Saturday, May 21, 2011
Breed of the Day: Balinese
In a nutshell, the graceful Balinese is a Siamese with a a long coat, but they are so much more! The long coat of this affectionate cat flows over the lithe body without obscuring any of its elegant lines. The fine-boned, slim Balinese has the grace of the dancers of Bali and its athletic body is covered with a long, silky ermine coat. Its sapphire blue eyes sparkle with intelligence and curiosity as it surveys its surroundings, but at a moments notice the Balinese discards its regal bearing to engage in clowning around with a favorite toy. It's princely demeanor and fluid grace constantly remind one that its ancestors were considered sacred in Siam, surrounding it with an air or royalty.
The early history of the Balinese is unknown although sporadic to it occur from very early on. Some say there is an ancient Chinese tapestry depicting a longhair, an 1871 Penny Illustrated magazine contains a reference to a longhaired Siamese and a CFF registration record for one in 1928. While longhaired kittens sporadically, the history of the Balinese starts with the first breeding programs in the 1950s. Two Siamese breeders, Marion Dorsey with her cat Rai-Mar in California, and Helen Smith with MerryMews in New York, both fell in love with the beauty of some of the longhaired kittens that showed up in their litters and decided to develop more of the lovely cats. Helen Smith is responsible for coining the name Balinese to reflect their grace and elegance that reminded her of the Balinese dancers. The Balinese was originally recognized in four colors: seal, blue, chocolate and lilac. In 1979, red and cream along with the tabby pattern were also accepted, rounding out the color palette to include red, cream, tortoiseshells and all color combinations as both solid color points and tabby points. More recently, these colors in combination with white were accepted, widening the color spectrum to include bi-color points. The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized the breed for competition in 1979.
Balinese have extremely loving temperaments and bond closely to their families. They will be your best friend and want to be involved in everything you do from "helping" you make the bed to joining in on all kinds of games. These gregarious cats a very vocal, although the voice is softer and less insistent than that of the Siamese. They do demand a lot of attention and get into mischief and so should not be left alone for long periods of time. They love to play and can make a toy out of anything and amuse themselves for hours. Balinese get along well with children and other pets, fitting in easily into any home family or home situation.