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Tonkinese cat breed profile

Tonkinese cats are a great mix of two breeds.

Whether your cat is a purebred tonkinese or a tonkinese mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health.  

Tonkinese cats, or tonks as they’re lovingly called, are the best of two breeds. A mix between Siamese and Burmese cats, pet parents of this mix find themselves showered with affection. If this sounds like your cat or the cat for you, here’s everything to know about this playful breed. 

What is the personality of the tonkinese cat breed?

Tonks are typically playful and lively, sometimes getting themselves into mischief.  

“Tonkinese cats can be a handful and stubborn, but are a good choice for a first-time cat owner who wants a very active and playful pet,” Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM, a veterinarian at Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital, says. 

These cats can be very bonded to their human companion and prefer not to be left alone for extended periods of time. For companionship and play, two tonks can be better than one. The Tonkinese is a family-friendly breed and these cats generally get along with other pets when socialized at a young age, too.

What do tonkinese cats look like?

Tonkinese come in three coat patterns: pointed (like Siamese cats), mink and solid. The patterns can be different colors including blueish-gray, creamy beige and chocolate brown. 

“The most distinctive feature of the mink tonkinese are their aqua blue eyes,” Dr. Ochoa adds. Typically, point tonkinese will have blue eyes and solid tonkinese have green eyes.

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Do tonkinese cats shed?

You can expect tonkinese cats’ soft, silky fur to shed less than some other cat breeds. Because of their low shedding, tonks might be a better option for those with allergies — but there’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat or dog. Those with allergies can still have a reaction to a tonk’s fur, saliva or dander. So, talk to your doctor before welcoming a tonk or other pet into your family. 

Tonkinese versus Siamese cats

Tonks are generally less talkative than their Siamese relatives, but still have plenty to say. They also retain the stocky build of a Siamese, but are relatively smaller, weighing between 6 and 12 pounds.  

You can expect your tonk to be highly intelligent and inquisitive like a Siamese and have the energy of a Burmese. Because of their inquisitive and playful nature, they should have lots of activities to keep them busy.  

Common health conditions that affect tonkinese cats

According to Dr. Ochoa, tonkinese cats are known to develop heart conditions like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Cats with HCM can be asymptomatic, so ask your vet about routine screening. The condition can’t be cured or prevented, but it can be managed with the right medications. 

With a well-balanced diet and routine vet visits, this lovable breed typically lives between 15 and 20 years.

Adopting a tonkinese cat or kitten

Are you interested in adopting a tonkinese cat, tonkinese mix or any pet at all? We think every pet deserves a home and encourage you to check out our shelter partners when looking for your new best friend. And if you have other cats, be sure to read our article about safely introducing new cats to your cats at home.  

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.

Photo by Maude Frédérique Lavoie on Unsplash

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