The Turkish Van Cat has a distinctively colored coat and is one of the oldest cat breeds. They are large cats with broad chests and shoulders and muscular bodies. Their heads have a broad wedge shape and are topped with moderately large ears.
The round eyes are moderately large and can be blue, amber or odd. These cats are distinguished by their semi-long silky white coat that sports patches of color.
This is an active and playful breed that forms strong attachment to its family members. However, they are known to pick one favorite person.
The Van excels at jumping, but is a bit clumsy and is known to knock a thing or two from top shelves.
Unlike most cat breeds, Vans are big fans of water and will take every opportunity to take a dip in the pool or bathtub.
The Turkish Van Cat is one of the ancient breeds thought to have originated in the Lake Van area in Turkey. It is believed that the breed is descendant of landrace of usually all-white cats mostly found near Lake Van.
Many legends surround the Turkish Van Cats. According to one, these cats swam ashore from Noah’s ark which landed on Mount Ararat, near Lake Van. Some traditions say that they received divine touch that imprinted color to their completely white coats.
However they may have been created, these cats attracted attention with their cashmere coats.
In 1955, Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday were given two of these cats when they were on a trip to Turkey. They decided to bring them back with them to Britain where they bred true and produced more Van cats. In 1959, Lushington imported two more cats and was set to establish a new breed. In 1982 the first Turkish Van Cats were imported to the United States.
The International Cat Association recognized this breed in 1985. However, the Cat Fanciers Association waited until 1994 to formally recognize the breed. This breed was first named Turkish Cat, however, the name was later changed to Turkish Van to better distance the breed from Turkish Angora.
Today, the Turkish Van Cat is recognized by all major cat associations.
The Turkish Van Cat has a large and long well-muscled body. These cats have broad chests and broad shoulders. The body is supported by muscled legs and ends in a fully plumed tail. Their heads are broad with a wedge shape, rounded muzzles and moderately large ears with slightly rounded tips.
The round moderately large eyes can be blue, amber or odd and complete the breed’s look.
Vans are easily distinguished thanks to their semi-long coat that has cashmere texture. Their coat is mostly white and sports patches of color on the head and tail. However, some cats can have spots of color on their legs and body.
Male Turkish Van Cats are larger and usually, weigh from 10-18 pounds. Females are smaller and weigh from 7-12 pounds. This is a slow maturing breed and doesn’t reach full size until they are 3 to 5 years old.
The well-muscled and sturdy Van is by no means a chubby cat. Their bodies embody agility and grace and should be maintained with proper diet. Therefore, feed your Van with high-protein cat food to fuel all those muscles and to keep your cat in excellent shape.
The Van is a loyal and loving cat that remains kitten-like playful well into old age. Their endless supplies of energy and agile bodies make them excellent jumpers. Thus, these cats love being perched high up observing their domain.
Even though they are agile, these cats are clumsy and are known to knock a thing or two while climbing bookcases and shelves. Hence, it is best to provide your Van with a cat tree and save items you hold dear from tumbling to the floor.
If properly socialized from a young age, the Turkish Van Cat makes a devoted and loyal companion. They form deep bonds with their families but are known to pick a special person who they love above everyone else.
Generally, they don’t like to be picked up or held, and will rarely jump in a lap. However, they like to play with their owners and enjoy pouncing after feather teasers.
Unlike most cats, Vans love water and will take every opportunity to take a dip. Thus, don’t be surprised if your cat follows you to the bathtub.
Furthermore, they will be compelled to investigate your backyard pool and will learn how to open every faucet in your house. Some even dip their paws and catnip toys in the toilet. Hence, you will have to close your bathroom doors and cover your pools to keep your cat away.
These are energetic and active cats that tend to play rough with their toys and render them unusable in no time. Hence, you will have to invest in a variety of toys and buy new ones every once in a while.
Due to its clumsiness and mischievous nature, the Van needs to be supervised a lot and can be a handful. Therefore, this breed is best suited for people who are often at home and won’t get too upset if a cat breaks their favorite vase.
The Van is a highly adaptable breed that reacts well to new situations. These cats settle well into a new home and adjust according to their owners needs.
One thing to note, the Turkish Van isn’t a good traveler. Some cats develop stomach problems from simple car drives to the vet. Thus, if you plan on spending a lot of time on the road, the Van might not be the best choice as a traveling buddy.
The highly energetic and playful Van is always in motion and knows how to stay in shape playing in an activity center. They like to play fetch, hide and seek or tag, and can chase after ball toys for hours on end.
Therefore, you should play with your cat for 20 minutes every day to keep her in shape and fulfill her social needs.
The Turkish Van Cats don’t suffer from any genetic health problems and are considered to be a healthy breed.
The Turkish Van has an average life expectancy from 12-17 years. Due to its robust health, this breed is a great choice if you don’t want to deal with long-term medical costs and frequent vet visits.
However, you should ask a breeder if his cats are prone to car sickness. This way you will know what to expect if you have to take your cat for a ride.
The Turkish Van’s semi-long coat has a silky texture and feels like cashmere. The lack of undercoat makes the coat easy to maintain.
So you will have to brush this cat only once a week with a slicker brush. Despite its length, the coat doesn’t develop mats and tangles and requires only minimal care.
The coat is the longest during the winter and these cats go through a shedding season. Therefore, you might need to brush your cat more often during spring and fall.
It may seem that the Turkish Van is a white cat with patches of color. However, it is, in fact, a colored cat with large white patches that are caused by the piebald spotting gene.
Usually, Turkish Van Cats have white bodies and patches of color on the head and tail. Still, some can have spots of color on their legs and bodies too.
This type of coloring is known as the Van pattern and can be seen in other cat breeds and domestic cats.
Colors seen in this breed include red, cream, black, blue, tabby in red, cream, blue, brown and various shades of tortoiseshell.
If properly socialized from a young age the playful Turkish Van can be a great choice for families with children. They like to chase after feather teasers and play with older children who can match their energy levels.
On the other hand, you will have to supervise younger children and teach them how to pet a cat. The Van gets along with other pets only if he is in charge. So make sure to introduce all pets slowly and in a safe environment.
This is an energetic and playful cat that enjoys manipulating puzzle toys. They remain curious and playful and they will initiate games by bringing their toys to their owners. Therefore, spend at least 20 minutes a day playing with your cat to keep her active and content.