Differences Between Javanese & Balinese Cats

Balinese and Javanese cats are long-haired descendants of the Siamese.
i David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

Javanese and Balinese cats are basically long-haired Siamese. The main difference between them is their colorpoints—the hues on their ears, faces, paws and tails, which contrast with their cream or white bodies. Both breeds have affectionate, lively personalities sure to enrich your life.


The most obvious difference between Javanese and Balinese is the different colorpoints. The Cat Fanciers’ Association, which approves new breeds and establishes judging standards, recognizes four colorpoints for Balinese: blue; chocolate; lilac, a light gray with lilac or pink tints; and seal, or dark brown. Javanese points, on the other hand, come in lynx, which consists of tabby stripes in a variety of colors; red and cream; and tortie, a mix of shades.

Origin of the Balinese Breed

Balinese cats developed as a mutation of the Siamese. During the 1940s and 1950s, some breeders noticed medium- to long-haired kittens among their litters and decided to develop a line with this trait. The Balinese name is a nod to the cats' Southeast Asian origins and to Bali's graceful dancers, whom breeders thought these kitties resembled. Balinese have many Siamese characteristics, including long, narrow lines and affectionate, even clownish personalities, but tend to have quieter voices and talk less.

Development of the Javenese Breed

As Balinese gained popularity, some breeders began to cross them with the colorpoint shorthair, a hybrid of Siamese and domestic tabby that comes in a variety of shades. These cats displayed other hues than the four accepted by the CFA. Because of complex regulations, they could enter competitions only if the organization approved them as a new breed. Thus, in 1979, the Javanese officially came into existence. The name derived from Java, the island beside Bali, highlighting the close relationship between the two types of cats.

Common Traits

People familiar with Balinese and Javanese cats agree they make delightful companions. They learn quickly, adjust easily to your habits and chat with you when they have something to say. They’re both intelligent and ingenious, and they might get into your cabinets, open doors or entice you into playing fetch. Expect a lot of cuddling with these cats. You’ll probably love petting their soft, silky coats as much as they adore being petted. You don’t need to spend much time grooming them, either: they don’t develop mats and you might be surprised at how little they shed. Regular brushing and occasional baths are usually all the maintenance their coats need.

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