2 January 2021

Tonkinese cat – Information, images, characteristics of this beautiful breed

By Donald


If you think cats are aloof and independent, it’s only because you haven’t met a Tonkinese yet.

See all the Tonkinese features below!

Tonkinese Cat Breed Information, Pictures, Characteristics and Facts

Tonkinese cats and kittens

Vital Statistics:

Lifespan: 10 to 16 years Length: 12 to 15 inches Weight: 6 to 12 pounds Origin: United States and Thailand

More about this breed


The Tonkinese is the love child of the Siamese and Burmese breeds. The two Southeast Asian breeds were interbred in an attempt to create a cat with a moderate body type, a less piercing voice than the Siamese, but with a loving nature and intelligence shared by the Siamese and Burmese. But the story of their adventure began with a case of mistaken identity.

Wong Mau, a small dark brown cat, belonged to Dr. Joseph Thompson. A sailor, aware of Dr. Thompson’s interest in felines, had brought him the cat, purchased in a distant port. Wong Mau was initially thought to be a Siamese with a chocolate-colored coat. Such conjoined twins were not unknown. “Chocolate Siamese” were described in the 1880s. Their bodies were tan or brown, and had seal brown or almost black points. Sealpoint Siamese, also known as royal Siamese, had lighter bodies that contrasted with their dark spots and were preferred by breeders and the public. Chocolate-colored cats eventually disappeared in Britain, but they still existed in Thailand and Burma (now known as Myanmar), where they were likely the descendants of natural (as opposed to human-directed) matings between free-roaming Siamese and Burmese cats. . Wong Mau was one of them. His destiny was to become the matriarch of two new breeds: the Burmese and, later, the Tonkinese.

The first deliberate crosses between Siamese and Burmese began in the 1950s with Milan Greer, who called the cats “golden Siamese.” He did not continue his breeding program, but other breeders became interested in producing a dark brown pointed cat and crossed Siamese with Burmese to do so. The Canadian Cat Association began registering “Tonkanese” in 1967 and other cat associations eventually followed suit, although some, like the Cat Fanciers Association, did not grant recognition until almost 20 years later, in 1984.

The name under its original spelling of Tonkanese was said to refer to the musical South Pacific, which featured an island where no one discriminated against “halves.” However, there was often confusion over the spelling, so in 1971 the name was officially changed to Tonkinese, after the exotic Tonkin Bay in Vietnam, even though the cats had no association with that country.


The Tonk feels surprisingly heavy when picked up and can weigh anywhere from six to 12 pounds or more.


The Tonk, as he is nicknamed, is friendly, active and affectionate. If he thinks cats are aloof and independent, it’s only because he hasn’t met a Tonkinese yet. He demands attention and affection and won’t rest until he gets it. This is a cat that will follow you around, ride on your shoulder, and participate in all family activities. He likes to meet people and he is not the type of cat that will settle for staying home alone all the time. If he works during the day, it’s a good idea to make sure he has a friend to keep him busy, whether it’s another Tonkinese, another cat, or even a dog.

Like his Siamese ancestor, the Tonk is intelligent and active. He likes to jump to high places, recovers like he was born for it, he masters puzzles instantly and will learn to walk on a leash if he so desires. He’ll teach her tricks and provide her with a rotating array of interactive toys to keep her mind and body exercised. The Tonkinese may be stubborn in looking for him to get their way, but his goofy demeanor is so endearing that it doesn’t really matter.

A Tonk is talkative, although his voice is not as strong and raspy as a Siamese’s. The Tonk also has a softer side. He loves to sit on a lap and will claim yours as soon as you sit.


Both pedigree cats and mixed breed cats have different incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. Tonkinese are generally healthy, although they can be prone to gingivitis and can be sensitive to anesthesia. Because they are descended from Siamese twins, although relatively high up in their family tree, they can also develop some of the same diseases that affect Siamese twins, including the following:

Amyloidosis, a disease that occurs when a type of protein called amyloid is deposited in body organs, primarily the liver in members of the conjoined family Asthma/bronchial disease Congenital heart defects such as aortic stenosis Crossed eyes Gastrointestinal conditions such as Megaesophagus Syndrome hyperesthesia, a neurological problem that can cause cats to excessively groom themselves, causing hair loss, and act frantically, especially when touched or petted Lymphoma Nystagmus, a neurological disorder that causes involuntary rapid eye movements Progressive retinal atrophy, for for which available genetic testing is required


The Tonkinese’s short, soft coat is easily groomed with weekly brushing to remove dead hair and distribute oil from the skin. A bath is rarely necessary.

Brushing teeth to prevent periodontal disease. Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of ​​the cloth for each eye so you don’t risk spreading any infection. Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them down with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth dampened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the inside of the ear.

Keep the litter box spotlessly clean. Like all cats, Tonkinese are very particular about bathroom hygiene.

It’s a good idea to keep a Tonkinese as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases carried by other cats, attacks by dogs or coyotes, and other dangers faced by cats who go outdoors, such as being hit by a car. Tonkinese who go out in the open also run the risk of being robbed by someone who would like to have such a pretty cat without paying for it.

Coat color and grooming

The Tonkinese is a medium-sized cat with a moderate body. Goldilocks would have liked him: he’s not too elegant and not too beefy; for Tonk fans, he’s perfect.

A Tonk’s head is a slightly rounded wedge shape, slightly longer than it is wide. The medium-sized ears are wide at the base with oval tips, and the aqua, blue, green, or yellow-green eyes (depending on coat color) are open almond-shaped, sloping along the cheekbones toward the edge. outer ear. The muscular body is supported by slender legs on oval feet. The tail is proportional in length to the body and tapers towards the end.

The short coat of the Tonkinese is of medium thickness and feels soft and silky. It comes in “mink”, solid and spiky shades in natural, champagne, blue and platinum, for a total of 12 different color combinations. Mink Tonkinese has a rich, uniform, unmarked body color that fades almost imperceptibly to a slightly lighter shade on the underparts, with a distinctive contrast between body color and tips. For example, a champagne mink Tonkinese has a cream to buff-colored body, which may have reddish highlights, medium-brown points, tan nose leather, and tan-pink to tan-brown foot pads.

A natural solid Tonk has a dark brown body with dark brown tips and nose and medium to dark brown foot pads. A platinum-tipped Tonkinese has a pearly white body, frosty gray points, lavender pink or lavender gray nose leather, and lavender pink foot pads. At a show, you’ll most likely only see Tonkinese minks, but solid, pointy Tonks carry the genes necessary for a successful breeding program.

Children and other pets

The active and social Tonkinese is a perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. He will play fetch and fetch as well as any retriever, picks up tricks easily, and loves the attention he gets from children who treat him politely and respectfully. Live in peace with dogs and cats that respect your authority. Always introduce pets slowly and under controlled circumstances to ensure they learn to get along.