The Balinese, or Javanese, Breed of Cat

The Balinese, or Javanese, cat is often confused with its Siamese cousin. This is mainly due to the coloring and the pricked-up ears of the two felines. A Balinese typically has the darker hued legs and head set off in striking contrast to its shimmering buttered toast colored body. From a distance the Siamese and Balinese may look quite a bit similar, but the closer you get the easier it is to tell the difference. The most striking and telling contrast to the Siamese is that the Balinese cat has a much silkier coat that is longer and more flowing. Consider the Balinese to be Farrah Fawcett-Majors from Charlie’s Angels and the Siamese to be crazy Farrah Fawcett from her appearance on David Letterman.

Whether you call this breed of cat a Balinese or Javanese depends on where you live. For the most of the world, this longer haired Siamese is a Balinese; it is typically only inside the 48 contiguous, and Alaska, that it becomes known as the Javanese. Part of the reason for the European preference for Balinese is the British refer to someone from Angora as Javanese. Confused?

Yes, she is. One thing that is almost certain, though not exactly one-hundred percent, is that the Balinese cat does derive from the same ancestral lineage as the more well known Siamese. (If you please.) The genetic divergence between the Siamese breed of cat and the Balinese (Javanese if you’re from Peoria) is thought to be due to a recessive gene for that long, shimmering hair that began to appear with increasing frequency among purebred Siamese litters sometime during the 1940’s.

About a decade later a breeder in California saw the opportunity to develop a brand spanking new pedigree by manipulating cats with this recessive gene and thus was created a cat that gets confused with those quirky, some might even say unpleasant, Siamese cats. If you’ve never had a neighbor with Siamese cats then you probably take those two meanies in Lady and the Tramp as pure fiction.

They aren’t; Siamese cats can be a prickly breed that you do not want to mess around with. The Balinese (or Javanese) breed, by contrast, are normally a bit more affectionate and playful than Siamese, though they too can on occasion get rather aloof and idiosyncratic. On the other hand, the Balinese breed of cats are highly intelligent and, like their Siamese cousins, loyal almost to a fault. There is another advantage to investing in the Balinese breed; they are easy to groom even for a cat. All they require is regular brushing to keep them one of the most beautiful and eye-catching animals in the neighborhood.