Tonkinese Cats: The Ultimate Guide to Their History, Types, Characteristics, Temperament and Care

There are so many different cats out there, and understanding what makes each cat unique can be quite a venture. Here, we’re taking a look at what sets the Tonkinese cat apart from others – what makes it an excellent companion in the home, and what you can expect when you choose to adopt one.

What’s the nature of the breed?

These gorgeous cats come in a range of colors and often sport bright blue eyes, though eye color can differ from cat to cat. They are a compact breed with a lot of intelligence and a playful nature.

Origin and history of the breed

Cats have been living alongside humans for thousands of years, making them suitable companions in our day to day lives. These tiny tigers come in a wide variety of colors and sizes, ranging from the Munchkin cat to the Maine Coon.

Here’s some more facts about Tonkinese Cat:

When you cross a Siamese cat with a Burmese cat, you get the Tonkinese. They are a unique breed of  cat that are sure to liven up any home.

Physical standards of the breed

Health and possible diseases

While these cats tend to be quite healthy overall, they can have a tendency to develop periodontal disease, so regular toothbrushing will be a must. Luckily, as long as you put in the work to get them used to the process, it shouldn’t become problematic. They may also need vet cleanings here and there just to keep everything in good shape.

One of the potential complications worth looking out for is that members of this breed can be prone to anesthesia sensitivity. If you’re considering adopting a Tonkinese cat, make sure to gain any information you can on this possibility to avoid problems as they grow older.

Aside from periodontal disease, there are a few other diseases these cats may be more prone to. These can include asthma, crossed eyes, hyperesthesia, retinal atrophy, lymphoma and more. Consequently, it’s a good idea to ensure that the cat you adopt has a clean bill of health, or that health problems are addressed.

It may be worth making sure your cat gets a thorough checkup at the vet, just to make sure that if any of these problems are occurring, they can be caught as quickly as possible.


Because Tonkinese cats have short fur, they don’t often require a great deal of grooming. For the most part, you’ll just want to help out with shedding by brushing them about every week. While there isn’t a large concern for matting or tangling, it is a good way to limit the rogue cat hair floating around your home.

Height and size

Tonkinese cats don’t tend to be very tall, coming in at somewhere between 8 and 10 inches.

These cats can be considered a medium-sized feline. They are generally not extremely tall or long, but are built to be sturdy and muscular. It’s a great choice for those who want something that doesn’t get too large, but also won’t be tiny and extremely fragile, like some of the more specialized breeds out there.


Compared to breeds like the Maine Coon or Siberian, Tonkinese cats aren’t very big. They tend to be more compact and muscular. Consequently, they usually only weigh between 6 and 12 pounds when they have reached adult size. This isn’t a cat who takes up a lot of space!


Tonkinese cats are quite balanced when it comes to their activity. They are intelligent and energetic, but also enjoy resting in the lap of their owner. It’s a good idea to make sure these cats have puzzle toys, scratching posts and even a cat tree to allow them to get plenty of exercise.


It’s worth keeping in mind that there really is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat. When it comes to cat allergies, many of the offending aspects are located in the saliva of the cat. However, those who have issues with pet fur and dander can find these cats to cause fewer problems, as they have short fur and don’t shed as heavily as others.


Tonkinese cats can live for a decently long time, upwards of 13 years. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the lifespan of any cat is directly affected by their living conditions and care. Indoor cats tend to live longer than those who are kept outdoors, and regular vet trips are always a good idea.

Caring Difficulty

Caring for  a Tonkinese cat isn’t a difficult thing. The most important aspect is going to be making sure they have a clean bill of health when you adopt them. From that point on, regular brushing, nail trimming and ear cleaning are worthwhile endeavors. Making sure they receive regular checkups is also a great idea.

Where to get a Tonkinese Cat

No matter what breed of cat you’re looking for, it’s always worthwhile to take a look at your local shelters first. There are a great many cats out there who are in need of loving homes.

For those who are set on a purebred Tonkinese cat, it’s a good idea to find a breeder who is reputable. Typically, quality breeders will have limits on how many litters they allow per year. This gives them a better ability to make sure kittens are healthy, well socialized and raised in happy conditions.

Remember, it’s better to be more picky and end up paying a higher price than it is to skimp on the cost and end up with a cat that may have serious health issues.

How much does a Tonkinese Cat cost?

When you purchase a Tonkinese cat from a breeder, it can cost upwards of $600. Meanwhile, cats that are available in shelters come with shots and checkups, typically for under $100.

Choosing the right type of Tonkinese Cat

There are a few things to consider when you’re looking at adopting a Tonkinese cat. These include the items and attention they need for living happily and healthily.

Responsibilities to consider in the care of a Tonkinese Cat

What do they require?

It’s a good idea to make sure your Tonkinese has plenty to keep them entertained. This includes toys, cat furniture, space and attention. These cats love to be involved with what their human is doing, so being open to that is a must. You may even consider training them to go on leashed walks.

Do they need a certain level of care and attention?

It’s a good idea to make sure that Tonkinese cats get the attention and exercise they need. These are active, intelligent cats so they will need ways to use those attributes that don’t get you or your furniture  clawed up. Making sure they get enough exercise, both mentally and physically, will be a plus.

Characteristics of Tonkinese Cats


The Tonkinese is active, playful and quite outgoing. They need plenty of attention and playtime so that they can spend all that energy in a productive way. Because of this, they can be a good choice for those who have children or other family members who have time to spend playing and providing attention.


This breed comes in three distinct patterns. These include mink, pointed and solid colors. You may notice that their coloring is similar to what you’d see in a Siamese. This is because the breed comes from a Siamese mixture. You’ll also often see that members of this breed have very bright, gorgeous eyes.


Tonkinese cats are quite affectionate and will happily greet just about anyone who comes to the door. They love playing and cuddling up to their owners, making them great companions. While they aren’t loudly vocal, these cats can be likely to “talk” to you sometimes as well.


For those with dogs or children who are friendly to cats, the Tonkinese is unlikely to cause any trouble. They enjoy playing and can get along perfectly well with other cats as well as dogs. One great way to ensure peace in the home is to make sure all other pets are well socialized, and that children know how to behave kindly towards animals.


These are quite intelligent cats, so it’s a good idea to give them plenty to keep their minds busy!


With plenty of energy, Tonkinese cats can benefit from regular playtime, exciting cat furniture and even leashed walks if you’re willing to train them.


Tonkinese cats don’t require a lot of excessive maintenance. Like most cats, regular grooming and checkups are a great idea. Keep in mind that due to potential genetic issues, some members of the breed may require more extra care than others.

Types of Tonkinese Cats

While there aren’t exactly different types of Tonkinese cats, there are different patterns and colors. These will be worth considering while selecting the cat you want to adopt.

Tonkinese cats can be found in a variety of different colors including chocolate, red, lilac, cream, seal, cinnamon, blue, fawn and tortoiseshell. Because of that, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to worry about all of the members of this breed looking the same.

As previously mentioned, Tonkinese cats can be found in pointed, solid and mink patterns. Pairing those up with all the different color options means that every kitten is quite unique.

Tonkinese Cat compared to other breeds

Compared to other breeds, you may find that the Tonkinese is a bit more intelligent and active. While they do love to cuddle, these aren’t cats that typically spend all day laying around. Because of that, they are a great option for those who want a more active cat, or one they can take on walks.


Overall, Tonkinese cats are gorgeous, delightful companions for those who can give them plenty of attention and exercise. If you like a playful, smart feline with eyes that are sure to capture the hearts of whoever they fall on, a Tonkinese is certainly the right choice.