The Tonkinese is a highly renowned cat breed. This cat breed is medium-sized distinguished by color points as with Burmese and Siamese breeds. They are multifaceted, extroverts, lively and often talkative felines with sociable temperaments. They can be the perfect addition to any family since they are very loving and social cats and can adapt extremely well to any environment. However, these kittens can be cheerful apartment cats if they have enough exercise and activity. They can have an average litter size of six kittens. Just like other cat breeds, the precise history of this cat breed may vary to some degree depending on the historian. Tonkinese are usually referred to as “Tonks”.
History of Tonkinese
There is an enormous amount of stories and ideas as to the origin of this cat breed. However, there is no exact data to show where and how the Tonkinese originated. There is a theory which claimed that Tonkinese cats are the result of a recent crossbreeding between the Burmese and the Siamese cat breeds, although some declare that Tonkinese-like cats have existed since at least the early 19th century. It was believed that the founding cat of the Burmese breed was possibly a mink hybrid-colored cat named “Wong Mau”. Wong Mau was a small walnut colored cat imported by Dr. Joseph Cheesman Thompson to California in 1930. There are some who claim that the appearance of the Tonkinese is closer to the original appearance of the Siamese, before Siamese breeders established today’s Siamese appearance with its triangular head and very leggy body. The name “Tonkinese” has no relation to the Tonkin region of Indochina or to the incident in the Gulf of Tonkin. In Canada, wherein the breed was first developed, the name of the breed was actually spelled “Tonkanese”, which was a reference to the island in the musical “South Pacific” where half-breeds were not suffering any discrimination. The misguided idea that the name was a geographical reference paralleling the Burmese and the Siamese breed names gave rise to a gradual switch to the current spelling, under which the breed was acknowledged by the US registering associations.
What do Tonkinese look like?
The Tonkinese are medium-sized, usually slim and muscular cats. They are typically heavier than they seem to be because of their very muscular bodies. Their bodies are neither long nor stout, but of medium length. Their heads are triangular in shape but are wider than that of the Siamese and narrower than the Burmese. The legs are muscular and the hind legs are slightly longer than the forelegs. The eyes are large, almond shaped and slanted along the cheekbones. The ears are relatively large set towards the outside of their head. The outer line of the ear follows the outline of the face down into the wedge. They also have very distinctive oval-shaped paws. In their profile, there is a slight nose break sloping down to a firm chin. They can weigh ten to twenty pounds or even more. The coat is short and silky which lies close to the body. Moreover, they may come in various colors like blue mink, natural mink, platinum mink, and champagne mink. They seem to appear pointed similar to Siamese or Burmese with less contrast in the points of solid.
Tonkinese Cat’s Temperaments
Tonkinese cats are really beautiful, which is why people can be easily attracted to them, but more significantly, they possess a marvelous disposition and personality. This kind of cat is playful but they are not hyperactive, although they can be naughty if they become lonesome or bored. They are said to actually have a great sense of humor. Tonkinese cats are intelligent and full of life, affectionate, confident and happy. They are very sociable; they love people and usually get along with children, and other animals. In addition, Tonkinese cats are also active. They like toys, riding on shoulders and can even find amusement with huge stuffed toys. Unlike most breeds of cats, they are reported to sometimes engage in fetching and they can often be found perched on the highest object in the house as they love jumping heights. They are also very curious cats which can get them into trouble. This kind of feline is more like Burmese in personalities than Siamese as they are slightly less high-strung and demanding. They have less intense or sharp voices in most cases than the Siamese but Tonks do like a good conversation.
How to groom your Tonkinese Cat
It is easy to groom a Tonkinese cat since they are generally short-haired creatures. A fine toothed comb and perhaps a rubber spiked brush for a massage is all it needs. Regular ear inspections are a must in order to prevent ear mites. The outer ear only can be wiped out with a cotton wool but when needed.
Tonkinese Cat Health
There are no serious genetic medical issues associated with the Tonkinese. However, these felines are susceptible to developing gingivitis, therefore a bit of preventive dental care may be required. The breed may share good longevity with its Siamese counterpart. They are also prone to acquiring some respiratory diseases. An indoor Tonkinese that is well cared for can have an average life span of eighteen years (18 yrs.), excluding accidents or serious health issues.