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The Tonkinese cat is a cross between a Siamese and a Persian. While their ancestors were from Southeast Asia, breeders in the USA created this hybrid breed in the 1960s. The Tonkinese cat takes the best qualities from these two Asian cats, resulting in a loving and intelligent feline with a gorgeous pointed brown coat.
Tonks are highly social felines; they love to play and also adore snuggling in their owners' laps. However, these glamorous kitties may be full of affection, but they are hard to find as they are such a rare hybrid breed.
Learn more about Tonkinese Breed
Meet the Tonkinese cat
The Tonkinese is a medium-sized cat with a muscular structure. They typically weigh between 6 and 12 pounds and stand around 7 to 10 inches tall. They have slim tails and legs with oval-shaped paws. Their slightly rounded heads are proportionate to their bodies, and they have gorgeous almond-shaped eyes.
However, the most remarkable thing about their appearance is the elegant coat colouring. Their pointed fur can be among several base colours: natural (medium brown), champagne (pale beige), blue, platinum, and more. This shade can then be a high-contrast point pattern, medium-contrast "mink" pattern, low-contrast pattern or even a solid pattern. However, the most common is the mink pattern, consisting of a lighter body and darker face, ears, legs and tail.
The Tonk's eye colour depends on their coat. The popular mink Tonkinese has a striking aqua colour, the point Tonkinese typically has a darker blue, and the solid Tonkinese has green eyes. Their short fur feels soft and silky and requires little to no grooming.
Tonks have a long lifespan, with most living for 15 to 20 years. However, like all breeds, Tonkinese cats have specific health concerns, such as gum disease, bowel issues, and heart disease.
The temperament of a Tonkinese
The Tonkinese is a highly affectionate breed that makes an excellent lap cat and has a playful and curious nature. They like to be involved in what's happening around them and supervise their owners during their day-to-day activities, just to stay close. Their intelligence is impressive, as they'll crack puzzle toys in record time. You can also teach them to play fetch or walk on a leash and teach basic commands.
They get bored quickly, and you'll know when this is the case as your Tonk will start demanding attention. They need both regular human interaction and plenty of interactive toys to keep them occupied. They will use their meow and chat to you, but they are generally not as vocal as the Siamese. Plus, their voices are much softer!
They can act silly sometimes and will undoubtedly show off in an attempt to win extra attention. So don't be surprised if your Tonk meows until you look at them and then leaps up onto a high place, seeking your praise. When you notice them clowning around like this, be sure to give them the attention they need and deserve, as this will deepen your connection significantly and satisfy your kitty's need for gratification.
10 reasons to add a Tonkinese to your family
- They have glamorous looks - Their colour point pattern is aesthetically stunning, and their fur is silky smooth, too.
- They love to cuddle - Despite their high energy levels, Tonkinese cats love to snuggle on their owners' laps and will curl up by your feet at night, too. They will always take a break from their playtime to show affection to their humans.
- They are super smart - Tonkinese cats are intelligent enough for you to teach them to follow commands, walk on a leash, and even perform tricks, should you wish.
- They act like clowns - Whenever you play with your Tonk, you'll see how they like to goof around to make you laugh. Their clown-like nature is one of their cutest personality traits.
- You don't need to groom them - Most Tonkinese cats have short coats that don't matt and hardly shed. Therefore, they don't particularly need grooming, but if you're keen to keep their beautiful fur in top condition, a quick brush once a week is plentiful.
- They have a soft-sounding meow - The Tonkinese cat took the best traits of its ancestors and left behind the worst ones, such as the Siamese's whining meow. Tonks can still be chatty, but they make much more pleasant sounds.
- Their eyes are incredible - The Mink Tonkinese has piercing aqua-blue eyes that will catch the attention of anyone who looks their way.
- They will entertain anyone who visits - Tonks get excited when they see visitors coming, especially if it's people they've previously met. Your Tonk instantly understands that they can get more attention, so don't be surprised if they leap on your guest's lap as soon as they sit down.
- Their coat colour constantly changes in the first two years - It takes up to two years for their complete colouring to develop. Usually, as kittens, their shading is relatively light and will slowly darken as they grow, which is a beautiful transformation to witness.
- They are brilliant with children - Tonks make lovely family pets as children can teach them tricks and play fetch with them.
Best homes for a Tonkinese cat
The best home for a Tonkinese cat is one where they receive plenty of attention! Unfortunately, this means they are not the best fit for a busy working professional who spends most of their time out of the house. They also have a ton of energy and need regular play sessions, so they may prove too active for retirees.
These felines do well in a home with young children. As they are confident, social and friendly, they feel at ease around small kids and enjoy playing with them (in a gentle way). So if one parent stays at home, a Tonkinese will make an excellent new family member. They are also great with other animals and enjoy the company of felines (and canines) almost as much as humans. So getting a furry friend for your Tonk will make life much easier for you as they'll have a buddy to play with when you're busy.