All About Turkish Van

The Turkish Van is a true beauty and is one of the original Turkish pedigree cats. The noble pedigree cat scores points with its well-balanced nature and intelligence, as well as with its playfulness and self-confident character. At the latest when you look into the sparkling eyes of a Van cat, it will have happened to you and the water-loving beauty will have crept into your heart.

History and Origin of the Turkish Van

As the name suggests, the Turkish Van originally comes from eastern Turkey and is also often referred to as a swimming cat. Even before modern breeding of the noble cats began, the strikingly beautiful semi-longhaired cats were already very popular in their homeland, because they clearly stood out from other cat breeds in appearance and character.

Surprisingly, professional breeding of the Van cat only took place after the British Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday discovered the breed and introduced some animals to Great Britain. Unlike other pedigree cats, the Turkish Van is a pure breed, so no crossbreeding with other breeds is allowed. The cat breed only became popular in the USA in the 1980s and in 1994 the breed was also recognized by the Cat Fancier’s Association. To this day, the Turkish Van is a rarity and only a few breeders have dedicated themselves to breeding the “water cat”. Since its recognition in the USA, only about 100 cats of the breed have been registered each year.

Essence and Character

The trusting and charming cats from Turkey are considered to be particularly intelligent and capable of learning. Thanks to its adaptability and its character traits, the Turkish Van is a perfect family cat that retains and lives out its play instinct into old age. Extremely devoted to “their” people and extremely open and social, members of the cat breed feel closely connected to their human family and are considered to be particularly affectionate and gentle.

At the same time, the lovable cat is equipped with a good hunting instinct and proves to be extremely skilled when hunting. But if you’re flirting with a Turkish Van, you should be aware that there is one characteristic that sets them apart from many cats. The Van cat loves water, so no watering can, flower vase, pond, or aquarium is safe from it. This is how the breed was given the name swimming cat, even before it became known beyond Turkey because in its original homeland you could watch the noble animals swimming again and again.

The Appearance of the Turkish Van

Medium-sized and powerfully built, the Turkish Van is often confused with the Turkish Angora at first glance, especially with its summer dress. On closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that the breeds are clearly different and, above all, that the origin of the cat breeds is what they have in common.

Characteristic of the appearance of the Van cats are the broad chest, the half-length coat, and the wedge-shaped head. In summer, Vankatzen presents themselves with a silky coat without an undercoat, and in winter with a thick, plush coat. A closer look reveals that the fur on the stomach is significantly longer than the fur on the back and, in addition to the bushy tail, the well-pronounced ruff and the trousers on the hind legs are typical of the lovable cats. The fur of the cat, which comes from eastern Turkey, is fully adapted to the extreme temperatures in its original homeland and so the fur is much thinner in summer than in the winter months. In keeping with their fondness for water, the fur is water-repellent. The breed-typical ruff is often not fully developed until the age of six and the Turkish Van is fully grown when it is four years old.

An important breed characteristic is of course the semi-long coat, which according to breed standards should be mostly white to cream-colored. The typical colored fur parts may not make up more than 20 percent and may only show up on the head area and tail. The torso, legs, and paws, on the other hand, must not have any markings. Depending on the breeding club, only red and cream markings are allowed, other clubs also allow black and blue.

The eyes are also crucial for the typical appearance of the Turkish Van, these are usually light amber. However, unequal eyes are also typical of the lovable pedigree cats and so animals with one blue and one amber eye are particularly eye-catching and by no means untypical for the breed.

Attitude and Care

If you are considering owning a Turkish Van Kitten or an adult cat of the breed, then you should be aware that they are playful and active, but also loyal and people-oriented without sacrificing self-confidence.

The naturally beautiful animals are adaptable and therefore perfect family cats, who also approach visitors in a friendly manner and also like to be the center of attention. As water-loving hunters, Vankatzen loves nature, but also contact with their caregivers.

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