Turkish Van

If you would like to learn about Turkish Van cat breed, visit this post. Here we collected information about health, character, history, price and more.

The Turkish van is an aboriginal and very rare breed of semi-long-haired cats with an original color. Only the top of the head and tail are painted on their snow-white body. This breed is also called cat-swimmers. Cashmere-like fur helps enjoying bathing and water games, which makes them waterproof.

Turkish Van cat

History of origin

The homeland of the Van cats is the region of Eastern Anatolia in Turkey. This natural breed has existed since the Middle Ages, but for the whole world it was discovered only in the mid-1950s.

In 1955, Englishwomen Laura Lashington and Sonia Halliday came to Turkey to photograph local people and sighseeings. They saw white long-haired cats with red spots on their heads and tail.

Turkish Van cat history

The girls liked the unusual breed so much that they were given two kittens. On the way home, the Englishwomen stopped at the water to swim and were very surprised that the kittens went along with them. Then Laura and Sonya realized that this is really a unique breed and decided to register it officially.

A new breed was recognized in 1969 for the first time and named “Turkish cat”. In 1979 in the UK, and in 1985 in the US, the name was changed to “Turkish van” in order to better distinguish the breed from the Turkish Angora cat.

Description of Turkish Van breeds

Cats of the Turkish Van breed have very large sizes and weight of 4-6 kg. Adult cats can weigh 5-10 kg.

Turkish Van cat description

Standard of breed and detailed description according to TICA organization:

  • The head is medium to large sizes, wide (especially tomcats’ heads), but also long, has the shape of a modified wedge with rounded contours and high cheekbones. Slightly rounded brow and chin. Muzzle is neat, rounded, with pronounced but not a sharp pinch;
  • The eyes are large, have the shape of a nut or a peach stone, are planted under a slight slope, slightly stretched in the corners. The color can be amber, blue or different for each eye;
  • Ears – large, high and wide set, wide at the base, the inner edge of the ear slightly turned to the outside, and the outer edge is set straight;
  • Body of the Van cat – strong, long, large (especially tomcats), a little short and muscular neck, full rounded thorax and developed musculature. There are no too smooth lines or angularities. Broad shoulders, the body slightly tapers towards the strong pelvis;
  • Paws – medium length, hind legs are slightly longer, neat paw pads with tassels between fingers;
  • Tail is the form of a brush or plume, of medium proportional length, fur length is at least 5 cm of adult Van cats;
  • Fur – semi-long without undercoat. Due to the peculiarity of the climate in the homeland of the Turkish Van, in summer their fur is usually shorter and slightly stiffer. The length remains on the abdomen and “panties”. In winter, the fur becomes thicker and longer throughout the body, except the head. It must have a magnificent collar and tail. The fur is soft and looks like cashmere; it is waterproof.


According to the owners, they are smart, loyal, loving and affectionate cats. In addition to this, they are very active. Thanks to strong legs, a Turkish van can climb to the highest heights. He likes to choose a place more conveniently – somewhere on the bookcase, where it will be possible to contemplate all of his possessions.

Turkish Van cat photo

The kittens of the Turkish Van are very playful. However, this childish spontaneity and activity persists even in adulthood. Van cats love to swim. In addition, they are excellent hunters.

They are curious and sociable animals. But if you have other pets, the Turkish van likes to feel its superiority and exclusive attention of the owner. However, it will not sit on your arms for a long time, just will be nearby.

Care and health of cats of the Turkish Van breed

The average life expectancy of a Turkish Van is 15 years. In general, they are healthy cats. But there were also cases of various diseases, including cardiac – hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Many breeds inherit this disease, but in the case of the Turkish Van it has not yet been observed.

It is a very active breed, because if the cat seems tired and lethargic, you need to consult a veterinarian.

Turkish Van with kittens

You can use a full-fledged diet rich in protein and carbohydrates to maintain a good form of Turkish Van. The main feature of its fur is that it is easy to care for it.

Van cats do not have undercoat, so comb them only once a week. They also need to be bathed, unless they themselves want to splash in the water. The ears should be cleaned as they become dirty.

To avoid periodontal disease, brush your cat’s teeth. It is better to do it every week, but once a month is also not bad. In extreme cases, go to the vet for this procedure.

Make sure that the cat tray is clean. Owing to this, the long fur of the Turkish Van will not be smeared.


Color marks on a snow-white background are the main features of the Turkish Van. They can be any traditional color or pattern (for example, tabby).

There can be blotches of white on the markings and the tip of the tail.

Turkish Van cat colors

The color part covers the head and tail, but not more than 20% of the cat’s fur. If it is a tabby, the tail should be “banded” with strips, the color is brighter from above. Sometimes there is a small color print on the left shoulder of the cat. According to the Turkish legend, Allah left the print when he blessed the cat for fighting with the mouse sent by the Devil to pierce Noah’s Ark.

The most common colors are: red, cream, black, blue, tortie.

Turkish Van cat beautiful

According to the standard the Turkish Van can be white, the so-called “van kedisi”: they should not have any color marks or patterns.

The nose and paw pads of all cats are usually pink.

Conclusions about the breed

“A cat in square” is a formula of Turkish Van breed. Is it tender? Yes! Loyal? Yes! Clever? Yes Yes Yes! And now more.

Some owners of animals of this breed suspect that the cat’s appearance resembles a dog’s soul – cats of this breed easily walk on a leash, they follow the owner everywhere and communicate perfectly with dogs! They are also not bad friends with children and aquarium fish.

Turkish Van about cat

This cat is pleased to take gifts – a Turkish Van loves toys and enjoys every purchase of a mouse or a ball.

The voice of this cat has several tonalities, but they are all pleasant. Representatives of this breed do not like sitting on people’s hands, but climbing to necks is their favorite occupation.

It is often said that a Turkish Van belongs to waterfowl breeds of cats, but love towards water is an individual attachment and it is not peculiar to all Van cats (but just in case – always lower the lid of the lavatory!)

Turkish Van price

Turkish Van kitten price

Turkish Van kitten average price $200 – $300 USD.

Turkish Van video

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