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CFA Pedigreed Breed: Tonkinese

The Tonkinese blends the best features of its ancestors into one beautiful, medium-size cat that is remarkably dense and muscular. Whether appearing in the coat pattern of its Burmese predecessor with sparkling gold-green eyes, the pointed pattern of its Siamese ancestor with glittering blue eyes, or the mink-coat pattern with its unique aqua eyes, the Tonkinese is an intelligent, gregarious cat with a sense of humor. Although new to modern competition, this is the same breed depicted in "The Cat-Book Poems of Siam" during the Ayudha Period (1358-1767), and imported to England in the early 1800s as "Chocolate Siamese." In the United States, Tonkinese and Burmese can trace their beginnings back to Wong Mau, a small walnut-colored cat imported to California by Dr. Joseph Thompson in 1930.

The colorful personality of the Tonkinese make them ideal companions. They will take possession of your lap and shoulder, and they will supervise your activities. They are warm, loving, and highly intelligent, with an incredible memory and senses that are akin to radar. They are strong-willed, and their humans are wise to use persistent persuasion in training them. They are naturals at inventing and playing games, using favorite toys to play fetch, and delighting in games of tag with each other.

Tonkinese become your “door greeter” and will happily entertain your guests. They have been described by enthusiastic owners as part puppy (following their owner around the house) and part monkey (their “acrobatics” are legend!), and they can sound like an elephant running through your house when they choose. In short, they quickly take over and run your house and your life! Their affectionate ways are impossible to ignore, and they quickly endear themselves to family and visitors.

Cat Fanciers' Association, Inc. (c) 2011

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