The Tonkinese is a fantastic cat breed with unique characteristics that make this breed pretty attractive to many cat lovers. If you’re looking for a new cat companion, you should consider getting a Tonkinese. These cats make fantastic pets to singles and families alike. However, before you decide to get a new cat, you should learn a few things about the breed, so you know what to expect. Here’s the most critical information about the Tonkinese.



12 - 15 in



6 - 12 lb



USA & Thailand


Life Expectancy:

10 - 16 years

Breed History

The Tonkinese breed came to life because humans deliberately crossbreed two different cat breeds. This breed is a “love child” of the Siamese and the Burmese. It is another breed that comes from the famous Wong Mau cat that belonged to Dr. Joseph Thompson. The first intentional crossings between the Siamese and the Burmese started in the 1950s with a cat breeder called Milan Greer. His breeding program was discontinued, but he created the first cats he called “Golden Siamese.” Other breeders noticed his work and wanted to continue it. After a few successful bloodlines, the Tonkinese started breeding true. The breed got its recognition in 1967. However, recognition on a higher level didn’t happen until 1984.

Cat Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Amount of Shedding
Social Needs
Affection Level
Kid Friendly
Pet Friendly
General Health

Since the Tonkinese is a mix of the Burmese and the Siamese, you can expect it to mix their characteristics. These cats have slender, long bodies, slim legs, and oval paws. Here are other essential characteristics cat lovers should be aware of.


These cats have beautiful coats. Their coats are short and incredibly soft. The cat will do most of its grooming, but a brush every now and again will do them good. Shedding Is not so terrible, so this breed can fit even with owners that are mildly allergic to cats.


Coat color

Cat breeders wanted to create a unique breed with special colors. However, the Tonkinese has different standards in different registries. Some registries only allow 4 basic colors - medium brown, champagne, platinum, and blue. However, other registries also allow red, cream, tortoiseshell, cinnamon, apricot, caramel, and fawn.


The Tonkinese is considered a medium-sized cat breed. Female cats are usually smaller than males. Most adult cats are 6 - 12 pounds and 12 - 15 inches long. These cats are surprisingly heavy for their stature.


Since these cats are a mixture of the Siamese and the Burmese, they inherited many physical characteristics. However, they also inherited many of their temperament traits. The Tonkinese can be described as needy. However, that might be something you will actually like. These cats want attention and will stop at nothing until they get it. They love following their favorite humans around the home and might even catch a ride on their shoulders. The charming Tonkinese is intelligent, playful, and loves climbing. You should make sure your cat has plenty of room to climb at home.


Mixed and pureblooded cats can be prone to specific health issues. Since the Siamese is an old breed, vets had time to study it and notice some of the issues these cats are prone to. Unfortunately, they passed potential health problems to other breeds they helped create. Those health issues are;

  • Aortic stenosis - This is a congenital heart disease that can be pretty severe.
  • Hyperesthesia syndrome - This syndrome causes the cat to act frantically when someone touches or pets them. It will also cause the cat to “overgroom” themselves and cause hair loss.
  • Asthma - Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects 1 - 5 % of all cats.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy - A hereditary eye condition that can lead to blindness.
  • Crossed eyes and kinked tail - This is primarily an aesthetic issue, and the cat’s overall health should not be affected.
  • Amyloidosis - This condition causes the amyloid protein to deposit in the cat’s organs, mainly kidneys and liver.
  • Megaesophagus - The enlargement of the cat’s esophagus.
  • Lymphoma - A type of cancer.

World Cat Finder Team

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Updated at09.01.2022.