7 Things to Consider Before Getting a Balinese Cat
The Balinese cat is a popular breed due to its friendly and affectionate nature and well as its attractive looks. Named after the temple dancers of Bali, Indonesia for its graceful appearance, the breed came about in the 1940s in the United States following a spontaneous genetic mutation in Siamese cats. This mutation caused the affected Siamese kittens to have a longer coat than usual, and these cats started being bred shortly after in the 1950s.
Because of their ancestry, Balinese cats have a similar appearance to the Siamese with a slender body, large ears, cream-colored coat, and colored points on the face, ears, paws, and tail. Where the Balinese differs is its medium- to long-haired coat and its long, plumed tail. These cats are medium-sized, with an average adult weight of 6 to 11 lbs. Their personalities are similar to that of the Siamese, and they can therefore be quite vocal and demanding cats, however, many say that they are not quite as chatty as the Siamese.
Have you been considering adding a Balinese cat to your family? Read on to find out 7 things to consider before getting a Balinese cat.
1. Like most cats, the Balinese can live up to 20 years.
The average lifespan of the Balinese is roughly 15 years, however, their life expectancy can range from 12 to 20 years. This breed's lifespan has a wide range because it is predisposed to several of the same health conditions as the Siamese, which can lead to illness occurring earlier in life than the average domestic breed—this will be discussed in depth later in the post.
As with all cats, you should be prepared and willing to take care of a Balinese cat for up to 20 years. This includes being able to commit enough time to care for this affectionate breed as well as being able to financially afford it. Like all cats, the Balinese cat should be fed a high-quality diet and it should have regular veterinary appointments for check-ups, annual vaccinations, and parasite prevention.
2. Balinese cats should be obtained from a reputable breeder.
As a highly sought-after breed, it is very important to get a Balinese cat from a reputable breeder. It is crucial to do your research into Balinese breeders so that you do not unintentionally support a kitten mill.
Be wary of "breeders" who are hesitant to show you the kitten's living area, mother, or littermates, as well as those who do not provide any sort of veterinary certificate stating that the kittens are fit and healthy to be sold. Kittens should have a healthy-looking coat without a bloated belly, cloudy eyes, or runny nose. If someone is trying to sell a kitten for a very cheap price without allowing you to visit their home, there is probably a reason!
The average cost of a purebred Balinese kitten is $600, but prices can range from $400 to $2,000 depending on location and pedigree, with show cats costing on the higher end. Occasionally, this breed may also be found in rescues or shelters, however, these are often fully grown cats that have been surrendered at an older age for varying reasons.
3. Balinese cats are often very friendly and affectionate but can also be demanding.
The Balinese cat is an extroverted breed that tends to be very affectionate towards its family members. These cats tend to fit in well in families with children and other pets. However, as with all cat breeds, this can vary between individuals so slow introductions with positive reinforcement should always be made. Balinese cats are often very vocal to their owners, so they are not a good choice for people who want to live in quiet households.
Because of their affectionate and sometimes needy nature, the Balinese does best in homes where its owners are not gone for the entire day most days of the week. If left alone for too long, these cats can become unhappy, lonely, and sometimes distressed. This can lead to destructive behaviors in some cases, such as scratching up furniture or carpeting or chewing on personal belongings.
4. The Balinese is an intelligent cat breed with high energy levels.
Like the Siamese, the Balinese cat is an active, intelligent cat breed that requires lots of mental and physical stimulation to keep it happy. This breed should be supplied with lots of toys and scratching posts, and owners should play with them each day to prevent too much pent-up energy.
Balinese cats are also good jumpers who enjoy perching in high locations above their owners and other pets, so several high vantage points should be provided to prevent them from jumping on top of the refrigerator or bookshelves that may hold fragile items.
Due to their clever nature, the Balinese cat is more easily trained than many other cat breeds. As with all cats, training should be done using positive reinforcement methods. Since cats tend to set their own rules, it should not be pushed so as not to cause any destructive or negative behaviors in retaliation.
5. Despite their long coat, Balinese cats do not require a lot of grooming.
The Balinese cat tends to shed less than most long-haired domestic breeds, making them quite low maintenance in terms of their grooming routine. Their silky coat is shed seasonally, so most of their shedding occurs a couple times a year when the weather is getting significantly warmer or cooler.
Because their fur does not contain an undercoat, their coats are not prone to tangles and matting as much as domestic breeds. Balinese cats should still be brushed one or twice a week to get rid of loose, dead hairs.
Some people believe the Balinese cat to be hypoallergenic—unfortunately, no cat breed is completely hypoallergenic due to dead skin, or dander, being a common allergen in cat allergies. The Balinese may be an option for individuals with mild allergies due to its reduced shedding, however, reactions may vary between different owners.
6. Like all cats, Balinese cats should be fed appropriate portions of a high-quality diet.
Balinese cats should ideally be fed a balanced commercial diet because they are formulated to have sufficient amounts of required nutrients.
If you wish to feed a home-cooked diet, you should do so with the assistance of a veterinary nutrition specialist to ensure that your cat's nutritional requirements are met so that your cat stays happy and healthy.
The Balinese cat is known to be a picky eater, and like many cats, this breed sometimes prefers wet foods to dry kibble. Both wet and dry commercial diets are balanced diets, and cats can safely be fed only one of them or a combination of both.
Dry foods provide mechanical action against tartar/plaque buildup on the teeth, so it is important to keep a close eye on a cat's teeth if it is fed solely wet food. It is also important to pay close attention to your cat's weight and body condition, as overfed Balinese cats can easily become overweight or obese, especially if they are not as active.
7. Balinese cats are prone to developing the same diseases as Siamese cats.
Because the Balinese cat is directly descended from the Siamese and thus has similar genetics, it is predisposed to developing many of the same health problems. Some congenital issues include being cross-eyed, also known as strabismus, or having a kinked tail, both of which are unlikely to cause any further issues. These can be noted very early on in life.
Acquired health conditions that Balinese cats are predisposed to can affect several body systems. Like the Siamese, these cats can have respiratory issues such as asthma and upper or lower respiratory infections, which occasionally cause recurrent problems throughout their lives.
They are also predisposed to an eye condition called progressive retinal atrophy, which can affect vision and, in some cases, cause blindness.
Another condition they are at risk of developing is amyloidosis, where amyloid proteins are deposited and build up in the liver and sometimes the kidneys, reducing these organs' abilities to function and in severe cases can lead to liver and kidney failure.
Balinese cats can also develop the heart condition dilated cardiomyopathy, which prevents the heart from pumping blood efficiently.
Lastly, like most pedigree cat breeds, the Balinese is at a higher risk than domestic breeds of developing cancers such as lymphoma.
There you have it—these are 7 things to consider before adopting a Balinese cat! These cats can be wonderful companions and family members if they are placed in the right household and looked after properly.
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