Often referred to as the “Turkish Swimming Cat”, this naturally evolved breed is said to be particularly fond of playing in water. It takes its name from the geographically isolated area around Lake Van, in south-eastern Turkey, where it has been domesticated for several hundred years. In some ways, it resembles its fellow countryman, the Angora, but it is sturdier in build and immediately recognizable for its distinctive coat pattern.
Two Turkish Vans were imported into Britain in the 1950s by a couple who were struck by the unusual markings of the cats they saw while on holiday in Turkey. The pair were found to breed true, and after a slow start, and the introduction of more Turkish stock, recognition was granted in 1969. The popularity of the breed has grown in recent years, especially in the UD and Australia, where it is now eligible to be shown.
Affectionate, lively, and highly intelligent, the Turkish Van makes an excellent companion.
Apart from the original Auburn-and-White variety, Cream-and-White, black-and-White, and Tortoiseshell-and-White Turkish Vans are now being developed.
No other cat has markings that are quite like those of the Turkish Van Cat. The white, thumb-like, patch on the forehead is said by the Turkish people to symbolize the mark of Allah.
Short and wedge-shaped, with a long nose. The nose pad should be pink.
Large and round; pale amber in colour with pink rims to eyes.
Large, pointed, and tufted. Inside of ears should be shell-pink.
Auburn-and-White Turkish Van Cat.
Auburn-and-White Turkish Van Cat
As befits a cat that comes from a region of Turkey that is extremely cold in winter, but hot in summer, the Turkish Van moults considerably during warm spells, becoming virtually a shorthair in look.
Medium in size, long and muscular.
The fur is silky and long, and should be chalk-white in colour with Auburn markings on the face and tail. No wooly undercoat.
Long and feathery.
Medium in length and muscular.
The paws are small, neat, and round, with pads that should be pink in colour and toe tufts.
Odd-eyed Auburn-and-White Turkish Van Cat
Usually amber-eyed, Turkish Vans with odd eyes occasionally appear in litters. They may be prone to the same problems of deafness that afflict other blue- or odd-eyed white cats.
Cream-and-White Turkish Van Cat
Still fairly uncommon, this is a new variety that will no doubt increase in numbers once its delicately shaded markings are more widely appreciated by cat fanciers.