The Tonkinese Cat is one of the many breeds that result in crossing the Siamese with other varieties to bring out specific traits, patterns, colors and hair lengths. Tonks, as they are colloquially called, are named as such because they can be wacky creatures that love to make fools of themselves from time to time.
If you love being entertained by your pet after a long, stressful day, then the Tonkinese should be first in your list. Tonks are full of mischief and personality that’s sure to liven up your home.
History of Tonkinese
In the 19th century, a Tonkinese by the name of Wong Mau was thought of as a Siamese with a chocolate hue. Historical records show that the breed was depicted in Cat Book Poems of Siam during the year 1358 to 1767 in Thailand.
Breed development began when Jane Barletta, a breeder decided to create a feline that had both Burmese and Siamese body types. In another corner of the globe, the same thing happened when Margaret Conroy, a Canadian breeder crosses a Burmese with a Siamese and ended up with kittens that had aqua eyes and a tan body. Tonks have the distinction of being the first to sport aqua-colored eyes. In 1971, Tonks were recognized in Canada and the Cat Fanciers Association soon followed thereafter in 1984.
Size of the Tonkinese
Tonks are considered as cats that belong in the small to mid-sized category, but their weight, averaging at 9 lbs., places them in the mid to heavy department. The amount of muscle they keep in their small frame gives them explosive energy they use from time to time.
Personality of the Tonkinese
Tonks are very outgoing and they love to live very social lives. When the situation calls for it, they can be playful, fun, loving or content to just sit in your lap and enjoy your companionship. These cats are usually the first at the door when there’s a knock or a ring and are great entertainers to boot.
Tonkinese cats love high places and will try to reach cabinets and bookshelves at a very young age. Your pet will be close by most of the time, observing what you’re doing and trying to join in on the activity. Tonks talk when they want and can lead long conversations when they have something to say.
You should be prepared at the high levels of energy you’ll be facing when you decide to care for a Tonkinese kitten. It’s best to do some cat-proofing while being aware of where your kitten is at all times. If you wish to minimize the amount of mischief a single Tonk can do, then get a pair from the beginning.
Considering an adult Tonkinese is also a viable option if your lifestyle makes it hard to care for a young one. Check local shelters and retired show-types that are looking for new homes.
Tonks are quite popular and have long waiting lists from established breeders. The best Tonkinese are those that come from a loving home and have even-tempered parents. You should wait until your preferred cat is at 12 to 16 weeks of age to ensure that he or she is well-adjusted and socialized. Visit the breeder’s home and check the cat and parent’s living quarters and quality of life.
Tonks enjoy vigor and vitality due to the effects of selective breeding, but they can still be affected by common cat problems and health conditions. Get your pet from a reputable breeder who can show written health guarantees. Have your pet checked regularly by a vet to ensure optimal health and well-being. One thing you should look out for is periodontal health, which shouldn’t be a problem if you brush your cat’s teeth regularly. Make sure that your Tonk has complete vaccinations against leukemia virus, enteritis and cat flu, and that he or she is properly treated for fleas and worms.
Care of the Tonkinese
Get care advice from the breeder, such as the type of food and litter box their kittens use, and follow them accordingly. Tonkinese cats are naturally energetic and they’ll do vigorous physical activities with little to no provocation from their owners. Supply your home with plenty of toys and games that stimulate both body and mind to keep your cat preoccupied. Cat trees and scratching posts are some of the most important things a cat owner should have.
Litter Box Training
Litter boxes should be well-maintained so your cat will continue to use it. Scoop out the feces as soon as you see them and make sure to clear out stale and soiled litter with fresh ones each day.
Your pet’s diet should correspond with his or her age. Provide plenty of clean water at all times to prevent dehydration. If you plan to change your cat’s litter or diet, do it gradually so they won’t get an upset tummy.
Coat and Eye Colors
The Tonkinese breed takes a while before they truly show their final colors. The Cat Fanciers Association lists the Tonks as needing 16 months for the body colors to fully show and darken as they get older. Tonkinese colors refer to the points in the extremes, which include the tail, ears and face. There are currently 4 base colors- Blue, Natural, Champagne and Platinum, and 3 coat patterns, which are Solid, Mink and Point. Solid Tonks have green to yellow-green eyes; Minks have aqua eyes and Points have blue eyes.
The breed touts 12 pattern and color varieties- Platinum Point, Blue Point, Champagne Point, Natural Point, Platinum Solid, Blue Solid, Champagne Solid, Natural Solid, Platinum Mink, Blue Mink, Champagne Mink and Natural Mink.
Tonks have soft, luxurious coats that are relatively easy to groom. A rubber brush and weekly brushing can remove the dead hair and keep the coat silky and shiny. They love the occasional bath every now and then. Make sure to check your cat’s ears for wax buildup and his or her teeth for periodontal decay. Use a toothbrush and a vet-approved toothpaste for brushing your pet’s teeth each day.
Children and Other Pets
Tonks are energetic playmates who match a human child’s enthusiasm and love of play. They are the perfect companions for any family. Supervise all interactions to ensure there won’t be any mishaps or accidental injuries on either side.
Tonkinese cats are a welcome addition in homes where there are existing cats, dogs and even birds!