My first intoduction to the tonkinese breed was after my last Burmese had died at 16 years old - I’d bred Burmese briefly 18 years earlier and was surprised when I went to look for a replacement Burmese as I discovered that the breed had evolved over that short period - the modern Burmese had become much shorter in the face and stocky in the body than they were only 20 years ago. I was undecided.

Around that time I caught up with a friend who happened to have a new Tonkinese cat (first gen) seal-mink girl… and I was immediately smitten with this beautiful and elegant cat.... I decided there and then that Tonkinese would be the breed for me.

Thus I started researching the breed but I was confused by what I saw on the internet - many pics I saw of tonks had me confused - The huge variation seen in type seemed to indicate that there was no consistency within the breed, and I thought many were odd looking and nothing like the exquisite cat I’d seen in the flesh.

I realized that the country of origin had a profound implication to the look of the breed. The cats that I thought were most unappealing and not what I was looking for all hailed from America - they seemed to have stocky bodies that were lacking elegance or grace, round eyes, receding chins, protruding cheekbones, and small ears set on the top of the head - and appeared to have nothing in common with a tonk-bred from Australian origins with the exception of colour. It was to be many months before I was able to find the right Tonkinese for me.



 Our second Tonkinese girl arrives @ Anniesong



A perfect partnership


've learnt so much about breeding from Sienna & Gracie, who are both remarkable in their maternal roles and are very instinctive in their approach to motherhood. And yet both are very relaxed around other cats and also the dogs, and are highly approachable and trusting with the handling of their babies. Sienna is particularly relaxed as a mum and Gracie has absorbed much from Sienna's mentorship.

There are benefits in raising the two litters together and often we time matings in order that an experienced girl will birth at the same time as a new maiden-queen. The mums can usually be encouraged to merge their litters, that's if they don't naturally gravitate toward each others' nests if given access. 

 Introducing; Anniesong Eden - Gen-2 / Chocolate-Mink Tonkinese - daughter of Sienna & Arden

Eden @ 19 days old

Eden @ 10 weeks old

Eden @ 12 months old

Introducing; Anniesong Avalon (Ava) - Gen-2 / Lilac-Point Tonkinese - daughter of Gracie & Arden

Avalon @ 19 days old

Avalon @ 10 weeks old

Avalon @ 12 months old

  Time to add a stud boy


ne of the hardest things I found with the breeding of the early litters, was the fact that my precious girls had to be 'sent away' - and regardless of my faith in the facility they were visiting, it was a nerve-wracking time where I worried excessively about how they were coping.

An even greater difficulty lay in trying to find compatible males to breed with my girls, that would result in the type that I'd chosen to work with. As many locally available studs comprised an excess of Burmese genetics, or US genes, and I knew these would not provide the 'look' I was hoping to breed. It frustrated me at the time that in discussions with some local breeders there seemed to be very little perception of the huge variations that existed in the breed and many couldn't understand my uncompromising stance on finding the 'right' stud, rather than using any available stud or one that was suggested by the stud-owner.

Thus my research path took me to the prospect of importing a cat from overseas, but in terms of finding the most appropriate cat that would complement the direction I'd established, it was again difficult. In wishing to avoid the 'US-type' Tonkinese, my search took me the Europe and to the UK in particular. 


After 30 days in quarantine in Sydney and an excited wait, Suantre Tazer of Anniesong finally arrived in Brisbane which was to be his new and permanent home.

Sue had done such an amazing job of breeding and rearing this boy. Tazer was 5-months old at the time of his arrival, and it was clear that Sue had prepared him magnificently for such a long and arduous journey to Australia.

Sue had ensured that Tazer was quite used to walking on a harness and had taken him on frequent car journeys and day-trips to assist him to become bomb-proof.  Tazer was so smoochy and affectionate from the moment I met him and just took everything in his stride.

making himself at home

relaxing on the sofa

making himself at home


 Tazer becomes a dad

Tazer sired his first litters to Eden and Avalon who were then mature enough to breed. We were extremely excited to welcome his first babies and to see his amazing temperament would be passed on to his offspring.


Eden & Ava share a cuddle with one of Ava's kittens

Just like the relationship between their own mums, Eden & Ava were strongly bonded and that made perfect sense as they were half-sisters, who had been raised together.

Thus they naturally gravitated toward each other as mums even when apart. 

With some litters when they was more than a day  but less than a week difference in age between their babies, I would let them birth on their own then amalgamate the litters after a few days of being solo - this was to ensure that the latter-born litter receive sufficient colostrum from the first days of feeding.

However it was not unusual to find them attempting to reunite or 'borrowing' kittens from one another while apart and they were always happiest when raising their babies together.


Introducing; Anniesong Willow - Gen-4 / Seal-Mink Tonkinese - son of Sienna & Tazer

Tazer went on to father numerous litters and many an Anniesong Tonkinese owner is lucky to have one of his progeny - It's amazing how his eccentric and loving temperament is passed on to his offspring.

Bred to Sienna, he fathered 'Anniesong Willow', a Seal-Mink / Gen-4, who routinely passed on the same loving and affectionate nature to his babies.

Willow also sired Anniesong Jagger, who is currently one of our main stud boys.

Anniesong Willow all grown up

Taking a stroll


So the story of how Anniesong Tonkinese came to be doesn't end here, there have been many births and several introductions since then. The project to introduce the colours Cinnamon & Fawn to Australia has resulted in the infusion of 4 new lines, but the cats described above are pivotal to the direction we have taken as breeders of the amazing Tonkinese. Anniesong owes much to these foundation cats that kick-started our breed program.

After 11 years of being a registered breeding Sienna & Gracie are now the 'matriarchs' of Anniesong - Sienna is now desexed and enjoying her role as grandma to all babies. Tazer has just been retired from his role as 'head stud'.

Eden, as described above is now living a charmed life in a pet home with one of her daughters. Sadly Avalon is no longer with us as she passed away at the age of six due to complications that resulted from an allergic reaction she had to medication. I still miss her like crazy.

Willow is on a long-term loan to Trutonk Tonkinese in Townsville.

See Annieong Girls & Anniesong Boys to see the current 'Tonk-team' at Anniesong.

Why the name 'Anniesong'
I'm often asked why I chose the name 'Anniesong Tonkinese' as breeder prefix name, and the name of John Denver's 'Annie's song' is often suggested as a possible reference - yet the reality is quite different and has nothing to do with John Denver.... I don't even like the song !
I had purchased Sienna at a very difficult time of my life - having just lost my dear Mum unexpectedly only weeks before, I was tormented with grief and was generally inconsolable. After several weeks of despair, I'd said to my partner that I wished to get a kitten to bring the energy of new life into our home, and of course to distract me from the constant obsessing I was doing over the tragic loss of my Mum. My partner said in response "I think that's a bad idea" ... so I said well I think I should get a 'bad idea' kitten then !
The arrival of Sienna, was thus very timely and although to this day I still miss my dear mum like crazy, Sienna with her boundless energy and zest for life, was able to bring me out of the darkest place of grief and despair, and allowed me to look forward once again.
I'd named her Sienna from the moment I saw her, a name that popped into my head, and 'Sienna' was a name I'd used many years before for a rescued baby wallaby ... for some reason this new bright spark of a kitten just looked like a 'Sienna'.
When deciding on the prefix name as a registered breeder, I realised that the name Sienna was also an anagram, and spelt backwards was 'Anneis' - close to 'Annies' ..... and I thought it a poignant link, given my dear Mum's name was 'Annie', and the reason that Sienna had come into my life - so in recognition of the link between my mother's name and that of Sienna, 'the name Anniesong' took shape .... the 'song' part added an air of the exotic.

So that is how the name Anniesong Tonkinese came to be.
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