Siamese vs. Tonkinese Cats: Fascinating Similarities and Differences

To the untrained eye, Siamese and Tonkinese cats look so similar, that they may as well be the same breed. Both of these blue-eyed beauties sport similar dark masks and reach around the same size. 

Tonkinese kitties are the love child of both the Siamese and Burmese breeds, therefore it isn’t surprising they look alike. 

Looks aside – both felines are two different breeds, and that becomes apparent when delving into their individual personalities.

In this article, Siamese and Tonkinese kitties will go paw to paw, to figure out which furry friend is perfect for you.

How different are Siamese and Tonkinese cats?

Here’s a quick sum-up of both Siamese and Tonkinese cats:


  • Lifespan: 9 – 15 years (however, it isn’t rare for a Siamese to reach 20!)
  • Length: Up to 15 inches
  • Weight: Up to 12 pounds 
  • Personality: Super affectionate, intelligent, vocal, sociable, athletic, active, dog-friendly, kid-friendly
  • Origin: Thailand


  • Lifespan: 10 – 15 years 
  • Length: Up to 15 inches
  • Weight: Up to 12 pounds 
  • Personality: Super affectionate, intelligent, active, kid-friendly, dog-friendly 
  • Origin: The United States and Thailand 

What are the similarities between Siamese and Tonkinese Cats?

Before we take a look at the differences, let’s see how similar the Siamese and their love child really are. 


One thing to note about these felines is how incredibly intelligent they both are. 

Siamese cats know your schedule better than you do – they’ll watch your every move around the house, analyzing when it’s feeding time and when you’re about to go to work.

Teaching them to walk outside on a leash? Easy. 

Teaching them new tricks? Also easy – it just takes a lot of patience from your end. 

This intelligence, however, is what gets them in trouble. In order to avoid wrecking the house, you’ll have to keep them constantly stimulated. This means lots of new toys and activities you can do together. 

Tonkinese cats are very similar in the sense they can get into a lot of trouble due to their intelligence. Much like the Siamese, they need a lot of mental stimulation to keep their mind off mischief. 

Training your Tonkinese may be a little easier than a Siamese. This isn’t because they’re smarter, just a little more tolerable of your “Who’s a good kitty? Give me your paw” nonsense.

Home Life

Ideally, both Siamese and Tonkinese breeds should be kept indoors. 

Siamese cats aren’t very streetwise – that’s no secret. Many keep them inside purely for their own protection. These kitties are full of energy, however, if properly stimulated, they generally have no problem with staying indoors. 

If let outside, it’s more than likely your Siamese will become lost, or even worse, stolen. 

Tonkinese cats also do well indoors. Their activities may be off-putting and you may worry that they get bored, however, if entertained they’ll be more than happy in the comfort of their own home. 

Tonkinese is also incredibly friendly. Wandering up to strangers isn’t uncommon for them, so they can quite easily be taken right from your front yard. 

Keeping both breeds indoors protects them from vehicles and larger predators. 


Unfortunately, both Siamese and Tonkinese cats are prone to various health conditions. Since these felines share very similar genetics, their lifespan is about the same, as are the conditions they suffer from.

Asthma, gum disease, heart and liver disease, lymphoma, and hyperesthesia syndrome are all things you need to look out for when dealing with Siamese and Tonkinese cats.

However, you’ll be pleased to know that both breeds have been known to live longer than your average moggie. To make sure your furry friend lives a long and happy life, it’s important you make regular visits to the vets for a routine check-up. 


You best bet both of these breeds are huge attention seekers. 

Siamese cats crave attention more than any kitty you will meet. Wherever you go, they want to be there too, even if that includes getting in the shower with you.

These needy kitties don’t do well alone, therefore they much prefer to have a companion whilst you’re away. If Siamese cats are left alone too long, they can actually form separation anxiety and depression.

Tonkinese cats are the same in the sense they’re very high-maintenance felines. They’ll want to be with you all hours of the day, and they lap up any attention that is thrown their way. 

These babies also prefer to have a friend so they have some company while you’re gone. 

What are the differences between Siamese and Tonkinese cats?

The differences between a Siamese and a Tonkinese may be subtle, but they’re definitely two different kitties!


The friendliness of a Siamese and Tonkinese is very similar (they’re both incredibly friendly!) However, there is one distinct difference. 

Tonkinese cats are friendly to absolutely everyone. They resemble that one kid that you always have to tell “don’t talk to strangers.” If you invite someone new over, you can bet your Tonk will be right up in their faces asking for the pets. 

Siamese cats on the other hand are a lot more reserved when it comes to new people. It takes some time for them to warm up to any sort of change in their environment – people being one of those things. 

However, once warmed up, a Siamese kitty will become friendly and loving to anyone they know well. 


Let’s just put it out there – Siamese cats are incredibly vocal. Their loud voices are definitely a huge part of their personality, and these chatty creatures are both loved and loathed for it.

Personally, I absolutely love the fact that I can have a full-on conversation with my Siamese. If they’ve got something to say – you’ll be sure to know about it. 

However, if you love everything a Siamese has to offer but you prefer to live in a much quieter household, the Tonkinese is for you. These kitties tend to be chatty at times, however, their voice is a lot quieter and a lot less piercing than that of a Siamese.


Both Siamese cats and Tonkinese cats have short, soft coats, so neither requires much grooming. 

However, Tonkinese cats are known to shed more than a Siamese, so should be brushed multiple times a week. If minimal shedding is something you’re looking for, you may be better off with a Siamese. 

Comparing Siamese Cats to Tonkinese and Other Cat Breeds

Both Siamese and Tonkinese cats make wonderful pets, and there really isn’t one that is better than the other. It all comes down to personal preference and which one will fit you and your household better. 

The differences between a Siamese and a Tonkinese may be subtle, but they are definitely there. The vocal ability of a Siamese kitty makes up a large part of their personality, therefore that’s something you’ll have to take into consideration when adopting one of these loving felines.

Either way, you’ll have a very lovable kitty!

Siamese Cats vs. Other Cat Breeds

Aside from Tonkinese cats, I also made an in-depth comparison of Siamese cats to other similar cat breeds. Check them out by clicking on the link to each blog post:

  1. Siamese vs. Oriental Shorthair
  2. Siamese vs. Himalayan
  3. Siamese vs. Balinese

Be the Siamese Cat expert you always wish to be! From color points to similar cat breeds, discover everything you need to know about their unique charm and characteristics in our comprehensive guide: Siamese Cat Breed: Types, Color Points and Comparison to Other Cat Breeds

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Siamese cats, Tonkinese cats

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