Turkish Van Cat

The Turkish Van Cat has a semi-long white silky coat that has distinctive patches of color. This is a playful and mischievous cat that loves swimming in water. They form strong bonds with their owners and often get into trouble which makes them very exciting creatures to live with.
Turkish Van Cat

Turkish Van Cat Characteristics (Quick Facts)

Size: Large. Average body.

Intelligence: High.

Exercise Needs: Needs no exercise.

Ability to Adapt: High. Adjusts quickly.

Shedding: Moderate shedding.

Average Lifespan: From 12-17 years.

Price: From $500 to $800.

Weight: From 7-18 lbs.

Playfulness: Ideal playmate.

Social Skills: Good with children & other pets.

Need for Grooming: Once a week.

Health: Excellent. No health issues.

Hypoallergenic?: Yes.

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. They are distinguished by their semi-long silky white coat that sports patches of color.

This active and playful breed bonds deeply with its family members. However, they are known to pick one favorite person.

They excel at jumping. But are a bit clumsy and are 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.

Where Did Turkish Van Cat Breed Originate?

The Turkish Van is one of the ancient breeds thought to have originated in the Lake Van area in Turkey. It is believed that this breed is a descendant of a landrace of usually all-white cats mostly found near Lake Van.

Many legends surround this cat breed. 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 which imprinted color to their completely white coats.

While we may never learn how this breed came to be, one thing is for sure, these cats were always subject of attention due to their cashmere coats.

In 1955, Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday got two of these cats when they were on a trip in Turkey.

They decided to bring 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 Vans 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 is recognized by all major cat associations.

What Does the Turkish Van Cat Look Like?

This is one of the larger cat breeds with a broad chest 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.

They are easily distinguished thanks to their semi-long coat which has cashmere texture. The 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.

As per size standards, these cats should be large, well-built, and muscular cats with a moderately long body and tail. Despite being sturdy and substantial, the body should be well-balanced and well-proportioned.

Turkish Van Cat Colors

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 Vans 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.

Turkish Van Cat Personality Traits

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.

Although agile, Van cats are a bit 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 makes a devoted and loyal companion. They form deep bonds with their families but are known to pick a special person whom 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 are big fans of water and will grab 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 energetic and active cats 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 occasionally.

Due to its clumsiness and mischievous nature, the Van needs to be supervised a lot and can be a handful. Don’t get a Turkish Van if you are overly attached to your belongings, since your cat is bound to break a few, at least!

On the other hand, if you are at home a lot and have time to supervise your overly mischievous cat, the Van is the perfect choice for you.


The extremely active and energetic Turkish Van is highly protective of its people. It’s not uncommon for Vans to growl when they hear unusual sounds from outside.

These cats form strong bonds with one or two people, remaining loyal and devoted for a lifetime. The Turkish Van doesn’t like to change owners, thus don’t get one if you aren’t ready for a serious relationship!

Turkish Van Cat Behavior

The Turkish Van rarely develops any behavioral problems in a loving home.

However, this highly energetic and curious breed loves to play and will destroy your home if not provided with lots of cat toys.

So, make sure you keep fragile items in a place away from your cat to avoid them from getting destroyed.

Also invest in appropriate cat furniture such as scratching posts, trees, and condos, and change your cat’s toys frequently to prevent boredom.

We also have some useful articles about cat toys to help you chose the best ones for your cat.

Are Turkish Van Cats Adaptable to New Surroundings?

The Van is a highly adaptable breed that reacts well to new situations. They settle well into a new home and your cat will adjust according to your needs.

One thing to note, the Turkish Van isn’t a good traveler. Some cats develop stomach problems during a simple car trip 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, daily play sessions are a must if you want to keep your cat in shape and fulfill her social needs.

Does It Get Along with Children and Other Pets?

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, introduce all pets slowly and in a safe environment to prevent jealousy fits and fights.

This energetic and playful cat enjoys manipulating puzzle toys. They remain curious and playful and will initiate games by bringing toys to you. Therefore, spend at least 20 minutes a day playing with your cat to keep her active and content.

General Health and Potential Risks

The Turkish Van doesn’t suffer from any genetic health problems and is a very healthy breed.

However, you will still need to take your cat to regular vet appointments and keep her vaccinated. The rest is basic care and involves regular deworming treatments and flea and tick control.

Turkish Van Cat Lifespan

The Turkish Van has an average life expectancy of 12 to 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 the breeder if his cats are prone to car sickness. This way you will know what to expect if you must take your cat for a ride.

Grooming Needs

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.

Turkish Van Cat Shedding

You will have to brush your Van only once a week with a slicker brush. Despite its length, the coat doesn’t develop mats and tangles and requires only minimal care.

This breed sheds very little, except in the spring and fall when the old coat is starting to fall out.

Therefore, you will have to use this brush and groom your cat more often during the shedding season.

In this section, we answer frequently asked questions about the Turkish Van. Read on to learn more about this fun and clumsy cat!

How Much is Turkish Van Cat Price?

The exact price of a Turkish Van kitten depends on a breeder and several other factors. On average you can expect to pay from $500 to $800 for a purebred kitten.

Pet quality kittens are at the lower end of the price spectrum. However, if you are looking for a show quality Turkish Van and are set on a specific coat color and markings, be prepared for a steeper price.

How Big Do Turkish Van Cats Get?

Males are larger and usually, weigh from 10-18 pounds. Females are smaller and weigh from 7-12 pounds. This is a slow maturing breed which doesn’t reach its full size until 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 cat with high-protein cat food to fuel all those muscles and to keep your cat in excellent shape.

Are Turkish Van Cats Friendly?

The energetic and lively Turkish Van gets along with everyone including other cats and dogs. This curious and outgoing cat becomes fast friends with everyone who wants to play and can match its high energy levels.

How Rare Is a Turkish Van Cat?

Despite being one of the ancient cat breeds, the Turkish Van is one of the rarest breeds in the world. The entire breeding stock descended from two cats who were brought in the UK. Furthermore, only 100 Van cats are born in the US each year, making them rare and a bit hard to find.

Are Turkish Van Cats Hypoallergenic?

Although some breeds are considered less allergenic, there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic cat. The Turkish Van Cat is less allergenic than a common cat.

Thus, if you or any of your family members suffer from allergies, this breed can be a good choice.

Are Turkish Van Cats Vocal?

The Turkish Van is a very chatty breed, and your cat won’t hesitate to let you know when she needs anything. Your Van will be especially vocal during the dinner time when it will employ every trick in the book to get an extra meal.

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