What Are Javanese Cats?

What is a Javanese? There's often confusion about Javanese cats. And that's not really surprising, because there are two kinds of 'Javi'.

The Javanese in the Cat Associations – the CFA

The name 'Javanese' is found in The Cat Fanciers' Association, one of the largest cat registries in the world, describing cats of the Balinese type (long-haired, thick-tailed, Siamese-like) in any color other than the four main solid point colors of seal, blue, chocolate and lilac.

Bred originally from Siamese, Balinese, and Colorpoint Shorthair lines, the Javanese point colors are red, cream, tortie, tabby (lynx) or tortie-tabby.

For a while in the 1980s, when the Javanese breed originally gained recognition by the CFA, they were registered as a separate and distinct breed, but nowadays they're considered as a sub-division of the Balinese breed.

Blue Lynx Point Javanese catThe CFA would call this Blue Lynx Point a Javanese. Other cat registries would consider it Balinese.
Image Wikimedia Commons | D Mirjam Kessler


Other cat registries, including the UK's Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, and TICA (The International Cat Association) include all the point colors in cats of this type under the one Balinese classification.

Javanese Coat and Eyes

This first kind of Javanese has a colorpoint coat pattern, long, silky fur (ideally, around two inches long) and a thick furry tail, which is usually described as 'plume-like'. In order to achieve this plume, the tail hair should be longer than the coat hair.

All cats of this type should be blue-eyed.

Javanese Character

Javanese or 'Javis', as their fans call these cats, have a devoted following and are said to have all the character of their genetic ancestors.

Their voices are softer than most Siamese voices but they use them to good effect! These are playful, active, loving and very intelligent cats.

Many breeders say they are particularly good at training their owners, (and Siamese are no mean slouches at this, either!) and that they have an excellent sense of humor. Torties, in particular, are said to be the clowns of the breed.

Where Did the Javanese Breed Name Come From?

The Javanese cat does not originate from Java!

When early breeders were trying to get breed recognition for their Javanese kittens, they were asked by the CFA to come up with a name that was different to Balinese and that could be specific to this kind of cat.

Javanese was decided on because the Javanese cat developed out of the Balinese breed, so this new breed was named after Java, the island next door to Bali.

The ‘Other’ Javanese Cat – the Oriental Longhair

Confusion arises because in Europe (but not in the UK) the Javanese name is sometimes applied to Oriental Longhair cats.

Javanese cats - Red Tabby Oriental LonghairClassic Red Tabby Oriental Longhair
Image © Kamée | Creative Commons

Oriental cats have the same body-type as Siamese do - long, slender and angular. The Longhair variety has the same long, silky coat as other Siamese-derived long-haired cats.

However, these cats are one-colored (known in breed speak as 'self-colored' or 'selfs').This means that their bodies and their points are the same color – there's no distinction between the two.

The Oriental colors are all those which are found in the Siamese - black, blue, chocolate, lilac, red, apricot, cream, cinnamon, caramel and fawn, as well as tabby, tortoiseshell, smoke (one-colored with a silver undercoat), and white.

Orientals have green (blue-green or yellow-green) eyes and sometimes even have two differently-colored eyes. These are found in white Orientals, which are then known as Odd-Eyed Whites.

Javanese cats - Blue Oriental ShorthairBlue Oriental (this is a Shorthair)
Image © iStockphoto | Markus Divis

In Summary

The term Javanese is either used to describe:

  • Balinese cats in the red, cream, tabby/lynx or tortie colors, or
  • Sometimes for European cats of the Oriental Longhair variety.

Other Siamese Relatives

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