The Oriental Longhair, formerly known as the Angora, is a breed of cat that features a tubular, Siamese-style body (known in the cat fancy as oriental type), but with a longer coat than the short-haired Siamese. The coat can also come in a variety of colours and patterns, including tabby, "tortie", and solid.
In 2002, the Angora was renamed Oriental Longhair by British cat fancies. This avoided confusion with the Turkish Angora. With no globally recognised naming convention, other cat fancies refer to this type as Javanese, Foreign Longhair or Mandarin.
The Oriental Longhair has the same body type and nature of an Oriental cat - lean, sleek, intelligent and inquisitive - and a silky medium-length coat with a plumed tail, just a coloured in Balinese, or a hairy coloured in Siamese!
Oriental Longhairs can be any of the standard shorthair colours. The range of possible coat colours includes everything from self-coloured (black, blue, chocolate, lilac, cinnamon, caramel, fawn, red, cream and apricot), tortie, smoke (silver undercoat), shaded, tabby any pattern or white. All Oriental Longhairs have green eyes, except for the whites, which may have green or blue eyes, or be odd-eyed (two different coloured eyes).
As with the Balinese the long hair gene is recessive, hence when they are bred back to Oriental shorthairs or Siamese shorthaired offspring are produced, these are called variants. It is important that these variant matings are done as they widen the gene pool and allow the opportunity to improve the Oriental Longhairs.
The Balinese is a Siamese cat with long, silky, close lying coat and a plumed tail. They have the same wonderful temperament as the Siamese, noisey and loving and very intellegent.
The Balinese was originally registered as a 'Longhaired Siamese', and examples were known from the early 1920s.
The occasional long-haired kittens in a Siamese litter were seen as an oddity, and sold as household pets rather than as show cats. This changed in the mid-1950s, when two breeders, Mrs. Marion Dorsey of Rai-Mar Cattery in California and Mrs. Helen Smith of MerryMews Cattery in New York, decided that they would commence a breeding programme for the longhaired cats. Helen Smith named the cats 'Balinese' because she felt they showed the grace and beauty of Balinese dancers, and because 'Longhaired Siamese' seemed a rather unwieldy name for such graceful felines.
The breed became quite popular after this, and a number of breeders began working on 'perfecting' the Balinese appearance. There are two rather separate 'strands' of Balinese cat - some owners prefer a traditional or 'apple-headed' Balinese, while breeders and judges tend to prefer a more contemporary appearance.
We like to see the fine Siamese type in the Balinese, with the large ears set quite low, almond shaped eyes obliquely set with that wonderful wicked expression, a tall elegant body with a silky close lying coat and a graceful silky plume. So that is the look that we are working towards.
Well the Siamese needs no introduction, the showmen of the cat world. The Siamese is one of the first distinctly recognised breeds of Oriental cat. The exact origins of the breed are unknown, but it is believed to be from Southeast Asia, and is said to be descended from the sacred temple cats of Siam (now Thailand).
In Thailand, where they are one of several native breeds, they are called Wichien-maat (a name meaning "Moon diamond"). In the twentieth century the cats became one of the most popular breeds in Europe and North America.
They are noisy and demonstrative, loving and playful, you are never alone if you have a Siamese around you.