Few differences between Siamese, Balinese and Tonkinese cats:
Siamese cats are vocal and intelligent, making noise to attract your attention and maintain it. Their long-haired brothers and sisters (known as Balinese because of their resemblance to the beautiful flowing skirts worn by the dancers of Bali, Thailand) are slightly less vocal but no less endearing. On the other extreme of the vocal scale is the Tonkinese; a very chatty cat which was developed by breeding Siamese with Burmese. Tonks will talk until you obey or answer! All three related breeds; Siamese, Balinese and Tonkinese cats can be quite dog-like in their faithful devotion to their owners. Because of their higher intelligence and their desire to be with their people, they can be trained to walk with a harness and leash, fetch a toy, and even do various tricks. Just bring out a camera and watch them perform!
Although none of our beautiful breeds needs brushing or combing, they do enjoy the feeling of a comb being run across their bodies.
Balinese, despite their long luxurious coats, do not mat and therefore do not need to be brushed. They lack the downy undercoat that becomes felt mats on other breeds, such as Persians and Himalayans when they are not maintained. Because they do not have this fluffy undercoat falling out all the time, Bail's can be a great cat for people who have allergies to other breeds.
Tonkinese have a very short, close fitting coat and therefore require no more grooming than their own tongues can provide. Just a nail trim once every 4-6 weeks and a little wipe of the inside of their ears once a month, and the Tonk is ready to go! Traditional Tibetan Cats have identical coats to their parent breed, the Balinese. See above for grooming needs.
Siamese need no more than a little wipe down once in a while to prevent static from building up if they live predominantly in a carpeted home. They too keep themselves very clean, and require no brushing. When given good quality food, Siamese, Tonkinese and Balinese cats rarely shed.
Traditional Siamese cats are sturdy in frame, with rounded faces (hence the name Apple Head Siamese) and proportionate ears. Their coat is soft and short to medium in length. The Traditional Siamese coat can come in 4 original colours, as well as some newly approved "colorpoints". The 4 original Siamese colours are Seal Point and Blue Point, with the dilutes of those being Chocolate Point and Lilac Point respectively. Colourpoints include Lynx Point, Tortie Point, Flame Point and Cream Point.
Traditional Tonkinese come in a much more varied combination of colours and patterns. As with Siamese, the Tonk can be a Pointed cat. They can come in Natural Point (the equivalent of Siamese Seal Point), Platinum Point (Siamese Lilac Point), Blue Point (same as Siamese Blue Point) and Champagne Point (Siamese Chocolate Point). In addition to the Pointed cats, a Tonkinese can also be a "Solid"; ie have a solid colour on the body, in any of those above mentioned colours, including on the ears, legs tail and face. Thirdly there is the uniquely Tonkinese "Mink" pattern, which is a pointed cat with a body slightly lighter in shade than the points. For example, a Natural Mink Tonkinese is a mocha coloured cat with dark brown points. Tonks can also be Tabby Point, Tortie Point, Tabby Mink or Tortie Mink. Our Champagne Tabby Mink "Sameera Saeed of Thai Dye" is the very FIRST ever Tabby Tonkinese to be approved for registration in North America. So far, Tabby Tonks have only been bred and registered in UK and Australia.
Traditional Long Hair Tonkinese aka Traditional Tibetan cats are identical in every way to a Tonkinese, but have the luxurious flowing and silky coat of their other parent, the Traditional Balinese. (see below).
Balinese beauties are identical in all ways to their short haired borthers and sisters, except that they happened to have been born with the gene to produce long hair. Any Siamese litter can contain one or more Balinese kittens. The way to ensure predominantly Balinese litter is to breed one long haired Siamese to another, but there is always the chance that there will be short haired kittens born to two long haired parents, or long haired kittens born to two short haired parents. That is the beauty of the Balinese; they are rare and precious gems! For people with allergies to cats, there is good news. Read this!
Interaction with Humans:
Siamese cats are famous for following their human companions around as if they were dogs rather than cats. The Siamese love to be engaged in conversation, but when it comes to cuddling, it is a "when the mood strikes" kind of thing.
Balinese are a little more likely than Siamese to sit on their human's lap for an extended period of time. They like to be touched and talked to, and though they have a softer voice than their short haired Siamese siblings, they have no less to say! Balis will play with toys and with humans and dogs. Balinese cats are very easy going and are much more agreeable to being held than are the Siamese.
Tonkinese and Traditional Tibetan cats are the man-made "perfect cat". They were developed by carefully crossing a lap-loving, cuddly Burmese with a socially chatty, fully conversational Siamese. Now we have a cat that not only starts a conversation, but sticks around long enough to finish it!