Balinese vs Siamese Cat: What’s The Difference? (With Pictures)

Last Updated on: October 11, 2020

Have you ever wondered what the differences are between Balinese and Siamese cats?

The two breeds are extremely similar and for good reason. The Balinese is actually an offshoot descendent of the Siamese family tree. However, there are a few differences between the two breeds that are worth noting.

So, if you’re on the fence regarding which cat breed is best for you, we’ll examine both of these breeds to help you make the right decision for you and your family.

A Quick Overview:

balinese vs. siamese

Balinese
  • Average Length (adult): 12-18 inches
  • Average Weight (adult): 6-12 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10-16 years
  • Grooming needs: Weekly brushing
  • Traits: Friendly, Active, Loving
  • Dog-friendly: Yes

Siamese
  • Average Length (adult): 15-20 inches (not including tail)
  • Average Weight (adult): 6-14 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12-20 years
  • Grooming needs: Weekly brushing
  • Traits: Talkative, Playful, Curious
  • Dog-friendly: Yes

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Balinese Cats

balinese cat in tree
Image Credit: Fazlyeva Kamilla, Shutterstock

You may think that the Balinese cat hails from Indonesia where they share their namesake with a popular island destination — but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Balinese cats were originally bred in the United States. They started as a genetic mutation birthed from a Siamese litter. And instead of separating out these “long-haired Siamese,” breeders instead nurtured them and built upon their variety. And in 1961, the Cat Fanciers Federation granted them an official championship.

So why the Balinese name? It’s said that the original breeders compared the grace and beauty of these cats to temple dancers on the island of Bali.

Length: 12-18 inches
Weight: 6-12 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12-20 years
Colors: Primarily cream-colored with darker color (black and brown hues) prints around face, ears, legs, and tail
Eye Color: Striking blue
Temperament: Smart, playful, affectionate, vocal, curious.

Balinese Cat Care

A Balinese cat is a wonderful family cat! They’re pretty great with kids and adults alike. Balinese are active members of the family as well. They don’t necessarily follow the “look but don’t touch” philosophy many other cats do.

Grooming ✂️

Although the Balinese cat is also known as a long-haired Siamese, it is technically considered a short-haired cat. It’s really the only longer-haired relative to a Siamese. The Balinese’s coat is a single layer without undercoat and is very silky. You’ll also notice that they have a tail plume that can be up to five inches long.

This being said, you will need to comb its hair from time to time. Cats normally self-groom, but the Balinese needs minimal help to maintain their coats and maximize hairball control.

Personality

The Balinese cat is not going to be that bump on the couch cat. They’re quite active and have high energy levels. Balinese are extremely curious and inquisitive and may try to force themselves into anything that you’re doing.

And they’re vocal too, so be prepared for many kitty conversations. If you’re looking for a quiet cat, the Balinese is not it.

Playfulness and Interaction

Balinese are very playful and affectionate cats. They just love all the attention you can give and more. However, this being said, they are not content simply being lap cats. Sure, they’ll give you a little time to snuggle, but they’d much rather be out doing something.

And since they’re such a smart breed, Balinese require tons of healthy mental stimulation. Picking up a puzzle toy such as the Trixie Brain Mover Activity Strategy Game is a great way to keep them entertained.

Balinese Cat Eyes
Image Credit: bilocho, Pixabay

Special Considerations for the Balinese Cat

The Balinese is a fun, playful, and relatively easy cat breed. However, there are a few things to take into consideration when owning one.

Leaving Them Alone for Extended Periods

Balinese cats don’t like to be left alone for too long. They really crave interaction and stimulation. If left to their own devices, they may grow bored and mischievous, leading to clawed furniture or other acts of feline wanton destruction.

However, this doesn’t mean you need to be there 24/7. There’s a really simple solution to this issue. Get a second cat. Balinese just love company! Getting another cat will give them someone to interact with during the day, minimizing the amount of mayhem caused.

Diet

When it comes to diet, Balinese cats are far from high maintenance. But that doesn’t mean they should be eating out of the garbage can or fed table scraps. You need to choose a nutritious food for them — one that’s high both in protein and taurine. And there’s plenty of great dry food available to choose from. We recommend something like Blue Buffalo Indoor Wilderness for your Balinese.

Health Considerations 🏥

The Balinese cat is actually a relatively healthy breed compared to some cats, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their issues. They actually share many hereditary issues from their Siamese ancestors.

Perhaps the most common health conditions you’ll find on Balinese cats are eye problems. It’s not rare at all to see cross-eyed Balinese cats. There’s nothing too harmful about this and has largely been bred out. However, there will still be cases. They can also suffer from glaucoma at later stages in life.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Balinese Cat

Pros
  • Generally healthier than Siamese cats
  • Great family cats
  • Smart, playful, and affectionate
Cons
  • Longer hair makes them more difficult to groom than Siamese
  • Has issues being left alone for extended periods
  • More expensive than Siamese cats

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Siamese Cats

Siamese Cat Stare
Image Credit: Pixabay, Pexels

These are easily one of the most recognizable cat breeds. Even people who aren’t “cat people” can often name this breed with ease. Siamese cats are among the oldest domesticated cat breeds in the world, and their origin is often shrouded in myth.

There’s one story that tells of a pair of beautiful cats whose sole job was to guard a treasured royal goblet. These cats stared so deeply and longingly into the goblet with such ferocity that their eyes became permanently crossed. And since they had wrapped their tails around the goblet, they became permanently kinked.

Although this breed is known for their crossed-eyes and kinked tails, modern-day Siamese generally don’t have these traits anymore. They’ve been selectively bred out through breeders and fanciers worldwide.

Length: 15-20 inches
Weight: 6-14 pounds
Life Expectancy: 8-15 years
Colors: Light to cream with darker point colors (black, brown, chocolate, lilac)
Eye Color: Deep blue eyes
Temperament: Highly intelligent, playful, active, vocal, affectionate

Siamese Cat Care

Bringing a Siamese cat into your care can be a great choice for your family. They’re great with kids and even other larger pets (cats or dogs). As a matter of fact, they’ll love all the company and playmates they can get. Not only that, they are not as high maintenance as other cats, despite their regal elegance.

Grooming ✂️

Siamese cats are extremely easy to groom and care for because they do most of the work. Their short coats seldom need brushing, and they don’t shed very much at all compared to most other cat breeds. This can be a major advantage for those who have cat allergies around the house.

Personality

Siamese cats are known for their intricate personalities. They are extremely opinionated cats and won’t hesitate to let you know. If you’re looking for a quiet cat, there are many better options than the Siamese. But they absolutely love their owners and often become their human’s new shadow. You may find yourself tripping over them time and time again.

If you’re looking for a devoted companion and best friend, the Siamese is a wonderful choice.

Playfulness and Interaction

This breed is one of the most playful and active around. Not only that, but they’re super intelligent as well. This means that they require a lot of physical and mental stimulation. Interactive chase toys, puzzles, or large cat trees are recommended to help provide the proper entertainment they require.

Siamese Cat
Image Credit: Pxfuel

Special Considerations for the Siamese Cat

It’s easy to see why Siamese cats are just so darn popular. When compared to other cats, they are just so much more of an engaged member of the family. However, there are a few things to consider when dealing specifically with Siamese cats.

Indoor Cat vs Outdoor Cat

When it comes to indoor versus outdoor living for Siamese cats, we recommend keeping these cats indoors. Siamese cats can have relatively delicate constitutions, and there’s a good chance they can catch parasites or other diseases from exposure. They’re also lovers and not fighters, so if they come across an aggressive outdoor cat or unfriendly dog, there’s a high chance of injury.

But one of the biggest concerns about turning your Siamese cat into an outdoor feline is other people. Not that someone will intentionally steal your cat, but their playful, social nature will make them friendly even towards strangers. Somebody may mistake this craving for attention as a call for help. And with their beauty, the allure of homing a Siamese stray can be difficult to resist.

Diet

All cats — including Siamese — require a heavy protein-based diet. This can be found either through dry or wet food. Just be sure to check the labels to ensure minimal filler. Cats have a very short digestive tract, and they’ll need to get the best food they can in order to absorb as much nutrition as possible. Some Siamese owners opt to make their own food at home to help keep their cat’s health as top-notch as possible.

Health Considerations 🏥

When compared to the Balinese cat, a Siamese cat does have additional health ailments you’ll need to look out for. This is due to the different head shapes that a Siamese cat can have. There are two main head shapes: the apple and the wedge. Apple-headed Siamese are the healthier of the two. Wedge-headed Siamese are much more prone to respiratory and dental problems.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Siamese Cat

Pros
  • Grooming is extremely easy
  • Cheaper kitten price than Balinese
  • Very active and social
Cons
  • Very vocal — not for quiet cat lovers
  • Not as robust as Balinese cats

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Final Thoughts

And there you have it, a thorough rundown of cousin cats — the Balinese and the Siamese. While every feline has its own personality and quirks, both breeds generally make for affectionate, social, and active cats.

Reflect on your lifestyle and the amount of time you have to dedicate to a cat to help you decide which one is for you. If you’re still right down the middle, their differing aesthetic beauty is bound to push you in one direction.