tonkinese cat breed

The Tonkinese cat is lovable, outgoing, and playful. Not only can you have an in-depth conversation with this intelligent kitty, you may even find you have a furry shadow as you walk around your home.

When you finally have a laid-back Tonk, you’ll begin to wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. They’re such a pleasant and fascinating and affectionate companion! This kitty will make your life much happier at home.

So, when are you getting a Tonkinese? You shouldn’t wait any longer! 

tonkinese cat facts

Tonkinese Cat Facts

  • The Tonkinese cat has had several different names. They were first referred to as a Chocolate Siamese in the 1880’s. In order to be distinguished as something other than a Siamese in 1967, the name Tonkanese was adopted. A few years later in 1971, Breeders changed the spelling in honor of the Bay of Tonkin off southern China and North Vietnam. It supposedly sounded more exotic. Today, they are now affectionately nicknamed Tonks for short.
  • Tonkinese love to go for car rides and you can even take them with you on vacation. They can easily be trained to go for walks using a body harness and leash to enjoy the outdoors as well.
  • In 1930, Dr. Joseph Thompson imported a small, walnut-colored cat named Wong Mau to California. It is said that all Tonkinese and Burmese can trace their beginnings back to this very cat.
  • Tonkinese kittens are famous for kissing their humans on the face and neck to show affection.
  • The world record for birthing the most kittens is currently held by a Tonkinese mother. Having 19 kittens must have been exhausting!
  • For those of you who like dogs, the Tonkinese is considered one of the most “dog-like” cats in the feline world today. They can learn to play fetch with their favorite toy or simply a paper ball. Tonks also love following around their humans.
tonkinese features

Physical Features

  • Lifespan: 12 to 16 years with some living longer under ideal conditions.
  • Weight: Females typically weigh from 6 to 10 lbs. while males will range around 8 to 12 lbs.
  • Body Type: Medium-sized with a stocky torso and muscular frame.
  • Eye Color: Blue, aqua, green, and yellow-green.
  • Coat Color: Platinum, champagne, natural, and blue with pointed, mink, and solid patterns.
  • Shedding: Average with heavier times during the Spring and Fall.
tonkinese personality

Personality Traits

  • Activity Level: The Tonkinese cat is known for being quite playful and energetic at times. Whether with its humans or on its own, this kitty does its fair share of gymnastics and crazed night zoomies.
  • Breed Intellect: Without mental stimulation, the Tonk can get bored or even restless. It’s important to provide various different activities and interactive or puzzle toys to challenge their mind.
  • Temperament: Being such an easygoing and contented cat, the Tonkinese is a cat lover’s dream come true… a loving, crazy fun, and complacent kitty.
  • Attention Needs: The Tonkinese is happiest with its humans but not a cling-monster like some cats. Other pets and interactive toys are a good idea for those who are away from home during the day.
  • Caring Nature: This cat loves kisses, hugs, being held, headbutts, and of course, lap time. There is nothing better than the affection from this sweet, sweet kitty.
  • Vocal Tendency: While not being overly outspoken, the Tonkinese will be happy to carry on a conversation with its humans anytime.
  • Kids Compatible: Absolutely! Just be sure to keep an eye on younger children and toddlers who don’t yet know feline etiquette.
  • Tolerates Pets: Because this is a very laid-back kitty, it gets along well with other cats and cat-friendly dogs, as long as they’re not overly playful or too aggressive.
  • Stranger-Friendly: The Tonk is generally a very social cat and likes attention from everyone so, yes, invite family and friends over.

Health and Well-Being

Ideal Living Situation

The Tonkinese cat is most suited for everyone from a single person living in a small apartment to an active family living in a large home. They are not particularly too dependent or clingy so, that’s great for those who work outside the home during the day.

Possible Health Problems

Tonkinese are susceptible to the same issues as Siamese and Burmese cats.

Amyloidosis can lead to organ malfunction and the predisposition can get stronger as the cat ages.

Hyperthyroidism is especially common in Tonkinese. You should have your Tonk screened for this every so often. It’s best to find it early as it can help extend a cat’s life with medication or treatments. This is usually found in cats around 10 to 12 years of age.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a thickening of the heart wall muscle. This can be life threatening but there is medication to help slow down its progression and give the cat a better quality of life.

Annual Vaccinations

There are four core vaccines and one non-core option available for all cats.

The first essential vaccine would be Rabies which is a fatal disease if exposed to it.

The second inoculation (FVRCP) is a combination of the remaining three core vaccines in one. This covers Feline Herpesvirus 1 or FHV-1 which is an upper respiratory infection, Feline Calicivirus or FCV which attacks the upper respiratory tract, and the final is Feline Panleukopenia Virus or FPV (also known as Feline Distemper) which is life threatening and extremely dangerous for young cats and kittens.

You can get the optional non-core vaccine Feline Leukemia Virus or FeLV. This is considered a core vaccine for every kitten. Make an appointment with your local vet to discuss and schedule all these vaccinations.

Grooming Routine

When caring for cats, there are four specific areas which need regular attention.

Weekly brushing is the minimum required to keep their fur healthy and shiny. This also helps distribute natural body oils, remove dead hair, and eliminate matted fur.

When the nails are getting a little too sharp and ripping furniture or carpet, it’s time to trim them. Be sure not to trim off too much of each nail as this can cause pain.

Cats are prone to periodontal disease and gingivitus so brushing their teeth with veterinarian-approved toothpaste once or twice a week should suffice. You can also give them dental treats to clean their teeth in between brushing.

Finally, you’ll want to address the ears. While cats have a built-in mechanism for cleansing their inner ear canals, the visible portion of their ears should occasionally be very gently swabbed to remove foreign matter.

Please consult a veterinarian for the proper procedures when grooming your cat.

Feeding Advice

Cats are known as obligate carnivores or strict meat eaters. Their diets should primarily consist of high protein and a few fats.

While carbohydrates are not usually a part of feline nutrition, scientists have concluded they are able to be used for energy in small amounts. On the other hand, if a cat is continuously fed too many carbs, diabetes can actually develop later in their life.

When choosing a wet or dry food, you need to read the caloric information labels to ensure your cat is being fed the appropriate nutrient levels.

Normally, wet foods should contain around 70% to 80% moisture as cats from past feral generations obtained most of their liquids from the animals they killed and ate.

Proteins are ideal when they’re between 10% and 20% in grain-free wet food. Seafood varieties are typically the highest in protein.

Two of the best dry food formulas on the market would be Natural Balance Limited Ingredients Diet with High Protein and Orijen Biologically Appropriate Cat Food. These specially made dry food products include healthy amounts of prepared raw meats, some needed fats, and minimal carbohydrates.

Exercise Tips

You should plan to play with your cat at least 15 minutes everyday, although, more is encouraged with certain active breeds.

Feather toys and laser pointers are a great choice to keep them moving. This helps relieve their boredom and reduces the chance for depression as well.

For a really cheap play session, simply buy a ball of string. Cut off a ten foot section at a time and drag it around the house behind you. Your kitties will love attacking the end of the string! Big fun for a small price.

Catnip is another way to offer an edible distraction in their lives. Don’t worry, the effects typically wear off in about 15 minutes or so.

One of the best items you can acquire for exercise would be a cat tree or cat condo. This is basically a jungle gym for cats which provides a place for climbing, relaxing, and sharpening their claws instead of using your furniture.

There are a couple other alternatives including an exercise wheel, which can be somewhat expensive, and a simple body harness with a leash for outdoor walks. Your cat may or may not like this option but, you can give it a try.

tonkinese cat price

Tonkinese Cat Price

You can own a pet-only quality Tonkinese cat for a price between $300 and $600.

Those who want a registered pedigree from a reputable breeder can expect to pay $600 to $1200 for a beautiful kitten with show potential.

Your local adoption shelter may have a Tonkinese available however, it will likely be a mixed breed. Standard fees cost around $30 to $175.

tonkinese breeders

Registered Tonkinese Breeders

Pendragon Tonks – California

TenderTonks Cattery – California

VivaTonk – California

Siam Bali Rags – Florida

Swan Falls Cattery – Idaho

Machick Tonkinese – Massachusetts

Takrai Tonkinese – Massachusetts

Innocentia Cattery – Michigan

Mine Falls Tonkinese – New Hampshire

Beritas Cattery – New York

PrarieRidge Tonkinese – North Dakota

Minkitty Cattery – Ohio

Ricela Cattery – Ohio

Cecchetti Cats – Texas

Vitrina Tonkinese – Wisconsin

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