Depending on the cat association, the terms "Balinese" and
"Javanese" mean different things. In Europe, "Javanese" refers to
a solid-coloured Oriental Longhair. However, for this FAQ, we
will use these terms as used by American cat associations.
Basically, Balinese and Javanese are longhaired cats in the
Oriental family, similar in both type and personality to a
Siamese. A show-quality Balinese or Javanese will have a long,
lithe body, tubular when the cat is stretched between your hands.
Balinese and Javanese should be muscular, and will be deceptively
heavy when lifted. Legs are long, fine-boned, and slender, with
The head is wedge-shaped, with large, alert ears which follow
and complement the shape of the wedge. The eyes are distinctly
Oriental, slanted slightly to fit in with the overall head shape,
and sapphire blue, the deeper the colour the better. The nose is
straight, with no break or rise between the eyes.
Balinese and Javanese both have longer hair than a Siamese,
but don't have dramatically long fur like a Persian or Maine
Coon. The body hair should be silky and close-lying, not
"fluffy". The fur on the tail is longer -- about two or three
inches -- and when brushed out forms a full, graceful plume. Most
people seeing a Balinese or Javanese for the first time may
mistake it for a Siamese, until they see the gorgeous, full tail.
Colour is the difference between the Balinese and the Javanese
breeds. Like Siamese, Balinese and Javanese are "pointed" cats,
which means that the face, legs, and tail are a darker colour
than the body colour. The darker colours are referred to as the
Some cat associations, such as TICA, make no distinction
between Balinese and Javanese, and in these associations both
Balinese and Javanese are categorized as Balinese.
In those associations that do make a distinction, such as CFA,
Balinese are accepted in the four "traditional" Siamese solid
colours of seal (black), blue, chocolate, and lilac. Javanese are
accepted in the "non-traditional" colours of lynx (tabby) points
(seal lynx, blue lynx, chocolate lynx, lilac lynx), tortoiseshell
points, flame (red) points, and cream points.
An easy chart for reference*:
Siamese: short coat; seal, blue, chocolate, lilac
Colourpoint Shorthair: short coat; lynx, tortie, flame,
Balinese: long coat; seal, blue, chocolate, lilac
Javanese: long coat; lynx, tortie, flame, cream
*In associations that make distinctions between breed based on
The body colour is lighter than the point colour, although it
will be considerably lighter in a younger cat. The body colour
tends to darken with age. Point restriction (restriction of the
darker colours to the face, legs, and tail) is desirable. On
lynx-point Javanese, some "shadow striping" (light striping on
the body) is permitted but not desired. A clear coat with
excellent point restriction is best.
Balinese and Javanese are active, busy cats, like their
related breed, the Siamese. Balinese and Javanese love people,
and are constantly following "their" people around the house and
getting underfoot. They can be quite demanding when they want
attention, but they are also true cuddlers and lap cats. They
require a lot of interaction and active play.
Balinese and Javanese also love high places; if you don't
provide somewhere high for them to perch, they will find a spot
of their own. Many love to ride on the shoulders of their
Both Balinese and Javanese need toys, but fancy ones aren't
necessary. Many love something simple, such as a ping-pong ball
slit enough to drop in a few grains of rice for noise, or a
peacock feather. A bored Balinese or Javanese may find something
else to make into a toy, such as pens, papers, boxes of
envelopes, or other things you may wish not to become toys!
Balinese and Javanese are insatiably curious and quite
fearless. There is little they will not investigate: a noise, an
open cupboard, water dripping from a faucet, a toilet flushing,
the inside of a shopping bag, a running vacuum cleaner, a blow
dryer. Because of this curiosity, their lithe build, and a
penchant for getting toys under things, they are also
accomplished contortionists who can scoot under low couches,
beds, and cabinets with astonishing ease. Beware of this ability
in strange houses and hotel rooms; you may find your Balinese or
Javanese taking a tour of the air conditioning ducts! The only
hole too small for a Balinese or Javanese is one the cat cannot
squeeze the head through.
Like their cousins, the Siamese, Balinese and Javanese are
"talkative" cats, with loud voices they seem to use at any
opportunity. Many just seem to "chat" for no apparent reason. The
quality (and quantity) of the voice varies from cat to cat. Some
can be very quiet -- others rival Joan Rivers for talkativeness.
Balinese and Javanese need human contact. If you don't have a
lot of time for a cat, a Balinese or Javanese may not be the
right breed for you. They do fine in a household where everyone
is away all day, but be prepared to spend some time every day
playing and interacting with the cat. Sometimes, that just means
letting the cat sleep in your lap while you watch TV, or it can
mean up to an hour of all-out play. They are marvellous jumpers,
and toys that exploit this ability are fun for the cat and
amusing to watch.
If you're looking for an active, fun, devoted companion with
elegant good looks, a Balinese or Javanese is a wonderful choice.
The longer hair softens the Siamese type and adds refinement.
Like many active cats, Balinese and Javanese get underfoot a
lot. It may not be the best choice for someone with mobility
problems. They are good with children and keep up admirably with
even the most active kids. They do best in households with at
least another cat for company if their people are away all day.
the main concern when showing a Balinese or Javanese is
keeping the weight ideal. These are lithe cats with fast
metabolisms, but some cats may not be able to free-feed without
getting fat. Some Balinese and Javanese cats can free-feed
without trouble, but others, particularly alters, may eat more
heavily. Exercise and play can help burn off extra fat and
calories. An excellent, show-ready Balinese or Javanese should
not be skinny, but maintain lithe and elegant lines. A Balinese
or Javanese run to fat may appear "slab-sided", or flat on the
Balinese and Javanese need little daily grooming if they are
pets, as their silky coats do not mat. They enjoy being combed
and fussed over, but their coat will not suffer unduly because of
it. A Balinese or Javanese being shown may need more care than
that, including regular baths to keep the coat, particularly the
tail, in top condition.
Balinese and Javanese are intelligent cats, which means that
they can be trained, but also that you may find them training you