Turkish Van – Cat Breeds

by catfood

The Turkish Van originates in the Middle East, an area known for its extremes of climate and rough terrain. As a result of the breed’s popularity, the label “Van” has been adopted by many different types of white cats with colored markings on the head and tail. The Turkish Van is a large, broad-chested, semi-longhaired cat. The cat’s powerful and muscular build is on full display in its massive torso and sturdy legs. It takes this breed around three to five years to reach full maturity and development.



Though the Van’s affinity with water is likely to initially catch your eye, the cat’s many other endearing attributes will ultimately win you over. Vivacious, quick, and shrewd best describe Vans. One proud owner of a Van remarked that her pet was exceptionally well-behaved and healthy.

Though Vans are known for their energetic personalities, keeping up with them may need a few months of training. They love to chat, insist on being the center of attention, and eat with tremendous enthusiasm. Vans are notoriously attached to their favorite individuals, which can make moving them from one home to another challenging. They form lasting bonds with just one or two family members, typically the first ones to interact with them.


Van loves cat water fountains so much that he or she will often sit in front of one and watch the water trickle for hours. It’s not uncommon for Turkish Van cats to go for a swim in the pool, tub, sink, or even the toilet if necessary. Owners of vans rapidly learn to never leave the lid up and to never let their children drink from the van’s water supply unattended.

Having such a predilection can lead to difficulty for Turkish Van kittens in particular. Water is fascinating to all Vans, even the ones who don’t like to swim, as evidenced by the fact that even those who don’t will play with their toys in water dishes or under running water. Cats are highly smart, and some of them may figure out how to switch on faucets.


Some 5,000 years ago, when the Ark landed on Mount Ararat, Noah must have had his hands full preventing the animals from stampeding to the ground. Two white and red cats jumped into the water and swam ashore, but Noah was too preoccupied to notice them. After the floods subsided, the cats made their way to Lake Van, which is roughly 75 miles (121 km) to the south of Attach Ararat. At least, that’s how one endearing myth describes the first appearance of the Turkish Van, a breed that has been there for who-knows-how-long in the Lake Van region of Turkey.

You can also find Turkish Vans in Armenia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and even some parts of Russia. Like the myths, the real-life account of this swimming cat with a gorgeous tail is fascinating. The Van, or Swimming Cat, is a species of cat commonly recognized for its affinity for wet environments. Extreme temperatures in the Van’s home location are thought to blame for the creature’s love of water. The largest lake in Turkey and one of the highest lakes on Earth, Lake Van, with harsh summers and cold winters.

Since the Van lives in a region where summertime highs routinely exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius), it’s possible that this aquatic creature has picked up swimming as a means of keeping cool. It’s also possible that these animals were hunting herring, the only species that can tolerate the salty conditions of Lake Van. Whatever the case may be, the Van’s tolerance of wet conditions likely explains the evolution of the animal’s cashmere-like, water-repellent coat.


Most domestic cats hate getting wet, possibly because they must spend hours putting their fur back in order. In profile, the nose has a slight dip below eye level marked by way of a change in the direction the hair lays. No one knows for sure when the Turkish Van arrived in the Lake Van region or where they came from.

Although a relative newcomer to North America, this Turkish breed has lived in the Van region for thousands of years. Native ornaments dating as far back as 5000 b.c.e. depict cats that look remarkably like the Turkish Van. If so, the Van could well be one of the oldest cat breeds still in existence. Vans were reportedly first brought to Europe by soldiers returning from the Crusades a while becometween 1095 and 1272 c.e. Over the centuries, the Vans were transported throughout the Eastern continents by invaders, traders, and explorers.

The Vans have been called by a variety of names: Eastern Cat, Turkish, Ringtail Cat, and Russian Longhair. Being cats, Vans probably didn’t answer to any of them. The modern and better-known history of the Van began in 1955 when British citizens Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday were given two Van kittens while touring Turkey. Since the breed was not recognized in Britain at the time, they decided to work with the cats and try to get them identified by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF).

English breeder Lydia Russell has been also instrumental in acquainting the public to the Van breed and sparking interest from fanciers in Great Britain and Europe. Russell also assisted new breeders obtain Turkish Van breeding stock. At first, the going was slow. Obtaining Van cats meant numerous trips to Turkey, and the cats had to pass through lengthy quarantine periods to enter England. Nevertheless, Vans were found to breed true, and in 1969 the hard work paid off when the Turkish Van was given full pedigree status by The Governing Council of the Cat Elegant (GCCF).

In addition to GCCF, the Turkish Van is accepted by the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe), Cat Aficionado Association (CAA) of China, and the Australia Cat Federation (ACF). The first Van kittens arrived in America in the 1970s, but it was not until breeders Barbara and Jack Reark started working with the breed in 1983 that the Vans started to flourish in North America.

In 1985, TICA granted the Turkish Van championship status. wide at the base. Even though the breed is still rare, interest has slowly grown. Until the 1980s, Turkish Vans were not officially recognized in Turkey although highly prized as pets by the Turkish people. Today the Vans are being preserved by the Turkish College of Agriculture in connection with the Ankara Zoo, the longtime breeder of the Angora. Vans are no longer permitted to be exported from Turkey, and most new Turkish Vans come from Europe.


Physical Attributes


Moderately long, sturdy, broad, muscular, and deep-chested. Mature males exhibit marked muscular development in the neck and shoulders. The shoulders should be at least as broad as the head, and flow into the well-rounded ribcage and then into a muscular hip and pelvic area.


Substantially broad wedge, with gentle contours and a medium length nose to harmonize with the large muscular body. Prominent cheekbones. The Turkish Van’s cashmere-like coat is water resistant, allowing the cat to go dog-paddling and come out relatively dry. Firm chin in a straight line with the nose and upper lip; rounded muzzle.


Moderately large, in proportion to the body, set fairly high and well apart; the inside edge of the ear is slightly angled to the outside with the outside edge fairly straight but not necessarily in line with the side of the face; CFA accepted the breed for registration in 1988, and in May 1993 the Van achieved provisional status with CFA, and championship status in May 1994. Tips are slightly rounded.


Moderately large, a rounded aperture slightly drawn out at the corners, set at a slant, equidistant from the exterior base of the ear to the tip of the nose. Eyes are clear, alert, and expressive.



Lengthy legs with a good amount of muscle. They have a big platform with a narrow heel and modestly sized, rounded foot. Legs and feet should fit the rest of your body well. Five toes in front, four toes in the back.


The length is impressive, yet it’s in keeping with the rest of the body, giving off the impression of a brush. The length of the tail hair matches that of the medium-long coat.


Semi-length, cashmere-like hair that is incredibly silky all the way down to the roots and has no undercoat. The variations of temperature and precipitation in their home location have shaped the breed’s coat into two unique forms. The short summer coat makes the dog look like a shorthair, whereas the long, dense winter coat is more accurate to its breed. Feathering can be found on the head, body, and feet. Hair on the face is short. Age increases the prominence of a full brush tail and a frontal neck ruff.


There are a wide variety of different cat coat colors and patterns, including solid colors like red, cream, black, and blue, as well as tabby patterns like red tabby, cream tabby, brown tabby, blue tabby, tortoiseshell, dilute tortoiseshell, brownish patched tabby, and blue patched tabby.


While the aforementioned traits may be indicative of this breed, it is important to remember that cats are unique individuals with their own quirks and features. For information about a particular animal, contact the adoption facility directly.

Wondering about Tuxedo? Check it out on our next post!

By catfoodsite.com

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