Characteristics and History of Tonkinese Cats – Cat Breeds

According to the historical notes, there were brown Siamese cats in the 1800′s which were assumed as Tonkinese Cats. However, the first officially recorded Tonkinese was named Wong Mau, a cat who was brought from Burma to the U.S. in the 1930′s.

In the 1950s, a cat owner in New York named Milan Greer started to develop a cat breed that he called the “Golden Siamese”. Golden was gotten from mating Siamese cat and the Burmese cat. At first, this breeding program aims to produce a cat with Mahogany color and dark color points.

Greer bred cats with “genetically pure” for 5 generations. His cats were very popular around the year 1950-1960. Greer produced a brown cat with dark brown color point or seal. After 5 generations, the Greer lost her interest to continue breeding his cats.

By coincidence, around the early of 1960, a fan of cats in Canada, named Margaret Conroy, decided to cross Siamese seal point color with colored Burmese Sable (dark brown). At that time, Siamese cat did not have the genetic pure and stable characteristics.

With the help of some friends, Conroy wrote a few standard cat breeds and brought them to the Canadian Cat Association. In 1960, the breed has been recognized in Canada.

Tonkinese cats got the status to join the contest of the Canadian Cat Association in 1971. Then in 1979, CFA and Tica approved them to participate in the contest.

In the late 1960s, Margaret Conroy was no longer breed Tonkinese cats, but the results of her cat breeds have spread to the United States. In 1965, an American breeder named Jane Barletta began to develop these Tonkinese cats.


Appearance Characteristics of Tonkinese Cats

  • Tonkinese cats are of moderate size. They are weighing approximately 7 lbs for females and 9 lbs for males, as adults.
  • Tonkinese is cats with short hair, medium body size and muscular with a long and bushy tail. Their snout is slightly rounded.
  • Their heads are between the triangular and round shape (or wedge-shaped). Theirs eyes are slanted and almond-shaped eyes with the color vary depending on the color pot.
  • In ACFA and at least one other association, there are four colours accepted: Natural which is also called Seal or Sable (dark brown), Champagne which is also called Chocolate, Platinum which is often called the Lilac or Frost and Blue (gray).
  • These colors can be found in three color patterns, namely: pointed (like most Siamese), mink (the halfway variety) and solid (like most Burmese).

Point: the color pattern like the Siamese cat has, the contrast coat color of the body with the points (ears, tail, legs) looks very clear.

Mink: Tonkinese cats’ hallmark. Contrast is between Siamese and Burmese. Tonkinese cats with a mink patterned coat are especially known for their aquamarine colored eyes, this exotic color is one that few other breeds share.

Solid: color pattern like the Burmese cat has, not a real solid.


Behavioral Characteristics of Tonkinese Cats

  • The Tonkinese cats are very playful nature, fun to be around, fun to be watched and fun to snuggle with.
  • Tonkinese cats are very energetic, they love to jump to high places. They like to play hide and seek or even launch an unannounced leap on you suddenly.
  • They can sometimes be quite mischievous with little bites and nips, especially when they are still kittens.
  • Tonkinese cats are first and foremost ‘people cats’, because they are affectionate, very friendly and love to be with people.
  • Tonkinese cats shouldn’t be left alone for long periods because they are full of mischief when feeling bored or ignored
  • If you think that Siamese cats are too noisy and the Burmese are too reticent, the Tonkinese cat is perhaps the right choice for your companion.
  • Tonkinese cats can be easily trained. You can train them to come to you when called, go for a walk on a leash and fetch. These cats are with intelligence.
  • They seldom use their claws since they are generally very gentle cats by nature. If new
  • people or situations do not overly stress them out, they are the excellent pet and show cats.

Tonkinese Cats should be kept in an enclosed garden or indoors for its own safety.

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