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Tonkinese

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🐾 Tonkinese Cat: Your New Pet

These are kittens with special characteristics. They are cute, loving, familiar, playful, active, and love sharing with humans. Perhaps so much that they do not become a pet for everyone since they require dedication and time, which they will faithfully appreciate.

The Tonkinese has a history that causes discussion between specialists. Many of them believe in the possibility that its origin has gone beyond what we know today. Instead of being a relatively new breed, it could be one of the oldest. Their reasoning includes the conviction that the crossing between the Tonkinese parents could have happened easily since they were breeds that lived close for a long time.

Additionally, some believe that this cat has existed for numerous centuries. Nevertheless, none of this is certain. What is true is that it is the product of crossings between the Siamese cat and the Burmese, having taken place in Canada.

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Its evolution and acceptance had certain downsides. There was even an attempt to create the species years before it happened, although it did not have much importance. In any case, the Tonkinese had to fight with the fame and popularity that the Siamese had. It is not until they show that they are much healthier and that their temperament is more peaceful that they begin to be accepted.

Their body is beautiful, being well-formed cats with good proportions. Their colors vary, even though the most recognizable is the one with the same pigmentation as the Siamese. They can have the Siamese colors in several shades, also being less thin than its ancestor is, and be more refined than the Burmese are.

Their temperament is almost too sociable, being one of the peculiarities that define them the most. They care for their human relatives as well as children, loving their company and hating loneliness. Furthermore, the greatest thing is to see them as they immediately socialize with strangers. This behavior is extremely particular to this breed, as most cats are a little more distant.

They are incredibly playful, active, and require constant exercises and sports. This particularity surpasses by little the love they feel for their relatives. Seeing how games can be only for pleasure, they enjoy their toys to the fullest, although not having them is not a limitation.

They have a strong character, meaning that they are stubborn and may bother other pets for their insistence. Consequently, it is important to educate them about living with other animals.

Their maintenance is remarkably simple, and they do not request anything additional compared to other breeds. They require brushing at least twice a week, which could increase at the time of shedding to help remove dead hair.

It is also important to bathe these cats regularly, even when they tend to groom themselves with their tongue. They do this activity to both clean and refresh themselves, but they also need their showers.

Likewise, their teeth require attention since they can suffer from gingivitis. Besides, you must clean their ears and keep the perfect maintenance of their litter box. Learning to relieve themselves properly in a litter box does not represent a problem in the education of these kittens.

Their health is particularly strong compared to that of their ancestors. Experts believe that the crossing between these two cats had its advantages since it was able to create a healthy kitten. These cats do not tend to suffer from hereditary diseases. However, they are not immune, so they may suffer from certain conditions, such as strabismus and sensitivity to anesthesia.

In addition to this, the vaccination process must receive a lot of attention. Trying to cover the entire calendar requested by their veterinarian will order to ensure that they are in good health. Vaccination will protect them from suffering from the viruses that affect felines the most, as well as deworming and keeping adequate nutrition.

They are carnivorous kittens, whose diet should base mainly on a protein that helps their development and healthy growth. It is also important to provide a balanced eating routine so that they can acquire other nutrients. You can achieve a balanced diet by preparing homemade recipes that they like the most, offering them the food that best nourishes them. Similarly, mixing food will allow them to eat in a varied way, incorporating conserves and assuring that they can drink a lot of water.

They are undoubtedly kittens that you will want to take care of their whole life. They are ideal for active families that can walk with them frequently, not being very suitable for small places in cities due to their energy level.

🐾 History and Origin

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This kitten has a somewhat controversial history. While the crosses that led to its birth is registered, the closeness that its predecessors had for many centuries gives reasons to believe that it could have occurred naturally.

This discussion is common in this type of breeds. Many years ago, there did not exist much control over the cross between pets, and they reproduced simply by following their instincts. Hence, there is the possibility that the cats involved in the appearance of the Tonkinese reproduced spontaneously. Nonetheless, no one tried to take care of this new breed, and it could have disappeared without a trace.

Besides, other factors help the belief that they were born centuries ago. First, their parents lived in the same area for a long time. Secondly, when breeders obtained the result from the planned crossing, this breed had another name in Southeast Asia.

However, none of this is certain since no record demonstrates that such events occurred. It only remains the possibility that the Tonkinese is an old breed, with its official birth being in modern times.

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In any case, what we can determine is how the history of their ancestors developed. Since 1800, several specimens of what appeared to be Siamese cats started to arrive in Europe, some of them with blue eyes. However, some records indicate that Burmese and Havana coffee breeds may have also arrived. Unfortunately, due to the poor characterization of the information, it is not easy to recognize them, although it is certain that they were of different lineages.

Likewise, Siamese cats had wide acceptance and began to appear in many exhibition halls between 1800 and 1900. There was an exclusive preference for those with blue eyes, being an indication that symbolizes the success that reached this breed, which partly affected the Tonkinese a little later.

At about 1930, a kitten arrived in Canada from a Burmese ship, and a sailor delivered it to Dr. Joseph Thompson, who called her Wong Mau. The doctor started making crosses with her, and many consider her today as the precursor of the Burmese breed. Yet, Thompson decided to do some tests in which he found that Wong Mau was not a Siamese Chocolate as he believed. She was the result of the union of two cats, a Burmese and a Siamese, that is, a Tonkinese.

Since then, it was possible to distinguish how a kitten similar to the Tonkinese showed up in the Burmese or Siamese litters from time to time. This event happened until specialists started to control the breed, even if no one tried to reproduce it.

It was not until 1950 when Mrs. Milar Greer dedicated herself to cross a Burmese cat with a Siamese, obtaining a litter that she named Siamese of gold. Her Golden Siamese, as some called it, did not receive much acceptance and she stopped the crossings.

It was in 1960 when the breeder Margaret Conroy dedicated again to reproduce the species and made the respective crosses. Nevertheless, it is worth noticing that the Burmese cat was not as popular nor as accessible as the Siamese was. It was a protected species in its homeland and exportation was limited.

However, she was able to obtain the result she was looking for, granting that by those times both breeds were not as refined as they are now. As a result, the Tonkinese was not either. Also, the success that the Siamese had in Europe caused many people to refrain from adopting Tonkinese cats. They favored the purebred Siamese and greatly limited this breed’s possibility of reaching more popularity.

Among the efforts made to help them emerge was changing their name. Therefore, in 1967, they received the name “Tonkanese”. However, in 1971, breeders made a vote and changed their name to “Tonkinese” to honor the Gulf of Tonkin located in northern Vietnam and southern China. This name was also more attractive and exotic, even though the breed does not come from that area but Canada.

Then, Mrs. Conroy, with the help of other good breeders such as Jane Barletta, managed to write the breed standard and present it to the Canadian Cats Association (CCA). After many struggles and various controversies, it finally receives acceptation and recognition from several feline organisms.

🐾 Breed Characteristics

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The Tonkinese kitten has taken the best of both parents. In many cases, it shows the pigmentation of the Siamese while being a bit more robust. Thanks to the influence of the Burmese, it has more proportion and muscle.

These kittens have a highly attentive face that demonstrates their intelligence. They are agile and extremely active, so they must show a good balance and stability in their features. They are firm, but they do not become harsh.

Tonkinese cats do not show much difference in their height, depending on whether they are female or male. Being both medium-sized, they reach between 28 cm to 30 cm from the floor to their shoulders. They are slender and muscular.

The weight in these kittens can have a difference between males and females. In general, they are kittens that seem to be lighter than they are. The weigh for females is between 2 kg and 4 kg, and for males, it is between 3 kg and 5 kg.

They have a body with a medium torso, being firm, and having well-developed muscles. They are slender and, more important than their size, need to show balance and proportion in their anatomy.

Their front legs are a little shorter than their back legs, but they all must be thin and match their size. Their feet are oval.

Their head is a little longer than wide, with tall, shallow, and almost flat cheekbones that go along their cheeks. Their snout is straight and ends with a small nose and mouth.

Their eyes are medium-sized. Depending on the shape of their face, they can look a little bigger or smaller, being an important feature in them because they give them a lot of beauty. They do not twist, are open, and have the shape of a fat almond, located with a slight inclination. They have vertical pupils, and their color can be aquamarine, light blue, blue, or greenish-yellow.

Their ears are located in the upper part of the skull and have a proportional separation. They are medium-sized and have a triangular shape without the tip since they are quite round, although the base is much wider.

A fine and silky hair covers the ears. This hair is extremely soft, and its color will depend on the type of pattern that the fur possesses. The ears can be darker as Siamese or have the same tone of the fur as the Burmese.

Their fur is between short and medium. In most cases, they have it particularly close to their body, although in others with medium hair it may be a little more open. It is quite thin and silky, soft to the touch and bright.

The Tonkinese demonstrates through the brightness and consistency of their fur the state of their health. If it is weak and opaque, something is likely to go wrong, so we recommended that you take them to the veterinarian for an evaluation.

The color of the Tonkinese is a flexible feature due to the differences that their ancestors have, and they can inherit some of their characteristics or combine them. In this sense, some associations are more permissive than others are. Nonetheless, their fur can have the following shades:

  • They can only have one solid color, such as the Burmese.
  • They can also have a dotted pattern such as the Siamese, with a light neck, slightly lighter body, and darker legs, tail, and ears.
  • Some receive the name mink. Which, in addition to referring to the qualities of their fur, are like the dotted ones but with low tone variation. That is, both the color of the base and dots are similar.

For its part, TICA (The International Cat Association) in America has established a slightly broader standard, although not very different:

  • The natural one, in which the body has a brown tone but with the dotted pattern in another color.
  • Cream, which is the same as the dotted.
  • Blue, which is like the mink but in a gray-blue tone.
  • Silver, which is also like the mink but in silver tones.
  • Honey, in which the body is golden with brown spots. The CFA does not accept this variation, however.

The Tonkinese tail is long. It is slightly wider at the base than at the tip, but this is almost imperceptible. They always have it raised in the shape of a saber or curved upwards, but never over the back.

The Tonkinese movement is balanced. They are composed and do not show difficulty in their jumps, walking, or jogging. They are not hyperactive, granting that they are in continuous movement, so they love to play.

🐾 Behavior and Personality

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You could say that one of the best qualities of the Tonkinese cat is its personality, especially with humans. They are sweet, loving, and playful. It seems that they had acquired the best of their parents’ qualities, slightly reducing the conflict of the Siamese character and socializing more than the Burmese.

They undoubtedly feel a strong bond for all the members of the family, requiring being in their company all day. They like cuddles and hate loneliness, being capable of showing signs of displeasure when no one is home. They often even nibble the carpets, scratch furniture or walls, or do not use their litter box.

The best thing to avoid these events is to try not to leave them alone. Trying to educate them to tolerate loneliness is not as effective in this breed. Therefore, you must keep in mind that they require company so you should take them out with you in their basket or the car.

Likewise, this natural attachment and devotion to playing make them get along very well with children. They see them as another companion and as the best allies for entertainment.

Their behavior with strangers is also sociable. The Tonkinese will play with anyone even if it is their first time meeting. This aspect of their personality distinguishes them from many feline breeds that are generally a little more reluctant.

This trait makes the socialization stage simpler, but just as necessary. You should not make the mistake of thinking that, as these cats are naturally friendly, you can leave this stage aside. It is equally important to familiarize them to have relationships with humans and other animals since kittens.

You must begin the stage of socialization when their mother allows it since she can be a little jealous of their newborn children. Then, when they arrive at home, they should have as much contact as possible with anyone who will live with them.

Moreover, socialization is important since this breed does not tend to get along very well with other animals, especially with dogs. This breed tends to annoy dogs a lot, trying to be dominant. The Tonkinese is an active and playful cat, and not all animals will have the patience to tolerate it.

It is likely, however, that their coexistence with other cats is more bearable if they grow up along other kittens. Nevertheless, it can make the other feline change their habitual behavior to follow their footsteps.

Tonkinese cats are extremely active. If they do not find who or what to play with, they will surely invent, chase, look for, or do anything to distract themselves. This behavior is why they should not live in closed apartments in the city, as the lack of exercise will make them nervous.

Ideally, active families should adopt them. They must be willing to take them for a walk or to practice some sport almost daily. This way, they can drain their energies and calm their desires to go out for entertainment.

In this sense, it is important to keep in mind that the Tonkinese is a cat with a high hunting instinct. Their abilities are particularly sharp, and they love chasing, so they will go on their own to capture prey on some occasions. If they feel well treated, they will turn the prey into a demonstrative offering of love to their owner. Therefore, if you find them with a dead rodent in their mouth, for instance, and they place it on your feet, do not feel offended, your pet has brought a gift.

There is also another important aspect of their personality, and it comes from their Siamese heritage. The Tonkinese can suffer from stress due to several reasons, boredom being the main one. Since they need to exercise their active temperament, not being able to do so seriously affects them.

Another aspect that can distress them is the constant change in their routines. These felines like to maintain their daily customs, and sudden or continuous changes can affect them. Changes can cause stress, which they manifest in the same way as when they feel alone.

On the other hand, although they love entertainment and games, there will always be a time in the day when they decide to rest.  Rest is an extremely valuable time for any cat, in which they retire to nap or lie in their basket. While this breed does not perform this activity excessively, it is always important to learn to give them space. When they are ready to socialize, they will approach their favorite humans or companion pets to invite them to play.

🐾 Diet and nutrition

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Nutrition style

The Tonkinese is mainly a carnivorous kitten that can be healthy if they follow a mixed diet. This diet must necessarily include a primary element that is animal protein, as it is the best source to find the nutrients they require to develop with good conditions.

This component has several amino acids that provide the feline with all the vitamins they need to grow and develop correctly. It protects their vision, fur, development and maintenance of their organs, even their digestion. For instance, taurine is highly important for them, and you can find it in livers or eggs.

The best way to offer food is in a balanced diet that includes vegetables and carbohydrates. Try to give them cereals to a lesser degree since they make digestion difficult, as well as making sure that they have a good amount of clean and potable water.

Feeding stages

All kittens go through three stages in their diet as long as they do not suffer from any particular health condition. These stages can be clearly distinguished between childhood, adulthood, and old age, requiring certain changes in them that react to their nutritional needs.

In childhood, their mother must give them as much time as possible while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the best source of food in the first weeks, where they will receive both nutrients and adequate initial immunization. It even will help them in their first stage of socialization.

After the first two months, you can start offering them porridge or croquettes softened with water, especially from the junior range. They will eat this until the first year of life approximately since the Tonkinese is one of the breeds that take longer to mature and become adults.

Once they have gone through this process, they become adults and enter the maintenance phase. In essence, it does not have many changes, only in the variety of the menu or flavors. If the kitten goes through some disease or is pregnant, you must apply certain specific changes the veterinarian indicates until the condition passes.

Finally, we have the old age stage, which lasts approximately two to five years in the Tonkinese. You should follow the instructions of their specialist since, generally, you will need to adjust their diet to maintain their health.

Croquettes

Croquettes have many advantages when feeding your Tonkinese cat. Mainly, croquettes are less likely to deteriorate after the packaging is open, or to change its smell. The scent of their food is important for these cats, as it can attract them and stimulate their appetite. Moreover, you can handle the proportions and measures better, as well as improving the ease of mixing them.

Furthermore, specialists make each cookie, so it contains the necessary quantity of each component. Its structure is homogeneous and guarantees that your pet eats everything that you offer them.

However, you must select the best brand to buy their croquettes. Likewise, you must previously verify that the taste is to the liking of the Tonkinese, and locate a place for their water. Unlike homemade food, croquettes are dry and do not offer good hydration to the cat.

It is also healthier to combine it with other types of dishes and provide a mixed diet. This kind of nutrition will prevent them from getting bored easily. You can mix it with canned food along with proper homemade food.

Homemade Food

Firstly, this type of feeding has a little more benefits since it can constantly vary. Remember that the Tonkinese kitten tends to get bored easily from the menu. Additionally, you can have better control of the quality of the products and the proportions.

Furthermore, you should try to ensure that you prepare their dishes with the highest possible hygiene. Follow the measures indicated by your veterinarian and do not include additional condiments, spices, or sauces.

The cooking of the Tonkinese diet is on roast, steam, or water-cook without dressings. The texture must be smooth and with a good scent. It is a good idea to give them some fish or tuna, but not frequently and always removing the bones.

You should place the protein in greater proportions and accompany it with other components to a lesser extent, along with their cup of water.

Treats

These should be in the Tonkinese routine, but not as part of their diet or as a nutritional contribution. Contrarily, they support their training, since they can be a reinforcement or a reward. In consequence, your kitten will greatly appreciate it and will make them feel motivated to obey.

Usually, this breed does not tend to gain weight as much as others due to its high level of activity. You should control their weight by checking if it is between the preferable standard.

🐾 Health

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The fact that the Tonkinese cat is a hybrid breed has suggested that they are very healthy. Experts believe that hybridization or the crossing of two different species results in healthier specimens, eliminating possible congenital problems.

However, this is a hypothesis that is still in testing, so it is not prudent to take it as a reference to judge the condition of a new breed. It is preferable to keep a record of the litters and study them over time.

Then again, the Tonkinese, in their majority, have proven to be healthy. In this sense, they inherit a less amount of health problems due to genetics than their parents do. Granting that this is an advantage, they are a bit vulnerable, and some may suffer from various conditions.

Truly, regardless of the health certification that their parents have, it is always important to take them to a first check with the veterinarian once they arrive home. They can make a previous diagnosis and can establish the guidelines to carry out the process of immunization.

This process is highly necessary since it will make the kitten generate the necessary antibodies to protect itself from possible viruses that generally affect them. It is recommendable to do it after they have stopped breastfeeding.

Incidentally, we must clarify that breastfeeding not only facilitates the care and maintenance of kittens but also strengthens and feeds them correctly. It provides them with the antibodies that the mother transmits through her breast. Consequently, during this time, they will have protection until they stop breastfeeding.

Additionally, the vaccines they need depend largely on the place where the kitten resides. Both the weather and the geographical condition greatly interfere with the amount or types of viruses that may affect the Tonkinese.

In this sense, some of the vaccines are of general application, such as trivalent or tetravalent. Usually, they get the trivalent two months after the kitten was born. The trivalent immunizes against calicivirus, rhinotracheitis, and panleukopenia, and the tetravalent includes rabies antibodies.

A few weeks later, they must receive the feline leukemia vaccine. A month later, which would be when the Tonkinese is three months old, they get trivalent or tetravalent reinforcements. Finally, weeks later, they receive the leukemia reinforcement.

From then on, your veterinarian will indicate whether to continue with the annual reinforcements or include others that defend them from possible rising viruses or that are typical of the place they live.

On the other hand, Tonkinese cats are sensitive to anesthesia. It is important to know this since they sometimes need to sleep to perform medical practices. Some of these include dental treatments, which this breed also requires, to suture an injury, among others.

Cats generally spend their recovery process under observation or on a stretcher where the veterinarian can see them. They keep resting until the veterinarian considers appropriate for them to go home. You must recognize that this assimilation time takes a little longer in the Tonkinese than in other cats. After you take them home, they may experience some adverse reactions.

Additionally, this breed has shown a high tendency to suffer from gingivitis. This illness, as well as causing gum problems, can cause them to lose dental pieces very soon. As a result, you must show special attention to the care of their teeth, and carry periodic reviews.

Likewise, a small percentage of these felines seemed to have inherited some of the diseases of the Siamese. Still, they were healthier since they eliminated much of the suffering of this ancestor. Nonetheless, they also suffered from asthma, some gastrointestinal conditions, and heart disease.

Far from this, it is unlikely that the Tonkinese will suffer from many more diseases unless they contract a virus or suffer from the result of a bad diet or care.

Moreover, you must always keep the Tonkinese weight under evaluation. Even though they are pretty active and unlikely to suffer from obesity, bad care can be harmful to them. Leading them to a sedentary life plus excess feeding will surely result in an unhealthy increase in size, causing other diseases associated with it.

Summarizing, the Tonkinese is a very healthy breed even if they have shown some cases of diseases. These cases, however, do not represent the highest percentage in these specimens. They tend to enjoy good health and live between 12 to 15 years.

🐾 General Care

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The Tonkinese has many advantages. It is a sociable and loving kitten. Its structure and the way its fur distributes makes their maintenance very simple and do not require great efforts in it.

Furthermore, they are enormously willing to share time with their owners. They allow caresses and learn quickly, so it is ideal that you accompany these routines with great patience. You must speak to them softly and pat them so they can assume it as a special moment instead of having the distaste to consider it torture.

Although they are kittens that prefer to play with humans, their wide level of activity makes it likely that they get dirty quickly. They do not tend to sit still or rest a lot.

It is common to see them groom themselves, as most cats are a bit obsessive about their hygiene. Self-grooming delays the presence of bad smells and prevents them from looking dirty. Also, the texture of their tongue can help them remove external elements, as well as the saliva that helps them refresh their skin. Therefore, it is important to leave them alone when they are performing this activity, which will help them feel relaxed.

Brushing

The short hair of the Tonkinese has the advantage that it does not tangle. Subsequently, the elimination of knots is not a necessity in the breed. In a specific time of the year, that usually matches the change of season or when winter is ending, they almost completely shed their hair.

The cat naturally removes these hairs with its tongue. However, when there are too many, they could accumulate them in their stomachs and then suffer from trichobezoars.  You can prevent this by removing the hair with two brushes a week or even more if necessary.

Choosing the type of comb is also very important. While the traditional ones are great, others have a special design to perform other specific functions. For instance, the “furminator”, as some countries call it, can remove the dead hair. The glove, likewise, helps to activate the circulation, massage the feline, and remove parasites.

Mouth Cleaning

This practice is necessary for the health of the Tonkinese since this breed is prone to suffer from gingivitis. They may not even show any signs in their symptoms until it is already inevitable. Therefore, it is appropriate to have a frequent oral hygiene routine. You can use the traditional means, which are a bit complicated in any feline or use the modern versions. These products are available in the market and facilitate hygiene, including pills or powders that are in the croquettes.

Litter Box

This element in the training, coexistence, and care of the Tonkinese is fundamental. They must adapt to the use of the litter box whenever they need to evacuate or urinate. It requires always being in good condition, cleaning the sand every day. After collecting the feces, you could sprinkle it with vinegar or with the cleaners that are in the market.

Besides, the sand needs replacement with some frequency. You must remember that these kittens are extremely delicate with their hygiene. If the box smells bad or has the strong fragrance of disinfectants, they probably will not want to use it.

The best way to check if the Tonkinese is comfortable with their litter box is to evaluate their behavior when using it. Usually, if they feel well, they enter safely, quickly choose the site, dig, defecate, and cover thoroughly with sand. Otherwise, if they are not satisfied, this behavior is more anxious and less safe. This time, their ears will be hanging, and they will not want to use it.

It may also be the case that even if the box is perfect and they have frequently used it, your Tonkinese relieves out of it. Nevertheless, this is a reason to take them immediately to the veterinarian since it is a sign that something is not going well.

Finally, as a recommendation, collecting your cat’s feces, or having contact with them is not always harmless. Some kittens possess an active parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. This disease affects both pregnant women and people with a weak immune system, so they should act with caution.