The Javanese is one of the many breeds that is in the list of Siamese-style cats, which includes the Balinese, Colorpoint Shorthair, Oriental Shorthair and Oriental Longhair. These breeds were the inspirations of breeders who have taken the qualities of the Siamese and added more varieties to its coat pattern and color, resulting in individual new breeds. All of these breed share many similarities in their personalities and conformations. What differ are the coat length, colors and patterns as well as the cat associations that register them.
The Siamese comes in four pointed colors of blue, chocolate, lilac and seal. The Balinese is a longhair variety of the Siamese that takes on the same color scheme. However, Colorpoint Shorthair is a breed with a pointed color coat that runs outside the four traditional Siamese colors and they include cream, lynx, red and tortie points. Breeders later on crossed the Balinese with the Colorpoint Shorthair, producing a breed with vivid coat colors. This new breed is then known as the Javanese, which was named for the next closest island to Bali, i.e., Java.
Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) was the only association that has a separate category each for Colorpoint Shorthair and Javanese. It agreed to register the Javanese as a new breed in 1979. In other registries, these two breeds are, however an extension of the color parameters of the Siamese and the Balinese. The supporting reason for CFA to distinguish between Colorpoint Shorthair and Javanese is that both of these breeds are hybrids. This is rightly so, since they are the results of a cross between the Siamese and other breeds.
However, some breeders share the same sentiments that the hybridization of the Javanese had happened too long ago for it to matter. Moreover, they feel that the minor difference in their coat color does not warrant the need for them to be distinguished as both breeds share the same body type, personality and coat length. There are yet other breeders who zealously contend for the breeds to be kept separated in order to maintain the purity of the Siamese and Balinese lines.
Such contention continues until today, and it was until 2010 that CFA, after much deliberation, decided to withdraw the Javanese standard and profile and fully combining the Balinese and Javanese breeds as one.
Physical appearance and attributes
Javanese cat is a medium sized cat weighing between 6 – 11 pounds, with the female weighing lesser. It has a long and svelte body that spells grace and elegance. Such body is the distinctive combination of fines bones and firm muscles. The same sleek line can be traced from the shoulders and hips of its tubular body; with the shoulders being wider than the hips. Elongating its posture is a long, slender neck of medium size. Also, it has lean, lengthy legs that end in small, dainty oval paws. The hind legs are longer than the forelegs.
Complementing the body is an extended tail that tapers into a fine point and that spreads out into a gorgeous plume, which it carries and swishes it around in much style and grace. Javanese has a long, medium sized head that is of a tapering wedge. The wedge starts from the tips of the ears and narrows down in straight lines to the tip of the nose, forming an inverted triangle with no breaks at the whiskers. Its flat skull is evident when viewed in profile. Also, a long straight line can be outlined from the top of the head to the tip of the nose; there is no apparent bulge over the eyes, neither is there a dip in the nose. It has a fine, wedge-shaped muzzle that goes with a firm chin and jaw.
Javanese cat has unusually large ears that are wide at the base and pointed at the tips. It reflects the triangular lines of the face shape. This breed has neat almond-shaped eyes that are medium in size. The inner corner of the upper lid dips down towards the nose, while the outer corners show a slight upward slant towards the ear. One can be lost in captivation by the deepness and calmness of its vivid blue eyes.
Javanese cat wears a coat of medium length. The hair is of a fine and silky texture without any downy undercoat, thus, making the coat appear shorter than it is. The coat color is even with allowance for subtle gradient or shading of hue. Being pointed, there is a definite contrast between the base color of the body and that of the extremities, such as the mask, ears, legs, paws and tail. The points are of the same shade and do not bear any forms of ticking. What sets the Javanese apart from the Balinese or Siamese is its coat that can come in a rainbow of genetically possible colors and patterns. These include solid (red and cream), lynx (blue, chocolate, cream, lilac, red and seal), tortoiseshell (chocolate and seal) and flame.
Personality and temperament
It is hardly possible to miss the presence of this breed in a house. Being sociable and people-oriented, the Javanese would take every opportunity to be involved in the household activities of its favorite people. At the same time, it holds no reservation in interacting and voicing out its sentiments with its pleasant meows. It puts itself easily in the center of attention and of every activity. The Javanese proves its intelligence with the wit and sharpness it displays while learning tricks. While it is a good jumper, fetch is considered its favorite game. Inquisitive and mischievous, it extends its investigative search into closets, drawers, shopping bags and even purses. An adaptable and friendly breed, the Javanese cat can get along well with young children as well as other pets.
Care and health issues
Even though the Javanese cat can be a healthy breed with an average lifespan of between 9 -15 years, there are a number of health issues that are of concern. These health concerns are typical of cats with the Siamese heritage, including respiratory, heart and eye issues. A written health guarantee would need to be obtained from qualified breeders to ensure that the cat is in the pink of health. The Javanese cat is relatively easy to groom for its long hair, but still it requires brushing every two days. A good quality steel comb will be needed to comb through its long, plume tail to prevent matting and also to keep its entire coat healthy. Other basic care would include weekly nail trimming, ear cleaning and frequent teeth brushing. Products used will need to be for cat and vet-approved.
The ideal home
This active breed can adapt well to apartment living, but would enjoy and love a safe and secured outdoor garden where it can explore and play. Companionship is a much needed element for a Javanese in any home. Thus, any household that could afford the time to interact, care and love this breed will serve to be the ideal home.
Homes with children, other cats and cat-friendly dogs would be a bonus for this friendly and sociable breed. Even though it is an affectionate and loyal companion, its activeness might make it an unsuitable pet for the elderly. Otherwise, the Javanese will be an unmistakable pet that will bring much entertainment, joy and tenderness to most homes.