Updated at: 05-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

If you love the characteristics of the Burmese and Siamese, but can only own one cat, then the Tonkinese cat breed will give you the best of both worlds. Tonkinese is the dream of any cat lover since it is social, sweet, and smart. This breed is produced by crossing the Burmese and the Siamese to produce an adorable pointed cat that has diluted, softer colors and a superbly unique personality.

The Tonkinese cat breed is unique since it does not have any extreme physical features and is a medium-sized cat of Oriental build. The cat has a gently rounded head with broader ears that are widely set apart. The eyes tend to open more compared to the classic oriental shape and they range from light blue to green in color. This cat breed has a well-balanced, muscular, and firm body with a close-lying and short coat with a soft, silky texture.

Tonkinese Cat

Origin of the Tonkinese Cat

The Tonkinese is the outcome of cross-breeding between Siamese cat and Burmese cat, resulting in a breed that displays characteristics from both cat breeds. The first Tonkinese cat to arrive in the USA was in the 1930s. Its lineage is traced to the same female cat that developed the Burmese breed, Wong Mau in the USA.

Today, some Tonkinese cat breed lines can be traced back to the Wong Mau. This breed was mainly ignored until the 1960s when they reappeared and their popularity grew. The Canadian Cat Association registered the first Tonkinese cat in 1967, but the Cat Fanciers Association officially recognized this breed in 1984.


Tonkinese Cat 2

The Tonkinese breed has the same friendly and affectionate nature as the Burmese and Siamese cats. These breed makes the perfect family pets because they are people-oriented and are quite intelligent and very inquisitive. Tonkinese cats love company, and a companion is necessary if they are left alone for long hours. The Tonkinese cats are very vocal and they will chatter happily and even follow you around the house.

Major Health Problems

The Tonkinese cats are a healthy breed, however, the cats can sometimes experience feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) and dental problems. FLUTD causes pain or discomfort in cats when urinating. Though it is common in overweight felines, some breeds like the Tonkinese tend to be affected more. Some signs that your cat may be having FLUTD include the following:

  • Frequent urination
  • Straining to urinate
  • Urinating away from the litter box
  • Vocalization when urinating

Just like other cats, the Tonkinese breeds will benefit immensely from routine visits to the veterinarian and a proper diet to maintain optimum health. Additionally, the cats should be vaccinated to protect them against diseases and they also need regular parasitic control.

Nutrition and Diet

Like most cats today, the Tonkinese tends to be at risk for obesity. Therefore, this breed requires an appropriately balanced diet. When determining the best food for your cat, you need to consider other risk factors. The portion of food given to the cat will vary based on its age, overall health, current lifestyle, and personal preferences.

There are several foods that can help in balancing urine pH to prevent FLUTD, and bladder stones. Some foods also focus on weight management and dental care. You can always consult your veterinarian for recommendations regarding the best food items for your Tonkinese feline.

Care and Grooming of Tonkinese Cats

Tonkinese Cat 3

The Tonkinese cats are easy to take care of and groom. They have a short coat that needs minimal upkeep and grooming is not a necessity. However, these cats require regular play, exercise, and occasional puzzle toys.

Since the Tonkinese cats are susceptible to gingivitis, you need to begin brushing her teeth when still a kitten so that she can become accustomed to it with time. Using water additives will ensure the feline’s teeth are white and healthy.

The Tonkinese cats are extremely social and they love human attention. Therefore, if you are searching for a kitten that will be happy staying home alone, then this is not the best breed for you. These cats want to be with their cat parents as much as possible and they are really good companions.

It is best to keep your Tonkinese cat as an indoor only pet to help protect him from the spread of diseases from other cats, attacks by coyotes, and dogs, or other outdoor dangers that cats face. Tonkinese cats that go outside also run the risk of being stolen by people who want to own a beautiful cat without paying a dime.


The social and active Tonkinese cat is an ideal pet for families that have kids and cat-friendly dogs. This dog will engage in most games like fetch, learn tricks with ease, and will enjoy the attention he/she gets from kids. This cat breed can live peacefully with dogs and cats that respect their authority. It is always best to introduce other pets slowly to your Tonkinese cat and in controlled circumstances to make sure they get along with ease.

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