Lifespan: 15 - 20 years


Weight: 6 - 12 pounds

Tonkinese Traits

  • Lap Cat

    Trait Rating: 1 of 5
  • Intelligence

    Trait Rating: 5 of 5
  • Ease of Training

    Trait Rating: 4 of 5
  • Grooming Requirements

    Trait Rating: 1 of 5
  • Shedding

    Trait Rating: 2 of 5
  • Good with Children

    Trait Rating: 5 of 5
  • Good with Dogs

    Trait Rating: 5 of 5
  • Chattiness

    Trait Rating: 5 of 5

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  • Reigns as one of the world's oldest feline breeds with historical references dating back to the Ayudha Period in the late 1300s.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 Tonkinese

  • 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.

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