Turkish Van

Turkish Van
Other names: turkish van cat

Turkish van is a white semi–long-haired cat with colored spots on its head and a tail painted in a contrasting tone, bred since ancient times in the territories of the Armenian Highlands. All representatives of the breed are not afraid of water, and some willingly swim in shallow ponds and pools.

Brief information

  • Breed name: Turkish van
  • Country of Origin: Turkey
  • Weight: 4-9 kg
  • Life expectancy: 15-17 years old


  • Turkish vans are cats with a reduced degree of allergenicity. Taking water procedures more often than other breeds, animals wash off the Fel d1 protein from the wool, which provokes sneezing and lacrimation in people with sensitive immunity.
  • The Turkish van reaches its full physical heyday by the age of 3-5. The same age is considered optimal for exhibiting a pet at exhibitions.
  • The breed has a unique coat resembling delicate cashmere, which repels dust and water.
  • Like most native breeds that developed in natural conditions, Turkish Van cats do not suffer from hereditary genetic diseases.
  • In the homeland of the breed, in Turkey, only completely white individuals with eyes of different colors are listed.
  • Adult Turkish vans are natural talkers, and their meowing is not annoying, but very melodious.
  • All representatives of the breed are enthusiastic gamblers, chasing balls from early childhood to feline retirement, so periodically the pet will have to buy new toys instead of broken and loose tenacious claws.
  • European felinological associations do not yet register Turkish vans with a solid white color, considering them a separate branch of the breed, however, they allow the crossing of Snow Whites with spotted cats.

Turkish Van cat is a moderately well-fed and sociable beauty who has a secret passion for water attractions and fishing. Looking at this fluffy, imposing smart girl, it seems that nature created the animal exclusively for sitting on the hands of the owner and soft pillows in the sultan's chambers. But don't judge by first impression. In everyday life, Turkish vans are picky playful kittens who prefer sports records to lazy comfort, and energy–consuming entertainment to boring stroking.

Breed characteristics

Activity ?
High ( Rating 4/5)
Affectionate ?
Below Average ( Rating 2/5)
Molt ?
Low ( Rating 2/5)
Need for care ?
Minimum ( Rating 1/5)
Health ?
Good ( Rating 4/5)
Sociability ?
High ( Rating 4/5)
Playfulness ?
Playful ( Rating 4/5)
Friendliness ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Intelligence ?
Standard ( Rating 3/5)
*Characteristics of the Turkish Van breed are based on expert assessment amitypuppies.net and reviews of cat owners.

History of the Turkish Van breed

Images of white–haired cats with fluffy tails were found on jewelry from the era of Urartu, a vanished state that occupied the territories of the Armenian Highlands. Modern felinologists consider Lake Van to be the birthplace of the breed, which belonged to the possessions of ancient Armenia, and later passed to the Ottoman Empire. It is in the vicinity of this reservoir that the Kotofei, called "vana katu", have been breeding uncontrollably for thousands of years, fishing and mousetrapping.

In the Middle Ages, cats from the shores of Van entered Europe with crusaders and caravans of merchants. The breed, however, did not gain wide recognition in the Old World, but there a new name was glued to its representatives – ring-tailed cats. As for the modern history of the Vanes, it began in the middle of the XX century, with the journey of the British journalist Laura Lashington. Making a voyage through the former Ottoman Empire, the Englishwoman received as a gift from the locals two kittens, which they presented as an aboriginal breed of van kedisi. Fluffy pets conquered the newly-made mistress by discovering an irrepressible craving for water and bathing, unusual for European cats. It is implied that this interesting feature prompted Lashington to return to Turkey again for an additional "batch" of cats, which later became the progenitors of all English vans.

By 1969, the van kedisi were all bred in Europe, and at exhibitions they were simply called Turkish cats. And only in 1971, after the animals were added to the FIFe lists, a more detailed name appeared – the Turkish Van cat. In 1979, the purr was recognized by TICA, and in 1994 – by CFA. But in Turkey, swimmer cats were refused to be considered as a unique breed for a long time, which did not prevent local cat owners from keeping a whole brood of vans.

To date, the import of animals from the Republic of Turkey has been officially stopped, and the kittens themselves have been declared a national treasure. Sometimes, of course, exceptions are allowed, but this happens almost at the government level. So if you are not a significant political figure, like Bill Clinton, to whom the Turks presented the sacred Van cat in 1996, count on the fuzzies born in the walls of domestic, European and American nurseries.

Curious fact: only individuals of solid white color with heterochromia are extolled in Turkey, while felinological commissions treat this breed variety with caution. And although the process of standardization of albino vans has already been launched by several associations, animals with spots between the ears and a colored tail continue to be considered exemplary Van cats at exhibitions.

Video: Turkish Van

Turkish Van breed standard

The Turkish van is a large–format breed capable of gaining from 6 to 9 kg. The increased volume of the silhouette and the massiveness of the backbone are mainly male individuals. Kitties are noticeably more elegant than their partners, so their weight does not exceed the bar of 6 kg. One of the defining exterior features of the van is a fluffy tail decorated with peach or tortoiseshell rims, because of which the ancestors of the breed were once dubbed ring–tailed cats. Many animals also have a contrasting spot in the shoulder area. According to Muslim legend, this is the imprint of the hand of the Almighty, who stroked the Turkish van for destroying the mice that viciously pierced Noah's Ark.


The Turkish Van cat has a head shaped like a blunt wedge. The profile of the animal is distinguished by minimal relief and a strong, well-marked chin.


Vans keep their ears straight and high. The ear blade is quite large, with a well-rounded tip and a wide base. Inside, the ear funnel is abundantly pubescent.


Only one type of lobe color is allowed – flesh pink.


Turkish vans are big–eyed cats, with a light amber or blue color of the iris. The preferred shape of the incision of the eyelids is oval, the delivery is slightly kosovat. Pronounced heterochromia of the iris is not considered as a defect.


The body of the Turkish Van cat, although not gigantic in size, looks impressive due to an excellently developed muscular corset. The stylish impressiveness of the silhouette of the purr is also given by a strong neck and a massive chest.


The correct van does not have long, but also not short legs with rounded paws. The skin on the pads of the paws has a delicate pinkish tone.


The tail is of medium length, pubescent with fine semi-long hair, giving it a resemblance to a brush. This part of the body looks especially impressive in the summer, when the animal changes its coat to a less fluffy one. Compared to the short summer fur on the body of the cat, the lush tail hair looks like a fan.


Turkish van is a cat with a semi–long silky coat and a complete lack of undercoat. The shortest hair grows on the shoulders and neck, the longest – in the tail and on the hips. Usually the thickness of the cover varies depending on the season: winter cat coats are thicker and denser, summer ones are more airy. In addition, there are Dutch and English breeding lines. The "Dutch" have less abundant hair, whereas British vans have an increased degree of fluffiness.


According to felinologists, the classic Turkish van is a white semi–long-haired cat with a ring-shaped "print" on the tail, colored marks between the ears and sometimes a spot in the area of the shoulder blades. Contrasting "islands" on the purr's head can be red, cream, black and blue. Animals with tabby tags are also not uncommon. Traditional tabby combinations are red, brown, cream and blue. Individual individuals may have spots of tortoiseshell, thorby and diluted thorby suit.

Sometimes, thanks to the play of genes, bi- and paticolor kittens are born, in which the proportion of white pigment on the coat is 50% or less. Experts do not favor such colors, because they indicate outcrossing (admixtures of blood of another breed).

Disqualifying vices

  • No color spots on the head.
  • Clearly looming stop.
  • Skeletal defects, including tail creases, underdeveloped fingers and a flat chest.
  • The total area of colored labels is more than 15% of the body.

The character of the Turkish van

A real Turkish van kedisi is a kotofey, set up for close interaction with the owner and energetic entertainment. Flying around the apartment for a rolling ball or methodically torturing a crumpled newspaper will not prevent the cat from either its impressive size or your dissatisfied views. Moreover, this friend will go out of his way to seduce the owner to play together or, at least, to throw rubber squeakers – the breed loves to aport objects. Periodically, a climber wakes up in every animal, forcing him to remember that there are unconquered peaks in the house like a closet, refrigerator and chest of drawers. Not to say that Turkish Van cats are such supermen, famously taking any height, but they climb on household appliances and furniture quite cheerfully.

If you want to look at the "hanging" kotofey – open the water in his presence. Any flow of life-giving moisture acts on the pet like a magnet, from which the animal can only be torn off by screwing the faucet. Fans of shooting funny videos in their own bathroom can be recommended to let van go there, who will certainly make a "big splash", relax from the heart in warm water and try to catch a jet. It's the same story with country ponds and fountains, so if you breed fish in them, keep an eye out. The Turkish-Armenian ancestors of the Van cats were engaged in fishing at a professional level, and their domesticated descendants continue to "fish" in decorative reservoirs and indoor aquariums.

Turkish vans like to keep the situation under control, so they almost always hang around a person. At the same time, they do not suffer from obsession and dependence on the owner's attention. Yes, the furry cunning is reluctant to play alone and prefers group entertainment, but it is not in his rules to bother with claims. Often the behavior of a pet is also determined by its gender. Cats, for example, are natural leaders and leaders, trembling over their own independence. Cats are more relaxed and positive, happy to let their partners steer.

A person for a Turkish van is not an absolute authority, but an equal playmate and a pleasant pastime. Do not expect that the fluffy nobleman will sleepily recline on your hands and knees. In order to equalize his authority with the master's, van will certainly climb on your back or shoulders and already from a height will cast a contemptuous glance at others. By the way, about looks and facial expressions: the emotions of the pet are reflected not only in behavior, but also in the expression of the muzzle, so if the cat is dissatisfied with something, the owner will be the first to know about it. In addition, a Turkish van living in a family will definitely highlight a pet in it, with whom he will build a special line of behavior. The privileges that kotofey's confidant will receive are affectionate rumbling in response to momentary stroking (not to be confused with cuddling) and an instant reaction to the affectionate "kitty–kitty-kitty".

Education and training

The breed is not offended by intellectual abilities. In addition, its representatives have excellent memory and intelligence, allowing them to quickly establish cause-and-effect relationships. However, do not forget that the correct Turkish van is always a little proud cat, which cannot be forced to do anything, so build the learning process based on the individual characteristics of the pet. For example, if a fuzzy who has just moved into an apartment refuses to use the tray and does his business on the mat, dragging him to the cat toilet by force is wrong. It is better to play on the natural instinct of purring, sprinkling on the tray with a special spray like "My place" or Ms. Kiss.

If the pet's "flights" through cabinets and shelves are annoying, do not pull the animal down at every jump, but go to meet him, building a game complex for the cat. Positive reinforcement also works wonders. Treat Van with a treat for each completed command, and the furry rascal will quickly realize that the benefit from a qualitatively done job is much more solid than from doing nothing. But it is better not to use punishments at all. The maximum that you can hurt kotofey is by ignoring, so if Van refused to fulfill the requirement, pretend that nothing happened, but hide the treat and avoid communicating with the four–legged idler.

Control of feline gambling addiction is not the last thing in the upbringing of the Turkish van. If you allow the tailed limitless to amuse himself with aportirovka as much as he wishes, then very soon you will find yourself sitting among a pile of socks, hairpins, rags and thousands of other chaotically scattered things. To prevent this from happening, accustom the kitten to the fact that you can only play with special objects, but not with the contents of the laundry basket and small things that accidentally come into view.

Maintenance and care

A Turkish van kitten must be provided with a standard "dowry" – a couch (basket), bowls for eating and drinking, as well as toys that kids love to chase on the floor. Do not be surprised if at first you will find a kitten anywhere, just not on his mattress. Even adult vans are slightly human-dependent, what can we say about the crumbs taken away from their mother and trying to hide from the big world in bed or the shoes of the owner. In connection with this feature of the breed, a little advice to breeders: before each start of the washing machine and removal of the garbage bag, do not forget to check whether something lumpy and fluffy is sleeping in them.


In matters of cleanliness, Turkish Van cats are real perfectionists. After visiting the tray, Van will scratch on the filler for a few minutes and sniff, checking whether he has safely hidden the products of his own vital activity. So do not be lazy to clean the cat's toilet in a timely manner and do not skimp on filler – a self-respecting van will not go into a smelling tray and will find a cleaner place for "wet cases".

Turkish cats are combed once a week, first of all smoothing the fur on the stomach, gradually moving on to working out the sides. A classic brush is suitable for combing, since the breed is devoid of a tangled and tangled undercoat. As for washing wool, everything is simple here: the vanes do not need to be persuaded to splash in the bathroom – most of them will willingly jump in there themselves. It is better to use cat cosmetics less often – once every 4-6 months. The healthy coat of the Turkish Van cat is able to self-clean and maintain a spectacular appearance, even if the owner does not use pet shampoos and conditioners.

A mandatory procedure in the life of a Turkish van is brushing teeth, which the representatives of this clan are not completely healthy and prone to the formation of tartar. Western breeders recommend "disinfecting" the oral cavity of a pet daily, although breaks in a day or two are quite acceptable and will not cause serious damage to health. You should systematically check your pet's ears, making sure that sulfur does not accumulate in them and an ear mite does not settle. You can remove excess sulfur secretions with a cotton swab moistened with chlorhexidine or lubricated with cosmetic vaseline. The claws of overly active dogs are also shortened, but an adequate attitude to this process will have to be developed in the cat for several months.


Western breeders prefer to feed Turkish Van cats with industrial super-premium and holistic-class feeds. To follow their example or not – each owner decides for himself. At the same time, it is important to remember that balanced natural food is absorbed by the pet's body no worse than the most expensive "drying".

The daily diet of van kedisi does not differ from the menu of an average cat. Approximately 40% of the daily volume of food is allocated to protein components: lean stringy meat, boiled fish fillets, fermented dairy products. By the way, about fish: despite the fact that for the wild ancestors of the Vanes it was the basis of the menu, modern individuals should not be stuffed with this product. Of course, a couple of times a week a piece of mackerel or whiting should appear in the animal's bowl, from which the bones have been removed, but raw river fish is taboo for the breed.

The required amount of fat in one serving is from 5% to 20%, depending on the degree of fatness of the animal. If the Turkish van is gaining pounds too actively, this is an excuse to cut back on the calorie intake. Keep in mind, the breed has a tendency to obesity, which is easier to slow down in the early stages than to treat later. The amount of carbohydrates in food should also be minimal – the cat's body spends too much resources on splitting them.

Carrots, pumpkin, broccoli and beets are useful for cats from vegetables. But since the meowing brothers are not eager to eat vegan dishes, they will have to be cunning and mix vegetable shavings into meat porridges. The ideal option is to give your pet root vegetables and greens raw, so they retain all the vitamins. If the cat has digestive failures, then it is better to boil carrots and cabbage. It is also not worth abusing plant foods, so if you notice that your pet has problems with stool and increased gas formation, the proportion of fiber in the diet should be minimized.

Periodically, porridge is cooked on meat broth for Turkish vanam, alternating rice and buckwheat groats. However, it is not recommended to make such dishes the basis of the diet – an excess of cereals provokes failures of the pancreas and genitourinary systems. Sometimes it is useful to replace cereals with flax or buckwheat bran. Flaxseed and sesame oil, kelp, and fish oil have proven themselves well as vitamin supplements. Trays with oats planted in the ground can also become a useful device – they are usually placed on the balcony or in the house. As soon as the seedlings hatch, it is necessary to point them to the Turkish van. In the future, the cat will "graze" by the oat field on its own, eating vitamin-rich young shoots.

Health and diseases of Turkish vans

Aboriginal cats, to which the Turkish van belongs, are less susceptible to genetic diseases than hybrid breeds, but they also have some ailments. For example, animals may suffer from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, so if the cat has lost interest in games, started coughing hoarsely and breathing heavily, sticking out his tongue, it is better not to postpone a visit to the veterinarian. Some individuals may have arterial thromboembolism, the main symptom of which is complete or partial paralysis of the hind limbs.

Another weak point in the Turkish van's body is teeth and gums. The former are prone to the accumulation of tartar, and the latter often become inflamed, causing pain to the cat, so do not skimp on toothpastes and do not be lazy to clean the pet's mouth. Despite the increased motor activity, the breed often suffers from obesity, and this must also be taken into account. Moreover, in neglected cases, when the cat has managed to gain a lot of excess weight, it is better to put the animal not on a self-invented diet, but on a program developed by a veterinarian.

How to choose a kitten

  • There are almost no monopred nurseries of Turkish vans in Russia, and those that are available rarely put up for sale worthy individuals. If you have the opportunity to buy a kitten abroad – do it there.
  • The optimal age for moving a tiny van to a new family is three months. Taking too small kittens is a big risk, because the less the baby eats mother's milk, the weaker his immunity.
  • Ask the seller to show pedigrees for kittens, as well as their parents – this information is not withheld in official nurseries.
  • Carefully study the color of the animal, armed with a breed standard. Remember, a real Turkish van is an all–white cat with small contrasting spots between the ears, a groove on the forehead and a painted tail.
  • Be extremely careful when purchasing completely white representatives of the breed, which are so praised in Turkey. Approximately 3% of them suffer from genetic deafness.
  • If, against all odds, you want to buy an albino pet with heterochromic eyes, specify who his parents are. TICA recognizes and recommends white vans only when they are born from an individual with a solid white color and a spotted producer – it is such "marriage unions" that reduce the risks of hereditary deafness.

Price of Turkish van

The Turkish Van cat is a rare breed not only in Russia, but also in the world, so do not expect to buy a kitten quickly, cheaply and not far from home. It is also pointless to look at popular virtual bulletin boards. They sell there mostly mongrel animals with similar colors to the van. As for the average price tag, in nurseries in the USA and Canada it ranges from 800-1500 dollars. Vans from Russian lines will cost a little cheaper, but the choice of kittens from domestic breeders is still small, and the queues of those who want to get a Turkish handsome man are decent.

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