Balinese cats are very popular, for many people it is the perfect cat. They are beautiful with long hair that shines like silk and they have a playful personality. A Balinese usually has expressive blue eyes which can be quite enchanting.
The first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Balinese cats is an elegant feline with a personality that is almost human.
But, are Balinese cats healthier than other breeds of cats? In this article, we will look at the history and some of the health concerns that need to be monitored when owning a Balinese cat.
Balinese Cats: A Brief History
The Balinese was first recognized as an official breed in 1970 and in 1976 was accepted in the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA). The CFA is the largest cat association in North America, with many other countries having their own associations.
The Balinese is a long-haired breed of domestic cat whose hair should be fine textured and silky. They are known to have a distinctive fur pattern with a full length coat that is parted down the middle of their back.
Their hair should be up to 2 inches long with medium-length hair on their legs and quite short hair on their head, ears, and muzzle. The eyes can be blue or hazel in color, but they must always have the “look” of the Siamese cat.
Balinese Cats are Born All White?
Contrary to the myth that some people believe, Balinese cats are not born all white with blue eyes. They are usually born with black hair which gradually turns into their distinctive long silky coat as they mature. It is estimated that this transformation begins at around three months of age and can take up to a year for their full coat to develop.
Health Concerns of the Balinese Cat?
The Balinese cat is generally healthy, but as with all breeds they can be prone to certain health concerns such as:
- Heart Disease
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
- Renal Disease
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Patellar Luxation
Heart Disease in the Balinese Cat
One health concern that all long haired cats should be monitored for is heart disease. This concerns the volume of blood that the heart pumps out to circulate throughout the body.
The valves within the chambers make sure that blood flows in one direction only, but sometimes they become weak or loose which can increase volume or pressure within the heart chambers. This can cause fluid to build up, which will eventually lead to congestive heart failure.
Blood tests and an echocardiogram (ultrasound imaging) can determine if heart disease is present.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) and the Balinese Cat
As with all long-haired cats, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM should always be checked for as there is a high risk of it occurring in this breed.
HCM is one of the most common and serious forms of heart disease found in cats and can lead to heart failure if left untreated. The thickening of the walls within the heart leads to a reduction in blood flow – eventually leading to congestive heart failure.
The treatment for HCM involves medication, diet changes and exercise. However, in some cases cats will need to have heart surgery which can improve their quality of life.
Renal Disease in the Balinese Cat
Renal disease is an ailment that results when the cat’s kidneys are not filtering out waste products properly, causing toxic levels of protein to build up in the body.
The kidneys filter waste products from the blood and create urine, and when this is not happening properly it causes a build-up of toxins in the blood.
This leads to symptoms such as:
- Poor Appetite
Diabetes Mellitus in the Balinese Cat
Another health concern that may be common with cats that have long coats is diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes in cats can be difficult to control, but there are several factors that owners must be aware of when taking care of diabetes in cats. These include:
- Chronic infections
- Skin problems
Gastrointestinal diseases or other conditions where the cat has a poor appetite or refuses to eat.
Patellar Luxation in the Balinese Cat
Patellar luxation occurs when there is a problem with the kneecap or patella. It can lead to mobility issues if not treated properly and will require veterinary attention.
Balinese Cats and Allergies?
Balinese cats are also known for being hypoallergenic, meaning that they do not cause a reaction in people with allergies to cats.
Although the Balinese cat is hypoallergenic, this does not mean that there will be no reaction at all. There are many factors which contribute to how an individual person reacts to a cat and it can depend on:
Their particular allergy Their level of exposure to the cat Their age when they first met the cat
If you or your family is prone to allergies it may be best to avoid the Balinese. If not, then their hypoallergenic coat could provide a beautiful pet for years.
How Long Does a Balinese Cat Live?
The average lifespan of the Balinese cat is around 14 to 16 years, but some cats have been known to live up to 20 years. This is only possible with proper care, diet, and good health.
If you are considering getting a long haired feline for your family think about registering with petrescue.com.au and browsing through all the different breeds that are available for adoption. You may find a perfect match for your family!