Basic Tonkinese Information

  • Lifespan: 15 - 20 years
  • Weight: 6 - 12 pounds

Medical Conditions Seen in Tonkinese

Tonkinese Traits

  • Lap Cat
  • Intelligence
  • Ease of Training
  • Grooming Requirements
  • Shedding
  • Good with Children
  • Good with Dogs
  • Chattiness

Tonkinese History

  • Reigns as one of the world's oldest feline breeds with historical references dating back to the Ayudha Period in the late 1300s.
  • The first known Tonkinese was named Wong Mau in the 1930s. This cat was bred with a Siamese.
  • The name "Tonkin" is the ancient name of Vietnam.
  • Imported to England in the early 1800s from Asia.
  • In the 1960s, the Gulf of Tonkin became a household phrase due to the Vietnam War. This is the body of water located on the east coast of the peninsula that housed Burma and Siam (now called Thailand).
  • First recognized and accepted as a cat breed by the Canadian Cat Association in the 1980s.
  • Achieved championship status by the Cat Fanciers Association in 2002.

Tonkinese Behavior Concerns

  • Active, intelligent and athletic.
  • Prone for being mischievous, especially if bored. Able to open doors.
  • Touted for have the smarts and inquisitiveness of a Siamese with the laid-back personality of a Burmese.
  • Benefits by regular exercise, learning tricks and playing interactive games with people like fetch.
  • Extremely chatty and loves being in the spotlight.
  • Capable of turning on and off lights and mastering dog-like tricks.
  • Would rather "help" you with chores than sit calmly in your lap.
  • Enjoys the company of visitors, other cats, children and dogs.

Look of Tonkineses

  • Bred to look like a pleasing blend between a Siamese and Burmese.
  • Only purebred cat to have almond-shaped aqua eyes (a blend of the blue-eyed Siamese and the golden-eyed Burmese).
  • Body is medium sized and muscular.
  • Comes in three primary patterns: mink, pointed and full color. Points on the face, ears and tails are slightly darker than the Siamese.
  • Color tends to get darker as this breed gets older.
  • A "cowlick" look on the chest occurs naturally.

Grooming Tonkinese Cats

  • Blessed with a wash-and-wear coat that requires minimal grooming.
  • Short, dense coat is silky to the touch.
  • Benefits by having its teeth brushed regularly to prevent gingivitis.

Suggested Nutritional Needs for Tonkineses

  • Not prone to obesity due to its high metabolism.

Fun Facts of Tonkineses

  • Also known by the popular nickname of "Chocolate Siamese."
  • Jane Barletta, one of the early promoters of this breed, single-handedly gave the Tonkinese national recognition when she extolled its many talents while being a contestant on the game show, Jeopardy! in the 1960s.

Did you know?

  • A decrease in cat grooming behavior may indicate they are in pain.
  • Some cat parasites are transferable to humans.
  • Many common pet ailments may be detected early and prevented by visiting your veterinarian twice yearly - saving both time, money, and most importantly, ensuring the best quality of life for your cat.

Come visit us, we would love to see you!

We are here to help! Book an appointment today to continue your pet on a path to great health and wellness

Make an appointment

Ask the Vet

Have unanswered pet health questions? Dr.Donna Spector, with 10+ years of hands-on Internal Medicine experience, is here with your answers every Friday.