The Tonkinese is a hybrid breed, a cross between the Siamese and the Burmese, and as would be expected it has some characteristics of each . Because it loves people, it is apt to associate cars with people and lie down in front of them! Because of its curious nature, it goes for long walks and sometimes gets lost or risks meeting with a traffic accident. It should, therefore, have some restrictions to its freedom, although it would be cruel to confine it to a small and uninteresting room or cage. An ideal place for a Tonkinese to exercise during the day or during the owner’s absence is a large, wired in run with a roof, about 2m 6ft high, and with lots of shelves at different heights. The cat will amuse itself for hours, running up and down and jumping from one shelf to the next, or just sit dozing in the sun at high level, keeping an eye on intruders into its garden. Some shelter should also be provided against the rain or too much sun.
The Tonkinese is an easy cat to groom. All it needs is a fine toothed comb, and perhaps a rubber spiked brush for massage. The ears should be inspected regularly for mites, and the outer ear only can be wiped out with a cotton wool bud when necessary.
Origin and history
This breed was developed in the 1960s and 1970s, mainly in the United States and Canada, although all over the world, no doubt, breeders with both Siamese and Burmese have experienced attractive cross bred kittens and considered perpetuating them. The Tonkinese was finally accepted as a breed in the USA in 1975, although from the European view it is not strictly a breed at all.
Tonkinese kittens are born paler in colour than their parents, the adult colour gradually developing.