Turkish Van


The Turkish Van is an ancient breed from Turkey, which is best known for its love of water. This is an intelligent, energetic and affectionate cat with a cashmere-like coat that is easy to maintain. It’s considered to be a rare feline variety although it’s currently recognised by majority of feline registries.

Photo: © cattery Halima (halimaturkishvancat.com)


The Turkish Van was named after the Lake Van, situated in the mountainous areas of Turkish Anatolia, where it came to existence. It’s thought that this breed had lived in this region since at least the Dark Ages. It could keep its appearance and personality traits intact thanks to the isolated location of its native land.

Western cat fanciers got to know the Turkish Van in the middle of 50s of the XX century. At that time, photographers Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday were travelling through Turkey and found out some long-haired felines with red coloration on their muzzles and tail. During their tour they received as a present two kittens and were surprised to observe them to frisk joyfully in ponds and streams every time they halted for a rest.

Laura and Sonia brought their new pets to their native England where unusual cats aroused interest among cat breeders. However this breed wasn’t so widespread in Turkey so breeders had to face serious difficulties in acquiring enough of its specimens to start its breeding program. Luckily their joint efforts were successful and today the Turkish Van enjoys a life of a domestic cat in lots of European countries.

The Turkish Van became known in the United States in 70s of XX century. The International Cat Association began registering these cats in 1979. In 1985 the breed was completely recognised by this organization, followed by recognition of the Cat Fanciers Association in 1988.


The Turkish Van is marked by its vigorous, curios and independent nature. Sufficient and timely socialisation is a must if you want your cat to act mannerly indoors. It has propensity to form especially tight bond to only one person although it remains kind and tender with all members of its family. This feline is strong, muscular and somewhat clumsy so make sure to hide any fragile objects, which you don’t want to lose. This breed can be barely ascribed to a lap cat and it commonly dislikes excessive hugging and petting.

This cat is intelligent enough to learn tricks and games and will be glad to spend time with its master. It’s keen on climbing and likes taking a nap after boisterous games on the top of your book shelf. The Turkish Van is fine with polite children and will put up with the presence of other pets in the house. Actually it will greatly appreciate the opportunity to have one or several permanent feline companions. Supply your cat with plenty of interesting toys so it won’t get bored and therefore destructive while you are out.

Unlike other feline varieties the Turkish Van is unafraid of water. Moreover it can frisk in any basin for numerous hours. It’s advisable to put the toilet seat down and cover the swimming pool so the cat won’t get itself into a fine fix in your absence.

Choose the Turkish Van if you enjoy living with an active, resourceful and cheerful cat, which more than anything requires you love and attention.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.


It’s fairly easy to take care for the Turkish Van. Its long silky coat will look splendid only with a weekly combing. In winters its fur usually gets thicker so it may require more frequent grooming. This cat should be bathed only occasionally.

The rest consists of such standard procedures as periodic nail trimming and teeth brushing (preferably daily). The erect ears of the Turkish Van tend to collect dirt and debris so inspect and clean them on a regular basis.

Cat Breeds