Tonkinese Cats

Tonkinese Cats, a medium-sized breed of cat, distinguished by points liken to the Siamese and Burmese breeds. A lively, friendly, quite talkative cat, with gregarious personalities.

A happy inside house cat if they have an opportunity to excercise. Commonly referred to as 'Tonks'. As with many cat breeds, the exact history of the Tonkinese varies to some degree depending on the information source.

Tonkinese cats are a recent cross between the Siamese and Burmese cat breeds. Some sources think Tonkinese-like cats have existed since at least the early 1800s. Further belief is the founding cat of the Burmese breed was probably a mink hybrid-colored cat named "Wong Mau," a small walnut colored cat imported to California by Dr. Joseph Cheesman Thompson in 1930.

Others claim the appearance of the breed is closer to the original appearance of the Siamese, prior to the time Siamese breeders developed todays triangular head and very leggy body. The name is not related to the Tonkin region of Indochina.

The breed was first established in Canada. The breed name spelling was "Tonkanese," referencing the island in the musical South Pacific where "half-breeds" suffered no discrimination.

The mistaken idea that the name was a geographical reference paralleling the Siamese and Burmese breed names resulted in a gradual switch to the current spelling, thus the breed was recognized by the US registering associations.


Tonkinese Cats have a winsome personality, not surprising since the Burmese and Siamese are known for their temperaments. Followers faithful to the Tonkinese say they are the best of both breeds. The cats voice is milder in tone than the Siamese.

The cat does believe in feline free speech and wants to share all of the day's adventures with a their favorite person when arriving home in the evening. The Tonkinese craves and gives in return affection and companionship. It has an unflagging enthusiasm for life and the pleasures of life.

This cat loves interactive toys such as human fingers and the tails of its cat companions. It makes every close encounter a game.

Physical characteristics

Tonkinese are commonly trim and muscular cats. They generally are heavier than they appear to be due to their very muscular bodies. These cats have a distinctive oval-shaped paw and a modified wedge-shaped head, with large ears set towards the outside of their head.

They are highly intelligent, curious and affectionate with people and have a great interest in them. Tonks are playful cats and not hyperactive.

They can be mischievous if they become lonesome or bored. Interesting toys and a cat tree or another Asian cat such as a Tonkinese, Oriental, Burmese, Siamese or Snowshoe keeps them occupied when a person is not around.

Unlike most breeds of cat, they are reported to sometimes engage in fetching and often found perched on the highest object in the house. Do not be alarmed if the Tonkinese jumps on a persons shoulders, as they known for their love of heights.

Tonkinese cats weigh 10-20 lbs.

They are more like Burmese in temperament than Siamese, less high-strung and demanding. Their voices are less piercing (or raucous, depending on taste) in most cases than the Siamese, but most Tonks do like a good chat. Man people think these cats combine the more attractive features of both ancestor breeds.


Tonks wear a rainbow of colors, and no matter which color in whatever coat pattern you may choose, rest assured you are joining an enthusiastic fan club of admirers of this breed. You are about to embark on the most joyful experience of your life — enjoy!

Tonks come in four colors, exhibiting a wide variety of patterns. The three main patterns are mink, solid and pointed. Solid is essentially a coat pattern of a Burmese; pointed a Siamese pattern.

Mink is a unique Tonkinese pattern, with shaded "points" like the Siamese, with the body colored in shade harmonising with the point color. Mink is intermediate between Burmese and Siamese, with less abrupt contrast between body and legs than of the Siamese.

The mink variety is considered most desirable for the show ring in cat fancier associations. The most commonly accepted colors are: platinum, champagne, blue and natural.

Most often solid Tonkinese cats have gold or blue - green eyes, cats with the pointed pattern are blue-eyed and the mink cats have a shade of aquamarine. A large amount of subtle variation exists in colors and patterns.

Tonkinese body color darkens with age to some degree in all patterns. Cats kept in colder climates typically are darker in their mink or point shading, like their Siamese cousins.

Advice for Tonkinese Cat Care

Caring for Tonkinese Catys is easy as feeding a well-balanced feline diet, clipping their nails weekly (providing a scratching post and insisting they use it is imperative), using a rubber brush to groom them and the all important visit to the vet for check-ups and inoculations. These are indoor only cats.

Always do thorough inspection of your home prior to your Tonks arrival, to make certain screens and doors are secured helps insure they remain safe indoors.

Tonkinese Cats

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