Turkish Van Breed

Known by many as the “swimming cat,” the Turkish Van is a naturally-occurring semi-longhaired cat breed. They originated in the eastern part of Turkey sometime close to the Middle Ages, though exact dating is difficult. They remained unknown in the West until the 1950s, when they were discovered by touring British and brought to England. The relative rarity of the cats in their homeland means that few are available for export, but breeders around the world continue to work to develop and preserve the breed.

Turkish Van cats are loving, loyal, and affectionate cats who enjoy being near their owners and getting a good pet, but they are not lap cats. They spend most of their time engaged in play, jumping, climbing, and exploring. They love games, and many are adept at learning to fetch. Their mischievous antics will amuse even the most serious owner. Turkish Van are known for their love of water, and will most likely enjoy swimming and other water games in the tub or sink. They get along well with children and other household pets, as long as everyone agrees that the Van is the boss.

These cats have large but agile bodies. They can take up to five years to reach their full maturity and will weigh anywhere from 10-20 pounds once they do. Both legs and tail are long in proportion to the body. Heads are a substantial broad wedge with moderately large, wide-set ears. Their eyes are large and walnut shaped. Eye color is amber, blue, or odd-eye.

Turkish Van are a combination of white and colored patches on the head and tail, with occasional randomly colored spots on the body. Traditionally Turkish Van were found in red tabby and white, though they are now available in other colors: cream, black, blue, cream tabby, brown tabby, blue tabby, tortoiseshell, dilute tortoiseshell, brown torbie, and blue torbie. Their coats are semi-longhaired with no undercoat, and a texture that makes it water repellent. Regular brushing is necessary, and bathing, though it won’t be needed much, will be an enjoyable experience for both cat and owner thanks to the Vans love of water.

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