Balinese Cat: Brain and Beauty

Beautiful Balinese Cat lying down
Steve Corelli
Written by Steve Corelli

While beauty is an important consideration when choosing a lifelong kitty companion, intelligence is another factor that you can’t go without. Sure, cats that act silly are cute, but it wouldn’t be so funny anymore if they just never seem to grasp where their toilet is or how to find their way home after a solo walk outdoors. If you’re looking for a combination of brain and beauty, look no further than the graceful Balinese cat.

Balinese cats are a long-haired version of the Siamese. Their finely-boned body is elongated and graceful—accentuated with a feathered tail which is one of the features this breed is famous for. Their magnificently blue almond-shaped eyes and silky medium-length fur are also features that attract the attention of cat lovers. Besides their beauty, this breed is one of the most intelligent cat breeds, and they will make a fun, playful, and devoted companion to every home.

Beautiful Balinese Cat lying down on a blanket

In this article, you will find information about Balinese cat personality, origins, grooming requirements, colors, life expectancy, and many more. Once you’re through with this piece, you will be able to decide with confidence whether to adopt this cat or to look for another breed.

Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability: Above Average

  • Grooming: Moderate

  • Health: Good, but prone to some hereditary diseases

  • All Around Friendliness: Very good

  • Exercise Needs: Above Average

Cat Breed GroupSemi Long-Haired, Crossbreed
Weight8 - 12 pounds
Lifespan9 - 15 years

It is still unknown if this long-haired breed was developed by crossing Siamese with long-haired breeds like the Persian and the Turkish Angora, or if it was a result of natural gene mutation. The long-haired kittens appeared in the litters of purebred Siamese as early as the 1920s, but they were regarded as misfits and often sold as common pets. Fortunately, American breeders Marion Dorsey and Helen Smith fell in love with this long-haired version of the Siamese cat and started their breeding program in the 1950s.

The Balinese cat is a medium-sized breed famous for their lean and long finely-boned body. Their graceful body is accentuated with long legs, a long feathered tail, and oval paws. Their head is wedge-shaped with almond-shaped sapphire blue eyes, and long, broad ears.

What distinguishes the Balinese cat from their short-haired counterpart is their silky, medium-length fur. The single-coated fur lies close to the body and sheds minimally, which makes the cat easy to maintain. Balinese cats’ coat comes in color points. Their face, ears, feet, and tail have a different color from the rest of the body. Seal point, blue point, chocolate point, and lilac point are the variations that are recognized by the American Cat Fanciers Association.

Beautiful Balinese Cat lying down on a rock

Balinese cat temperament is affectionate, independent, and sometimes reserved. It is said that this highly intelligent breed can sense the mood of their owner and will show their support by curling in your lap. These friendly cats are always ready for play, and they get along well with children and other pets. In their constant search for fun activities, they can be prone to mischief, so all valuables should be tucked away out of their reach. Otherwise, Balinese cats will not hesitate to use them as toys.

Balinese cat personality can sometimes come as loud and demanding, but all that this very-social cat wants is love and companionship. They like following their owners through the house and help them with daily chores. And when the day full of activities and play is over, they will show their devotion by curling up in bed with their owner.

These are very energetic and active cats that require daily play sessions to keep their body healthy and lean and their mind occupied. Provide plenty of interactive toys and a cat tree. Otherwise, this breed can become obese and bored really quickly. And because they are very social they are best suited for homes with other pets or owners who have enough time to interact with them.

Balinese female cat sitting

Balinese cat diet should be high in meat protein. They are known to be picky when it comes to their food and enjoy eating canned or homemade wet food more than kibble. You should know that their age and activity level will determine what type of food is healthy for your cat. Always stick to recommended quantities declared on the packaging.

This breed generally has good health, and with the proper care can live up to 20 years. But like others purebred cats, the Balinese is prone to some hereditary conditions. In order to keep your cat healthy, take them to regular vet appointments, get them vaccinated, dewormed, spayed/neutered, keep their teeth healthy and clean, and if possible, keep them as an indoors-only cat.

Main Highlights

  • The Balinese cat is a long-haired version of the Siamese.

  • It is uncertain if this breed came into existence by cross-breeding Siamese with long-haired cats, or by a recessive long-haired gene present in some Siamese cats.

  • The long-haired Siamese kittens weren’t appreciated until the 1950s when American breeders Marion Dorsey and Helen Smith combined their efforts and started a breeding program that created the Balinese breed as we know it today.

  • The Balinese is a graceful, medium-sized breed with a finely-boned long body, which is covered with silky medium-length fur.

  • Their long feathered tail and knowing vivid blue eyes are the things that make this breed so memorable.

  • Balinese cat colors come in points, and although they can come in many different colors, only four are recognized by the American Cat Fanciers Association.

  • Their fur doesn’t have an undercoat, which makes it easy to maintain.

  • The Balinese is considered one of the most intelligent cat breeds and they have a loving, playful, independent, and affectionate nature.

  • They get along well with other pets and children and need an owner who can spend time and interact with them every day.

  • With the exception of a few hereditary conditions, the Balinese cat is generally healthy and has a long lifespan.

  • When it comes to eating habits, the Balinese can be picky; they are known to prefer canned food.

Breed History

The Balinese cat is a long-haired descendant of the Siamese breed. It is uncertain if these cats were the result of cross-breeding between Siamese cats and long-haired cats like the Persian or the Turkish Angora, or if it’s a naturally occurring mutation. The long-haired kittens started to appear in purebred Siamese litters as early as the 1920s, but they were considered misfits and were removed from breeding programs and sold as house pets.

Balinese kittens at one place

In the 1950s, two dedicated breeders recognized the beauty and potential of this long-haired Siamese and decided to combine their efforts in hopes of producing a new breed. Two experienced breeders from well-known catteries in the USA worked closely together. When they bred two long-haired Siamese cats, the litter bred true and produced long-haired kittens. The new breed was named the Balinese by Helen Smith because their grace reminded her of Bali dancers.

When a Balinese cat was shown at the Empire Cat Show in New York in 1961, the breed gained acceptance and was recognized by the Cat Fanciers Federation. The Cats Fanciers Association followed in 1970 and awarded the Balinese the championship status. Today this breed is recognized all around the world.


The Balinese is a medium-sized cat with a long and lean body which is at the same time gentile and muscular. Male Balinese are larger than females and often weigh around 8 – 12 pounds. Females are smaller and weigh from 5 to 10 pounds.

Personality and Character

Balinese cats are affectionate, loyal, playful, and overall fun to be around. They love to be involved in their owner’s activities and will often offer help. Because they follow their owner’s every step, they may not be suited for older people who walk with a cane. They are famous for speaking their mind and will vocalize their wishes.

This is a playful and energetic breed who always seeks attention and likes to be in the center of the stage. They need daily play sessions—preferably in their owner’s company. The Balinese’s highly intelligent mind likes to be occupied with puzzle toys. When a day full of fun activities comes to an end, they will follow their owner to bed and keep them company during the night.

Balinese cat lying down on a wooden table

Balinese cats are demanding and in times can seem bossy. But that is only because they like to be involved in everything. This is an attention-seeking cat that shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time. Be prepared to find your curtains torn, rolls of toilet paper everywhere, and your valuables scattered throughout the house if you leave them bored and alone for too long.

Bearing that in mind, it is best to equip your home with other things that will occupy the genius mind of this breed. Invest in lots of environment-enriching toys, such as a nice DIY cat shelf.

Health and Potential Problems

The Balinese is a generally healthy breed, but like all pedigreed cat, they are vulnerable to some hereditary diseases. That doesn’t mean that your Balinese will for certain develop these conditions, but it is always best to be familiar with the symptoms that may occur.

  • Amyloidosis is a condition in which the fibrous protein amyloid is deposited in various tissues in the body, preventing them from functioning normally. The accumulation of amyloid is usually secondary to preexisting inflammation or a lymphoproliferative disorder. This results in tissue degeneration, and usually, several organs are involved. Symptoms include a sudden lack of energy, vomiting, anorexia, excess thirst and urination, enlarged abdomen, and joint pains. Your vet will complete a physical exam and run blood and urine tests to see which organs are the most affected. There is still no cure for this condition, but with proper treatment of the affected organs, your cat should be able to live normally.

  • Aortic Stenosis is a congenital defect in which the blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta is obstructed. A cat usually develops this defect in the first few weeks or months of their life, and symptoms can appear at any age. Symptoms include sudden loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, congestive heart failure, and abnormal breathing sounds. Your vet will do a complete physical exam, blood and urine tests, and ECG. When it comes to this condition, surgery isn’t the best way to go. Your veterinarian will prescribe a therapy that will minimize your cat’s symptoms and help improve the quality of life.

  • Crossed Eyes can be present at birth and also developed later in a cat’s life. Cats who are born with this condition get used to it and can function normally, but when an adult cat gets cross-eyed, that can be a sign of some underlying issue. Causes of this condition are diseases of the inner ear, eye injury, feline leukemia virus, nerve damage, and genetic predispositions. If the condition isn’t genetic, treatment includes surgery, antibiotics, and physical therapy. If this is a hereditary condition, your cat can experience some dizziness from time to time and should be kept from climbing. But overall, a cat will get accustomed to living with this disease, and it won’t affect their lifespan.

  • Hyperesthesia syndrome is a rare condition which is described as a seizure disorder that causes episodes of agitation and self-mutilation in cats. Signs include skin rolling, compulsive self-grooming, aggressive behavior, and an increase in activity. The cause of this disease is unknown, and it is believed that it’s some type of epilepsy. Treatment includes anti-anxiety medication, anti-depressants, and sedatives.

  • Lymphoma is a type of cancer that originates in the lymphocyte cells and occurs primarily in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, and visceral organs. Symptoms range from open-mouthed breathing, coughing, loss of appetite, weight loss, anorexia, lethargy, constipation, diarrhea, to depression. Your veterinarian will perform a physical exam as well as blood and urine tests. There is no cure for this type of cancer, but chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery can be used in some cases. The main goal is to provide the best quality of life as long as possible for the sick cat.

  • Nystagmus is a problem in the cat’s nervous system that causes the eye to move back and forth unintentionally. There are two types: jerk nystagmus which is characterized with slow movements in one direction and a rapid faze in the opposite direction, as well as pendular nystagmus characterized by small movements of the eye with no difference in speed. Peripheral vestibular or central vestibular disease is the main cause of this condition. This condition is diagnosed with CT scans or analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid. Treatment varies depending on the underlying issue.

To keep your Balinese cat healthy, it is important to take them to regular vet appointments and to vaccinate them for common feline diseases. Deworming, spaying/neutering, and proper dental care will increase the average life expectancy of your cat.

Care Features

The Balinese cat is a highly intelligent breed, and they can easily be trained to walk on a leash. If your Balinese is an indoors-only cat, taking them for a walk can help them with their energy level and maintain their body shape. It is best to invest in lots of toys, a scratching post, and a cat tree to keep your cat occupied and entertained.

These cats are particular about their bathroom hygiene, so keep their litter box always clean. Use a damp cloth to wipe any eye discharge, and never use the same piece for both eyes. Check the ears of your cat weekly and if they are dirty, use a cotton ball dipped in a solution of half warm water, half cider vinegar to keep them clean.

balinese-cat lying down and relaxing

To prevent the development of periodontal diseases, it is best to start brushing your cat’s teeth from a young age. It is best to do so every day, but if your Balinese cat isn’t used to this routine, a few times a week will be better than nothing. If your cat has difficulties adjusting to the toothbrush, you can use dental wipes or rinses to keep your cat’s teeth healthy and strong.

Feeding Schedule

Like any other cat breed, the Balinese also require a diet rich in protein from meat. They can sometimes be picky about the type of food they prefer. It is said that Balinese cats enjoy canned food more than dry kibble. Try both of them and let your cat decide.

A Balinese cat with an incredible black and white long coat lying down

When it comes to the amount of food that you need to give to your cat, always stick with the recommended amounts declared on the label. And be aware that adult cat and kitten have different requirements when it comes to food, so always buy the one that is appropriate for your cat’s age and activity level. Provide your Balinese cat with constant access to fresh water.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

The appearance of the Balinese is accentuated with a silky medium-length coat that is longest on the plumed tail. Their coat is single-coated and sheds moderately. It is fairly easy to maintain, and it needs brushing only twice a week to remove dead skin cells and distribute skin oils through the length of the fur. Balinese kittens are born with a pale coat, which gets its distinctive color as the cat grows. Like their short-haired counterparts, the Siamese, Balinese cats come in color points.

A Balinese cat with an incredible black and white long coat

They come in quite the impressive color variety, but the American Cat Fanciers Association recognizes only certain colors: seal point, blue pint, chocolate point, and lilac point. Balinese cats can also come in solid points of red, silver, cream, lynx points in blue, cream-blue, chocolate, chocolate-tortie, cinnamon, cinnamon-tortie, cream, fawn, lilac, and many more.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

Balinese cats are fun, playful, and social, and they enjoy spending their time playing with children who can match their own energy level. These are attention-seeking cats, and they thrive in households with other pets, who can keep them company and serve as play buddies. No matter how many other pets you have, with their intelligent and friendly nature, the Balinese will become the leader of the pack, and your other pets won’t mind that one bit.

Wrap Up

Balinese cats are perfect for people who are seeking a loving, devoted, and playful cat who will spice things up. This is a highly social breed that loves to interact with their owner, children, other pets, and strangers. They are vocal and active cats. Highly intelligent, Balinese cats will make a perfect addition to any owner who is able to be their playmate and fill the cat’s life with love and devotion.

Beautiful Balinese cat lying on a chair

This long-haired beauty will bring you joy and comfort when you’re feeling blue. They will continue to do so over the course of their long lifespan. Possessing both brain and beauty, do you think you have found a lifelong companion in a Balinese cat? Or would you perhaps prefer a quieter cat? One that’s dedicated to serving you as a working cat without demanding much in return. Share your thoughts with us and our readers in the comment section below.

About the author
Steve Corelli
Steve Corelli

Steve Corelli is a Pet Nutrition Expert from Allentown, Pennsylvania. He is the author of many nutritional strategies for different breeds and a member of some Pet Food development teams. His Maine Coon Stephan, as you might guess, is always well-fed.