Tonkinese can be described as medium-sized cats, which are considered to form a 'man-made' breed. They are distinguished from other cats by points, just like Siamese and Burmese cats. Characterized with a gregarious personality, these cats are known to have a friendly and vivacious nature. Though quite active by their very personality, Tonkinese can make excellent apartment cats as well, provided you give them enough opportunities for exercise. Developed from a naturally occurring hybrid, these cats are fondly referred to as 'Tonks'. They are not meant for exhibition purposes and serve well as a companion pet.
Even though there are people asserting that Tonkinese cats have their origin dating back to the early 1800s, it is commonly believed that the cat evolved as a recent cross between the Siamese and Burmese cat breeds. The first known Tonkinese cat, Wong Mau, is said to have imported into America in 1930. It was a mink hybrid, which had also served as the founding cat of the Burmese breed. The period between early 1900s and 1950 saw Tonkinese characteristics being bred out of Siamese and Burmese, resulting in 2 distinct breeds. By 1970s, Siamese and Burmese breeds were merged once again, resulting in the creation of the Tonkinese cats. However, it was only in the year 2001 that Tonkinese cats were moved from hybrid classification and confirmed as an established breed.
Tonkinese cats are of medium size and have well-developed muscular strength. They are very dense and surprisingly heavy when lifted (much more heavy that they appear to be). These cats have typical oval-shaped paw. Their head is in a modified wedge-shape and the ears are large, set towards the outside of their head. Tonkinese cats are famous for their brilliant gold or blue-green eyes and a coat that is beautiful, sleek and soft. These cats come in a rainbow of colors, intermediate between their Burmese and Siamese parent breeds, mainly including blue, champagne, natural and platinum. Their coat features a unique pattern, known as "mink", which comprises of shaded "points" like the Siamese, with the body colored in a shade corresponding with the point color. However, some Tonkinese cats are also known to have solid colors.
Tonkinese are active, alert, playful and people-oriented cats. They are warm and loving and crave for attention and interaction. They are very intelligent and supervise all human activities, mainly because of their curious nature. They delight their owners with playful antics and mingle well with other pets, especially Oriental, Burmese, Siamese and Snowshoe cats, apart from their own breed. Though not too hyperactive, Tonkinese cats can become naughty if they are getting bored or have been left alone for a long time. Since they are in love with heights, these cats can often be found to have perched themselves on the highest objects in the house. At such a time, they can jump on your shoulders as well, mostly in a mischievous mood.