The Balinese Cat in the UK
What is a Balinese?
Quite simply, a Balinese cat is a Siamese with a flowing coat. Balinese can be found in all the same colours as the Siamese (with the present exception of the newer colours, i.e: cinnamon and fawn); they have the same blue eye colour as the Siamese, exhibit the same intelligence and temperament as the Siamese and, in fact, the only difference between the two breeds is the coat. Whereas the Siamese has a short, sleek coat, the Balinese coat is fine and silky, with hair length between half an inch and two inches on the body and a plume-like tail, that can have hair as long as five inches in some cases. Some Balinese owners claim that their cats are quieter than their short-haired cousins, whilst others insist that their Balis are just as noisy as Siamese. The one thing that all Balinese owners agree on is that their cats are amongst the most graceful and majestic of all the pedigree breeds.
Short-haired Balinese, known as Variants, may also be seen (but not at shows) as breeders have constantly bred back to top quality Siamese to improve the type and eye colour of Balinese. Kittens resulting from mating a Balinese to a Siamese have a short, plush coat and are known as Variants. They are invaluable in a Balinese breeding programme as they carry the recessive long hair gene which they pass on when mated back to a long-haired Balinese or another Variant (see table for full details).
|Kittens to be expected from Balinese matings|
|Parent 1||Parent 2 (one of the following)|
|Balinese||All Balinese||All Balinese Variants||50% Balinese|
50% Balinese Variants
|Siamese||All Balinese Variants||All Siamese||Not Recommended|
|Balinese Variant||50% Balinese|
50% Balinese Variants
|Not Recommended||25% Balinese|
75% Balinese Variants *
|*only 50% are true variants, the other 25% do not carry longhair, but it is impossible to tell visually which is which|
The story of the Balinese begins in the United States in the mid-1950s (although recent evidence has shown that they were around as early as the 1930s). Legend has it that breeders were intrigued by long-haired kittens appearing from time to time in litters of pure-bred Siamese. These kittens were Siamese in type but had longer, silky hair and when mated were found to breed true. However, it seems more likely that the long-haired gene was introduced when newer colours were created in Siamese by outcrossing to Persians or moggies.
A few breeders in the United States were so charmed by these long-haired Siamese that they determined to establish them as a breed and to work towards recognition by the American associations. Pioneer breeders were Mrs Marian Dorsey of California (Rai-Mar prefix) and Mrs Helen Smith of New York (Merry Mews prefix), with Mrs Sylvia Holland, an Englishwoman living in California, most closely associated with the development of the breed under her famous "Holland's Farm" prefix. Mrs Smith was responsible for the name "Balinese", when she remarked how akin they were to "exotic Balinese dancers" - unfortunately one cannot visit Bali and expect to find an indigenous population of Balinese cats.
So by the late 1950s the breed had a name and had been placed on the Foreign Long Hair division of the Cat Fanciers' Federation. In 1961 they were given championship status by the CFF and over the years have grown in popularity to such an extent that they hold full championship status in all the American associations. Since late in 1979 the Cat Fanciers' Association (the largest of the US associations) has recognised red, cream, tabby and tortie pointed Balinese as"Javanese".
Balinese in the UK
The first Balinese to be imported to Britain arrived early in 1973 and were a Blue Point, US Ch Verdes Blue Warrior of Davina, and his Seal Point Variant daughter, Davinas Chocolate Gem, who went to live with Sandra Birch (Sandoval). Sandra spent several years promoting the breed until Gem was spayed in 1977. Margaret Manolson bought a Blue Point boy, Sandoval Paris Review, from Sandra to establish her famous "Cheldene" line by outcrossing to Siamese queens and mating the resulting Variants back to Paris. In 1978 Margaret imported more cats from America, Gaynell's Bobby Boy of Ti-Mau, US Gr Ch Ti-Mau's Brite Sunshine (Chocolate Point female) and subsequently two Seal Point females, Bali Vista Chasa and Bali Vista Chia, Del-Ri's Donna (Chocolate Point) and Del-Ri's Prima (Lilac Point). Margaret also acquired "Camilla", who was apparently a Balinese but whose origins are unclear.
The breed proceeded from strength to strength, obtained GCCF recognition and eventually Championship status in 1986. By the end of the first show season, three cats had achieved Champion status and in the 1989/90 show season the first Balinese became a "Grand".
Since the early days, the look of the cats has changed quite dramatically due to outcrossing with their Siamese cousins to achieve a true "long-haired Siamese" and many more Balinese have achieved Grand status and won best in show awards.
The Balinese cats seen today are the result of much time and effort by a dedicated band of hard working breeders. Balinese make excellent companions, loving friends and great playmates. They are generally very good natured, mixing well with other cats, and are usually quite content to live indoors. Two specialist clubs exist for the breed, both of them Affiliated to the GCCF.
|For further information contact:|
|The Balinese Cat Society|
Hon.Secretary: Mr.Harry Meekings
Walsham le Willows
Bury St Edmunds
Suffolk IP31 3AS
Tel: 01359 259652
|The Balinese & Siamese Cat Club|
Hon.Secretary: Mrs.Sylvia Smith
Holly Tree Cottage
Essex, CO11 2NR
Tel: 01206 395899
|or back to the||main index|
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