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Turkish Van Cats

If you would like a cat that is much like a dog, then the Turkish Van is the breed for you! Vans are medium large to large in size and are so huggable. Turkish Vans are surprisingly docile and highly trainable.

Turkish Vans are very much into playing! They can jump high into the air and if a bug dares get in your house… these Turkish Vans are right on it! There is not a kitten out there more fun than a Turkish Van Kitten!

Turkish Vans come from the Lake Van region of Turkey originally and this is how they got their name. Legend has it that Turkish Vans were the cats that were onboard Noah’s Ark and some stayed in the area close to where the Ark settled.

Turkish Vans have a medium long coat that is longer in the Winter than Summer. They are a muscular built cat and continue to grow until 2 years old. They form close bonds with their human family and are highly intelligent. Turkish Vans can be taught tricks like “fetch”.

Turkish Van Cat Overview

The Turkish Van cats originated from Turkey, and were named after the Lake Van. Some assumed that Turkish Van cats got its name owing to its extraordinary likeness for water. Turkish Van cats, in contrast to a majority of other breed of cats, gets really cheerful and loves to take soothing dips in the water at any.

The Turkish Van is the only breed of cat famous for its love of water. If raised to enjoy a swim in the pool, a Van will always relish any water play. Because of the breed’s legendary history, Turkish Van owners often discuss the possibility that two Vans escaped from Noah’s Ark and swam to Turkey, where they began a reign that has lasted for thousands of years.

Legendary Past of Turkish Van Cat

The Turkish Van – better known as the swimming cat – has survived virtually unchanged since Biblical times and shares the area known as “The cradle of Civilization” with mankind. Experts regard the Van as possibly one of the oldest breeds of domestic cat. The beautiful, fun-loving Van has an interesting history.

The breed is believed to date back as far as 75 to 387 AD. This belief arose from the discovery of a shield, typical of the kind carried by warriors of that period, which features an image of a white, semi longhaired cat with a red plumed tail and red markings on its head – a description that fits many Turkish Vans of today.

Turkish Vans originated in an area of Eastern Turkey known as the Lake Van region, where these cats have been enjoyed as pets for years. This origin probably explains the breed’s appreciation for water. Vans are often seen swimming on hot summer days in Turkish lakes.

In 1955, Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday, two British women went travelling through Turkey and were quite intrigued by the unusual cats and following some inquiries, found that the breed was very well known in the region and aside from their special pattern, they were quite famous for their love of water and swimming!

Upon their return home, they imported five Turkish Vans to England, successfully spearheading their own cattery and introducing the Turkish Van to Great Britain. This enjoyable breed found its way to the Netherlands, France and other countries throughout Europe. In the 1970’s, some Vans landed in the laps of a select few Americans. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Turkish Van Cat Appearance

Turkish Van cats can be easily set apart by its strong body, wedge formed head, its elongated bushy tail and gorgeous round eyes. Its eye color generally varies from gold to blue and even green nowadays. Breed associations on the other hand do not look upon this distinctive green color positively. Turkish Van cats are also differentiated by the exceptional pattern of marking on its body.

With a pure white body, the Turkish Van cats will have typical colored spots on its head and tail. These colors can contrast from auburn, cream, black, blue and even tortoiseshell. Numerous associations allow these variations of colors, but other most likely stick to the exacting guidelines and believe only colors like auburn and cream as pure.

Turkish Van Cat Coat

The coat itself is fine and silky and often referred to as the “cashmere coat”. They have no undercoat, but its coat changes with seasons and will become quite long in colder climates. In their homeland, there is a good deal of severe, extreme weather – from a great deal of snow and freezing cold to summer heat reaching well past the 100°C mark.

The cats have adapted to this by having their coats come into peak in the winter, growing a full, long coat with a magnificent full ruff around the neck similar to the lion’s mane. In summer, the cats shed down to appear shorthaired, with only their foxlike, brush tail showing any signs of their former glory.

Turkish Van Cat Tail

The Tail, one of the most outstanding features of a Turkish Van, is thick and muscular, and stands expressively. More than with any other breed, a Van’s mood can be judged by its tail, which the cat artfully swishes around. The tail is usually held high, which, coupled with the valiant swaggering gait typical of a Van, assures you of the cat’s complete confidence and pride in itself.

Turkish Van Cat Behavior

Turkish Van cats are very smart and easily adjust with its new home and owner. Turkish Van cats are those types of cats that love to go with people wherever they go. They love to play around, jump and explore new things that are within its reach. Turkish Van cats are really energetic, but they also need their sleep to regain that energy.

These kittens just love baths and will be more than happy to join you in your tub, or just show you how they swim in your sink. Many Turkish Van cats would love to fetch you particular objects of interest as well showing a dog like trait.

However many Turkish Van cats show the trait that they used to depend on in order to survive. This breed has also known to enjoy its time alone as well. These cats will love to have a few toys of their own for pure entertainment. However, it should be kept in mind that Turkish Van cats are not the type of cat you would like to choose to cuddle in your lap, as you watch television.

Taking Care of Turkish Van Cats

Grooming is definitely an important part of your Turkish Van cat’s life and the best part being grooming their beautiful long hair coat, with its amazing silky texture that never really gets tangles. But, grooming at least once a week is required to get rid of the loose hair, dander and other debris.

What Makes the Turkish Van Cat Unique?

Turkish Van cats are considered one of the largest of the domestic breeds and are quite massive at maturity – the only cat that cannot follow its head through a fence due to the breadth of the chest.

Aside from the large chest and shoulders, they have broad muscular hips. The width of the pectoral and pelvic girdles give the Turks quite a distinctive swaggering gait.

Fully mature males weigh anything from 9 – 12kg. Females are substantially smaller, but still large in size compared to other breeds.

This is a very intelligent breed that can be taught to perform tasks. They are happy to walk on leads and join the family dogs for a walk. When it comes to courage, it is a known fact that the Van has the heart of a lion. When cornered by dogs, it will viciously bite to defend itself.

One of the most endearing characteristics of these cats, are their retrieving skills. Vans will repeatedly play “fetch” and never tire of bringing their favorite toys to you in their mouths. They are often affectionately referred to as “Cats in dog suits” due to their personality.

Many cats of all breeds will play with the water tap or in a puddle outdoors but the Van is the only domestic breed known for its love of the water and the joy it gets from swimming. Lakes, streams and ponds are the most prized, but sinks, tubs and even water dishes will be pressed into use if the cat desires a dip!

This is not a cat to sit quietly in a Victorian parlor and accept the admiration of visitors… Rather than lying on the couch looking pretty, they are the ones moving the couch whilst jumping off it! Their ideas of play and social activity can be overwhelming if you are not prepared for them!

If you are prepared for the challenges, the rewards are immeasurable. Turkish Vans are considered one of the rarest domestic cat breeds and living treasures in their native region – every effort is being made to preserve them. They are considered “True Turkish Cats”.

Make room in your home and heart for a Turkish Van Kitten… you will not be sorry you did!

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