Turkish Van Cat

Turkish Van
Turkish Van
? The breed’s dominant personality traits. While each individual has a unique personality, breed-specific genetics affect qualities like sociability, playfulness, and intelligence.
Active, affectionate, personable, playful
? Where this breed was first established.
Other Names
? In addition to their official names, most breeds earn a few nicknames.
The Swimming Cat
? Breeds are grouped by their size and coat type.
Large long-haired
? The typical adult height among individuals of this breed. Height is measured from the top of the head to the bottom of the front paws.
9"- 11"
Body Length
? The typical adult body length among individuals of this breed. A cat’s length is measured from the base of the tail to the tip of the nose.
? The typical adult weight range of this cat breed.
7-20 pounds
Life Expectancy
? The average lifespan of the breed. While life expectancy is fairly consistent across all cat breeds, some breeds tend to live shorter or longer than others.
12-17 years
? The average price.
$800 - $1500
Affection Level
? Breeds with a high affection level want to give and receive a lot of attention, while less-affectionate breeds are not as interested in petting and snuggles.
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Activity Level
? Breeds with high activity levels will engage more in active play and demand more space and attention.
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? How well the breed tends to get along with cats, dogs, and other pets.
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? Breeds with a higher rating in this area tend to be gentle and patient, while lower-rated breeds may feel uncomfortable with children.
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? Breeds with a higher sociability rating will want to spend time with you all day, while less-sociable breeds seldom seek out human interaction.
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? Breeds with higher intelligence ratings are more curious, investigative, and easy to train. Less-intelligent breeds are less trainable but often laid-back and easygoing.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area have strong hunting instincts that make them great playtime companions.
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? Breeds that score higher in this area are able to spend hours alone, while less-independent breeds require plenty of attention.
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? A higher rating in this area indicates a breed prone to plenty of meowing and other vocalizations, while less-vocal breeds are happy to stay quiet.
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? Breeds with higher grooming scores require more maintenance like brushing and bathing, while lower-scored breeds are virtually maintenance-free.
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About the Turkish Van Cat

Gorgeous kitties with cashmere soft coats, Turkish Van cats are renowned for their fun-loving personalities and their often quirky behaviors.

If you're thinking about bringing a Turkish Van cat into your family, be sure that you have plans for keeping this intellectual kitty entertained. These cats don't do well when left alone for long periods of time; however, they do get along very well with other animals and can form strong bonds with dogs as well as with their fellow felines.

While Turkish Van cats can be child-friendly when kids behave appropriately, they do have boundaries. They prefer fun, active interactions rather than too much holding and cuddling, and they will not tolerate hair pulling or any other form of mishandling. Despite having a slight aversion to too much handling, they sometimes choose to relax on a favorite person's lap for some well-earned TV time, and they like to sleep near people they trust.

Anyone who longs for an ultra-friendly cat that loves nothing more than spending time together will probably enjoy life with a Turkish Van. These kitties happily follow their people throughout the house, waiting for an opportunity to help with everything from paperwork to washing dishes.

Since these cats like water, their families often have feline company in the bathroom. If you want to make a Turkish Van cat happy, just leave a faucet running at a slow dribble. Those mesmerizing drips will almost certainly keep them entertained!

Speaking of entertainment, these cats are outstanding jumpers and they really don't like to spend much time on the floor. They absolutely require a tall cat condo and they truly appreciate window seats. Without high, suitable perches, they will make their own space on your tabletop, desk, or china cabinet, perhaps knocking important items to the floor in the process.

About the Turkish Van Cat


Turkish Van Cat Care

Turkish Van cats have no special needs, however good nutrition is important. If you're not feeding fresh food, be sure to offer a high-quality commercial brand that focuses on real meat or real fish as the primary ingredient. Consider choosing a brand that incorporates added Omega fatty acids to support healthy skin and a healthy coat.

The Turkish Van cat looks like a high maintenance kitty, but in reality, their soft, cashmere coat requires very little upkeep as it is a single layer. A quick daily once-over with a fine-toothed comb should be enough to prevent tangles. If you live in a colder climate where days get shorter and your cat is exposed to chilly temperatures or lower light, then longer fur might grow over the winter, increasing the need for comb-outs.

Because Turkish Vans are so athletic, it's probably a good idea to keep their claws trimmed short to prevent too much damage to your furnishings. In addition, you'll want to offer routine dental care.

From a young age, teach your cat to be brushed, have their nails trimmed, and have their teeth brushed. This can prevent the stress and discomfort that comes with unnecessary struggles as the cat grows older.

You probably won't have to encourage your Turkish Van cats to exercise. These kitties are natural athletes, with a tendency to seek the highest possible vantage point from which to survey their domain.

Lots of jumping and running helps maintain fitness for a lifetime. These kitties love their toys and have a natural appreciation for interactive games. If you throw a small, soft toy, your cat might be able to catch it in midair and may even bring it back to you for another round of fetch.

Turkish Van cats are typically healthy, with no known genetic defects; however, some do develop hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is the most common form of heart disease in cats.

If you happen to adopt a white Turkish Van cat - also known as a Turkish Vankedisi, then there’s a fairly good likelihood that the cat will be deaf, particularly if it also has blue eyes. Even if the cat is not completely deaf, it may have a hearing disorder. This should not cause problems for your kitty, but you’ll need to find nonverbal ways to communicate.


The history of the Turkish Van cat begins in 1955, when two British photographers visited Turkey, having been tasked by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism with promoting travel and publicizing Turkey’s attractions. While they were there, Sonia Halliday and Laura Lushington were given cats with a distinct Van pattern, which became the foundation for the Turkish Van cat breed.

The female cat was from Hatay Province, Iskenderun, and was named Van Iskenderun Guzelli. The male was named Stambul Byzantium, and was given to the breeders by an Istanbul hotel manager.

More cats were acquired in 1959, including a female from Antalya, appropriately named Antalya Anatolia, and a male named Burdur, who came from the city of Burdur.

In 1969, the breed - then known as the Turkish cat - was recognized by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF). Later, the breed was renamed to distinguish its members from the Turkish Angora. Later still, all-white Turkish Van cats - those not displaying the signature pattern that restricts color to the head and tail - were renamed “Turkish Vankedisi.” These cats share everything but the Van coat pattern with their cousins.

In 1977, Lushington wrote a memoir about the first two founding members:

"I was first given a pair of Van kittens in 1955 while traveling in Turkey, and decided to bring them back to England, although touring by car and mainly camping at the time – the fact that they survived in good condition showed up the great adaptability and intelligence of their breed in trying circumstances. Experience showed that they bred absolutely true. They were not known in Britain at that time and, because they make such intelligent and charming pets, I decided to try to establish the breed, and to have it recognised officially in Britain by the GCCF."

In 1982, Turkish Van cats made their way to the US from Britain. It took over a decade for the US-based Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) to grant recognition. Finally - in 1994 - the breed could be registered and shown at CFA events.

The Turkish Van is a natural cat breed, and no outcrossing is permitted; in fact, all contemporary Turkish Van cats can be traced back to the original imports.

On average, CFA registers just 100 new Turkish Van kittens per year, making this one of the rarest cat breeds in the world.

Turkish Van Cat History

Did You Know?

Turkish Van cats take a long time to grow up: These kitties reach full maturity between the age of three and five years.

The Turkish Van cat is nicknamed "the swimming cat" because of the breed's fondness for water. The first Turkish Vans were famous for hopping into pools whenever their human companions jumped in to cool off.

Many Turkish Van cats are odd-eyed, meaning they have one blue eye and one amber eye. This is a trait that's shared with a few other breeds including Turkish Angoras.

The Breed Standard

About the Turkish Van Cat
Image Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_Van


The eyes should be moderately large, rounded, and set at a slant. Amber, blue, and odd eye colors are acceptable.

Legs & Paws

The legs should be moderately long, with strong musculature. The feet should be moderately large, and should be well-proportioned to the rest of the cat’s anatomy.


The Turkish Van cat should have a long, well-proportioned tail with a full plume that flows well with the remainder of the cat’s coat.


The Turkish Van cat should appear balanced and well-proportioned, with a sturdy, broad, muscular, and deep-chested body. Females typically appear more delicate than males.


The head should be a broad wedge, with gentle contours and a medium-length nose. The muzzle should be rounded, the chin should be firm, and the cheekbones should be prominent.


The Turkish Van cat should have moderately large ears that are set high on the head and spaced far apart. The tips should be slightly rounded and the interior should be well furnished.


The coat should be semi-long, with no undercoat. The summer coat appears shorter and less dense than the winter coat; some individuals may appear nearly shorthaired during the summer months.


Turkish Van cats should be white with symmetrical or nearly symmetrical patches of color on the head and a colored tail. Random markings may cover up to 15 percent of the body. Nose leather should be pink on all Turkish Vans, and paw pad color should be mostly pink, sometimes exhibiting color spots.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a Turkish Van cat cost?

Turkish Van cats cost between $800 - $1500.

How big do Turkish Van cats get?

Turkish Van cats tend to be large in size. A fully grown Turkish Van cat might weigh between 7-20 pounds or more and range in height anywhere from about 9"- 11" inches tall.

How long do Turkish Van cats live?

The Average lifespan for Turkish Van is 12-17 years.

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