The Turkish Van is an unmistakably striking cat with silky long white fur and vivid ginger markings which usually appear as a V shape around the ears and along the length of their tail. They originate from the Lake Van region in the mountains of eastern Turkey and are known as the ‘swimming cat’ in popular culture.
Turkish Vans are intelligent cats with a knack for noticing human activities very quickly and using them to their own advantage – it won’t take long for a Turkish Van to figure out where the treats are kept.
They have a love of heights and rugged play, which might appear in direct contrast to their beautiful glossy fur. Given half a chance, they will disappear for hours on end, only to return home plastered in mud, water and leaves from an afternoon hunting. Inside the home, they enjoy the heights of door tops and stairs, and will happily play a game of fetch with their owners
Incredibly loyal, Turkish Vans enjoy human company and have a lot of love to give – they are known for their head bunting behaviour. They are typically large, strong and good-natured, although when pushed or scared by loud noises they can lash out, so may be better suited to homes with older children or adults.
Did You Know?
A Turkish Van’s meow is often compared to that of a goat or sheep. Their quiet little voice is at odds with their large frame, and can seem comical.
Although most cats prefer to hide from the rain, a Turkish van will happily ignore it. Their fur is practically waterproof, and they enjoy all water activities from pawing at toys in bowls of water to swimming.
Turkish folklore tells that the Turkish Vans were present on Noah’s Ark, and when it came to rest on Mount Ararat, they walked down the mountain into Van. When Allah blessed them on their departure, he left his fingerprints on their head, which explains their distinctive markings.
Caring for Your Turkish Van Cat
The Turkish Van is a relatively robust and healthy breed used to dealing with extremes of climate. They have few known health issues, and because their coat doesn’t matt, they only require minimal grooming to keep them looking at their best.
Because of their known love of water, it’s best to keep the toilet seat down to prevent them from playing in the toilet bowls and to keep them safe from bacteria and toxic cleaning chemicals.
If you have a Turkish Van cat in your life, please share your experiences below.
Image: Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr