By Marianne Upham

© Robert Fox

The Turkish Van Cat


Turkish Van Cats originate from Turkey; the first pair was imported to the UK in 1955.
Two ladies, Laura Lushington & Sonia Halliday found one female cat on their travels along the South Eastern Coast whilst working for the Turkish Tourist Board. They were given a male cat by the owner of the hotel where they stayed whilst in Istanbul. The cats travelled with them and they were amazed at their level of affection and intelligence. The most outstanding trait was their affection of water, which they were known to enter, probably to cool down.

These cats were not known in UK at that time and after the mandatory quarantine to enter UK both ladies decided to breed from these cats and were amazed when they appeared to produce kittens with the similar unique markings of the parents. Due to the need to obtain further cats from source, to increase the gene pool it was not until 1969 that Turkish Vans obtained recognition with the GCCF. These cats were originally known as Turkish Cats and adopted the name Van once Laura and Sonia stopped breeding which was their Prefix and an area of Eastern Turkey.

Turkish Van Cats are classed as Semi Longhair, they have a much longer substantial coat in the winter and shorter coat in summer to cope with the extremes of temperature found in Turkey. They do not require the daily grooming that breeds such as Persians require as they do not have an undercoat, therefore are less prone to matting.

Turkish Van Cats has patterning on the forehead, with a white blaze between the markings and a patterned tail. The rest of the fur is chalk white. They should have shell pink ears, nose pad and foot pads, with ear tufts and tufts between the toes. Their eye colour to begin with was amber. As further breedings took place it was found a dilute colour was being bred naturally and different eye colours. The dilute colour - cream was recognised in as were other 2 eye colours; blue and odd - one of blue, one of amber.

With easier access to Europe further colours were introduced to the breed by European breeders who introduced cats they had obtained from Turkey which looked like Turks, some with other than the accepted auburn colour, or through inter breeding with other pedigree/ domestic cats.

Turkish Van can be found in the following recognised colours:

  Amber eyes Blue eyes Odd eyes
AUBURN TURKISH VAN 13d 13d bl 13d od
CREAM TURKISH VAN 13d7 13d7 bl 13d7 od
BLACK TURKISH VAN 13d1 13d1 bl 13d1 od
BLUE TURKISH VAN 13d2 13d2 bl 13d2 od
TORTOISESHELL TURKISH VAN 13d6 13d6 bl 13d6 od
BLUE TORTIE TURKISH VAN 13d8 13d8 bl 13d8 od
BROWN TABBY TURKISH VAN 13d11 13d11 bl 13d11 od
BLUE TABBY TURKISH VAN 13d12 13d12 bl 13d12 od
TORTIE TABBY TURKISH VAN 13d16 13d16 bl 13d16 od
BLUE TORTIE TABBY TURKISH VAN 13d18 13d16 bl 13d18 od

Turkish Van are very affectionate and enjoy being the centre of attention, they are ideally suited as indoor pets as they love to be involved in everything. They are good with children if they are brought up with them, also other animals including dogs but will want to be high up in the pecking order. Many Turks like to curl up on a lap or next to you, they will show affection by licking and head butting and on the odd occasion give you love bites which can be disconcerting to the uninitiated.

Turks do need exercise and can be easily taught to retrieve spending hours catching, dribbling and returning scrunchy balls or screwed up piece of paper to you. Many owners describe them as dog-like. They can be stubborn when they want and will intentionally knock things off shelves to gain your attention, blue tack is a must for items of value - or better still ornaments would be safer inside a glass fronted cupboard. They also like sparkly things like jewellery and given the opportunity will steal it to play with. Not all Turkish Van are addicted to water, but some may take baths and showers with their owners, play with hose pipes when they are turned on and try and jump in the toilet when it is being flushed, so vigilance is needed.


To View a list of Turkish Van Kittens Available Click Here

To View a list of Turkish Van Stud Cats at Service Click Here

To View a list of Turkish Van Breeders  Click Here


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