THE TURKISH VAN CAT

The Turkish Van is a beautiful, friendly cat that thrives with other pets and family members. While they make amazing companions, Vans often prefer to snuggle next to their owners on the couch or share their bed rather than snooze on a lap. Prepare for endless antics and tons of fun.

Brief History

The Turkish Van has been around for centuries — legend has it that they swam to shore from Noah’s Ark — and can trace their origin back to cold and mountainous region of Lake Van in Turkey. The rugged environmental conditions played a key  role in the breed’s evolution.

Vans are known for their distinctive forehead spots and coloring at the base of their tails.

Their distinctive coloring and bubbly personality inspired Turkey’s invaders to take the cat along with them to their home countries as souvenirs. However, it wasn’t until 1970 that the first Turkish Van cats were brought to the United States of America and the Cat Fanciers Association registered them as an official breed in 1985. Today, the Turkish Van is considered a national Turkish treasure. It’s breeding and preservation is supervised by the Ankara Zoo and the Turkish College of Agriculture.

Physical Features

The Turkish Van is distinctive thanks to their famous, beautiful coat. Their fur is mostly white, extending from the nose to hindquarters just before the base of the tail. From here, their coloring turns into circles that are dark orange, red or auburn. Their ears and sides of the head are also colored in these shades with an orange, brown or auburn spot placed right between the shoulder blades. It emerges distinctly and is often referred to as “God’s thumbprint.”

Their coats have long, soft hairs that are often compared to cashmere. These cats love to swim and their coats are fully water resistant. The Turkish Van has golden, blue, grey, silver or brown eyes with a pink nose and muscular body. Their paws can either be pink or brown. These unique attributes make the Turkish Van a prime show cat.

Average Height:

7 to 13 inches

Average Weight:

8 to 19 pounds

Life Expectancy:

12 to 17 years

Temperament

The Turkish Van is a very independent adaptive and intelligent cat. They’re extremely  social and do well with other pets and family members. However, while they thrive with company, Vans do not like being held or restricted in any way. They’re also known for being very inquisitive — be prepared to be followed from room to room! Vans are also very vocal cats and will often engage their owners in conversation just to feel a part of the goings on. Also be prepared for LOTS of climbing. Vans love scouting the highest point in any room and setting up there for a while. You’ll also never have to wonder how your Van’s feeling — their noses will tell you! When your Van’s happy, their nose will turn pink. When it turns red, they’re feeling stressed or upset. When it turns crimson, be prepared, they’re angry and will attack.

Special Needs

The Turkish Van is not very good at traveling as they are prone to peeing, pooping or vomiting due to car sickness. The Turkish Van loves playing with water. This can lead to them going to places where they shouldn’t. Make sure you’re supervising anytime open water is available.

The Turkish Van also does not like being held and particularly dislikes being restrained.

Possible Health Concerns

The Turkish Van is quite a healthy cat — there aren’t many health issues that affect this breed. Despite this, the Turkish Van can suffer from a condition that is known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is an inherited genetic condition that require medical attention.

Exercise

Exercise comes naturally to Turkish Vans because they are always on the move. Vans love playing games, solving puzzles and performing tricks. They are also an avid climbers. This cat should be allowed to perform these activities as they play a big role in her daily exercise routine.

Nutrition

This cat is up early in the morning and retires late in the evening. This means that they’re quite active for most of the day. To fulfill their energy requirements, the Turkish Van requires a diet that is rich in carbohydrates. They deliver the energy which they need on a daily basis. Cool, clean water should always be provided to this cat, but beware, they may also use it as an opportunity for water play!

Grooming

The Turkish Van has a beautiful, soft coat with long hairs. As a result, they require ample grooming to stay neat and clean. Since they do not have an undercoat, hair matting isn’t usually an issue. The Turkish Van does not shed much except in Spring and Fall seasons when the old coat is falling out and a new one growing in. Their coat is water-resistant and therefore eliminates the necessity of baths.

Her teeth should be brushed two-to-three times a week to prevent the emergence of periodontal disease. Claws should also be trimmed every few weeks. The corners of your Van’s eyes may emit a discharge and should be wiped away as soon as it emerges. As you do so, ensure that you utilize a different corner of the clean cloth for each eye. This prevents the spread of disease or infection from one eye to the other. Ears should also be cleaned weekly.

The Turkish Van is both beautiful and fascinating breed. They’re independent and affectionate at the same time. This is a companion that will play with you all day and sneak into your bed at night.