TONKINESE - Facts and Statistics.
Copyright © Linda Vousden
A selection of information about the Tonkinese that doesn't easily fit in any of my other FAQ categories.
I'm still looking for answers to Tonk questions, and still adding questions to the list - do you have one you'd like to see here?
The First Tonkinese Breeder?
Although it is often said that the Tonkinese is the only breed to originate from Canada this is misleading. As a recognised breed of cat, the Tonkinese actually originated in England - where they were known as Chocolates. In 1902 the Siamese Club wrote "One great object of the Siamese Club is to encourage the distinct breeding of the Royal cat of Siam and the Chocolate cat of Siam - both beautiful in their own way but recognised as distinct breeds." The earliest known Chocolate breeders were Mr & Mrs Hurbert Young of Harrogate in Yorkshire. Records show that Young's Chocolate queen, Lady Siam, was successfully shown at the 1888 Crystal Palace Cat Show. The more well-known English breeders of Chocolates, in the late 1800s, were Mrs & Miss Sutherland whose famous Chocolate stud was Prince of Siam.
In the 1960s collaboration between Canadian and American breeders revived the breed; and in 1967 the newly formed Canadian Cat Association became the first registry to accept the breed under the name Tonkanese (later changed to Tonkinese).
For more information read my book Tonkinese Cats - A History
The Largest Litter Of Kittens - or How Many Kittens Does A Tonkinese Have?
On 7th August 1970, Tarawood Antigone, a four year old Burmese/Siamese (i.e. Tonkinese) owned by Valerie Gane of Oxfordshire, UK, gave birth to nineteen kittens. Unfortunately four were stillborn, but the surviving fifteen kittens consisted of 1 female and 14 males.
A normal litter size for Tonkinese is between 4 and 8 kittens.
The Oldest Known Tonkinese - or How Long Do Tonkinese Live?
Bill Mainz of Rockville Centre (NY) obtained his male Tonkinese, Dickens, from the Baikal cattery in Manorville (NY). Dickens was born on 24th December 1991 (the same day as my own boy, Fable). Sadly Bill had to say farewell to Dickens on 9th December 2013, just two weeks before his 22nd birthday. I was also very sorry to hear from Brenda and Eddie Cadman (IOW, UK) with news that their Brown Tonkinese, Hugo (Herkatz Huracan Hu) passed away in May 2018, less than three months from his 23rd birthday. I am grateful to both Dickens and Hugo's caring owners for sharing this information.
The average life expectancy of an indoor cat is between 9 to 15 years, sadly some breeds now have a shorter life expectancy than they used to - possibly due to excessive breeding for type (breed shape) and/or in-breeding. In my experience the Tonkinese generally live between 13 and 18 years.
The Largest Known Tonkinese - or How Big Do Tonkinese Grow?
Weight: I have no information on the largest recorded Tonkinese. However, the largest Tonkinese I know of is Milo, he was over 7kilos (1stone 1lb) when he was a little more than two years old, a fit and healthy young neutered male - he is the son of my own Tonk stud, Mymystic Pharoah. Several years on, Milo weighed in at around 12 kilos - but he was put on a diet and is now a healthy 10 kilos! Of my own cats, my smallest female weighs 3.5 kilos (7.7lbs) and my largest male weighs 5.1 kilos (11.2lbs) - both of whom are fit and healthy cats. Tonk males are generally larger than the females.
Length and Height: In the natural course of things the heaviest Tonk will be the largest - providing it's not just overweight. I have no records of the smallest or largest adult Tonkinese, but I can give you an idea of average sizes for Tonks in the UK. My smallest and largest Tonks are fairly typical of UK Tonks. Nimue, my smallest girl, is 74cms (29 inches) in length from nose tip to tail tip, and stands 23cm (9 inches) at the shoulder. My largest boy (neutered at 6 months) is 87cms (34inches) from nose tip to tail tip and stands 28cms (11inches) at the shoulder. Bear in mind that neutered males are generally larger than males that are kept entire for stud work.
If anyone has any more information on this topic I'd be interested to hear from you, and you can see most of the above named cats in my Gallery.
How Much Do Tonkinese Kittens Weigh?
Obviously the birth weight depends on the condition of the queen and how well she is cared for during pregnancy; how large she and her mate are and, most notably, how many kittens there are in the litter. The development rate depends on how well the breeder cares for both the queen and the kittens, physically and environmentally. When I was researching for my book 'Tonkinese Cats' I took a survey to show the growth rate of Tonkinese kittens. I had details of around 100 kittens, their birth weight ranged from 85 to 140grams (3ozs to 5ozs) and by the age of 6 weeks we were looking at a range of 510grams to 907grams (1lb 2ozs to 2lbs).
When Do Tonkinese Kittens Start To Show Their Colour and Coat-Patterns?
Tonkinese colours and patterns come in such a range that it is not a simple matter to determine them - even if you know what you have bred for. They are born much paler than their eventual, fully mature, colour, which is generally seen by the time they are two years old. As a rule of thumb most breeders will know the colour and coat-pattern of a Tonkinese kitten by the time it is around seven weeks old but it may be obvious sooner than seven weeks. The paler the coat-colour the longer it may take to be sure of it.
Which Was The First Tonkinese Champion?
The Canadian Cat Federation was the first registry to grant the Tonks Championship status (1971) - but when I was researching for my second book (Tonkinese Cats - A History) they were unable to provide any historical information at all. So sadly we may never know who the first Tonk Champion was. The first Grand Champion under the US Cat Fanciers Association was Connacht's Shenanigan, a platinum mink male (1985). For details of UK titled cats visit the Tonkinese Breed Club's web site (www.tonkinese.info)
How Much Do Tonkinese Cost?
This depends on whether you are thinking of just the purchase price or how much you can expect to pay out over the course of their lifetime with you. A lifetime expenditure will include food, equipment, consumables such as litter and heating, veterinary bills, cattery bills, education (just checking that you are paying attention), toys etc and any number of unforeseeable expenses. However, does anyone ever work this out in advance for a pet - or a child? So while the above needs to be considered we come back to the purchase price. Presently in the UK you can expect to pay around £500 for a pedigree Tonkinese kitten. If you are asking this question because you are thinking of buying a Tonk kitten then I recommend that you also read Buying A Tonkinese and More About Kittens.
Do Tonkinese Cats Have A Belly Flap?
Yes it's an odd question, but you'd be surprised how often I'm asked about it. Most cats have a flap of skin just toward the back of their belly, its known as the primordial pouch. It seems to have a number of functions - extra protection over the belly in case of fighting, extra space for an engorged stomach in cases of feast and famine (not usually a problem for a domestic pet) and the extra skin seems to cater for a long rear stride when running, twisting and jumping (as it does in Cheetahs). It does seem to be more prominent in neutered males, and oddly its more prominent in tabby patterned cats, perhaps this is just because the paler belly makes it more obvious.
It's nothing to be concerned about, but it's always good to keep up to date with your worm treatments, sometimes an infestation of worms can cause the belly to sag.
Are Tonkinese Suitable For People With Cat Allergies?
First of all let's dispel the myth that there are any hypo-allergenic cats or cat breeds - there is no such thing, but some cats may be less likely to produce allergic reactions in people than others. For some people the Tonkinese is such a breed because its fur is close-lying and soft, this tends to slightly reduce the amount of dander produced - it is the dander that generally causes people to have an allergic reaction to cats.
Your Question .......?