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Tonkinese Cat

Tonkinese Cat photo

Platinum Mink Tonkinese
Photograph by Jessica Huber. License: Public Domain.

The Tonkinese is a medium sized, shorthaired cat breed, a hybrid of the Siamese and the Burmese breeds. Tonkinese cats have compact yet muscular bodies which make them surprisingly heavy for their size. Adult males weigh 10-12 pounds while females 7-8 pounds. As a result of their ancestry, Tonkinese cats come both in Siamese (colorpoint) and Burmese (solid colors) coat types which are fine, soft and silky. They have wedged shaped heads, with medium sized ears that are set widely apart. Their large and expressive almond shaped eyes are usually gold, aquamarine, blue or green.




Tonkinese cats come both in pointed and solid colors. The most common are blue, chocolate, lilac and seal.


The Tonkinese are easy going, people oriented cats. They are affectionate, loving and enjoy spending time on their owners' laps. They are curious animals and love to supervise all of their owners' activities, following them wherever they go. They are intelligent and playful, their favorite games being fetch and hide and seek. The Tonkinese are quite vocal but have less high pitched voices than Siamese cats.

Suitable for

Being people oriented, these cats make wonderful companions. They get along with children and, most of the time, with other pets. They are quite demanding when it comes to their owners' attention, so they would best suit people that spend a lot of time at home with them.


Tonkinese are indoors cats, so it is essential that the house is cat proofed prior to their arrival; windows and doors must be secured. The Tonkinese have no special diet requirements and their coat requires minimal grooming. They are generally hardy animals, but have a tendency to suffer from respiratory infections and should be taken to the vet on the first sign of illness.


A Siamese and Burmese hybrid, the breed is named after the Gulf of Tonkin, which is close to both Burma and Siam. The first intentional breeding of Tonkinese cats in the United States, took place in the 1950's by Milan Greer. In 1978 the breed was recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association.