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Turkish Van

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Although the Turkish Van is an ancient breed, it is a relative newcomer to the United States. The first Van cats (named after the Lake Van region of Turkey) were imported to England in the 1950s, but the first Turkish Van did not arrive in the U.S. until 1982. Imports from Turkey are still accepted into breeding programs, although imports are quite rare as these cats are considered national treasures in their native land.

The Turkish Van is a semi-longhaired cat distinguished by its unusual pattern: the cat is white except for a colored tail and color on the head. (This is called the "Van" pattern, and is seen in other breeds as well). Show cats should not have color on more than 20% of their bodies. The most sought-after markings for show are restricted to the head and tail alone. Some small body spots are tolerated, but not most desirable. They can be found with blue, gold, or odd-eyes. (Odd-eyed means one gold eye and one blue eye).

Vans are very independent, but affectionate. They tend to bond strongly to one or two people in a family. They are social and remain active well into old age. They are inconsistent travellers; some travel well, but others are prone to serious carsickness.

Although they share the word "Turkish" in their name, the Turkish Van and the Turkish Angora are completely different cats. Angoras are lithe, with silky fur, and the Turkish Vans are more heavily built with a plush coat.

Interesting fact: Many Turkish Vans are fond of water and swimming. In their native Turkey near Lake Van, they can often be found swimming in warm, shallow pools. Owners of Turkish Vans must be careful about allowing unsupervised access to water, including baths and toilets! Even Vans who don't enjoy swimming are nonetheless fascinated by water, well known for 'bathing' toys in water dishes and playing in dripping faucets. Some even learn to turn on faucets for more playtime fun.

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