Turkish Van: The Beautiful Swimming Cat from Turkey

Turkish Van

Introduction to Turkish Van

As the name suggests the Turkish Van belongs to Turkey. Van is the common word used in Turkey for town, lakes and villages so naturally this cat is called as Vancat by the residents of Turkey. Originally found near the Lake Van, this cat breed is different from the Turkish Angora, a cat breed originating from Turkey. This uniquely patterned cat native to Turkey is an ancient and rare breed. Due to its rarity these cats are considered a national treasure in Turkey.

The Turkish Van is often referred to as the swimming cat. This cat breed has soft cashmere like fur, which is waterproof allowing them to swim in water with ease. This robust and energetic cat has mostly white coat and the only color is found on its head and tail region.

History of Turkish Van Cats

The Turkish Van cats were found in the Lake Van region of Turkey for centuries and hence the name. The existence of this cat has been found 5000 years ago in the jewelry, sculptures, art, pictures and archeological findings around the Van region. These findings have suggested the existence of a longhaired cat with a ring around its tail that looked very similar to the Turkish van. This breed has adapted well to the Lake Van region, the mountains and rugged surroundings that has long harsh winters and unusually hot summers.

The Van cat has adapted well to the environs by growing long hair that is thick and full in the winters, which then it sheds during the summer making it appear a shorthaired cat. This adaptation allows this cat to swim and to keep its body cool. The first vans were found in Europe between 1095 and 1272 AD. Originally they were brought to the region by the soldiers and were then later on shipped to other Eastern nations by various explorers and traders. Over the years the Van cat has acquired different names like Eastern cat, Ringtail cat, Turkish and the Russian Longhair.

It was only in 1955, two British photographers Laura and Sonia on an assignment in Turkey for the tourism ministry of Turkey were presented two unrelated Van cats, which they took home. Their offspring were pretty similar to their parents and it was then that they realized that they were pure bred and decided to breed the Van cats. These cats got recognition from the British cat fancy associations.

These breeders decided not to cross breed the Van cats and thereby preserve the purity of the Turkish Van breed. In the year 1969, the Turkish Vans were given the pedigree status by Governing council of the Cat Fancy.

The Turkish Vans were brought to the US in the seventies and in the year 1985, they were granted the Championship Status by the International Cat Association. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) later on granted a Championship status in 1994. As of now, the Turkish Vans are a rarity even in Turkey.

turkish van cas

Turkish Van Physical Traits

The Van is a large and muscular cat breed with a long tail and body. The body is neither too thin nor stocky. The males can grow up to 18 pounds while females can reach eight pounds, which is quiet large. This semi-long hair cat breed has two types of hair length depending on the weather. During the winters the hair is thick and long with tufts of fur on its toes to protect itself from the chilling cold.

During the summers it sheds the extra fur leaving a light coat. The coat during both seasons is soft and silky to touch. These cats don’t have an undercoat. The hair on the tail does not shed and remains full during both seasons. The Turkish Van has a waterproof coat that allows them to swim in water effortlessly.

The white is the classic color found in these cats with some dark color on the head and tail. This pattern is often referred to as Van pattern. The soft fur needs very little brushing. This naturally occurring cat of Turkey is well adapted to the weather in this region. The full white Van cats suffer from hearing disorders.

The ears are large, nose is straight, and the cheekbones are high. You may even find the Turkish Van cats with odd eye colors meaning one eye is blue and the other amber. Inside Turkey this type of eye is accepted, while outside the region you will find more Van cats with either blue or amber colored eyes.

Turkish Van Personality

The Turkish Van is very energetic, agile and fun-loving cat. You will find them jumping around the house, climbing shelves or just playing a game. He is not your ideal lap cat and if you want a quiet lap cat as a companion, then the Van is a wrong choice. They like to own their territory and are an excellent hunter. These devoted cats are very loyal to one or two members in the family. Yes, these cats love swimming and enjoy playing near any water source.

Turkish Van Health Care

Turkish Vans are usually a robust and healthy cat breed, but full white Vans can suffer from hearing problems. These cats are able to survive in the harsh weather of their native region. Since these cats don’t have an undercoat, they shed very little hence require very little brushing or grooming. Weekly once brushing is enough for these cats.

Turkish Van Behavior

Turkish Vans are highly active, energetic and all over the place. These joyful cat breeds will jump on shelves, explore new areas, are brave and slightly naughty. They are excellent companions who will stay loyal to their owners. These playful cats enjoy playing games with other animals and humans. They are easy to train and will learn tricks quickly so much so that they can pull out things from your drawer.

Turkish Van with Children and Other Pets

The Turkish Vans are good family oriented cats and gets along well with children and other animals in the house. They enjoy playing games with both children and other pets in the house.

Height and Weight Range

Turkish vans are large cats weighing 19 pounds for males and 10 pounds for females.

Price Range

The kittens of the Turkish Vans will cost minimum $600 depending on the breeder and the quality.

Feeding the Turkish Van

Due to their high activity levels it is necessary these cats eat highly nutritious and high energy wet and dry cat food. Their bodies will require a minimum of 80Kcl of food for them to remain healthy and agile.


The Turkish Van is an amazing and unique cat breed. It is known for its beautiful markings and its fondness for swimming. It is a semi-longhaired breed that originates from the Lake Van area of Turkey. This breed is considered to have a calm and gentle personality, and makes a loving and loyal companion.

The Turkish Van is a muscular cat with an athletic build. It has a long, thick coat which has a cream colored base and distinctive markings on its head and tail. The tail is usually a different color from the rest of the coat, and is often a darker shade. The Turkish Van has large, almond-shaped eyes that can be either blue or amber in color.

The Turkish Van is a very active and playful cat. It loves to swim, and will often jump into bodies of water. This trait is unique among cats, and it is believed to be a result of the breed’s adaptation to the warm climate of its native Turkey. This breed is also very intelligent, and can be trained to do tricks.

The Turkish Van is an affectionate and loyal breed, and it makes a great companion. It is generally very social and friendly, and gets along well with other cats and even dogs. This cat loves to be around its family and will often follow them around the house. It is an excellent choice for a family pet.

The Turkish Van is an amazing and unique cat breed. It is known for its beautiful markings and its fondness for swimming. It has a calm and gentle personality and makes a great companion. It is an affectionate and loyal breed, and it gets along well with other animals. With its intelligence, activity level, and sociable nature, the Turkish Van is an excellent choice for a family pet.

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Written by alex-9

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