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Characteristics, History, and Health


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The Balinese cat exudes equal amounts grace and elegance. They have a loving temperament and a strong desire for companionship. They are highly intelligent and playful, and are also known as some of the more vocal and attention-seeking of cats. Though its history isn’t long, the Balinese has quickly become a popular breed throughout the world.

Main Info
Coat Pattern
Coat Length
Health Issues
  • Progressive retinal atrophyProgressive retinal atrophy
  • Strabismus (crossed eyes)Strabismus (crossed eyes)
  • Systemic amyloidosisSystemic amyloidosis

Balinese History

Compared to the history of many other cat breeds, the timeline of the Balinese is not a long one. The Balinese breed emerged in the U.S. in the 1940s, despite the common misconception that they originated in Bali. A spontaneous mutation resulted in a litter of longhaired Siamese kittens, and breeders like this look and went on to selectively breed to create more kittens who displayed the longhair phenotype and a longer, leaner body type. A dedicated breeding program was launched in the 1950s. Breeders thought that the movements of these cats resembled those of the  traditional dancers in the temples of Bali, so this is how the breed got its name.

Main Characteristics of the Balinese

The Balinese has a strong, muscular frame that is long and svelte. Their head is long and tapered and wedge-like in shape and held up by a long and slender neck. Their large, pointed ears loom over their beautiful almond-shaped eyes of deep, ocean blue. They have small, dainty paws at the end of their long, slim legs.


The coat of a Balinese cat is medium-to-long in length and silky smooth to the touch. In comparison to many other longhaired cats, this Balinese sheds minimally—a characteristic that only adds to their popularity. 

Colors And Patterns

Balinese cats tend to share the same or at least very similar coat colors to that of the Siamese cat breed. Balinese coat has a pointed pattern known as “seal point”, where due to a mutation in tyrosinase (enzyme involved in the production of melanin), pigment distribution is temperature-sensitive. Darker pigment is restricted to the colder extremities of the face (eyes, nose, mouth), ears, legs, and tail, while the warmer inner body displays lighter pigmentation. Seal point colors can include cream, cinnamon, fawn, red, chocolate, lilac, and blue. Some cats may also display silver/smoke, tabby, or tortie points with any of these colors. You can find a list of all point colors for the breed on the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) Balinese breed standard page.

How Big Do Balinese Cats Get?


The elegant Balinese breed is a medium-sized cat that displays a slim and athletic body. In comparison to the Siamese breed, Balinese cats are long and lean, though they take it one step further with their  long coats that complement the long lines of their body. 


Adult female Balinese cats are smaller in size and weight than adult males. Females typically weigh anywhere between five and eight pounds, while full-grown Balinese males can weigh between eight and twelve pounds. 

How To Take Care Of A Balinese Cat

Taking care of a Balinese, like all cats, requires time and attention. Learning about your Balinese cat’s specific needs for grooming, nutrition, and oral health will go a long way toward helping you support their overall well-being for years to come. 


A Balinese cat’s coat can be maintained with weekly brushing. Though longhaired, they don’t have an undercoat, which makes them less prone to tangles and mats than many other longhaired cats. Trimming your Balinese cat’s nails and removing discharge or debris from their eye area on a regular basis is also a good idea. 


Like many cats, Balinese should be fed a species-appropriate diet. It’s important to control food portions to meet the unique caloric needs of your cat. Balinese cats can sometimes be fussy eaters, so it may take some time to figure out an appropriate feeding routine and type of food that appeals to their palate. 

Making sure that your Balinese cat has fresh water available is just as important as providing fresh food. As for many cats, providing a water fountain or water bowl that is in a different location than where their food is located can encourage your cat to drink enough water. 


Balinese cats have luxurious fur without an undercoat, which means that they suffer from fewer tangles than many other longhaired cats. Coat care is relatively straightforward with weekly brushing, though more frequent brushing may be needed during seasonal changes when they shed a bit more than usual.

Balinese Common Health Issues

The Balinese is a generally healthy breed.  However, they can suffer from progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and some Balinese may also be affected by crossed eyes (strabismus). Some studies have indicated that Balinese cats may be at a higher risk for developing an inherited condition called systemic amyloidosis. This rare, but potentially fatal condition occurs when a particular protein accumulates in the liver and other tissues, compromising their overall function.

As for all breeds, a Balinese’s oral health is connected to their general health, so at-home tooth brushing and regular dental cleanings at the veterinarian are important to keep your kitty's smile bright and help support their overall well-being. 

Balinese Personality Traits

Balinese cats have wonderful personalities that make them a good match for a variety of households, but it’s important to remember that every cat is an individual. 


The regal and elegant looks of the Balinese are complemented by their loving nature. They both appreciate and provide a lot of affection. They will happily sit for a cuddle session hey should not be left alone for long periods of time. 


One of the highlights of a Balinese cat’s personality is their high level of intelligence. They are very receptive to learning tricks and will give any dog a run for their money in a game of fetch. Balinese are notorious for their exceptional agility and athletic ability, so it is important to engage them in play throughout the day and provide them with various toys. Despite their high level of energy, do not underestimate their love for taking time out to relax on your lap. 


Balinese cats are highly affectionate and typically enjoy interacting with different people and pets in the home. However, Balinese cats are known to be very vocal and demanding of attention, so they do not do well when ignored or left alone for long periods of time. If they do not get enough attention, it can lead to displays of inappropriate behavior. While it can be very rewarding, the socialization of a Balinese cat can take time and patience, so it’s important to take all of this into consideration when deciding if this active and attention-seeking kitty is for you.

Taking Care Of Balinese Kittens

Taking care of a Balinese kitten is similar to the care you’d provide for any kitten. Scheduling wellness checkups and vaccinations with your veterinarian is a very important step when caring for your kitten. After your Balinese kitten is weaned from their mother’s milk ataround 8-10 weeks of age, it’s important to ensure that they get the nutrients they need with an age-appropriate diet to support their growth. When it comes to providing the right nutrients for your kitten;s health, ask your veterinarian about proper diet, including how much and how often your kitten should eat.

You’ll also want to kitten-proof your home  to create a safe, welcoming environment for your tiny new Balinese. This includes making sure that they cannot access the outdoors, where they could be at risk from predators or other dangers.

It's a good idea to learn about at-home dental care for your new Balinese kitten. Learning the best ways to properly brush and care for your cat's teeth and establishing other good oral health habits is much easier to do when your cat is young.

You’ll want to monitor your Balinese kitten’s different growth stages, which will help you get to know your kitten better and allow you to spot changes in their behavior or appearance more easily. This includes being on the lookout for whether or not your kitten has crossed eyes—a condition known as strabismus. This condition doesn’t typically affect a cat’s quality of life if they are born this way; however, if a cat suddenly develops strabismus later in life it can be a sign of a more serious issue.

Balinese Fun Facts 

Below are some fantastically interesting facts about and insights into the eloquent Balinese. 

  • They were named for a different reason than you may think. Although many people believe that Balinese cats come from Bali in Indonesia, they are not. Breeders simply thought that they resembled the elegant traditional dancers of Bali and so they wanted to give them a name that reminded them of that style and grace. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Big Can Balinese Cats Get? Male adult Balinese can weigh 8-12 lbs. Female adult Balinese can weigh 5-8 lbs. 

  • What Is The Personality of A Balinese Cat Like? The Balinese is a very loving cat that, while quick to lavish you with attention, will require a lot of it in return. They are active and playful, highly intelligent, and highly vocal. Quiet moments are more the exception than the rule with the talkative Balinese. 

  • How Long Do Balinese Cats Live? Balinese cats are known for longer lifespans, often living up to 20+ years.

Balinese Characteristics

12-20+ years
Good with
Families, children, cats, cat-friendly dogs
Shedding amount
Affection level
Activity level
Tendency to vocalize
Exercise needs


The International Cat Association (TICA) “Introduction to the Balinese”

Cat Fanciers' Association "About the Balinese"

FETCH by WebMD "What to Know About Balinese Cats"

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