A pet owner's guide to buying a Tonkinese kitten

We live in Southern CA and started breeding in 1988. I have served on the board of the Tonkinese Breed Association (TBA) for 17 years. I served as the CFA Tonkinese Breed Secretary for 8 years which is the person who coordinates changes to the breed standard. As such, I heard many many complaints from both pet buyers and breeders. Additionally, I have attended cat breeder seminars at Cornell and UC Davis Vet Schools about health, behavior, and genetic issues. This is my own personal advise. Linda Martino

First select a breed. Do your homework. No breed is best for everyone. Although Tonkinese are an incredible breed they are not a perfect match for everyone.

Next select a breeder. Waiting lists are common. The vast majority of sales go well - but not all. A bad breeder can sell a good kitten and reputable breeder can sell a bad kitten. The difference is if there is a problem, a reputable breeder will work with you to resolve the issue.

We use a the term "back yard breeder" to describe someone who just sells kittens primarily for money and is not trying to improve the breed. Rarer are commercial breeders which are even worse. This is an expensive hobby. When done well a good breeder losses money.

Red Flags

Yellow Cautions

Most Tonkinese kitten sales go well, but occasionally there is a problem. Remember these are not manufactured items. A good breeder can sell a kitten that develops a problem that they did not know about and a bad breeder can sell a wonderful kitten. So unfortunately a referral may not always help. A healthy kitten can come down with a cold from the stress of moving to a new home. But a good breeder will take a kitten back if that is best. They will communicate with you. Good breeders love their babies and want this to go well. Most sales are satisfactory to both parties. I have had a bounced check (from a lawyer no less) who still has not paid me even after I won in small claims court twice. Kitten sales can go bad on both sides of the equation. But this page is an effort to help you avoid the problem breeders. Go with your instincts. If you are uncomfortable, go else where.

Good luck. A special Tonkinese is worth the effort to make a good selection. Life with a Tonkinese is special and worth being patient to find the right kitten for you. It will give you many years of joy justifying spending time to get a good kitten. Good luck.

Linda Martino