Despite its name, the Balinese cat has no connection with the island of Bali; rather, the breed originated in the US as a longer-haired variant of the Siamese.
Like the Siamese too, the Balinese is highly social and vocal. They are also extremely active, and studies have ranked them among the more intelligent of cat breeds.
These cats may also be tolerated by people with feline allergies since they produce far less of some allergenic compounds than most cats do.
Should You Purchase Pet Insurance for Your Balinese Cat?
Balinese cats tend to be quite healthy, more so than Siamese, with lifespans of 15 to 20 years.
But while there are few if any reported breed-specific diseases, Balinese are known to suffer relatively high rates of two serious conditions:
- Gangliosidosis: also known as lysosomal storage disease, this inherited disease occurs when one or another of the enzymes required to metabolize fats is missing or defective. As a consequence, fat molecules build up in the nerve cells, leading to a progressive loss of motor control. Fortunately, a test exists to ensure that neither parent of a kitten carries the gene that is associated with the disease—which is one more reason to acquire your cat only from a licensed breeder who will provide documentation of a cat’s genetic fitness.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): as the name suggests, this disease occurs when the cells of a cat’s retinas degenerate. A single gene mutation is responsible for the problem, though as yet no genetic test has been developed for cats. It is therefore imperative to know a cat’s breeding history before acquiring a kitten in order to ensure that none of its ancestors has gone blind. There is no treatment for PRA, though affected cats can almost always live full lives if kept indoors.
The reality of these conditions underscores the need to deal only with reputable, established breeders when purchasing a Balinese kitten.
Even the best breeder, however, cannot guarantee perfect health, and even healthy cats age.
Pet health insurance offers owners a way to be certain that a cat’s health or even life will never hang on a bank balance.