The Tonkinese cat is a mischievous cat, yet fun and loving. It is a combination of two breeds. The first is the Siamese and the other is the Burmese. You may notice the Siamese features in the face. It was a breed that was introduced to the United States in the 1930s.

This is a breed resulting from a mating between the Burmese and Siamese breeds, and enjoys the characteristics of both these breeds in modified form. The Tonkinese is popular with those who seek a cat reminiscent of the "old-fashioned" Siamese, but that is less extreme and with a rounder head shape.


On one hand, the Tonkinese was created by the mating of a Siamese with a Burmese, producing a hybrid. On the other hand, it is documented that the primary Burmese was a hybrid, probably with a history that included Siamese. The modern Tonkinese was originally created in the U.S., but it was in Canada that it was finally recognized as a distinct breed, and it is now accepted by most cat fancies.


In type, the Tonkinese fits in quite happily between the elongated Siamese and the rounder-shaped Burmese. Medium-sized, muscular and lithe, this breed has a coat color that lies midway between that of its original parentage — neither solid nor pointed, it has a more graduated shading. Today the coat is accepted in all colors and shades, including tortie and tabby.

This cat is rather unique in that the color of its coat is dependent on its environment. An enzyme regulates the cat's colorful features. If the environment is hot, then the coat will be lighter in color. A cold environment will produce a darker colored cat.

Origin: U.S.A./Canada

Grooming: 2/5

Activity: 3/5

GCCF Group: Foreign Shorthairs


This breed is outgoing, lively and sociable. It is a "chatty" cat but not to the extent of its more vociferous ancestors.

This cat can be left alone, but it does need a companion around to keep it busy. If you do decide to choose a Tonkinese, then get two instead of one. Having two around is perfect for a family that is out a lot. Tonkinese pairs are good company and will keep each other busy while you are away. If you do not plan to own two, then it might be a little difficult on this cat to be left all alone for many hours.

The “halfway-house” between Siamese and Burmese, the Tonkinese is available in many colors.

General Care

This is a healthy cat that only needs to be groomed once a week. Keep this kitty’s teeth clean or gum disease can set in.

Suitability as a pet

As with most mixed-breed varieties, the Tonkinese will suit most domestic situations. It gets on well with other cats and animals, and enjoys general household hubbub. Its short coat needs little more than a regular brush and comb.

Gallery of Tonkinese