Turkish Van

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Is the Turkish Van right for you?

The basics:
The Turkish Van is a striking cat with a long history. They are most easily recognized as the white cat with minimal coloring on the head and tail, the “Van pattern” that has been named for them. This active, intelligent, and mischievous cat is a lively addition to any home – don’t expect long evenings together on the couch with the Turkish Van. Always on the move, this jester-like cat will entertain you with antics and acrobatics, and they’re always ready to play.

Though the formal breed wasn’t developed until the 1950s in the United Kingdom, it is generally believed that the Turkish Van hails from a breed of cat near the Lake Van area in Turkey. Known as the “swimming cats”, the Van cat has existed in the area for centuries, a white-coated cat with blue, amber, or odd-eyes. In Britain, the Turkish Van was selectively bred for unusual markings on head and tail. Despite ancient origins, both the Van cat and the Turkish Van are quite rare, though Turkey regards them as national treasures.

Appearance / health:
The Turkish Van is a large, longhaired cat breed, weighing between 10 and 18 pounds. Their medium frame is sturdy and well-muscled. They are more substantial in the front, with a full chest and somewhat rounded rib cage. The Turkish Van’s torso is on the long side, but the legs are about average length and proportional to the body. Their rounded feet have tufts of hair between the toes, and their tail is a brush or a plume. Their muscular neck may have a full ruff, particularly in colder months.

The Turkish Van has a somewhat large head, broad but longer than it is wide. It is somewhat wedge-shaped with rounded contours and high cheekbones. The muzzle is rounded with a nose-bridge that is prominent to the point of being slightly convex. Large, furry ears sit high on the head. The Turkish Van’s eyes are a large walnut shape, slightly slanted, and come in shades of blue, amber, or odd-eyed (one blue, one amber).

The Turkish Van’s long, fine coat is as soft as cashmere, semi-long with no undercoat. It has the unique feature of being slightly water resistant. Coat length may vary somewhat by season, with a summer coat appearing almost short except for the fine feathering along the belly and britches. In comparison with the rest of the body, the Turkish Van’s facial hair is short. The Turkish Van’s coloration is the main feature of the breed, composed of an all-white coat except for patches of color on the head and tail. There may be patches of color elsewhere on the body, but by no greater than 20%. The classic “Van” patterning is spots of colors specifically over the ears with a strip of white to separate them. The Turkish Van is best known for the red tabby/white coloration, other solid, tabby, and tortoiseshell variations are possible.

Behavior / temperament:
Mischievous, acrobatic, and intelligent the Turkish Van is a cat that will keep you on your toes. Athletic and inquisitive, the Turkish Van will easily jump to the tops of bookshelves, refrigerators, and closet shelves. Don’t mistake strength for grace, however, as this cat is a bit on the clumsy side. That doesn’t stop them from giving it their all during play time: the Turkish Van can make some truly impressive leaps and tumbles in pursuit of a favorite toy. The Turkish Van seems always to be in motion and they may flick their tail even when they’re perfectly content.

Though you’re not going to have much of a lap cat, the Turkish Van shows affection by other means. They prefer to spend their time with you in active ways, following you from room to room, batting your pens off your desk, and knocking things over to get your attention. A bored Turkish Van is a good problem solver, so don’t be surprised if they manipulate doors and faucets: this cat has a particular affinity for water, so they may just help themselves to a little running water in the bathroom sink.

The Turkish Van will enjoy playing with older children especially if they’re willing to give him toys to chase or fetch. The Turkish Van may be a little too much for younger children, and vice versa. The Turkish Van can get along with other cats, though they are not necessarily a breed that requires or desires feline company.


coloured spots, thoroughly charming fellow, tortoiseshell colours, majestic cats, handsome fellow


heavy regulation


eastern Turkey, different eye colors, great bed partner, pure native populations, shower

Helpful Turkish Van Review

Turkish Van

From LisaMC Jun 2 2015 5:59PM


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