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The Tonkinese Cat is a medium-sized breed with a solid body and short silky coat. The body is neither too sleek nor too chunky and is well-muscled.
These cats have slender legs that end in distinctive oval paws. The head is a slightly rounded wedge shaped and sports broad-based medium-size ears and almond-shaped eyes. The short silky coat comes in mink, solid and pointed shades.
This is a lively, clever, and people-oriented breed. The Tonk, as this breed is nicknamed, will follow your every move and hitch a ride on your shoulder whenever it gets a chance. This curious and chatty cat is addicted to its people and likes being involved in all family activities.
They are playful and active and will never miss a game of fetch, tag or hide and seek. The social Tonkinese thrives in homes where it will have company and will entertain its owners with silly antics.
It is believed that the Tonkinese looking cats existed in the West since at least the early 19th century. However, there wasn’t any real effort to establish this breed until the 1950’s.
The modern-day Tonkinese Cat is the result of crossbreeding of Siamese and Burmese breeds. Canadian breeder, Margaret Conroy wanted to create a breed that will have a somewhat fuller appearance than Siamese, and still retain the appearance and personality of both parenting breeds.
Her efforts paid off and she was able to produce kittens with attractive coats and aquamarine colored eyes. Independently, but during the same time, an American breeder Jane Barletta also started to cross Siamese and Burmese Cats. Hence, the two breeders combined their efforts and started a breeding program.
It was later discovered that Wong Mau, a small dark brown cat that was the matriarch of the Burmese breed was, in fact, a Tonkinese. Wong Mau was an offspring of free-roaming Siamese and Burmese Cats that lived in Burma. Thus, some of today’s Tonkinese Cats can be traced back to Wong Mau.
The Canadian Cat Association began registering this breed in 1967, followed by other associations. However, the Cat Fanciers Association took almost 20 years to recognize the breed and finally did that in 1984. Nowadays, the Tonkinese is recognized by all major cat registries.
The Tonkinese is a medium-sized breed with a moderate but muscular body. These cats are deceptively solid and aren’t heavy at all when picked up.
The body is supported by slender legs that end in distinctive oval paws. Their tails are proportionate to the length of the body and taper towards the end. The head has a slightly rounded wedge shape and is a bit longer than it is wide.
Broad-based medium-sized ears and almond-shaped eyes that slant along the cheekbones, complete the appearance. The eyes come in several shades and can be aqua, blue, green or yellow-green depending on the color of the coat.
Male Tonkinese Cats are slightly larger and weigh from 8-12 pounds. Females are smaller and weigh from 6-8 pounds.
This is a well-muscled cat that needs a lot of proteins to fuel its body. Hence, feed your cat with a high-protein cat food. This way you will provide your cat with all the nutrients she needed to keep her in excellent shape.
To prevent obesity, feed your cat with the recommended food portions for her age and activity level.
The people-oriented, funny and vocal Tonkinese takes after its parenting cat breeds. These cats like to be close to their owners and will always demand attention.
This is a persistent cat that won’t tire until it gets its way. Thus, you will frequently find yourself leaving everything just to pet and cuddle your demanding cat. Your cat will follow you around and even jump on your shoulder just to keep you in sight.
These cats are excellent jumpers, and when they aren’t on their owners shoulders, they will carefully keep an eye on them from a tall cat tree. They like to jump and play and need a lot of toys and cat furniture to thrive.
A chatty and friendly breed by nature, it will greet you and all your guests by the front door and throw a party. Expect to hear all about the Tonk’s day and things that it did while you weren’t around.
This is a brainy cat that enjoys playing with puzzle toys and will happily learn tricks or how to walk on a leash. The Tonkinese is a curious cat that will investigate every nook and cranny in your home. Hence, you should lock away all valuables, remove plants and pots or anything that you hold dear.
Otherwise, you might as well say goodbye to your belongings, since this cat will claim them as her own.
This is a stubborn and demanding cat that won’t appreciate being left alone. Hence, they are best suited for people who spend a lot of time at home. As an alternative, you can get another cat or a dog to keep the Tonk busy and entertained when you aren’t around.
This is a highly adaptable breed that likes meeting new people and experiencing new things. These cats live life to the fullest and won’t mind changing homes as long as you are there with them.
As long as this cat is getting the same amount of affection as before, it will get used to a new home even before you do.
The Tonkinese is an active and playful cat that knows how to stay in shape if provided with lots of catnip toys. These cats like to jump, run and climb and are generally always on the move. Still, play with your cat every day for 15 minutes and tease her with feather toys to fulfill her social needs.
Due to careful selective breeding, the Tonkinese Cat has a very good health. Furthermore, due to their high activity levels, they maintain good shape and robust health.
However, as a Siamese descendant, the Tonkinese is also prone to conditions seen it that breed.
- Gingivitis: It’s the first stage of periodontal disease and it is reversible with proper care. Symptoms of this condition include inflamed gums, bad breath and visible deposits of plaque on the surface of the teeth. Treatment is fairly simple and involves regular teeth brushing with an enzymatic toothpaste.
- Amyloidosis: It is caused when protein amyloid deposits in various organs and disrupts their normal function. In Tonkinese, the amyloid deposits are found in the liver and ultimately lead to liver failure. Affected cats are usually between 1 to 5 years old.
- Nystagmus: This condition causes involuntary eye movements, meaning that the eye unintentionally moves back and forth. This condition usually happens when a cat’s vestibular system is damaged by infections, trauma, tumors or exposure to the toxins. Treatment varies depending on the underlying issues and severity of a cat’s symptoms.
The Tonkinese Cat has an average life expectancy of 10-16 years. These cats have a very good health and most of them reach old age in great health.
However, they are prone to dental issues that can impact their quality of life. Thus, start brushing your cat’s teeth with a cat toothpaste from a young age to prevent any dental issues.
The soft and silky coat of the Tonkinese Cat is very easy to maintain. Hence, brush this cat once a week with a grooming glove. This way you will remove loose hair and dirt on the coat.
Additionally, regular brushing will also distribute skin oils through the length of fur and make it glossy. This is a low shedding breed that won’t leave tons of hair on your furniture for you to clean up.
The Tonkinese’s plush coat comes in four base colors, natural (a medium brown), champagne, platinum and blue.
Depending on the association, they can also come in red, cream, caramel, apricot, cinnamon and fawn. Additionally, all of these colors can come in pointed, mink and solid pattern.
The lively and friendly Tonkinese is a great choice for families with children. These cats get along with kids who can match their energy levels and know how to throw them soft toy balls to retrieve.
They also get along with other pets and prefer having someone to keep them company when their owners aren’t around.
These cats love to play and will never miss a chance to interact with their owners. So get a teaser wand and engage your cat in a fun game.
Try spending at least 15 minutes a day playing with your cat to keep her exercised and content. Additionally, you can consider getting a cat activity center that will keep your kitty busy when you aren’t around to play.