Very little is recorded about the early history of the Javanese, although it is accepted as a variation of the Siamese. The adopted term ‘Javanese’ continues the tradition of naming oriental cats after islands of south-east Asia; this particular name was given by Helen Smith, the owner of Merry Mews Cattery in 1950. It is believed that the original Javanese appeared as the result of deliberate crossing between the Siamese, the Balinese and the Colorpoint-Shorthair. Despite many people’s view that the Javanese is not a distinct breed, the Cat Fanciers Association officially recognised it as an independent breed in 1979.
In body structure and appearance, the Javanese is an elegant and athletic-looking breed, possessing long, slender legs, a wedge-shaped head, and characteristically long ears. The Javanese is well adapted to hunting and climbing, with its agile frame and keen instincts. The coat is typically a moderate length with silky layers that are exceptionally soft to the touch. Because the coat does not tangle or matt, minimal grooming is required. Colours, points and patterning vary greatly, from tortoiseshell, tabby and lynx pointing, to seal, blue, lilac and chocolate pointing. Generally speaking, the Javanese tail is plumed, and the breed boasts striking blue eyes.
Very affectionate and energetic, the Javanese makes a delightful addition to the family, displaying unceasing love and loyalty. The breed is also highly intelligent and curious, and will benefit from a variety of interactive toys as well as physical and mental enrichment throughout the day, if it is to be housed indoors. The Javanese will always keep you informed of its feelings and desires by communicating loudly when it wants your attention. Owners and enthusiasts have described the breed as bursting with personality and full of energy and humour. Typically, a healthy Javanese will weigh 7-10 pounds, with a life expectancy of 10-15 years.
Several health conditions are documented in the Javanese, ranging from mild to more severe. These conditions are mainly genetic and are also observed in the Siamese and Balinese. Joint complaints, including arthritis and hip displacement, as well as optical and aural disorders are prevalent in the breed, with deafness being common.