Tonkinese Cat Breed Guide

Tonkinese Cat Breed Guide

The Tonkinese is a breed which was established by the cross-breeding of Siamese and Burmese cats. Naturally, the Tonkinese has physical traits taken from both breeds, but the facial markings are definitely inherited from the Siamese.

One thing worth noting is that Tonkinese cats are very playful, so a quick trip to a pet store for toys is going to be required if you intend to welcome a Tonkinese into your home.

These cats require a lot of stimulation which is something that must be kept in mind. If the Tonkinese is left to its own devices and becomes bored, it is likely that it will entertain itself in other ways and your neat, tidy home could get trashed!

A brief history

It took breeders over 20 years to get the Tonkinese recognised as a breed. Breed status was achieved through selective breeding, which was designed to phase out direct genetic links to itsBurmese and Siamese ancestors.

Official recognition from the CFA (Cat Fanciers Association) came in 2001, and means that the Tonkinese is now permitted to take part in cat shows.

Physical traits of the Tonkinese cat

Being a medium sized cat, their weight can take you by surprise if you are not expecting it. The Tonkinese is heavier than you would think at first glance, this is due to the cat's impressive musculature. A fully grown, and healthy, adult cat can easily weigh between 10 and 14 pounds - around the weight of a 5 month old baby!

Breeders of the Tonkinese specify three coat patterns:

  • Solid
  • Pointed
  • Mink

Common colours for the solid coat pattern can include platinum, blue and champagne. The pointed coat pattern is very reminiscent of the Siamese: mostly solid with variances of shade on the face and tail. The mink coat is the one that breeders are looking for, as they are highly desirable in show cats. A pastel-like blend of the coat's base colour with varying degrees of lighter and darker patches over the body.

A Tonkinese cat's eyes are lemon-shaped, usually with a blue pigment but some of the cats' eyes do have a yellow or green colour. Narrow, sharp pointed ears are sat on wide bases. In show cats, the tail should be proportional to the length of the cat's body and tapered; from a medium thickness at its base, to a nicely rounded end.

Disposition is not exactly a physical trait, but the Tonkinese is a playful cat from kitten to adult and loves playing hide and seek. Requiring a lot of stimulation, even if that comes from toys and other cats, they will bond quickly with a human and display almost dog-like loyalty.


The Tonkinese can be prone to a sensitive stomach, so a diet of mostly dry cat food is required. Table scraps are generally OK, but should only be given very sparingly; the last thing either of you need is a trip to the vet because you shared your pasta.

As with most short-haired cats, little is needed in the way of grooming other than a regular going over with a brush.

It should also be remembered that the Tonkinese is very much an indoor cat; their inquisitive and playful nature can actually be dangerous for them in the big open world, so they may be best kept inside, but that will depend on the individual.

The Tonkinese is a lovely cat and makes for a wonderful companion, provided you can keep up with their activity levels!

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