Tonkinese Cat

Tonkinese Cat


The Tonkinese is a rare cat breed with a muscular body and striking eyes which may be gold, blue or green. Tonkinese cats have gently rounded heads and large, open eyes that range in color from green to light blue. This cat's ears are broad and set wide apart, giving it an intelligent expression. There is a very short, fine coat that lies close to the body with an incredibly silky texture on the Tonkinese, known as the 'Tonk'. The Tonkinese or 'Tonk' has a firm, muscular, long, and lean body. In general, this is a very attractive and 'neat' cat without the extremes of some Oriental types.

Lifetime Care

Breed Profile


7 - 10



6 - 12


Life Span

15 – 20




Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

of cats

What is it?:

Inflammatory bowel disease is a syndrome where the gastronomical tract gets irritated and swollen due to multiple factors like genetics, food allergies, and sensitivity to bacteria.

Clinical signs

The clinical symptoms of this condition may include -

  • Loss of weight

  • Chronic vomiting

  • Chronic Diarrhea

  • Loss of appetite

  • Pain in the abdomen

  • Blood in the stool

  • Feeling of lethargy

  • Rumbling sounds in the abdomen


There are multiple ways to treat IBD in cats:

  • Deworming is recommended as in some cases fecal tests do not represent the parasites in the GI tract.

  • Vitamin B12 supplements may be given as the body does not absorb any vitamins in case of IBD.

  • If a change in the diet yet does not help with finding the root cause, then medications may be given to reduce the swelling.

Eligible vet bill


Reimbursement Rate

Amount a Spot accident & illness plan could cover*


Your Net payment


Click For Price

*Hypothetical reimbursement examples illustrate reimbursement of an eligible vet bill at the noted reimbursement rate, assuming the annual deductible had already been satisfied and the annual coverage limit has not yet been met. Annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit and coverage limits, and exclusions may apply. Eligibility may vary. Visit for full terms. For Canada enrollments only, reimbursement rate is based on the pet's age.


Feline Hyperesthesia

of cats

What is it?

Feline hyperesthesia is a condition where the cat’s skin becomes highly sensitive in some areas of the skin which causes pain upon touching.

Clinical signs

The symptoms of Feline hyperesthesia are:

  • Screaming due to pain

  • Chasing the tail

  • Licking or biting their paws

  • May become aggressive when touched

  • Drooling

  • Urinating

  • Dilation of pupils

  • Skin twitching

  • The cat may run around the house


  • Medication may be given to control the swelling due to the itching. One should make sure there are no fleas around them. It may be advisable for your cat to take omega-3 fatty acid supplements to reduce skin sensitivity.

  • If seizures are experienced by the cat, then medication may be recommended to reduce the seizures and also help with the sensitive nerves.

Eligible vet bill


Reimbursement Rate

Amount a Spot accident & illness plan could cover*


Your Net payment


Click For Price

*Hypothetical reimbursement examples illustrate reimbursement of an eligible vet bill at the noted reimbursement rate, assuming the annual deductible had already been satisfied and the annual coverage limit has not yet been met. Annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit and coverage limits, and exclusions may apply. Eligibility may vary. Visit for full terms. For Canada enrollments only, reimbursement rate is based on the pet's age.



They have a mischievous streak and are very playful in nature. They love to climb, jump, and just follow their owners around the house.


The Tonkinese is a friendly and affectionate cat breed. They love lap cuddles and can serve to be great family pets.


The Tonkinese is a smart cat breed that loves to learn tricks. Do not be surprised if you see them opening doors. They love challenging puzzle toys.

Lifetime Care


They have a coat that is short, smooth, and shiny.


The Tonkinese is available in 4 base colors, which are brown, blue, champagne, and platinum. These may have patterns like mink, solid, and point.




The Tonkinese is a comparatively low-maintenance cat breed as they have short fur that requires an occasional brushing. They also do not shed a lot of hair. Despite this, their teeth and ears need to be cleaned to avoid health issues.


The Tonkinese is an intelligent and quick-learning cat breed. They can be taught how to perform tricks. They are highly active in nature and need to be engaged in activities constantly.

Considering the Burmese and Siamese are prized for their temperaments, it is not surprising that the Tonkinese has winsome personality. Tonkinese followers claim that it combines the best characteristics of both breeds. Although its voice is milder than the Siamese, it believes in feline free speech and wants to share all the day's adventures with you when you return home.


Tonkinese craves affection and companionship, and they return it. There will never be a time when this cat won't join you for dinner, unlike the rest of your busy family. Tonks is unflaggingly enthusiastic about life and life's pleasures and loves interactive toys like human fingers and cats' tails. Every close encounter becomes a game.

Tonkinese: Introduction to the Breed

The Tonkinese cats have been believed to exist in the west since the 19th century. Among the domestic cat breeds, the Tonkinese was created through crossbreeding between Burmese and Siamese. There was a demand for a cat that resembled a Siamese, but had a sturdier build and a mellower temperament, so the Tonkinese was created.

A pet is one of the most significant decisions you will have to make as a family. Before purchasing a new cat, you should research the available breeds and determine which one is the most suitable for your family and lifestyle. Consider what characteristics you would like to see in a cat, and what characteristics you would prefer the cat not to have. To make an informed decision about the Tonkinese, there are a few things you should know.

Tonks are generally:

  • Friendly

  • Energetic

  • Intelligent

  • Vocal

  • Loving

  • Affectionate

Despite its active and intelligent nature, the Tonkinese is content to spend time with its family without much stimulation or attention. When spoken to, it is happy to "speak" but does not excessively vocalize. Tonks is an irrepressible people-lovers. It loves to be petted, held, talked to, played with, and cuddled. Tonkinese cats are ideal pets for families with young children who need a tolerant, playful pet.

If they are properly introduced, they can do well with children, other cats, and dogs, if they are adaptable, patient, and tolerant. However, it is important not to forget that every animal is different and that they have individual likes and dislikes.

What is the origin of Tonkinese?

Although Tonkinese breeding did not begin until the 1960s, early versions of the breed have most likely existed for hundreds of years. Because Burmese cats, originally called “copper cats” in Southeast Asia, have existed in the same regions for centuries as Siamese, planned or unintentional crosses seem likely. Among the first felines to arrive in England from Siam were solid brown (self-brown) cats and chocolate Siamese, along with blue-eyed seal points.

Early records describe the brown-colored cats as “Siamese, with burnished chestnut coats and green-blue eyes Today, these imports are known as Burmese, a chocolate point Siamese, Tonkinese, and Havana Browns. From the available descriptions, it's hard to tell one from another. Interestingly, Wong Mau, the Burmese's foundation cat, was found to be a Siamese/Burmese hybrid today and would be considered a Tonkinese.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Siamese and solid-colored cats were exhibited in Europe. However, such cats soon fell out of favor. According to the Siamese Cat Club, "The club regrets it cannot encourage the breeding of any other color than blue-eyed Siamese." Solid-colored cats lacking blue eyes were accordingly banned from competition.

In the early 1960s, Canadian breeder Margaret Conroy crossed a sable Burmese with a seal point Siamese to create the Tonkinese. It produced a cat of intermediate temperament and type, which Conroy originally called the “Golden Siamese. Both Burmese and Siamese had not yet been transformed by selective breeding into their current forms. Siamese had not yet attained their exceptionally sleek show style, and Burmese had not yet reached their compact, cabby shape, nor had their broad, rounded heads. Despite this, Tonkinese breeders struggled to combine the two and achieve a uniform and consistent head and body type.

The breed was renamed Tonkinese in 1967 to differentiate it from Siamese. In 1971, breeders voted to rename the breed "Tonkinese" after the Bay of Tonkin off southern China and North Vietnam. Even though the breed did not originate from the Bay of Tonkin, the name had a nice exotic ring to it. Together with other notable breeders like Jane Barletta of New Jersey, Conroy wrote the first breed standard for the Canadian Cat Association (CCA). Tonkinese dogs were the first breed developed in Canada. CCA became the first cat registry to grant championship status to the Tonkinese in 1971. The Tonkinese were recognized by the CFF in 1974, and by the TICA in 1979, when the association was formed. The CFA passed the "five-year rule" in October 1979, requiring new breeds to remain in the newly established non-competition miscellaneous class for five years. In 1984, the CFA granted championship status to the Tonkinese breed. All the major associations accepted the breed for championships by 1990.

Tonkinese Cat Physical Characteristics:

  • Muscular body

  • Almond-shaped bright eyes

  • Rounded wedge head

  • Pointed upright ears

Tonkinese Cat is best suited for pet owners:

  • Who wants a cuddly cat

  • Who have children

  • Who wants a playful pet

  • Who may have other pets

  • Who are active

Are Tonkinese Cats high maintenance?

The Tonkinese cat is low maintenance and does not demand much grooming due to its short fur as they do not shed much. But as they are an active breed, they may demand more supervision as they require attention.

Are Tonkinese cats like dogs?

The Tonkinese is said to be the most dog-like cats as they are extremely social and active in nature. They love to follow their owners around the house and want to be involved in everything that is going on. They are also more vocal than other cats and can sit with you all day having a conversation. Unlike other cats, they also need attention and love to cuddle and sit on your lap.

Things to know before deciding to own a Tonkinese

  • The Tonkinese cat breed demands attention and will want to be on your shoulder, lap, or laptop all day long.

  • If the Tonkinese are left alone they may find other ways to catch their owner’s attention by opening cabinets, doors, or anything that will get them noticed.

  • They may have a stubborn streak and may destroy your furniture if they are unhappy.

  • They may need a specific diet for urinary tract issues.

What are the Risks for the Tonkinese Cat Breed?

Tonkinese dogs typically live 15 to 20 years. The Tonkinese are susceptible to gum disease, bowel problems, and respiratory infections. It is possible that Tonkinese are genetically predisposed to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Responsible breeders will test kittens for health issues, but it's important that you keep regular veterinarian appointments and follow their advice. In later life, health problems can develop and should be monitored regularly.

Tonkinese dogs are generally healthy, but they can suffer from a few problems, including:

  • Dental disease, which can be managed with regular dental visits

  • Feline lower urinary tract disease is a life-threatening condition that causes pain when urinating

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which causes nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting in the gastrointestinal tract,

  • Amyloidosis, in which protein deposits accumulate in organs (generally the kidneys or liver).

Keep your Tonkinese up to date on vaccinations and annual exams, as well as regular vet visits. It is only necessary to brush these cute cats' coats weekly, and they should only be bathed if they've gotten themselves particularly messy. You should also trim their nails, clean their ears regularly, and keep their litter box clean. Mental and physical stimulation is essential for these intelligent, athletic cats. By playing with interactive toys, cat trees, and other opportunities to leap and play, Tonk gets a lot of exercises.

A super smart and social breed, it thrives on interaction. The guests are always welcome at their homes, and they truly embrace their role as family members. The Tonkinese cat can live in almost any space, but if you live in an apartment with shared walls, you might want to reconsider.

Tonkinese can still get sick, no matter how hard you try to keep them healthy. As a result, you should be prepared for the things you cannot control. Our number one priority at Spot Pet Insurance is helping you give your cat a long, happy, and healthy life


If you can’t decide between a Siamese and Burmese cat, but only want one pet then you’re in luck as the Tonkinese is the best of both worlds. They are people pleasers, and love, to play with their owners as well as sit in their lap and talk to them. They are good with children and have a mellow temperament. They also do not require much grooming as they have a short-haired coat that does not shed excessively.

Happy Mood and Health to your cat and lots of Purrsss to you!