A Long-Haired Version of the Tonkinese Cat
Shane Sykes - Last Updated on December 18th, 2021
What you Need to Know about the Tibetan Cat?
A relatively new "version" of the Tonkinese Cat, the Tibetan cat is the semi-long-haired version of the breed and was developed by a Netherland breeder Agnes Driessen in 1992. The first organization to recognize the breed was Dutch Independent Cat Association, FENK; the breed was then established and recognized for championship status in 1997. Today, many more organizations recognize the Tibetan cat, and its status is growing.
Although the breed is still relatively "young," more feline professionals are beginning to breed Tibetan cats, usually alongside other more established breeds like the Balinese, Burmese and Tonkinese. Today, the Tibetan cat is still bred only in Europe, with recent introductions to the UK and France, as well as continuing breeding programs in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. As of 2008, a South African cattery had also bred Tibetan cats.
Appearance Matters. What does a Tibetan Cat look like?
Slender and of medium length and build, the Tibetan cat has well-developed muscles and stands quite tall on slender legs. Oval feet, a wedge-shaped head, and a tapered, medium-length tail give this cat a look of balance. Eyes are oval-shaped as well and are of a color that matches the coat color.
Tibetan cats are muscular and "dense," which means that they are heavier than they look with a sturdy, athletic heft.
• Mink, which is the Tonkinese pattern; this is a muted point pattern with some contrasting on the body. Eyes are aquamarine and colors are natural, with dark brown points and a light brown body;
• Blue, with a light blue-gray body culminating in slate-blue points;
• Platinum, with a light gray body and dove gray points;
• Cream, with a light cream body and dark cream points;
• Champagne, with a pale chocolate body and chocolate brown points;
• Tortie, which is a sort of hodgepodge that is platinum, champagne, blue, or natural with cream/peach/orange splotches for a non-uniform look.
• Point Tibetan cats with a Siamese look have clearly defined, evenly-colored points that are in stark contrast to the body's color, which is pale and without graded shading. The eyes for pointed cats are generally deep blue, and the colors can be blue, seal, chocolate, red, lilac, cream, or tortie.
• Sepia Tibetan cats have mostly solid coloring that is diluted and has only slightly defined points. Eyes for cats of these colors are yellow green or gold and coat colors can be red, lilac, brown, blue, green, red, or tortie.
For all Tibetan cats, the fur is thick and lush; many have compared the short Tonkinese coat to mink, and the Tibetan cat coat is simply longer and silkier. There is no undercoat so this cat sheds very little. The tail is big, bushy, and beautiful.
It's all Personal. The Tibetan Cat Personality
Exceedingly intelligent, gregarious, and talkative, these strong-willed kitties are as independent as you would think most cats are – but they positively love their humans. They have keen memories and sharp senses that will not fail them. They like to both invent and play games with humans, and they love to play fetch just as dogs do.
In fact, their owners have described them as "part puppy," "part monkey," and "part elephant." That's because these lovely cats will follow owners around the house just as a puppy might, but display stunning acrobatics whenever they wish, just as a monkey might, and have the heavy tread of an elephant when they run through the house – which they can do at a moment's notice any time of day (or night).
These cats are so affectionate that hapless "moms" or "dads" are easily smitten and find themselves held hostage by emotional addiction. Elegant and refined, the Tibetan cat can be just as silly as its cousin, the Tonkinese, but with a beauty and intelligence that no clown could ever hope to achieve.
The Health and Happiness of your Tibetan Cat
Although there is little documented on the health of the Tibetan cat, the Tonkinese has few health problems thanks to careful, selective breeding over the years. Make sure to cat-proof your house, since like the Tonkinese, the Tibetan cat is very curious, smart and prone to mischief. The Tonkinese has documented health problems like respiratory infections, which are more common in kittens, as well as inflammatory bowel disease and gingivitis. Make sure to make regular visits to your veterinarian to give your cat the best chance of a long healthy life.
The Tibetan cat sheds very little and should just need a good brushing once to twice a week. Because there is no undercoat, there's not as much risk of matting as can be true of some long-haired cats. Other than that, clip nails on a regular basis, check ears and clean with a soft cotton ball and mild cleanser if necessary. Start brushing teeth when the cat is young with a vet-approved toothpaste so your very intelligent, agreeable but nonetheless independent pet becomes accustomed to regular hygiene so essential to overall health.
The Proper Living Environment for your Tibetan Cat
These kitties live best indoors. They're very curious and trusting, and they can get into trouble easily, for one thing, but like most cats, they thrive inside; give them an indoor, comfy life with lots of toys to play with and enough room to run and climb. Because they are so intelligent, you will absolutely need something to keep them busy and entertained. Puzzle toys are a perfect solution. Provide climbing "trees," intellectual challenge, and plenty of love and attention and your kitty will never miss the outdoor life.
Where Can I Find Good Tibetan Cat Breeders?
Tibetan cats are quite rare and only bred in Europe, however that should change in the future. If you’re interested in getting one of these gorgeous, fluffy kittens, you might have trouble finding a good breeder.
We offer a list for breeders of every cat breed, and we have one for Tibetan cat breeders. Keep in mind that we update our lists regularly, so if you can’t find anything now it might change in the future.
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Feline History. Where does the Tibetan Cat come from?
The Tonkinese cat is the Tibetan cat's ancestor and close cousin; the two breeds are basically "twins" except for coat length. Tonkinese cats have actually been around for hundreds of years, with their ancestors, Burmese cats, existing for centuries in Southeast Asia, just as the Siamese did. Tonkinese cats likely came about because of their Siamese ancestors. Solid brown cats and chocolate Siamese were first introduced to England in the late 1800s, along with blue-eyed seal point Siamese. So-called "self-brown" cats had coats of chestnut with green-blue eyes. The Tonkinese became a recognized breed in the early 1960s, when a sable Burmese was crossed with a seal point Siamese.
In 1992, Agnes Driessen developed the Tibetan breed as it exists today, although it is also still a new breed under development and is mostly available just in Europe.