Turkish Van History
The first Turkish cats were brought to Britain in the 16th century. Originally they were given names such as Russian longhairs, White Ringtails and French cats (they were imported from France). Many people assume that Turkish Vans are simply a colour variation of the Turkish Angora, however they are completely different breeds that developed in different areas of Turkey.
Turkish Vans are an rare and ancient breed, there are many stories related to the history of the breed, some aspects of the tales are true and others are just myths. It is widely accepted that the cats originated in Anatolia, Eastern Turkey and although the breed has been around for many centuries, it wasn't until the 1950's that the cats was actually discovered. Two English women called Sonia Holliday and Laura Lushington were on holiday in Turkey and spotted the stunning white cats nearby, they brought them back to England and were able to breed kittens with the smae 'van' markings. In 1969 the GCCF (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy) officially recognised the new breed.
At first the cats were just called 'Turkish Cats' but the name was later changed to avoid confusion with Turkish Angora's. Vans are named after Lake Van � where they were found swimming, that's right Turkish Vans love to swim and have even been nicknamed 'Swimming Cats'. Many breeds dislike water, some like to play in sprinklers but Vans absolutely love it.
Turkish Van Appearance
Turkish Vans have semi-long white or cream fur with darker markings mainly on the head and tail. Their coats feel a little like rabbit fur and are water resistant enabling them to swim in the lakes where they originated. The breed developed in Turkey where the weather can get extremely hot, therefore they used the lakes to cool off and their coats evolved so they could do this comfortably.
Although their coats are predominantly white, they are not known as white cats, they are coloured cats with large white markings caused by a piebald gene (white spotting gene). Sometimes darker markings can be found on the body and legs as well. Vans are usually one of the following colour combinations; Solid and White, red, black and blue, cream, Tabby and White, cream tabby, red tabby, brown tabby and blue tabby, tortoiseshell, brown patched tabby or blue patched tabby. Their fur requires little grooming, it remains silky and stays untangled most of the time.
Vans are strong, agile cats and do not reach maturity until at least three years old, males can weigh between 9-20 lbs and females 7-12 lbs. Eyes can be blue or amber or one blue, one amber.
Turkish Van Character and Temperament
Many people fall in love with Turkish Vans due to their love for water and swimming, however they have many other characteristics that should draw you to them as well. They are highly intelligent animals with amazing energy and a high activity level. You will probably find it hard to keep up with them at first, they just love to play and love your attention. This affectionate, vocal breed of cat will talk to you when he/she is hungry or happy to see you and will have no problem expressing their love for you.
They are curious and excitable and love to run around the garden or jump about on the furniture. They will play fetch all day if they can, chasing the same toy or a rolled up piece of paper. They like to take an interest in whatever you're doing, whether it's reading, typing or just sitting on the sofa. If you are planning on owning a Turkish Van get ready for some serious playtime!
Turkish Van Lifespan
9 - 15 years
Average Litter Size
The Turkish Van is a healthy breed of cat and many live into their late teens. Like with all breeds they should be checked by the vet yearly for teeth deficiencies and liver problems from about the age of 8 or 9 onwards.