Tonkinese Cats [Everything You Need To Know]

Tonkinese Cats [Everything You Need To Know]

If you are looking for a playful cat that also looks heavier than it is, Tonkinese is the right breed for you. I was curious about other facts that make this cat breed worth owning. I found a lot of great information to share.

Tonkinese cats are a mix of Siamese and Burmese cat breeds and have a personality of both. Tonkinese is a medium-sized cat that weighs typically between 6-20lbs (2.7-9kg). These cats are affectionate, friendly, playful, and talkative.

Aside from the facts mentioned above, there is a lot to know about this hybrid cat. Before you decide if this breed is right for you and your family, learn more from the info below.

Tonkinese Cat Basics

Lifespan12-18 years
WeightMale: 8 -20lbs (3.6-9kg)
Female: 6-8lbs (2.7-3.6 kg)
Height8-10 inches (20-25cm)
Length12-15 inches (30-38cm)
Colorsfour primary colors: platinum, champagne, natural, and blue
Coat patternspointed, solid, and mink
Eye colorsaqua, sapphire blue, deep gold
CoatShort, silky soft
Groomingonce a week
Priceit depends if the cat is show quality or pet quality
($600-$1200 US)
PopularityUSA, UK
Breed registriesCFA, GCCF, TICA

Tonkinese Colors

Tonkinese color depends on whether the cat lives in a colder or warmer climate. Pointers on Tonkinese’ coat (head, ears, tail, and paws) will be darker in colder climates because the colder temperature controls the enzyme that brings out the darker color of the cat’s fur.

Tonkinese kitten color will be changing while they are growing, so the real color won’t show until adult age.

Tonkinese’ Coat

These cats have a short, silky feel coat that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. This silky coat feels fantastic when you’re petting your Tonkinese.

Tonkinese Coat Patterns Explained

What pointed coat pattern means?

Pointed simply means that the cat has darker paws, tail, face, and ears. Those parts stand out from their pale bodies. This happens with Tonkinese that lives in colder climates since the heat-sensitive enzyme brings out the darker color in the face, ears, paws, or tail. Pointed pattern Tonkinese has more Siamese characteristics. These patterns Tonkinese also have stunning blue eyes.

What is a solid coat?

A solid cat coat means that the cat only has one color throughout the body. It can be any color of the coat, but that same color covers the entire body without spots of any other colors. Solid patterned Tonkinese has more Burmese characteristics.

What mink pattern coat means?

Mink pattern in Tonkinese means that the cat has medium contrast between the body and pointers (colors and face, ears, paws, and tail). Mink pattern Tonkinese usually has aqua eyes.

Eye Colors in Tonkinese

Tonkinese eyes are almond-shaped and come in three primary colors:

  1. aqua
  2. sapphire blue
  3. deep gold

Aqua color eyes are often considered the main characteristic of this cat breed, but Tonkinese’s eyes also come in different colors.

The aqua eye color eyes are the mix of sapphire blue eyes in Siamese cats and Burmese’s deep gold eye colors. Aqua color eyes are specific for the mink pattern in this cat breed.

How Much Tonkinese Cat Costs?

The price of this breed depends if you are planning to take the cat to shows or just want your Tonkinese to be a loving pet companion. A lot of people don’t consider taking their cats to pet shows or to become breeders but later change their minds.

The other fact that might impact the price is the coat color. The chocolate color is rare, and therefore the cost of a chocolate color kitten might be higher than some other color kittens.

There are a few important factors that impact the price of this breed: location, demand, quality, color, pattern, and whether the cat has registration papers or not.

There are more breeders in the USA and the UK than Canada and other countries, and therefore the Tonkinese is probably harder to find in Canada and other countries and can be more expensive.

Here are the average prices of Tonkinese cats in a few different countries.

CountryAverage cost
USA (USD)pet quality $300-$600
show quality $600-$1200
to adopt $75-$150
Canada (CAD)to buy $500-$1000
to adopt $120
UK (GBP)to buy £150-£550

Please consider adopting a cat instead of buying it. The cost of adoption is less than purchasing the kitten. The average price of cat adoption is $75-$150 (depends on the location). Check animal shelters in your area, and the shelter can even help you check other shelters for a specific cat breed. You would be surprised by how many cats end up in shelters for various reasons. Most animal shelters have websites and post info on cats that are available for adoption.

Here are few animal shelters to consider:

  • ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)
  • American Humane
  • HumaneWatch (American Animal Rights Movement)
  • SPCAi (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (S.P.C.A.) International)
  • Humane Canada (Humane Society of Canada)
  • RSPCA (Australian Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

Is It Expensive To Own a Tonkinese?

According to ASPCA, the estimated first-year annual cat care cost is around $1200. This cost does not include the cost of buying a cat, just a cat care cost. The estimated cost for the first year of owning a Tonkinese is anywhere from $1800-$2400, depending on the price of a cat. For adopted Tonkinese, this cost is much less and can be anywhere from $1300-$1400.

The annual cost is for only one cat, so if you are want to have more than one Tonkinese, this cost is almost double.

The costs listed below are average prices, but the owner can spend more or less on each of the listed things. For example, premium food will cost you more than regular cat food, and you can spend more money on better-quality toys.

What you’ll need for your Tonkinese?

ExpensesCost in $
Premium food$225
Exam, core vaccinations, heartworm, flea, and tick prevention$160
Basic toys and treats$30
Health insurance$175
Spay or neutering$145
Deworming, basic blood tests, microchip$130
Collar, litter box, scratching post, carrier bag$100
Total cost for the first year$1200

Cat health insurance usually does not include the expenses listed above. If you adopt a cat from the shelter, the cat might already be vaccinated and spayed/neutered.

Behavioral Traits Of Tonkinese

Here is the table with some of the main and most important behavioral traits in Tonkinese.

Behavioral TraitRanking 1-10
Activity level7
Tonkinese and other pets5
Litter box use9
Furniture scratching4
Urine marking2

The lower the ranking, the lower the chance of a cat having a particular trait.

How Active the Tonkinese Cat Is?

Tonkinese is a very active cat, so the owner should keep their cat physically satisfied. Before getting this cat breed, make sure you are ready to satisfy Tonkinese’s activity level. They are active for hours and will expect you to entertain them. Your cat will get bored if you don’t pay enough attention to it. To keep them happy, playmates and interactive toys are a good help to have.

Is Tonkinese Cat Playfull?

Tonkinese is very playful, and this cat looks at everything through play. Everything is a game to these cats. Tonkinese will play for hours, and one of their favorite game is fetching, just like dogs do. Even at old age, these cats still enjoy playing.

As all cats are individuals, rarely you might get a Tonkinese that is not playful.

Are Tonkinese Good With Kids?

They are such gentle and friendly cats and love attention from kids. They will be happy to live with a family where kids are giving them the attention they deserve. If your kids have time and energy to play with them, they will be best friends.

Most Tonkinese won’t mind if children pull them, spin them in circles, and will come to ask for more. Don’t be surprised if you find your kids and your Tonkinese chasing each other through the house.

Tonkinese and Strangers

These cats love just about everyone. They will probably cuddle with every single stranger they meet and possibly climb into their laps. Tonkinese is fierce, and they trust people. Any stranger that comes into your home and is ready to play will happily accept the game. There are very few Tonkinese that will be shy in front of strangers, but it does happen.

Are Tonkinese Aggressive Cats?

These cats have such a tolerant personalities, and it’s doubtful for Tonkinese to be aggressive. Tonkinese is gentle and won’t even scratch the owner or a stranger. If the Tonkinese is showing any signs of aggression, it might be in pain or feel unsafe. As a fact, they are so beautiful that they are used as therapy cats.

To prove how wonderful these cats are, watch the video of them helping the elderly in retirement homes and younger people cope with their illnesses. To view, click here.

Are Tonkinese Affectionate?

Tonkinese is a highly affectionate cat. They will give their love and trust to their humans and only expect to be loved in return. This cat loves being around owners and supervises everything owners do. They will even try to help you with the chores. As owners would say, “Tonkinese has no mean bone.”

These cats enjoy cuddles, head rubs to give kisses, and they love it when you pet them all day long. Being around these cats makes owners happy and brings a lot of joy to human lives. Tonkinese wants everything to be about them, without compromise.

Tonkinese will most likely jump on your shoulder and lay around your neck to pretend to be a scarf. Tonkinese love snuggles and will sleep on your pillow if you let them. They are loyal and will give you endless enjoyment.

Is Tonkinese a Lap Cat?

Tonkinese cats love to sit on owners’ lap, so if this is something you’re looking for in the cat behavior, you are lucky. As soon as you sit, your cat will be in your lap in seconds.

If you have more than one Tonkinese, they will “fight” to sit on your lap, but eventually, they will all find a way to fit on your lap.

Will Tonkinese Get Along With My Other Pets?

This cat breed does get along with other pets. Tonkinese loves other cats and dogs and will enjoy their company. Some owners say their Tonkinese are just like dogs, so they get along with dogs well.

As being social as they are, Tonkinese will gladly accept the company of any other pet as long as they are willing to play on the same level. As always, it is good to introduce your cat to other pets at an early age. That’s not always possible, so introduce them slowly.

Should I Have More Than One Tonkinese?

It’s beneficial to have more than one cat if you can afford it. The main reason is to keep each other company. They will behave better when there is more than one cat in the house. Cats will keep each other busy.

Their whole world is about being active and playing. If the owner won’t have enough time during the day to give the Tonkinese attention they crave, it’s smart to find a playmate for the cat. When owners are not at home, they won’t feel lonely when they have each other. They are very social cats, so they do need a companion.

Is Tonkinese a Vocal Cat?

Tonkinese is a vocal cat but is not extremely loud. They are talkative and will “talk” to you daily and have serious “conversations” with you. Every question you ask, they will gladly give you an answer.

Litter Box Use

Tonkinese, like some other cat breeds, like a clean litter box, so make sure to clean it daily. If you own more than one cat, it’s a good idea to have multiple litter boxes—the size of the litter box matter.

What is suitable for a kitten or a young Tonkinese might not be big enough for your adult Tonkinese. Choosing good quality litter is as important as the litter box.

Are Tonkinese Cats Destructive?

They can be destructive if owners don’t give them the attention they want. The destructive behavior may be out of boredness and lack of stimulus. If they don’t have someone to play with, they might tear up stuff around the house.

Providing them with enough toys is essential. The good idea is to have another pet as a playmate to redirect their mischiefs to something positive—playing with another animal. Interactive cat toys are also great to keep your cat busy.

Are Tonkinese smart?

Tonkinese is intelligent cats. You can train them and teach them tricks. You can do treat training to teach them tricks like “sit” and “high five.” Some owners say their Tonkinese started using the human toilet without any training.

Will My Tonkinese Scratch My Furniture?

They are not ranked high as furniture scratchers, but owners should provide few scratching posts around the house just in case. Having different size scratching posts will give them a choice. Cats like to stretch their whole bodies while scratching, so make sure to provide them with the tall one as well.

In case they do start scratching the furniture, there are furniture protectors available, as well as anti-scratching sprays you can use. Make a table leg scratcher for your cat; it’s easy and cheap. All you need to do is wrap a rope around the table leg, and your cat will appreciate it.

Grooming Your Tonkinese

Tonkinese’s short, silk coat does not require a lot of grooming. This breed requires grooming once a week with a rubber brush just to remove dead hair from its fur. Brushing their coats will make them even more beautiful and silky.

General Tonkinese Health Concerns

Like other cat breeds, the Tonkinese cat breed has health concerns and diseases owners should know about. Some conditions are genetic and may or may not affect your pet. Tonkinese is considered a healthy cat breed.

Gingivitis is one of the most common health conditions in Tonkinese, and you should be taking care of its teeth by brushing them a few times a week. Prevention is the best when it comes to your pet’s health.

Certain “core” vaccinations are necessary to prevent some common conditions in cats. Talk to your veterinarian about vaccination.

List and Symptoms Of Common Health Issues in Cats

The health Issues listed below are some of the widespread diseases in cats in general. They may not affect your Tonkinese, but it’s good to know the basics of each of the health concerns.

Health IssueProblem AreaSymptoms
Inflammatory Bowel DiseaseGastrointestinal tractvomiting, diarrhea, bloody stool, lethargy, decreased appetite
Feline leukemia virusVarious cells in the bodypale gums, loss of appetite, weakness, fever, diarrhea
Hepatic lipidosisLiveravoiding eating
Hypokalemic polymyopathyMuscle weakness associated with kidney failurestiff gait, head tremors
Lysosomal storage diseaseIt affects many body systems, Nervous systembalance problems, seizure, fainting
PanleukopeniaThe gastrointestinal tract, Immune system, Nervous systemanorexia, lethargy, profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting
CalicivirusRespiratory and oral areasSymptoms that look like a cold, with sneezing, nasal congestion, fever, drooling,  inflammation and ulcers on the tongue, discharge from the eyes and nose
(Feline Herpes Virus)
Respiratory tractulcers on the cornea, fever
RabiesBrain, Spinal cordchanges in behavior, aggressiveness, lethargy, weakness, seizure, disorientation
GingivitisGums, Teethloss of appetite, aggressiveness

Some diseases are common in Siamese and Burmese cats, so it’s good to be informed. While Hypokalemic polymyopathy is an inherited disorder in Burmese, Lysosomal storage disease is common in both Siamese and Burmese.

To learn more about the specific feline disease, visit Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine’s website.

Do I Need a Pet Health Insurance For My Tonkinese?

Buying health care insurance for your cat can be beneficial in case your cat needs special treatments. The cost of the insurance varies and depends on the cat’s age, gender, breed, location, and what coverage you choose.

What is included in pet health insurance?

  • Surgery
  • Hospitalization
  • Prescription Medications
  • X-rays
  • Blood tests
  • Ultrasounds
  • Diagnostic treatment
  • Accidents
  • Common illnesses (skin issues, stomach issues, ear infections, cancer, eye conditions, allergies, and other)
  • Specialty care (specialty hospitals if you need service out of your primary veterinarian service)
  • Alternative treatment (acupuncture, chiropractic, hydrotherapy)
  • Hereditary conditions (if it develops later in life)

Pet health insurance usually doesn’t include the following: pre-existing conditions, examination fees, preventive care (vaccinations, dental care, flea control, de-worming, spaying and neutering, and similar).

To find the best pet health insurance, it’s a good idea to get quotes from different ones and choose the insurance that covers the most for the best price.

Are Tonkinese Hypoallergenic Cats?

Tonkinese is not considered a hypoallergenic cat breed.

What does hypoallergenic mean? It means that dander (similar to dandruff in humans), saliva, and urine are unlikely to cause any allergic reactions.

If you have any cat allergies, consult with your doctor before getting Tonkinese.

Tonkinese Diet; What do they eat?

There are many different opinions on what Tonkinese should and should not eat. Their diet, for sure, makes a difference with their skin and coat. Some owners feed their cats fully raw meat, while others combine raw meat with wet and dry food. To make sure that you are feeding your Tonkinese the right diet, consult with your cat’s veterinarian. Don’t forget to give your Tonkinese fresh water every day.

Purchase a quality cat food. Read the labels on cat foods and look for one that lists meat as one of the top two ingredients. Tonkinese cats need meat to get certain amino acids found only in meat protein. If they do not get these essential amino acids, they can become ill. They can suffer from serious eye and heart problems if these amino acids are lacking in the diet”.

Can Tonkinese Cats Go Outside?

Tonkinese cats can go outside, but because of their friendliness level is not recommended to keep them outdoors. These cats are trusty and love everyone so that they wouldn’t be safe outside.

With that said, you can leash train your cat and take it for a walk. This way, your cat will remain safe and will be able to explore the outdoors. Most Tonkinese cats are indoor cats, though. If you do take your cat outside, be aware of the tick season and areas with ticks. There’s also a risk of your cat getting fleas from other animals. If you have enough space around the house, you can make an outdoor playing area with tunnels.

Tonkinese Facts

  1. Pointed pattern Tonkinese have stunning blue eyes
  2. Tonkinese cats are pricey
  3. The first year of owning Tonkinese might be expensive
  4. It’s hard to find a Tonkinese available for adoption
  5. Tonkinese cats are very active
  6. Tonkinese is suitable for a family that will give a lot of attention to their cat
  7. They are mostly indoor cats
  8. They are a rare breed in most countries
  9. People like to steal them because of their beautiful blue eyes
  10. They are lap cats
  11. Tonkinese will climb on your shoulder
  12. They love snuggles
  13. They will follow you like a dog
  14. Tonkinese’ coat is easy to maintain
  15. Tonkinese is a very playful cat
  16. Tonkinese is highly friendly and gentle
  17. Tonkinese are affectionate and love everyone
  18. Tonkinese love strangers
  19. They are funny cats
  20. They are good with kids
  21. They are good with other cats
  22. Tonkinese is very curious
  23. They play fetch like dogs
  24. They need a lot of interactive toys
  25. Gingivitis affects this breed
  26. They are considered a healthy breed

Tonkinese Cat Breeders

Below are the links to some of the Tonkinese breeders in various countries. Listed breeders are registered and recognized by cat organizations and associations around the world. There are many more breeders of Tonkinese cats. To find more, check your local newspapers and listings.

CountryBreeder Info
South Africa

To find helpful information on choosing a perfect Tonkinese kitten and how to choose a breeder, click here.

If You Want To Became a Breeder

If you are thinking of becoming a serious Tonkinese breeder, there are specific rules and standards you need to follow to become one. Tonkinese Associations, Organizations, and Clubes are expecting breeders to follow Tonkinese Breeding Policy.

When talking about Tonkinese Breeding Policy, there are specific rules breeders have to follow to become a breeder.

What is important?

  • Tonkinese genetics (type, coat color, eye color, and more)
  • Tonkinese Breeding Policy (permitted and prohibited mating)
  • DNA testing
  • The health of the Tonkinese
  • Registration Policy

For Tonkinese Organizations, Associations, and Cat Clubs to learn how to become a breeder, please visit TICA, GCCF, CFA, Tonkinese Breed Advisory Committee, Tonkinese Breed Club, and Tonkinese Cat Club.

To download a free PDF Tonkinese Breeding Policy that can give more detailed info about expectations from a breeder, click here. To learn about breeding expenses, check the breeding expenses checklist.


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