/Breed Introduction: Tonkinese Cat

Breed Introduction: Tonkinese Cat

Tonkinese is a domestic cat breed produced by crossbreeding between the Siamese cats and Burmese cats. This is a cat that will follow you around, ride on your shoulder and be involved in all family activities. He likes meeting people and is not the type of cat who will be satisfied to stay home alone all the time. If you work during the day, it is a good idea to make sure he has a friend to keep him occupied. Whether it’s another Tonkinese or other cat or even a dog, Tonkinese cat will appreciate another buddy to keep its boredom and loneliness at bay. It demands attention and affection and won’t rest until he gets it. Tonkinese can be stubborn in their quest to get their own way, but their clownish behaviour is so endearing that it doesn’t really matter. Teach him tricks and provide him with a rotating assortment of interactive toys to keep his mind and body exercised.

Breed Origin


The Tonkinese is the love child of the Siamese and Burmese breeds. The two breeds from Southeast Asia were crossed in an attempt to create a cat with a moderate body type, a less piercing voice than the Siamese but with loving nature and intelligence shared by both the Siamese and Burmese.
The Canadian Cat Association began registering the “Tonkinese” in 1967 and other cat associations eventually followed suit. Although some, such as the Cat Fanciers Association, did not grant recognition until almost 20 years later, in 1984. In 1971, the name was officially changed to Tonkinese—after the exotic-sounding Bay of Tonkin in Vietnam—even though the cats had no association with that country.

Breed Characteristics


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

Tonkinese are generally healthy, although they can be prone to gingivitis and may be sensitive to anesthesia.

The soft, short coat of the Tonkinese is easily cared for with weekly brushing to remove dead hair and distribute skin oil. A cat bath is rarely necessary.

A Tonkinese’s head has a slightly rounded wedge shape. Medium-size ears are broad at the base with oval tips, and aqua, blue, green or yellow-green eyes (depending on coat colour) are an open almond shape, slanting along the cheekbones toward the outer edge of the ear. The muscular body is supported by slim legs on oval paws. The tail is proportionate in length to the body and tapers toward the end.

The active and social Tonkinese is a perfect choice for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. He will play fetch as well as any retriever, learns tricks easily and loves the attention he receives from children who treat him politely and with respect.