This is a leap into the world of the cat fancy. I was going to publish a picture by Helmi Flick of what I believed was a lynx point Oriental Shorthair with blue eyes. It is a head and shoulders shot (see below, the cat on the left). Then I questioned whether the cat was a Balinese; a semi-long haired Siamese with shortish hair around the head. Then maybe this cat was a Siamese or a Javanese….! Then I decided to do a post on telling the difference between these cat breeds just by reference to the head, shoulders and forelegs – the information that is presented in these photographs. Then I regretted the decision…:
Both the Oriental Shorthair and Balinese cat breeds are part of the extensive Siamese family of cats. At one time there was ‘the Siamese cat’ – one cat. Now there are four types of Siamese cat and five cat breeds in the family of Siamese cats:
Also the types of pointing (the dark fur at the extremities of the cat) was expanded from dark brown/black (Seal) to all manner of different types some of which are very subtle. Lynx pointing as shown in the photo is tabby pointing. It is ‘broken up pointing’ as in the coat of a tabby cat. It gets complicated to outsiders.
From a head and shoulders shot it is difficult to tell the difference between the semi-long haired Balinese and the shorthaired Siamese because:
- As mentioned, the hair is shorter around the head and on the legs. The major differentiating feature between Balinese and Siamese is the plumed (long haired) tail. We can’t see that in the Helmi picture;
- The pointing is as extensive as that of the Siamese and includes lynx pointing (but not for the CFA by the way – another complication as they call the Balinese with new type pointing the Javanese).
Without going into a myriad of breed standards and tying myself into a knot of confusion, my conclusion is that the cat top right in the collage is a Balinese and the other cat is not a Balinese, despite looking very similar, because even though the hair is not long around the head it should be slightly longer than shown in the picture and we can see a bit more of the cat beyond the shoulders.
That means the other cat is either a lynx pointed Siamese or an Oriental Shorthair (OSH) with lynx pointing. The OSH is the same as the Siamese in body shape. The difference is in the coat, which extends to the widest range of coat types for the OSH.
That means that a lynx pointed OSH is the same as a lynx pointed Siamese cat. As it is the same, you have to call a lynx pointed OSH a Siamese cat. Also if a breeder is breeding a lynx pointed OSH they are actually breeding a Siamese cat. In fact I think you will find that the OSH breed standard excludes Siamese cat pointing so that would be conclusive and make sense.
I forgot but there is an Oriental Longhair as well; a rare cat breed because it is difficult to breed. It is identical to the OSH but for the length of coat. How does that differ from the Balinese other than for the range of coat types? Perhaps that is the only difference.