Turkish Van: features of the breed, history and nuances of care

Turkish Van: features of the breed and subtleties of keeping

In Turkish, the name of the breed sounds like “vanna katu” and means “cat from Lake Van”. In Europe, representatives of this breed came even during the Crusaders, but only at the end of the last century in England were actively breeding this species.

Turkish Van

Origin of the breed

There are several versions of the appearance of the Turkish Van. The most popular legend dates back to the time of the Flood. According to it, after Noah took two white cats into the ark and landed on the shores near Mount Ararat, the animals came down to earth and became the progenitors of the entire family of cats on earth. In the region of Van, which belongs to the present-day Turkey, the remains of this breed have been found and have lived here for many thousands of years. In addition to Turkey, these varieties live in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Armenia, and are actively spreading.

Cat Van

Turc de Van

It is believed that the neighborhood of Lake Van endowed the animals with the ability to swim. This is one of the highest lakes in the world, and the area is famous for its extreme temperatures. In order to stay warm in winter and cope easily, the Turkish Van has adapted over time. Their lightweight wool allows them to stay on the water perfectly and tolerate the heat. Their coat structure allows them to come out of the water almost dry. In winter, the undercoat becomes thicker, and they easily get used to the cold. That is why, regardless of the climatic conditions, anyone can become the owner of a Turkish Van.

Van on the street

When archaeologists investigated the region that gave the name to this breed, they found many artifacts depicting representatives of this family. Many of the finds date back to the 2nd millennium BC. Perhaps this is one of the oldest breeds in the world.

Interestingly, if the Turks hadn’t invaded part of the territory of Armenia, where Lake Van is located, the cats would be called not “Turkish,” but “Armenian. In Armenia, they are very valued for their malleable character.

Turkish Van poses

While the animals were brought to Europe by crusaders, they mastered the Middle East with the traders. The modern history of these cats began in 1955, when British journalists went to Turkey in order to prepare a program about the country, and met there representatives of an unusual feline species. One of the journalists after that was given two kittens white and red color. In 1959 the couple was joined by a cat named Anatolia (because of which the Turkish van is also known as the Anatolian).

The cats came to the US in 1970, but did not become popular until 1983. A couple of years later the International Cat Association recognized the Turkish Van as a full-fledged breed representative.

In 1992, it was reported in the media that only 92 original Turkish Vans had been found in their homeland. As a result, the government developed a program to protect the animals and preserve the species. Today such cats are a national treasure and their importation is forbidden. This creates a number of difficulties in terms of breeding the animals, as they are quite scarce in the United States and Europe.

Description of appearance

In terms of color, the appearance varies from red-brown to white. But it is believed that the white pattern in a purebred animal should not occupy more than 80% of the surface. Also popular are tortoiseshell, blue, black, and cream coloring. Currently, white cats of this breed are recognized by TICA and other associations, though with few reservations. They are considered mestizos and mixtures with Angora varieties. At the moment, most associations recognize peach, blue, black and tricolor in addition to the traditional fur color.

Cat van

In winter, the cat’s coat becomes thicker all over the body except for the head. In structure it is similar to cashmere, it does not retain water.

Breed Standard

Van cat immediately impresses by its size. Adult cats can weigh up to 10 kg. The weight of cats is less – 5 kg. Other characteristics:

  • Head of medium to large size, with pronounced cheekbones, but rounded features;
  • Large eyes, resembling peach or almond bones, planted obliquely;
  • eyes amber, blue;
  • Sometimes the kitten has different shades of eyes;
  • Javanese species comes with green eyes;
  • well-developed body;
  • hair of medium length, without distinct undercoat (it becomes thicker in winter);
  • height – about 35-40 cm at the withers;
  • Length from the end of the tail to the nose – 90-120 cm
  • strong limbs with a little down between the toes;
  • The nose bridge is prominent, the nose itself is not very long;
  • The tail looks like a ruff.
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A cat and three kittens

Color peculiarities

The main difference between the breed – colored spots on a white background. Patterns and shades vary. Inclusions of white color are allowed at the tip of the tail. The most popular pattern is tabby in the form of stripes.

Adherents of Islam believe that Allah himself left these marks on the cat, blessing it to fight the rodents that were to destroy Noah’s ark. The markings are most often cream, red, blue, and black. The pads of paws and nose of representatives of this breed are usually pink.

Two sleepy cats

Character, relations with children, adults and other animals

As for the character, the van is characterized by an active, lively disposition. This cute animal is capable of showing tenderness and loves attention from owners. They like to climb on high shelves or cabinets, watching from there. Van needs a lot of time, because it is actively involved in games, and carries loneliness poorly.

Van’s require attention. They usually choose one leader for themselves, though they will behave kindly to other family members. With the owner, the animal is ready to share everything, but the latter, in turn, must give him his free time. These breeds are very jealous. That is why they do not get along well with other pets. Although with the right approach, the van can live in the same house even with a dog. But will be jealous.


It is important to consider that the van is not very fond of being petted and stroked. Therefore, it is difficult for him to get along with small children. He may even bite or scratch a child if he plays or wants to break free.

Care Features and Health

Remember that the Van’s specialty is its playful and lively nature. If the animal is not too active, you should be wary, because this is how diseases often manifest themselves. On average, representatives of this breed live up to 15 years. He has no hereditary defects, but there are problems with the heart. To maintain immunity and normal development, it is important to monitor the diet, saturating it with protein and carbohydrates.

Two-colored van

Since a van is characterized by a small amount of undercoat, it is enough to comb it once a week. Bathing is also unnecessary, although cats themselves sometimes ask to wash them because they love water. Ears and eyes need to be cleaned as needed. Teeth should be thoroughly cleaned to avoid periodontal disease – this procedure should preferably be done at the vet 1-2 times a month. Also keep in mind that the van has a long coat, which will get dirty if you don’t keep the litter box clean.

Beautiful Turkish van on white background

As for food, dry food will do, it is important to take care to have a bowl of water next to the main food for better digestion. Meat can also be fed to the cat. When giving up artificial food, it is important to make sure that meat food makes up 80% of the pet’s entire diet. It is better to choose lean varieties of chicken, beef. Also allowed to include in the menu of by-products, vegetables, dairy products, porridge. Lack of meat in the diet leads to heart disease, vision problems and poor blood clotting. If the pet’s coat has become dull, it means that there is a lack of amino acids, and an urgent diet correction is needed. Vitamin complexes recommended by the veterinarian are also indicated.

Vitamins A and E are important for van. The cat can get them by eating cod liver, greens and oils, which can be added to meat and porridge. You can also plant sprouts of cereals (such as oats). Such grass the animal will be happy to eat.

Interested cat

The cost of a Vans cat

Acquiring a representative of such a breed is not an easy task. In Russia and neighboring countries, there are very few breeders, and the cost of cats is quite high. Here it is important to carefully study the reviews and pedigree, the seller must provide the passport of the parents of the kitten, documents certifying the belonging of the animal to the breed.

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Cat van white

The average cost of a small kitten in Russia starts from 10 000-20 000 rubles, and much higher, depending on the pedigree. Added to the cost will be the cost of preparing the pet for shipment, making out certificates, because most often it is brought from abroad.

Even in Turkey van is worth buying only from official breeders, their price in the historic homeland of a thousand dollars. It is better to go and see the kittens with a specialist. But on your own, too, you can research the issue and take into account the following details:

  • along the kitten’s tail should run almost equal rings of two colors;
  • The presence of small spots on the back is acceptable;
  • There are purebred kittens from individuals belonging to the same breed, and breeds with admixtures, which can cost less.

Cat on a lilac background

It is extremely rare, but still possible to accidentally find a Van on the street if it has been thrown out by some unscrupulous owner. You can also look at ads for cat shelters, which often house lost animals. Many people give their pets away due to relocation or other reasons (allergies to fur, childbirth). Therefore, there is always a chance to become the owner of a purebred beauty at minimal cost.

Mr. Cat recommends: pros and cons of the breed

Looking at beautiful pictures of cats on the Internet, you should also think about whether you can get along with the animal, because each breed has its own character and habits. The Turkish Van also has its own advantages and disadvantages, about which it is better to know in advance.

Let’s start with the pros:

  1. Beautiful eyes and unusual appearance, pleasant to the touch fur. The ability to learn, easy to educate, good relations with people and even other animals (with a skilful approach).
  2. Easy adaptation to almost any conditions.
  3. Small amount of hair when shedding, easy care, which consists only of regular combing.
  4. Lack of hereditary diseases, good health.
  5. The ability to often bring offspring.

Two playful kittens

Of the main disadvantages it is worth allocating:

  1. Through ignorance, you can make a mistake in the definition of the breed and suffer from scammers who will sell an ordinary cat.
  2. Character is willful, does not get along well and is constantly competing with dogs. With other animals, fights can occur.
  3. Likes to climb on high points in the house.
  4. Can break or tear things in the house while having fun if not attended to by the owner.
  5. Requires frequent bathing and playtime.
  6. Will need frequent brushing of the pet’s teeth, and this is done at the vet, which results in time and money.
  7. Childbirth often goes with complications.
  8. The cost of a kitten is one of the most expensive in the world (according to Forbes magazine ratings).

Any pet requires care and attention. The Turkish Van has a tough disposition and specific habits, turning it into a pet is possible. With the right approach, the animal will be a devoted friend and beloved family member.

Turkish Van – description of the breed, the nature of the van cat and the nuances of care

This article will talk about one of the oldest domesticated cat breeds, which enjoys wide popularity, especially in Europe, is the Turkish Van. For hundreds of years, this breed has naturally evolved in the vicinity of the Turkish Lake Van. Hence it got its name, the Turkish Van or the Van cat.

From the article you will learn about the standard of the breed, a description of the appearance and character of the Van cat. As well as how to care for, where to buy and how much a Turkish Van kitten costs.

Turkish Van cat

History of Origin

The Van came to Europe in the 1950s and was brought by British journalist Laura Lashington. While traveling to Turkey, she noticed the spectacular kittens, and then received a kitten and a cat as a gift. The unusual habits of the new pets soon surprised the journalist when, during a stop on the way back from Turkey, the kittens jumped out of the car and rushed to swim in the creek. Because of their love of water, the Turkish Van is sometimes called a water van cat.

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The history of breeding the breed in Europe began when these kittens grew up and gave birth. Already by 1969 this breed has become one of the best known and most recognized on the European continent. The breed has also been recognized by most of the leading organizations of cat lovers.

Turkish Van with heterochromia eyes

There is a legend in Turkey about the origin of this breed of cat. It says that the devil decided to spoil the voyage of Noah’s ark when it set sail. For this purpose he sent a mouse on the ark to gnaw a hole in its bottom in order to sink it. In this way, all mankind would disappear from the face of the earth.

But there was a white cat on the ship, which God told to catch the pest. The cat succeeded in its task, and God, as a thank you, touched it with his hand. After that, red spots appeared on it. The Turks call these spots “the imprints of Allah’s right hand.” It is because of these marks that cats of this breed are loved and revered. It is a sin to hurt this animal. A man who kills a van cat must build 7 mosques at his own expense, and only after that he will atone for his guilt.

Note! Unlike other breeds, Van cats were not bred through selection.

The breed is classified by several standards:

  • By FIFe – II category – semi-longhair – TUV standard;
  • WCF – II category – Semi-Longhair – TUV standard.

According to these classifications, the breed has its own distinctive features and characteristics of the breed.

Van cat with a red tail

Breed description

The Turkish Van is a large domestic cat with an elongated athletic body. Adult cat can reach 120-130 cm in length. Cats are considerably larger than cats. At a height of 40 cm, they can weigh up to 9 kg. They have a strong skeleton and their hair is much thicker than that of cats.

The standard of the Turkish Van

  • Body: has a large size of 90 to 120 cm. It is stout and elongated. The breed has a short muscular neck, rounded chest, broad shoulders and well-developed musculature. The body is not straight or angular, but tapered toward the pelvis.
  • Weight: The male can reach 9 kg, the female a little less, up to 6 kg.
  • Eyes: have an oval shape, large and can be rounded tips. The most common colors: blue, amber, copper. Very often there are individuals with different colors of eyes.
  • Head: It has a wedge shape, which narrows to a strong chin. Van has an inexpressive profile, almost completely smooth.
  • Coat: Of medium length, without distinct undercoat. The shoulders are distinctly shorter, but the tail and hindquarters of the body are considerably longer.
  • Paws: Strong, well-developed, of medium length, forelegs a bit longer than hind legs. They have rounded shape and pink pads with tufts of hair between the toes.

Van cat with red spots


The main color is Van’s. It is a red-brown tail that has several brighter rings on it. The same color has spots at the base of the ears and on the muzzle. The rest of the body is snow-white. This color is a classic and generally accepted.

Recently such colors are recognized as well:

  • cream;
  • blue;
  • white
  • tortoiseshell;
  • black and white.

INTERESTING! In the breed’s homeland, the pure white coat color is now most appreciated.

Health .

The average lifespan of representatives of this breed is 15 years. For the most part, representatives of the breed have good health and have no genetic diseases.

But in rare cases, the animal may suffer from such diseases:

  • cardio-hypertrophic cardiomyopathy;
  • allergies;
  • hormonal problems;
  • urolithiasis;
  • dental diseases.

Important: Also Turkish Van can inherit heart disease.

Turkish Van with red stripes on head

Character of the Turkish Van

Representatives of this breed are distinguished by tenderness and friendliness, loyalty, intelligence, activity and affection.

Due to their intelligence, they are easy to train, so there will be no problems with walks on a leash.

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In the home and outdoors it is easy to get along with other animals, is not aggressive and peaceful. Another distinguishing character trait of Van cats is patience. Therefore, you can not be afraid to keep these cats in the house where there are small children. The cat will not only be patient with them, but also will be happy to play with them.

Also, curiosity is characteristic of these cats. They are very fond of toys and moving games. Their curiosity makes them climb on all surfaces in the house. Therefore, you should not scold your pet about this, because it is inherent in their nature. Just remove their valuables.

Van cat on green grass

Cats love to be carried on their shoulders, and they also love to swim and splash in the water. But, so that the animal is not afraid of a body of water, it is worth to accustom them to the water at an early age.

Kittens are characterized by increased activity, playfulness and restlessness. And all these qualities remain throughout their lives. Even an adult animal can suddenly begin to jump, run and entice you to play.

Turkish van on pond

Another important feature of their character is their love of hunting. From nature, these cats are excellent hunters. Therefore, if you live in a private home, the van will certainly hunt rodents, birds and lizards. And its prey will certainly boast to you.

Interesting video about the Van breed of cats:

Possible problems

It is not recommended to have cats of this breed for those who suffer from allergies, because the hair of cats of this breed is one of the most allergenic.

In care representatives of the breed are not difficult, but also differ from ordinary cats or cats of other breeds. It is worth remembering that they need combing, which is carried out at least twice a week. And if you do not have time for this procedure – then the Van cat is not your option. She also needs a special food that will not let the white coat turn yellow.

If you have other animals in the house and you’re thinking about whether or not to get a van cat, you can not worry. The new resident will easily get along with other pets.

Two different colored Van cats

Photos of the Van Cat

Photos with members of the Turkish Van breed in classic Van and black and white colors.

Turkish cat with blue eyes Turkish Van in Nature Turkish Van on purple background Turkish Van on a leash Van cat with red tail and tabby Turkish cat on walk Bright color Turkish Van Bright red van cat Black and white Turkish Van

Wool .

Since the cats of this breed have no undercoat, their hair does not get tangled. But to preserve its beauty, combing at least twice a week is necessary. After such a procedure, it is necessary to collect the excess hair with a special rubber glove. In the period of intensive shedding, combing should be carried out every day.

Turkish Van on grass

Ears, eyes and claws

The next procedure is claw trimming. It should be performed once a month. In addition, it is necessary to constantly check the pet’s ears for dirt and infections.

It is important to maintain the health of the cat’s teeth. Once a month you should take your pet to the veterinarian for plaque and calculus removal or brush the cat’s teeth yourself.

Periodically, do not forget to rinse the eyes with plain water, brewed tea or chamomile solution.

Important! Especially if the pet is living in an apartment, a clean litter box is very important. This will affect the cleanliness of the pet’s fur and whether or not he will walk “past” it.


The most important rule of nutrition is its balance. If you can’t afford to buy fresh and varied food for your cat, it’s better to switch to high quality food – super-premium class. A bowl of water should always be placed next to the food bowl. It should always be filled and the liquid needs to be changed several times a day.

Turkish Van with Black Tail

Important: It is not recommended to combine natural and industrial food. It is necessary to decide at once if you are ready to cook food for the cat on your own or to buy ready-made dry food.

Vans, like other cats, are carnivores by nature. Therefore, you need to introduce fresh meat into the diet. It should constitute at least 80% of the whole diet. It should be low-fat varieties.

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Classical Turkish Van

It is also possible to give the cat the following products:

  • meat by-products (except liver);
  • Dairy products;
  • vegetables;
  • oatmeal.

Important: Fish is a heavy product for the cat’s stomach. Therefore, give it no more than 2 times a week.

Cat needs vitamins A and B. Vitamin A is in carrots and eggs. Vitamin B will provide by-products and beef. Vitamin E, which is found in greens and vegetable oils, is needed for tissue renewal. These ingredients can be added to porridge or meat.

Tip! For greens, you can plant sprouts of oats or other grains separately in pots. Then the cat will have no problem eating them on its own. There is no need to train her to do this.

Taking the cat for a walk

It is possible to keep a pet both in an apartment and in a private country house. The main thing is to create the necessary conditions for the animal.

Because of their nature, these cats require active games, entertainment and walks. While keeping such a cat in the apartment, you should often take the cat for walks with a leash. The apartment should be equipped with a separate place for the bath. There should be toys and a scratching post, which should be taught at an early age.

Turkish Van kitty

At a private home, this is all easier. Here, the animal has a whole yard at constant access, where there are trees for climbing, a lot of free space. Representatives of this breed love variety, so you can make a small fountain on the site.

Interesting fact! Due to their active, playful and agile character, they easily tolerate moving.

Breed card

Cat Details Notes
General Info Rare breed, it is almost impossible to find a mating partner in Russia One official cattery in Russia – “Laskovy Bayun”.
Character Curious, active and very friendly cat. Loves touching and stroking
Appearance Characteristic Van color: the predominance of white color with areas of red-tabby on the head and tail. Cats with different eye colors can be found: most often one eye is blue, and the other is light green Blue-eyed Van cats are not deaf, unlike Turkish Angora.

How to choose a kitten

Kittens of this breed are characterized by rapid development. Therefore, when choosing a kitten, pay attention to its socialization:

  • whether he is accustomed to touch;
  • whether it is easy to contact;
  • whether the kitten is not shy.

Turkish bath kitten

When choosing a kitten you should consider the following criteria

  • appearance (color should correspond to a recognized standard);
  • pedigree (availability of documents);
  • availability of passport and vaccinations.

This breed is very common in the world, but in Russia is extremely difficult to buy a kitten, and in Ukraine and Belarus and do not find. Therefore, most often they are brought from abroad. In this case, it is very expensive; the cost of a kitten can reach several thousand euros. If you were lucky enough to find the owner of such a cat in Russia, the price can be from 7 to 30 thousand rubles.

Breeding a Turkish Van

Since this breed is rare, it is extremely difficult to find a pair for mating. Most often, under the guise of purebred Turkish Van, mestizos and kittens of Turkish Angora are sold.

Turkish Van with bright red fur

In Russia, there is only one cattery that is officially engaged in breeding cats of this breed – it is Laskovy Bayun, which you can find at: Moscow, Sadovnicheskaya ul.

Interesting facts about van cat

  1. The hair of van cats can be stroked for hours – it resembles cashmere. In addition, it is waterproof unlike the wool of other cats.
  2. Often there are individuals with different eyes. To determine whether a cat will have different eyes, you can immediately after birth – if there are two black dots on the forehead, then the eyes will be different.
  3. Turks believe that this cat brings good luck, but only to those who take care of them in the wild.
  4. They are very fond of water and bathing, but if you do not accustom the kitten to the water from a young age, he may not show interest in bathing as an adult animal.

Turkish Van cat with turtle coat

If you want a spectacular and playful pet, then the Turkish Van is what you need. A cat of this breed is a pride of any cat breeder. Its non-standard behavior will not leave you indifferent.

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