be lap cats in between burst of activity. Climbing trees or perches are important for these athletic cats; they love being up high. Good with children and dogs; may even curl up and sleep with a favored dog and let themselves be groomed by that dog. If left alone all day, may benefit from another cat in the household. Not suited to an outdoor lifestyle.
Normal Breed Variations
Need to watch calorie intakes as can become obese more easily than some other breeds
None reported in the literature
Because this breed originated primarily from Siamese cats, and outcrossing with Siamese continues, see Siamese Pointed Cat chapter for information on the pointing gene and its effects on coat and vision, and other Siamese breed conditions.
None reported in the literature
Rare and Isolated Reports
Sphingomyelin Lipidosis (SYN: Sphingomyelinosis): This is a rare condition and reported only in Siamese and Balinese. This storage disease results in reduced activity of the enzyme sphingomyelinase that metabolizes lipids and when deficient, leads to lysosomal accumulation of sphingomyelin in many tissues. Cholesterol accumulates in the liver. Sphingomyelin lipidosis is similar to human Niemann-Pick disease Type A. A case report of a Balinese kitten described onset of hind limb dysmetria at three months of age, with gradual progression of signs. Head tremor, mydriasis and nystagmus, and other signs developed. Visual deficits, weakness and progression to moribund state occurred; hepatosplenomegaly and plantigrade stance was also described in other reports. This type of storage disease is milder and more slowly progressive when compared with GM1 and GM2 gangliosidosis. Histologic lesions were present in kidney, spleen, lung, liver and brain. It is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait in Siamese cats; likely the same in Balinese cats.
Feline Mucopolysaccharidosis VI: A case report described two Balinese cats with paresis/paralysis, facial dysmorphia (flattened face, small ears, bulging forehead), skeletal abnormalities (fusion of cervical and lumbar region vertebrae, osteoporosis and widened IV spaces in T-L, flat-chested, long bone epiphyseal dysplasia, coxofemoral luxation). Excessive urinary levels of dermatan sulphate (a glycosaminoglycan; mucopolysaccharide) were due to lysosomal arylsulphatase B enzyme deficiency. Onset of clinical signs was at 12-16 weeks old. Slow growth, smaller stature, abnormal gait progressing to posterior paresis within a few months, painful lumbosacral area, large paws, medial stifle deviation and over-flexed rear limbs were noted. In spite of supportive care, one cat died at 18 months of age. Diagnosis of disease requires dimethyl-methylene blue test of urine, and biopsy of skin with fibroblast assay of the enzyme confirmed reduction of arylsulphatase B. This trait has also been reported in three Siamese cat families. This is likely an inherited condition as it has only ever been reported in Siamese and Siamese-related cats. In a colony of cats studied in Australia, two separate mutations were found.
None commercially available
- Breed name synonyms: Javanese (the name applies to non-Siamese type points such as cream, tabby, tortie and red). In TICA and other non-CFA registries, the Balinese and Javanese are the same breed. In Europe, they may be classed as Oriental Longhairs.
- Other breed synonyms include: Bali, Longhaired Siamese, Lao-Tsun Cat.
- Registries: FIFe, TICA, CFA, ACFA, CFF, NZCF, CCA, WCF, GCCF, ACF
- Breed resources: Traditional and Classic Cat International (including Applehead Siamese, Traditional Balinese): http://www.tccat.org/
Balinese Cat Society (UK): http://www.rantipole.demon.co.uk/bcs
Balinese and Siamese Cat Club (UK): http://www.thebalineseandsiamesecatclub.co.uk/
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