Tonkinese Cat Breed: Information, Health, and Facts

If you are looking for a playful and loveable ball of fur, Tonkinese may be the perfect cat breed for you. Despite popular belief that cats are cranky and not sociable animals, this is the complete opposite of the Tonkinese cats. 

Tonkinese has a majestic appearance with their elegant limbs and broad ears. Their fur is pointed and silky. The fur colors of Tonkinese include champagne, platinum medium brown/chocolate, and blue. 


Quick facts about the Tonkinese

Weight: 6 to 12 pounds Height: 7 to 10 inches
Life span: 10 to 16 years
Intelligence: high Temperament: social | affectionate | brave
Playfulness: high Activity level: active
Vocalness: frequent Coat length: short
Shedding amount: occasional
Good with: kids | seniors | dogs | other cats | families
Traits: Tonkinese cats are easy to train, easy to groom, friendly toward humans, friendly toward other pets, but are prone to health issues. Tonkinese cats have strong loyalty tendencies.

This breed has unique eye colors, Tonkinese’s eye colors range from green, blue, and even a beautiful shade of aqua. These cats are medium and can weigh approximately 12 pounds which may be shocking as they do not appear to look very heavy. 

With Tonkinese cats, you will not need to brush them too often. You may only need to brush their coats once a week, just to maintain their coat’s silky shine. However, you will need to brush their teeth a minimum of three times a week and occasionally check their ears. 

Tonkinese may be one of the easiest breeds to take care of and make ideal family pets. They love being around their humans because they are very social animals and enjoy the attention. 

This breed is perfect for you if you are looking for an affectionate cat. Tonkinese love sitting in people’s laps and following them around.  

Tonkinese cats are intelligent and active, they enjoy playing puzzle games. So it is important to keep them mentally stimulated. They are also quite active and will need regular exercise. 

These loveable cats do not require a lot of space; a small home or apartment will be sufficient for a Tonkinese. This cat breed also does well living with other animals and even children. So if you are looking to bring a new addition to your family and already have a pet or a child, this might be the breed for your family. 


Tonkinese cats are a mixed breed of a Siamese cat and a Burmese cat. The first officially bred Tonkinese dates back to 1994; however, this cat’s history may date back to the 1800s. 

The personality traits of Tonkinese cats include being very friendly and affectionate. They are also very smart and curious cats who you will need to keep mentally stimulated. Tonkinese cats can also be very vocal.

The lifespan of Tonkinese is approximately 10-16 years. The common health issue for this breed includes obesity, so it is important to ensure that they get regular exercise. This breed is also prone to viral and bacterial infections; therefore, it must receive regular vaccinations. 


  • Friendly and affectionate 
  • Intelligent 
  • Easy to groom


  • Susceptible to health problems
  • Requires regular exercise 
  • Requires regular brushing of their teeth


Developed in United States and Canada; foundation stock from Thailand.


Dr. Adedapo Adisa:

The Tonkinese cat is a cat breed native to Thailand, formed from carefully breeding the Siamese and Burmese cats. Fondly called Tonks or chocolate Siamese, the cat is a careful mix of both breeds, giving them a balanced muscular appearance and personality.

With a life expectancy between 14-20 years, the Tonkinese cats are remarkably healthy and have very few worrying health conditions.

Specific genetic health issues affect the Tonkinese cats, including a heart condition named Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and a disease condition that affects the liver referred to as Amyloidosis.

Hypertension cardiomyopathy in the Tonkinese cats is an inherited condition characterized by the thickening of the muscles that make up the heart walls due to the defective gene.

The thickening of the heart’s muscular walls, especially the left ventricles, affects how oxygenated blood is distributed to the Tonkinese cats system.

Also, because of the thickened left ventricular walls, blood would have to stay longer than necessary in other sections of the heart and the lungs leading to the formation of blood clots and fluid accumulating in the lungs in Tonks with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

A few signs to watch out for in the Tonkinese cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy include 

● Cardiac murmurs; this is an audible sound of blood leaving the heart.

● Increase in the heart rate and rhythm.

● Blood clots may break into tiny bits blocking blood vessels in the body (Thromboembolism).

● Fluid may accumulate around the lungs, causing a cracking sound.

● The cat can appear weak and intolerant to exercise.

If the Tonkinese cats show one or more of these symptoms, it is essential to report them to your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian would run an echocardiogram to assess the thickness level of the cardiac walls and come up with a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Furthermore, the adult Tonkinese cat’s DNA should be screened regularly for the mutant gene that causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is because some Tonkinese cats do not even show any symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Tonkinese cats screened and found to have the defective gene for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy should be discontinued from breeding programs.

Another inherited medical condition associated with the Tonkinese cat is Amyloidosis. This health issue results from an amyloid deposit, a complex unabsorbable protein, in organs, especially the liver of Tonkinese cats carrying the mutant gene.

Amyloids in the organs of affected Tonkinese cats eventually result in organ failure and death.

Tonkinese cats with Amyloidosis would present with some of the following symptoms;

● The liver may appear swollen on touch or ruptured, leading to internal bleeding.

● Abdominal pain on contact.

● General weakness and loss of weight.

● Excessive water intake and also urination.

● Severe vomiting and diarrhea.

Although there is no treatment for Amyloidosis in cats, it is important to report to your veterinarian immediately if the Tonkinese cats begin to show one or more of these symptoms.

If your veterinarian has diagnosed Amyloidosis, the Tonkinese cat should be stopped from going through breeding activities.

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