I thought I had a Siamese, I didn’t know I had a Tonk

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Would you like to pets me Hooman?

“Oh, she’s not a Siamese, she’s a Tonkinese.”
This never fails to elicit raised eyebrows from people who have their first meeting with my cat, Ocean.
It’s quite understandable that people would mistake her for a Siamese. Even I didn’t know she was anything other than a Siamese until a few months ago when I decided to really dig deeper into my cat’s information. (I’m using the term “my cat” loosely here. My girlfriend owns her but I’m taking care of her full-time).
A few months ago, I was lucky enough to own a gorgeous Bombay who I rescued from the street. I also didn’t know what he really was until I went and did my research. He had burn wounds all over his body when I first found him. He eventually healed and was a great addition to my small “family”. He unfortunately died after a year under my care after he got into a really rough fight with another cat. My neighbours buried him for me. But, that’s another story for another day. Let’s go back to Ocean.
So Ocean is a female Tonkinese and at first glance she does look like a Siamese. Tonkinese cats are the result of crossbreeding a Siamese and a Burmese cat together. The result is a gorgeous cat that looks like a Siamese but acts like a Burmese.
What are the differences between Siamese Cats and Burmese Cats?

This is a Siamese Cat
This is a Tonkinese
The Tonkinese is a slightly smaller cat as compared to a Siamese. They’re built more compact and they have relatively smaller heads and ears which are features more closely associated with Burmese cats.
Tonks are friendlier when compared to the aloof Siamese cats. This is also a trait more closely associated with the Burmese.
Siamese cats are notorious for being very noisy. The Tonk can be quite chatty at times but for the most part stay silent and will only call your attention with incessant mewing if they need something or they feel ignored. Place a Tonk on your lap and it’ll sleep soundly but only after you’ve stroked their fur several times.
Why choose a Tonk?
After living with Ocean for almost a year now, I’ve fallen in love with the breed and I’d rather have a Tonk than a Siamese.
Although Siamese cats are deemed more valuable than the Tonk (because it is a cross breed), the Tonk actually possesses more endearing qualities that should make him a more viable option over their predecessors.
I wants to cuddle with hooman! Purrrrrrrr….
Tonks are very affectionate and can be trained to do certain things. For example, Ocean loves to approach people and then give them a “high five” before going off to do other things. She just naturally started doing this and I encouraged it by giving her a treat after receiving a hand to paw reaffirmation from her.
She also knows enough to stay away from the table where I’m currently working with the laptop. She does have a separate table that affords her the luxury of “managing” me as I write. She also knows when it’s time for bed and she’ll make a big fuss to remind me that it’s well past midnight so she can sleep on my queen sized mattress.
Ocean was easy to housetrain when I got her and the only real issue I had with her was when I first got her she was so scared. She’d slink around with her body flattened against the ground keeping a very low profile as she ducked between the hiding spaces in my house. It took me a full two weeks to gain her trust. She slowly became more confident and after a few months has become the queen of the house. She struts around undisturbed as the dogs quietly watch her every move. She even manages to scare the dogs and chase them away from places inside the house.
One time she even managed to bully Pitchie, a pitbull mix I temporarily adopted. Just imagine seeing a muscular dog running away from a tiny cat. That’s how Ocean runs the household. At the end of the day they managed to be friends and I even caught Ocean using Pitchie as her pillow one night.
Like all intelligent cats, Tonks are very inquisitive and love to explore every nook and cranny of the places they’re in. Ocean has managed to get herself trapped inside closets and drawers inside the house because of her curiosity.
Ocean has many antics that keep me entertained as I write. She’ll be scampering around the house chased by imaginary friends, bolting at full speed from one end of the room to the other. Or, she’ll quietly watch what’s happening outside the window. She’s very alert and any small sound will make her come running to investigate.
I see something Hooman!!! I don’t know what it is but I see something!
She’s useless against mice though. There was one incident where a common shrew managed to get inside my house and I teamed up with her to catch it. She chased after it but after it gave a loud shriek when she swatted it with her paw, Ocean quickly scampered away. Talk about a useless cat! It’s a good thing Fraidy (my other cat) was there to save the day.
After that Ocean started strutting around like she was part of the successful hunting party. What a presumptuous cat. She thinks one swipe is all it takes to be an effective hunter.
When she’s in heat she goes after all of the dogs and presents herself to them. The dogs don’t seem to mind though. She can get pretty noisy when she’s in heat which can really tick me off. I’ve learned to adjust by wearing earphones during those periods.
She can also cry incessantly whenever I’m out of the house. Just imagine hearing hours and hours of mewing from a cat! (I found out later that Tonks are prone to depression, so I try not to be away for too long. I’m training her to get used to long periods of me not being around though). Whenever we’re together I’m rewarded with loud purring sounds.
For all my complaints about Ocean, she is well loved and I can’t imagine a life without her in it. She always approaches when she hears her name and whenever I get home she’s always at the door waiting. And once I get in, I get my regular High Five from her.

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