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rec.pets.cats: Balinese/Javanese Breed-FAQ
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 12 Mar 1997
All the cat breed faqs are available as ASCII files either on rec.pets.cats
or via anon ftp to rtfm.mit.edu under pub/usenet/new.answers/cats-faq/breeds/*
They are also viewable on the World Wide Web at
Author: Barbara French, Tarantara Cattery, Rochester, NY, USA
Table of Contents
Characteristics and Temperament
Is This Breed for Me?
Care and Training
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 small paws.
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 points.
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 "nontraditional"
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, cream
_Balinese_: long coat; seal, blue, chocolate, lilac
_Javanese_: long coat; lynx, tortie, flame, cream
*In associations that make distinctions between breed based on colour
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.
Characteristics and Temperament
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 favourite humans.
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
Is This Breed for Me?
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 marvelous 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.
Care and Training
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 sides.
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!
Balinese and Javanese can be difficult to find, as they are rare breeds.
Most "pockets" of Balinese and Javanese breeders tend to be found on the
two coasts. Some breeders may ship cats of appropriate age.
Breeders of all breeds of cats may be found through the Fanciers Breeder
Referral List at (address).
Copyright (c)1995 Barbara C. French, . Text
may not be copied or used without permission of the author.
Balinese and Javanese FAQ