“Chocolate Siamese” cats were the original Tonkinese cats, however these cats were not bred deliberately. The deliberate crossing of the Siamese and Burmese- the actual creation of the Tonkinese was done by a breeder in Canada. These cats were considered a crossbreed for quite sometime before the Canadian Cat Association began registering them as an established breed. The name may be a reference to the Bay of Tonkin in Vietnam, even though these cats have no connection with the area.
This breed of cat is has a pretty even personality. They like to play and are active, but not to the point of being considered hyperactive or crazy. They are very intelligent and need daily play and mental stimulation. They are known to be lap cats and crave attention, cuddling and time with their people. They also like to play and entertain their people. They are a good family cat, as they also get along well with kids.
Both pure-bred and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be either influenced by genetics or environmental factors. Tonkinese cats are generally healthy due to selective and careful breeding over the years, but there are a few common feline health problems that can be more prominent with this breed.
Dental disease leading to gingivitis and periodontitis can have a higher occurance in the Tonkinese.
They can also have a genetic disorder that can cause renal amyloidosis. This disease causes abnormal amounts of amyloid (a fibrous protein) to collect in healthy kidney tissue, causing the kidneys to not function properly.
The can also have a higher incidence of irritable bowel disease (IBD). This is caused by inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract. It can cause vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration.