The Turkish Van

turkish van cat breed


turkish van cat breed

This cat breed is semi-longhaired, strong built with a moderately long sturdy body, deep chest with shoulders as broad as the head.  The tail is long but proportionate to the body with a brush-like appearance.The head is a broad wedge with gentle contours and a medium-long nose, ears that are moderately large, set high and well apart with slightly rounded tips.Eyes are moderately large, slightly slanted at the corners and are coloured amber, blue or odd-eyed.The coat is a semi-long with cashmere-like texture; soft to the roots with no trace of undercoat.  Colours come in red and white, cream and white, black and white, blue and white, brown-patched tabby and white, blue-patched tabby and white, tortoiseshell and white, dilute tortoiseshell and white, brown tabby and white, blue tabby and white, cream tabby and white, and finally, red tabby and white.


Even if the initial reason for you to get a Van is for its ability to swim, it’ energy, agility and intelligence will make you fall in love with it.They are healthy and sturdy and you may find it difficult to keep up with them because of their action-packed temperament.  They are attention-seeking, demanding and get excited during meal times, so if you don’t have the time to interact much, this may not be the cat for you.Vans are also more likely to get attached to one or two individuals than an entire family and may not adapt too well to change in household, but the ones who handle these cats initially will be bonded to them for life.


The Turkish Van is a naturally occurring breed found by the Lake Van in Turkey and the bordering regions of Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Russia.  They are known as the Swimming Cat for its fascination with water which is probably because in the extreme temperatures in its native region reaching well above 100F, they may have learned to swim to survive.  This may also explain the unique water-resistant coat enabling it to swim and come out relatively dry.No evidence of their first appearance around Lake Van exists but ancient depictions on native ornaments dating back 5000 B.C make these one of the oldest cat breeds.Vans were first brought to Europe by soldiers on the Crusade between 1095 and 1272 A.D and spread across Eastern Europe via travellers, invaders and explorers.  The modern Vans of today started out by being brought to Britain by Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday who were given kittens from Turkey.  This cat breed first arrived in America in 1970 but was only bred popularly after 1983.

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