Tonkinese vs Siamese: Which Cat Suits You Best?

For the untrained eye, the Tonkinese and Siamese cats may appear the same. They have similar dark masks as well as blue eyes. This isn’t surprising since Tonkinese is the love child of the Burmese and Siamese breed. While it bears the genes of the latter, it’s fascinating to know that they have unique differences. For this post, we will have a Tonkinese vs Siamese face-off to see which breed is the perfect choice for you.

Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
Weight: Up to 12 pounds
Length: Up to 15 inches
Characteristics: very affectionate, kid-friendly, dog-friendly, intelligent, active
Origin: Thailand and the United States


Lifespan: 9 to 15 years
Weight: Up to 12 pounds
Length: Up to 15 inches
Characteristics: very affectionate, smart, dog-friendly, vocal, very social, athletic, and active
Origin: Thailand

Overview of the Tonkinese cat             

Tonkinese vs Siamese

The Tonkinese cat is far from the stereotypes about cats. This breed is a sweetheart that always loves to be involved in everything that their owners are doing.

Tonk, as it’s fondly called, is a cross between two Asian cats: Burmese and Siamese. This is part of an effort to produce a feline with moderate body size and calmer voice, but with the same loving personality of its parents.

This is a very active and friendly cat, but you’d have to put up to their talkative nature. Still, Tonks has a less piercing voice compared to its Siamese ancestor.

If you plan to get a Tonkinese cat, it’s best to raise it in a multi-pet household so the kitty has company. This is a brainy and athletic feline so another cat or dog will be an excellent buddy for this kitty.

You can also utilize the brain muscles of this cat by teaching it some tricks. Tonks also thrive in interactive toys that will keep them busy and occupied.

However, since this cat is intelligent, it can have stubborn streaks. The consolation is that Tonks is also clownish and likes making their owners laugh.

Tonkinese felines are sweethearts and lap cats. When they are not playing and zooming around, they love cozying on the lap of their favorite hooman.

Advantages of Tonkinese cats

Tonks are beautiful and gorgeous felines. If you’re looking for reasons to get one, the following might help you decide:

  • Excellent family cats. Tonkinese cats are very friendly and can tolerate kids around. They will surely keep your children busy with their antics.
  • Very social. Tonks are not shy cats. They love being the center of attention and they will always follow you around and peek at whatever you’re doing.
  • Easy to groom. Tonkinese cats have soft fur that’s easy to comb and groom. This also makes them very huggable. They rarely need a bath but you have to deal with the light to moderate shedding.
  • Smaller than Siamese. Generally, Tonks are smaller than Siamese in terms of length and height. They are heavy but still lighter than the Siamese breed.
  • Not picky. Most Tonks have an excellent appetite and their tummies are not very sensitive. However, you should monitor their portions since this feline can easily pack extra calories if free-fed.

Disadvantages of Tonkinese cats

While Tonks are attractive cats, they come with some downsides just like any kitty. The following are some of the things you should keep in mind:

  • Expensive. Tonks don’t come cheap. You’ll have to spend at least $700 if you want to bring this kitty home. Other breeders will charge as much as $1,500 for high-quality litters. Still, every dollar is worth it because this cat has a great personality.
  • Can be troublesome. All cats will have their own moments of trouble, but you have to watch out for Tonkinese cats. These kitties might be charming, but they are always up for mayhem. They can figure out how door locks work, how you open drawers, and where you hide their food stash.

Overview of the Siamese cat

Siamese cats are popular mainly due to their sophisticated look. Their dark brown mask is paired with ocean eyes. Unlike Tonks, they are a bit more reserved, although they are also affectionate once they picked their favorite human.

One thing you should know about Siamese cats is that they are highly opinionated. Their raspy and high-pitched voice will send the message to every person.

True enough, Tonks got the friendliness of Siamese cats. This breed likes following their owners around and will be devoted to their families.

If you plan to get a Siamese cat, it’s best to match them with another cat or dog. This is a very demanding kitty and will become grumpy if you left them alone for long periods.

Moreover, this breed always has a stern look, which makes them appear intimidating. Still, don’t let this appearance fool you because this kitty is very affectionate once you earn its trust.

However, if you don’t like a chatty roommate, a Siamese may not be suitable for you. They also get pretty destructive if left alone with no toys or any form of entertainment.

Advantages of the Siamese cat

Are you torn between a Tonkinese and a Siamese cat? Here are the strongest points of the Siamese breed:

  • Doesn’t shed a lot. Siamese cats have varying coat characteristics, but most of them are easy to groom. They don’t shed a lot as compared to Tonkinese cats.
  • Loyal companion. Siamese cats will follow you around and make sure that you always have company. This is why they make excellent companions to kids at home. There’s never a dull moment with this kitty.
  • Loves other cats. The Siamese breed loves being around other cats they can play with. They don’t mind not being the only fur baby at home. With proper introduction, this kitty can live harmoniously with a dog.
  • Not picky. Like Tonks, Siamese cats are not picky and they will eat anything that they find appealing. However, they also have a ravenous appetite that you have to watch out for.

Disadvantages of Siamese cat

Just like Tonkinese, Siamese cats have a less appealing side. To make sure you know what you’re getting, you should also know of the following:

  • Very vocal. If you want a quiet household, Siamese cats are not for you. This breed loves to talk back with their high-pitch and raspy voice. It can be annoying and piercing so it’s important to consider this part.
  • Expensive. Like Tonkinese cats, you should be willing to dip into your savings if you want this breed. Siamese cats cost around $700 to $1,500. It may cost more if you’re getting it from a high-end breeder.
  • Up for trouble. One thing that makes Tonks and Siamese similar is their quest for trouble. They love exploring around. In the process, they may topple your expensive vases, pull your tissue roll, and chew on your precious wires.

Tonkinese vs Siamese: Which is Best?

It’s not really about which is the best cat. The suitability of this breed depends on your personality, home setup, and preference. It’s important to know the breed to identify which works for you better.

Both Tonks and Siamese cats are intelligent, active, and athletic. You should give them loads of toys to keep them busy and happy.

Another similarity between the two breeds is their affection toward humans. They love being around, cuddling, and sitting on laps. However, Siamese cats tend to be more reserved around strangers than Tonkinese.

Moreover, Siamese cats are heavier and a tad bigger than Tonks. Still, it’s just a small difference that most cat lovers will not really consider important.

Aside from that, both cats are vocal, but you may want a Tonkinese if you don’t like a piercing meow nagging you around all day long. Siamese cats are very demanding and talkative, which can be tiring for those who want a quiet home. With a Tonk, you will achieve some level of quiet since its voice is milder and easier to the ears.

I also want to highlight that Tonkinese cats are not as easy to come by as Siamese cats. There are fewer Tonks in the U.S. so its cost can skyrocket dramatically, depending on the breeder.

Which of these cats suit me?

If you’ve reached this point and hasn’t decided still, the following Q & A may help you:

Do I have long patience?

If yes, you can deal with a Siamese cat. Tonks are also excellent. You can even get them together since their personalities are complementing.

Do I like a bigger cat?

If yes, you should go for a Siamese cat. If not, Tonks are the best bet since they tend to be 3 to 5 inches shorter than Siamese felines. Tonks are lighter, too.

Am I looking for a responsive cat?

Both Tonkinese and Siamese cats are vocal, but Siamese kitties will surely hold the most active conversations. This feline will always voice its opinion even if you don’t ask for it. You’ll never feel alone if you have a Siamese cat.

Am I looking for a friendlier cat?

If you want a kitty that will rub on your guests’ legs, a Tonk is your best bet. You can’t find any other cat with the same level of friendliness as the Tonkinese. This is because the Siamese breed tends to be aloof of strangers until they acclimate to the person.

Do I like a laidback cat?

If your answer is yes, both Siamese and Tonkinese cats don’t suit you. These two kitties are balls of energy that are always up for some trouble at home. They love playing, roaming, zooming, and jumping every chance they get. If you can’t put up with this energy, you should consider other breeds instead.

Do I have the time to play and bond with my cat?

If you’re busy and can’t be present all the time, you might be better off with a Tonkinese. This breed is less demanding than the Siamese, but you should still give it enough playtime and toys. On the other hand, Siamese cats will pout and pine if you leave them alone for too long.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are Tonkinese cats rare?

A: Tonkinese cats are considered uncommon so they may not be a common sight at rescue shelters. Still, you should check before you look for a breeder. You may land a surrendered Tonk, which will save you a lot of money. Due to their athletic and energetic nature, some owners may find it hard to keep up. This may force them to give up the cat. But in terms of number, we can say that Tonks are indeed rare.

Q: Do Tonkinese cats shed?

A: Tonkinese cats shed minimally that’s why they are fairly easy to groom. Their short coat is soft and very easy to brush. Weekly brushing should be enough to maintain the coat of this cat. Tonks rarely need baths as long as they are kept indoors.

Q: Why do Tonkinese meow so much?

A: Tonkinese cats are naturally vocal. Excessive meowing is a sign that your Tonk wants something or craving your attention. Tonks use meowing as a way to interact and communicate with their owners. As a talkative cat, this isn’t really surprising.

Q: Can Tonkinese cats go outside?

A: Tonkinese cats are adventurous and curious so they may try to escape. However, it’s best to keep this cat inside to avoid various hazards. Their athletic nature will expose them to injuries and accidents. They may also ingest toxic substances since this breed has a ravenous appetite.

Q: Do Siamese cats like to be held?

A: Siamese cats love being cuddled and held. They love the attention and affection they get. Expect a Siamese to sleep on your bed and dodge its way to your lap. It can be very imposing, especially if you leave them alone for long periods.

Final words

With this Tonkinese vs Siamese article, I hope that you are enlightened about which breed suits you well. Both are energetic, loyal, and affectionate kitties. In fact, the difference between a Tonkinese and a Siamese is subtle but still worth noting.