Javanese Cat: Elegant, Quirky, and Fun

close-uo image of a Javanese cat
Jeremy Vaughn
Written by Jeremy Vaughn

Getting a cute cat is not a problem at all. The challenge is getting a cat that is not only cute but will also fit perfectly into your household. If you currently have quite a lot of time on your hands and you don’t mind spending them on a cat that’s a bit of a handful but will definitely bring a lot of joy into your life, consider getting a Javanese cat.

One look at this cat and you might immediately fall in love with them. They are certainly alluring. Tall, slender, and exuding the air of royalty, they remind you of the proud Siamese cats—but with longer hair. Despite the longer hair, with these cats, grooming is not a troublesome affair at all. They don’t have an undercoat, so shedding is minimal. Other things you might want to know about these cats is that they are energetic, smart, and they can always come up with ways to keep you on your toes.

A Javanese cat with a wonderful ginger coat, a perfect indoor cat

The origin of this cat breed is shrouded with misconceptions and misunderstandings. Keeping that in mind, we have made sure to provide a detailed, in-depth, and proven outlook into the Javanese cat. We believe that with the various insights provided on things such as the Javanese cat personality, temperament, how you need to care for them, and everything else, once you’re done with this piece, you will be able to say for sure whether this cat is the one for you or not.

Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability: Above Average

  • Grooming: Low Maintenance

  • Health: Below Average

  • All Around Friendliness: Good

  • Exercise Needs: Above Average

Cat Breed GroupSemi Long-Haired, Crossbreed
WeightMales: 12 – 16 pounds

Females: 8 - 12 pounds
Lifespan12 – 20 years

The Javanese cat is a breed that is recognized as a show cat by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA). That is, not to say they don’t make great pets. In fact, these cats might interest your friends so much that they always want to hang out over at yours just to have a look at your beautiful cat. Going by classifications, the Javanese cat falls into the category of oriental cats. It is because of this that, even though the breed has its origins in North America, an Asian naming system was adopted for it.

Javanese cats exist under a lot of misconceptions and contrast. For example, upon the first sighting of this breed, one would usually be led to believe they are a small, fairly weak breed of cat. On the contrary, Javanese cats are very muscular by nature; they are strong enough to take on other cats—although catfights are, of course, undesirable. Their muscle mass also allows them to achieve some acrobatics that you wouldn’t have thought possible.

Their name is another contradiction. The ‘Java’ prefix does lead one to believe that they were native to Indonesia (where Java is). The fact of the matter is, they didn’t originate there. Records will indicate that they are native to Japan, but they were actually first bred in North America. One other point of discussion on these cats come from their resemblance to the Balinese breed. You should know that although they might share some characteristics, the breeds are not the same in any way.

Javanese adult and kitten

The confusion in the breeding and history of this cat makes them a mysterious breed for many, and as such, they are often treated differently in each country. One thing that is sure, though, is that the Javanese is not a natural/original breed. Instead, they were a product of a crossbreeding that took place between a Balinese cat and the Colorpoint Shorthairs of the Siamese breed.

The crossbreeding took advantage of the hair of the Balinese to create a cat with longer hair (not by much though) and different color points. Unfortunately, the prevalence of these cats is not high—mainly due to the complexity of the breeding exercise that yielded them.

If one were looking for a cat that comes in a variety of colors, the Javanese would be one of the first options to pop up. That is one of the reasons why they have been deemed a show cat by cat fanciers. They tend to come in colors that are rather rare for a cat—such as red.

Javanese cats are a very intelligent breed—having a very good memory and known to vocalize frequently. The vocalization is commonly a part of their attention-seeking scheme since these cats are quite the spoiled prince and they love basking in everyone’s attention.

A Javanese adut lying down and looking at the camera

They are also very playful. A Javanese cat will find it entertaining to jump, run around, climb things, and engage in as much human contact as they can manage to get. This has a downside if they have an owner who is not always around or doesn’t always have the time to spend with them. Javanese cats will get very depressed if they are not treated to a lot of play and contact.

As different as they are from the Balinese, they still share some genetic defects with this breed. The aforementioned breeds, alongside the Siamese cats (from Thailand), are prone to deafness, joint issues, displacement of the hip bones, and arthritis.

Main Highlights

  • The Javanese cats did not originate in Asia. The reason why they were named after an area in Indonesia is because oriental-type cats are usually named after regions in south-east Asia, and the same convention was adopted for this breed.

  • Javanese cats share a lot of traits with Balinese cats, but they are very different breeds.

  • The CFA recognizes the Javanese breed to be a distinct one, and that was inputted into their records in the year 1986. However, they have come to merge the breed with the Balinese in the year 2008. This caused many cat fanciers to see the Javanese as just a variation of the Balinese breed.

  • The fur on Javanese cats are only semi-long, and they don’t have an undercoat to go with them. That ensures that they don’t develop mats as often as long-haired cats would, and owners can go easy on the grooming.

  • Javanese cats love food and treats. Most of them will burn off the excess calories by playing and being mischievous, but others will end up becoming overweight.

  • This breed is a very affectionate one—forming a close bond with family members that are often around to take care of them. They will also follow owners from room to room as a show of loyalty and dedication.

  • Due to their high level of activity, Javanese cats will require a good deal of attention. If owners are away frequently, getting them another pet as companion or toys that they can play with is a great idea.

  • Speaking of other pets, Javanese cats will usually make great friends with dogs and other pets in the house. They will also be great companions for children (under supervision) who are older than six.

  • If properly taken care of, Javanese cats can live for up to 20 years.

  • The Javanese is a great breed for families with children and senior citizens who spend a lot of time at home.

Breed History

Cat fanciers decided to crossbreed a Balinese cat with a color point Siamese to develop a new, fresh breed that would take advantage of the beautiful features of its parents. That breeding experiment was carried out in the United States (which thus became a place of origin for the Javanese cats).

The experiment gave birth to a type of cat with a long, slender tail, and longer fur (but without the undercoat) than what was present on the Balinese. The cat also comes in a variety of color point coats. After the breeding, the cats retained most of the physical traits of the Balinese (which are also, in fact, not related to Bali in any way). It was because of this that the oriental-type cat was named after Java—a sister island to Bali.

close-up image of a javanese cat

There has been a lot of debate on what kind of categorization is to be employed for the Javanese. While the CFA first agreed that they were a distinct breed worthy of existing on their own in the 19th century, they went back on that decision in 2008.

Bearing too much resemblance to the Balinese, the CFA declared them as a mere division of the Balinese breed. However, some cat fanciers would prefer to keep the breeds distinct. They, therefore, have kept on adhering to the old classification.

That is why the cat will be treated differently in different countries. Without a trained eye, even cat lovers might mistake the Javanese for a Balinese. Cat fanciers are, however, permitted to outcross the Javanese to a variety of other breeds—some of them being the Balinese, Siamese, and the Oriental Longhair.


There are different size variations of the Javanese breed. These variations are usually due to the locations where they are being bred and the diet of the cat. This has given room for a broad size range.

Side view of a Javanese cat

While they maintain a medium build throughout their lives, males in the Javanese breed can weight anywhere from 12 to 16 pounds at full maturity, while females will clock in at anywhere between 8 and 12 pounds.

Personality and Character

Since they are related to the Siamese, the Javanese commonly has the same kind of demanding attitude—only slightly more muted. The cat is highly intelligent, very active, and affectionate. The cat loves to spend quality time with members of their family. If you fancy yourself a lap cat, and you are not bothered by a cat that will follow you around almost everywhere you go, you should take the Javanese breed into consideration.

The strong, muscular body of the Javanese cat makes them a great jumper. It is advised that you invest in a cat tree for them. Otherwise, the cat will find solace in attaining heights such as the top of your fridge or shelves; they could cause quite a lot of havoc.

Speaking of finding things, Javanese cats are naturally curious. They will inspect all nooks and crannies of the house—every square inch of your cupboard and other dark places they can hide in. We’ve mentioned that heights are not an issue for them, so not even the top of your cupboards are safe from their menace.

A Tortie Point Javanese cat lying down

You can take comfort in the knowledge that as they get older, they feel less need to poke their noses around; or maybe it’s just because they have already covered the area before. At this point, they might take an interest in the outside world. Never let your guard down, or they could sneak out, and there’s no guarantee that they will return.

Also, Javanese cats are highly vocal. They feel the need to meow and cry and make other sounds as much as they can. That is a trait that should be expected from an attention-seeking cat. Keep in mind that when they vocalize, most of the time, it is not something to bother yourself about. Namely, it’s not usually indicative of a health issue. Although, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Health and Potential Problems

When talking to the breeder about this cat, should they mention that the cat is a very healthy one with no potential problems to worry about, find another breeder. While a good number of cats will come up with some health problems at one point or another in their lives, the Javanese is especially vulnerable. They need extra care and more frequent vet visits for regular checkups than most other cats.

close-up image of a javanese cat

Feline bronchial asthma, progressive retinal atrophy (a type of eye disease common to this breed), and patellar luxation are just a few of the health issues you should be worried about. There may also be issues of deafness and joint problems. However, all of these can be properly managed by keeping the cat on a good vet schedule. Probably the most common cat problem that the Javanese is also susceptible to is obesity. The good news is that you can watch out for that yourself and make sure it doesn’t happen.

Care Features

Owners will need to spend quality time with the Javanese breed for them not to be depressed. For working-class pet parents, getting the cat a series of toys to play with is not a bad idea. Other pets can also be introduced into the house. Like most cats with Asian origins, they prefer others of their kind, so you might want to consider adopting another Javanese kitten.

Providing them with personal space where they can play and jump to their heart’s content is likewise very important. If you don’t see any reason to get a cat tree, don’t get mad when the cat uses tall points in the house for jumping practice.

Javanese Cat and a white background

Also, these cats don’t need to be exercised much to burn off the excess calories since they get into many activities on their own. However, it does not hurt to still exercise the cat regularly—especially if you’re starting to notice some extra chub around their bellies or cheeks. The good news about exercising a Javanese is that the cat can learn to walk on a leash, play catch with you, and engage in other fun games with toys.

Furthermore, the Javanese are like most cats when it comes to personal hygiene. It is not necessary to bathe the cat every chance you get, but keep their litter box and feeding areas clean at all times. Javanese cats should be kept mostly indoors, so they don’t run the risk of being infected by stray cats.

Feeding Schedule

Due to their tendency to get overweight, you should watch what you feed the cat. You can give them treats, but make sure those are reserved for really special times, not every time. When you notice that the cat has started putting on weight too fast, you might want to cut back on the ration you are feeding them.

small head and big blue eyes of javanese cat

These cats usually take between 3 and 5 years to fully mature. During these maturation years, you can feed them some extra. Make sure to pick cat food for kittens to enable them to grow well. After that, though, you should cut back. Optionally, or if it is your first time with a cat, speak with a pet nutritionist to come up with a solid feeding plan for your pet.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

Javanese cats are characterized by their colorpoint coats. The fur is silky, and usually no more than 2 inches long. It shapes into a thick furry tail at the end. The colors on Javanese cats are diverse—ranging from hues of blue, red, lilac, cream, to chocolate. It is also not uncommon to see mixtures of these colors on one cat (blue-lilac, lilac-cream).

Javanese Cat lying down and looking at something

Due to the absence of an undercoat, the hair is not likely to get tangled. That puts less pressure on grooming. Combing them once or twice a week should be sufficient to get rid of all the dead hairs. All cats of the Javanese breed are expected to have blue eyes, but green-eyed varieties have been seen too.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

Children have a lot of time on their hands, so the Javanese will love all the attention and care they get from them. Although, care should be taken and the kids should be supervised so that they treat the cat with respect. The breed is known to be very social. Little to no training is required before the cat starts getting along with a dog. In fact, in this case, it is the dog you should worry about. Make sure to introduce the cat to the dog carefully, so the latter doesn’t see the cat as a threat.

Wrap Up

Wrapped in a lot of controversies as to which country they originate from, or what breed they are to be associated with, the Javanese cat is an awfully cheerful one for that matter. They are known to bring spice into the lives of the families that adopt them.

Javanese cat and her small kittens

If you have time to have fun on your hands, or you want to get your kid a nice pet, or maybe, do something nice for a senior citizen, the Javanese breed is just waiting for you at the breeder’s or the shelter.

Do you find the Javanese cat’s quirkiness attractive? Or perhaps instead of a cat that you have to put on a pedestal, you would rather adopt a working cat that could help take care of rodents for you? We would love to hear your opinion! Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

About the author
Jeremy Vaughn
Jeremy Vaughn

Jeremy Vaughn is a member of Canadian Professional Pet Stylists, who lives in Winnipeg. Creating new looks for cats and other pets is his passion. Jeremy shares his house with the wife and wonderful Siamese cat.