A Guide to the Tonkinese Cat

Photo of Karen Dell

Karen Dell

Senior Editor • Backyard Cat Enclosures

28 September 2016

  • Size: Low
  • Activity: Medium
  • Noise: Medium
  • Allergies: Low
  • Independence: Medium
  • Grooming: Low


When modern breeders set out on a journey to develop the next blue-eyed kitty of the domestic-cat world, they were convinced that the combination of Siamese and Burmese genes would be a winner. And they were right! Along came a breed of cats (Tonkinese Cat) that combined the features of their famous parents to create a fashionable update.


The Tonkinese’s Siamese genes are evident in their typical pointed colouration that comes in shades of platinum, champagne, beige and blue. Add their sparkling aquamarine eyes to the mix and you have a cat breed that’s fit for the pages of a calendar. Occasionally, the Burmese genes rise to the top and this cat will be a single, solid colour, with yellow or copper coloured eyes. Don’t worry - they’re no less handsome than their multicoloured cousins.


They have inherited the people friendly nature of their parents, making the Tonk a great companion cat. They are as loyal to their special person as they are social but what makes playtime even more exciting is their creative streak - every mundane household object is a potential source of thrills, so make sure to cat-proof your home. We strongly suggest buying a scratching post to take some of the punishment on behalf of your couch. Ignoring these chatterbox kitties is an impossible task, but we’re not sure why you’d want to. Emails can wait, human.


All your Tonkinese cat asks of you is regular cuddle sessions and weekly brushing time. While you’re at it clean any discharge from their eyes with fresh cotton swabs and give their ears a once-over with some wet wipes. Tonks can be prone to gum disease, but brush their teeth, maintain regular vet checkups, and you’ll have a pal for a long time to come.

Suggested names

The ‘Tonk’ nickname instantly brings to mind the obscure and dated world of honky-tonk: and nothing describes a good cat name like ‘obscure and dated’! Name your cat after these country music stars, and thank us later:

  • Dusty
  • Willie
  • Loretta
  • Dixie
  • Garth

We doubt you need more reasons to love the Tonkinese, but here are 5 more. Or, if you’re looking for toys to entertain your cute little friend, look no further. Find the cat that’s right for you here.


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