Tonkinese Cat

A Very Smart, Outgoing Cat With Beautiful Looks and Amusing, Frisky Behavior


Jon Crimes - Last Updated on December 18th, 2021

What you Need to Know about the Tonkinese

The Tonkinese cat is a medium-sized cat that has a lovely personality and stunning beauty. They are the result of crossbreeding between two other breeds, the Siamese and Birman.

They share similar point coloration with these other cats and also some other traits. 

They are friendly, talkative, and love attention. These attributes begin as young Tonkinese kittens and continue into adulthood.

There are two varieties of Tonkinese. The most common is short-haired. The other has more of a medium hair length and is sometimes known as the Tibetan.

Tonkinese cat

Appearance Matters. What does a Tonkinese look like?

The Tonkinese is a medium-sized cat with a wedge-shaped face, sparkling eyes, and alert ears

They are more robust and heavier than their stature suggests. Males can weigh as much as 12 pounds, with females being slightly lighter. 

At first glance of this cat, their ears appear quite striking. They seem to emphasize the intelligence and readiness of this cat. Pricked slightly forward, their ears give an appearance of permanent alertness.  

Tonkinese Colors

Tonkinese cats come in a number of different colors and patterns. The main coat patterns include solid, pointed, and mink. Coat colors include:

  • Blue
  • Natural
  • Platinum
  • Champagne
  • Red
  • Cream
  • Caramel
  • Apricot
  • Tortoiseshell

It's worth noting that only the first four colors in the list are generally accepted. The others are restricted to being accepted by European cat associations only. 

There can also be variations in their color and patterns. These can be subtle and will also depend on climate. The colder the climate will typically mean a darker shading.

Kittens can also go through color changes as they get older. Body-color will darken to varying degrees in most patterns.

What is the difference between Tonkinese and Siamese?   

Easily confused, these two breeds can look very similar. So, Tonkinese vs. Siamese, what are the main differences?

Firstly, the Tonkinese is generally more docile than the Siamese. Whereas the Siamese will be more active, the Tonkinese will look more alert (with its ears!) but not go overly crazy like the Siamese.

Siamese cats also have blue eyes. Being a result of Siamese/Burmese crossbreeding, the Tonkinese has its own dedicated eye coloring. They can be aqua (blue/green) or gold-colored. This is thought to be a genetic combination of the Siamese blue and the Burmese yellow.

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It's all Personal. The Tonkinese Temperament

Charming personality, obvious intelligence, and lovely temperament describe the Tonkinese cat personality. This is not a big surprise for the breed. Their close cousins, the Siamese and Burmese, also share the same pleasing traits.

Tonkinese owners state that their breed combines the best of the Siamese and Burmese. But it goes a step further! The Siamese can have a meow, which is 'demanding'. The Tonkinese has a sound that is milder. It is even sometimes compared to that of a duck quacking.

They will also engage you in a ‘chatty' conversation whenever they want your attention. If you need some time away from your cat, then consider investing in some exciting toys or even another cat. 

These cats are very suited to training if done at an early age. They are intelligent and have long memories. With a bit of persistence, you should be able to teach them basic tricks and even walk on a lead if required.

This cat will enjoy the company of other cats, children, and even most dogs. They will even assume that any visitors are there for them and expect a bit of fuss in return.

Tonkinese cat

Caring for your Tonkinese

The Tonkinese has a short, thick coat that is easy to care for. Brushing once a week will keep their fur looking great, remove any dead hair, and prevent matting. This will also reduce any shedding around the house.

They shouldn't need frequent bathing but if you do, remember to towel dry only. The natural oils in their coat can be damaged by blow-drying their fur.

Is the Tonkinese cat hypoallergenic?  

No cat is truly hypoallergenic. But the Tonkinese does shed less fur and dander than many other breeds. They are considered to be suitable for people with low allergy levels.

Other activities to include in your cat's grooming schedule include brushing their teeth. When started as a young kitten, this can be quite easy to get them used to. Also, check and trim their claws as required and inspect their ears for dirt. Finally, check their eyes for signs of natural discharge. Both the ears and eyes can be cleaned with separate soft, damp cloths.

Tonkinese cat

The Health and Happiness of your Tonkinese

The Tonkinese is considered to be a healthy breed. There are no known heredity issues, but they can be affected by some disorders. These can include:

  • Hyperthyroidism. This is where your cat has overactive thyroids and would need vet treatment. Common signs to look out for include weight loss, increased thirst, and excessive urination. Another indicator is your cat's coat. If it starts to appear in poor condition, then they might have this condition.
  • Obesity. This can affect all cats, and the Tonkinese is no exception. Watch their activity levels and 'greediness' to keep their weight at normal levels.
  • Feline lower urinary tract disease. Also known as FLUTD. This condition affects the cat’s bladder and urethra. Again, this condition requires vet intervention. Symptoms include painful or excessive urination. Also, look out for your cat becoming aggressive. They might also start urinating away from their litter box.

What is the Tonkinese cat lifespan?

A healthy Tonkinese can expect to enjoy a long lifespan of between 15 and 18 years.

How Expensive is a Tonkinese Cat?

Tonkinese cats are really popular because of their affectionate personalities. However, finding a purebred one might be harder than you think. If you’re wondering about their price, we have you covered.

A Tonkinese kitten for sale usually goes for anywhere between $600 and $1,200. The final price will depend on the breeder and pedigree of the kitten. However, always make sure you’re buying the cat from a reputable breeder.

As it is hard to find purebred Tonkinese kittens, you want to absolutely make sure you’re getting the real deal.

Feline History. Where does the Tonkinese come from?

The exact history of the Tonkinese is quite vague. What is known is that they are the result of crossbreeding between the Siamese and Burmese breeds. Even this crossbreeding is shrouded in mystery. With exact dates on when this started not confirmed.

The earliest date goes back to the 1960s. This was when Margaret Conroy, a Canadian breeder, gave the cat a formal start. She crossed a Burmese with a seal point Siamese, and the new breed was born.

Between 1971 and 1974, cat registries, including the CCA, CFF, and TICA, started to grant the cat Championship status. By 1990, the breed was accepted by all of the major associations.

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