Turkish Van Cat Breed Information

Learn all about Turkish Van Cats, read about the Turkish Van Breed information, find out about the Turkish Van Breed Standard, Turkish Van behavior and lots more about Turkish Vans.

Turkish Van Cat Breed Introduction

The Turkish Van is a naturally-occurring breed of cat born in the region of Lake Van, Turkey.

Turkish Van Behavior/Personality

Source: Wikipedia (March 2006)

The Turkish Van cat breed, despite having originated as a natural breed of the mountains, is quite companionable with humans. Vans are also known for being quite active and powerful jumpers. But perhaps their most famous characteristic is their reputation as "swimming cats." In Turkey, Van cats have been known to jump in Lake Van on hot days in order to cool off.

Turkish Van Breed Standard/Physical Description

Here are some facts on the Turkish Van breed based on information in Wikipedia, March 2006 and the Cat Fanciers' Association breed standard.

  • Head: wedge-shaped and broad
  • Ears: large
  • Eyes: large, slanted
  • Body: large, with males around 20 pounds (9 kilograms) and females about half that
  • Legs: muscular
  • Paws: large
  • Tail: full-furred
  • Coat: semi-longhair with only one layer of fur

Turkish Van History

Source: Wikipedia (March 2006)

Turkish Vans' origins in Turkey may go back thousands of years. There are references to "white ringtail" cats all during that time. In fact, Turkish-Van-like cats are depicted on jewelry from the ancient Hittite empire. Archaeologists have also uncovered an ancient Roman banner depicting a white cat with a ringed tail.

The modern history of the Turkish Van cat breed in the English-speaking world dates back only to the 1950s. Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday, both British, brought the cats back from Turkey and bred them to each other. Since the offspring so closely resembled the parents, it was clear that the Turkish Van was a "natural breed." A natural breed is a breed whose characteristics arose in nature without selective breeding.

The breed was brought to the USA in 1982. It is today one of the rarest of cat breeds, but its ranks have been replenished various times by cats brought from Turkey.

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