Tonkinese Cats - A Very Lively Breed

Odin and Oscar. Photo: Angela Thomas

Tonkinese cats are often thought of as the ideal by those who consider the modern Siamese cat to be somewhat rat like in its appearance, and the Burmese to be too Persian and heavy.

The breed is an attractive compromise between the two.

Tonkinese are noted for having the points of Siamese cats, but with softer contoured bodies and quieter, calmer, less assertive natures.

These cats are the perfect balance the between the length of the Siamese, and the slight inclination to plumpness of the Burmese.

The Origin of Tonkinese Cats

Photo: Sean Naber

From the 1950's through the 1970's several breeders in the USA, started to cross breed Siamese and Burmese to produce the Tonkinese of today, although the type had been known to occur spontaneously for some time.

It is thought that the Chocolate Siamese of the nineteenth century were actually Tonkinese.

The Tonkinese breed was first recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in 1984.

Having a mixed parentage means no all Tonkinese litters, a typical litter is likely to be two Tonkinese, one Burmese and one Siamese.

Tonkinese  - Appearance

Muscular cats of medium build, male Tonkinese weigh from 8 to 12 pounds, and the females 6 to 8 pounds. The head is gently wedge shaped, rounded at the top. There is an angle on the shortish nose but it is not very pronounced.

Tonks are adorned with ears that are large, triangular and with rounded tips.

Tonkinese catPlatinum Mink Tonkinese
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Legs are slim, muscular and proportionate to the body, the hind legs are very slightly longer than the front. Tonkinese have five toes on the front paws and four on the hind paws.

Eye colors of Tonkinese are neither the astonishing amber or the green of the Burmese, or the acute sapphire of the Siamese, but range from aquamarine blue to bluish green.

The coat pattern shades to a darker tone on the mask, legs, ears and tail. There are three coat pattern types to be found on the Tonkinese breed -

Pointed, with a distinct contrast between the points and the body (the Siamese pattern.)

Solid, not actually solid but with very weak contrast between the points and the body (the Burmese pattern.)

Mink, a gentle, gradual contrast between the points and the body, a coat pattern type unique to the Tonkinese.

The short, silky, close lying coat requires very little grooming and has a luxurious feel to it.

The Temperament of Tonkinese Cats

Active, vivacious and even acrobatic, the Tonkinese are a very lively breed. They are inquisitive, intelligent, very loyal and delight in human company.

They are not a cat that is happy to be left alone, tending to get bored, if you have to leave the house to work each day another pet would be advisable, a second Tonkinese would be best.

A talkative cat, the Tonkinese will hold a conversation with you and will always be interested in what you are doing.

Tonkinese cats should ideally be kept as indoor cats, they have a tendency to wander if allowed outside.

All in all Tonkinese are not only beautiful to look at, but also have very sweet temperaments and make wonderful companions for the right humans.

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