Information Report – Tonkinese Cats

Tonkinese are the perfect family cat. Having a life span of up to about 12 to 15 years, these kitties never cease to be a curious, active breed!

Tonkinese are a mix of two main breeds: Burmese and Siamese. They are of Asian descent but the first Tonk, Wong Mau, was transported to Canada in the 1930s where the breed first developed. The breed was first intentionally bred by American feline expert, Milan Greer. He again crossed a Burmese and a Siamese resulting in what he called the ‘Golden Siamese’. After a while, the name was changed to Tonkanese, a word based on the musical ‘South Pacific’ which features an island where no one discriminates so called ‘half breeds’. Finally Tonkanese was changed to an i, giving us Tonkinese, their new modern name.

Tonkinese are very playful and energised cats but that doesn’t stop them from being loving and social. They are considered beautiful lap cats but don’t like being cuddled 24/7. Tonks are very talkative and love to show their appreciation and needs through their voice. They thrive on attention and their expectations are only met when humans go out of their way to give them a pat. They are inquisitive and like to know everything. Their big eyes must see all! Though Tonkinese are friendly cats, they can get quite dominant when it comes to other cats and dogs they are stuck with. This may including hissing, growling, staring and discomfort.

Tonkinese are fairly small cats compared to others. Their body is rather slender but they are quite muscular cats too. They have rounded wedge shaped heads with open almond eyes. Their eye colour depends on which coat colour they have. Mink get aquamarine eyes, Solid get green eyes and Colourpoints are blue. Tonks have a short velvety coat which comes in four colours: Seal, a warm brown with dark brown points, Chocolate with warm chocolate points, Blue, a bluish grey with dark slate-grey points and Lilac, a warm lilac with dark lilac points. Due to Siamese and Burmese genes and background, Tonkinese can get a Mink pattern, a Solid pattern or a Colourpoint pattern. All Tonkinese are pointed and the three patterns simply explain the degree of contrast between the points and the body.

Tonkinese cats breed easily and their litters can range from 3 to 6 kittens. The coat patterns and colour all depend on their parents and background. Breeding certain patterns together will give you certain patterns on the kittens. You can also breed different combinations of cats to get Tonkinese kittens. There is Tonk x Tonk, Burmese x Tonk, Siamese x Tonk and Siamese x Burmese. These days, you aren’t allowed to breed Siamese and Burmese cats with Tonkinese. If you wanted to start a breeding program, you’d have to start from the beginning: Burmese x Siamese unless you already had two Tonks.

Tonks are a popular entry in shows Australia wide though Minks are the only allowed entries. Some people, especially judges, still think that Tonkinese should not be counted in shows because they are ‘half breeds’. They are also considered a fairly new breed. Tonkinese have been brightening the lives of people around the world for up to 40-50 years.


~The picture of the cat is my Tonkinese, Izzabella! I love her SO much!!! lol

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Information Report – Tonkinese Cats

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