Turkish Van Cats

The Turkish Van is a cat breed characterized by semi-long hair that originated in Turkey from a crossbreeding of cats from different cities throughout modern Turkey, particularly Southeast Turkey. The breed is known for its distinct pattern, and the term Van has been used to identify white cats with colored head and tail patterns by several breeds.

The Turkish Van is a big, solidly built moderate cat with a broad chest. The cat’s extensive body and legs show its strength and control. It takes 3 to 5 years for this breed to achieve full development and growth.


The legend of the Turkish Van and the Arc

Noah must have been busy preventing the animals from roaring in their enthusiasm to touch dry land when the Ark appeared at Mount Ararat some 5,000 years ago. Noah was caught up in the sights and sounds and missed two white-and red cats leaping into the sea and swimming ashore.

The cats set out for Lake Van, about 75 miles (121 kilometers) south of Mount Ararat, when the rising waters decayed and have lived there ever since. At least, that’s one cute legend about the Turkish Van.

Turkish vans probably come from Armenia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Russia’s neighboring countries. The stories surrounding this brilliantly tailed swimming cat are as interesting as the history of this splendidly tailed aquatic cat. The Van, also known as the Swimming Cat, is known for its obsession with water.

The high temperatures in Van’s native area are most likely to blame for its interest in swimming. There is no gentle climate here; Lake Van, Turkey’s biggest and one of the world’s highest lakes, experiences harsh temperatures in summer and winter.

Since daytime temperatures routinely surpass 100F (37.8C), the Van may have learned to swim as a means of cooling down. Perhaps the breed was chasing herring, which is the only fish that can live in Lake Van’s salty waters. Whatever the explanation for Van’s water tolerance, it explains why the cashmere-like, water-repellent coat was created. Most domestic cats despise being wet and will stay as far away from water as possible. The cashmere-like coat of the Turkish Van repels water, allowing the cat to go into the water and emerge reasonably dry.

This Turkish breed has existed in the Van area for thousands of years, despite being a newcomer to North America. Cats that resemble the Turkish Van can be found dating back to 5000 B.C.E. If that’s the case, the Van may be one of the oldest cat breeds still alive. Conscripted soldiers from the Crusades are said to have first brought vans to Europe between 1095 and 1272 c.e. Invaders, traders, and explorers moved the Vans across the Eastern regions all through the centuries.


Although The Van’s obsession with water will draw you in, and you’ll fall in love with this cat for its other qualities. Vans are energetic, versatile, and wise. According to one Van owner, they are very friendly and get along with others. Vans are known for their action-packed temperaments, so you might need a few months of training out to keep up with them.

They talk a lot, demand a huge amount of attention from their humans, and feed with a lot of zeal. Vans are known for their strong attachments to their chosen people, making moving from one household to another challenging. They normally choose one or two people in the house to bond with for the rest of their lives, typically the ones with whom they interact first.

Van loves cat water fountains; they will sit in front of one for hours, looking in wonder at the recirculating water. Many Turkish Van cats love a swim in the shower, bathtub, sink, or even the toilet in a pinch. Owners of vans soon learn to lock the door and be cautious about providing unprotected water access.

This obsession can get Turkish Van babies into a lot of trouble, even Vans who don’t like to swim are amazed by water, slapping their toys in water dishes and playing with flowing water taps. They are really intelligent cats, and some can even learn to turn on water taps.

Health and care

Both pure-bred and mixed-breed cats have various degrees of health concerns that may be genetic. Turkish Vans are usually healthy, but some have been documented to develop heart problems, a heart disease type. HCM is inherited in certain breeds, such as the Maine Coon, but it has not been confirmed in the Turkish Van.

The Turkish Van is wrapped in a single silky coat. It’s simple to maintain weekly cleaning or sweeping with a slicker brush since there is no undercoat to cause stains or clumps. It just sheds a little in the spring and fall as the old coat falls out and the new coat grows in.

Since older cats may have trouble brushing themselves properly, it’s a good idea to wash or shampoo them more regularly. The coat of the Turkish Van is water-resistant, so baths are rarely needed. The periodontal disorder can be prevented by cleaning the teeth. Regular dental hygiene is optimal, but brushing once a week is preferable to none. Every couple of weeks, cut your nails.

Make sure to clean their eyes. to clear any discharge, use a smooth, damp cloth to clean the corners of your eyes. To minimize the risk of transmitting infection, use a different region of the cloth for each eye.

Check over their ears at least once a week. If they appear dirty, use a cotton ball or soft wet cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of sea salt and warm water to wipe them clean. Cotton swabs should not be used because they can damage the ear’s interior.

Keep the litter box as clean as possible. Cats are concerned about bathroom hygiene, and a clean litter box will assist in keeping their long coat clean as well. You may even want to invest in an automatic litter box like the Litter-Robot.

It’s safer to keep a Turkish Van as an indoor cat to shield him from diseases transmitted by other animals, dog or coyote attacks, and other risks that cats encounter when they go outside, such as being struck by a vehicle. Outdoors, Turkish Vans are at risk of being robbed by those who do want to get such a lovely cat without having to pay for it.

Turkish Van water lovers

Turkish Vans are known as swimming cats because they are said to enjoy being near water. Fans say they’ve seen the fuzzy feline leap into showers, pounce on running water taps, and splash across puddles, children’s pools, and flash floods.

It’s unclear why Vans likes water, but it’s possible that the breed established a great affection for swimming and a water-resistant coat to search for fish in Lake Van. These arguments are still hypothetical, so unless your Turkish Van has demonstrated a fondness for all things liquid, you will want to take care if you need to give your cat a bath.

Physical Attributes of the Turkish Van

The Turkish Van is a very uniqe looking cat, they have different eye colors and can be very colorful cats. They have an intersting look that Turkish Van lovers are drawn to.

Eye colors of Turkish Van

Turkish Van kittens have light blue eyes at birth, which darken to a darker blue or black as they age. Vans with one black eye and one blue eye, or two blue eyes of different hues, are rarely seen. The domestic shorthair white spotting gene in cats prevents collagen, or coloring, from infusing one eye’s retina with color, resulting in this rare trait.

Coat color and grooming

You may think the Turkish Van is a white cat with colored patches, but you’d be wrong genetically. He is a colored cat with broad white patches caused by the domestic shorthair white spotting gene. The result is a cat with a white body and colored patches on the head and tail. They may also have sporadic color spots on his legs and body. The Van pattern is a form of coloring that is often seen in other breeds.

The breed comes in various colors, including red, cream, black, blue, a beagle in red, cream, orange, and blue, and midnight blue in different shades. The leather on the nose and paw edges is pink, with color streaks on occasion.

The Turkish Van has a large, plank head with a round forehead, medium-sized ears with slightly rounded tips, and medium-sized and round eyes that can be blue, amber, or a combination of the two colors. He has a solid, strong body with wide shoulders and chest and long, toned legs, characterizing a cat bred to live in a harsh local climate. Males are slightly bigger and heavier than females.

A fluffy, semi-long single coat with discoloration (longer hair) on the ears, legs, feet, and belly, a harsh around the neck, and a fully glowing tail keep the Turkish Van warm. The coat of kittens and young adults is less developed than that of mature adults.

The cat’s coat doesn’t hit maximum length until it’s at least two years old. The coat is short in the summer, but it grows much bigger and wider in the winter. This is a large breed, and that can take three to five years to reach maturity.

Cost to adopt a Turkish Van

Turkish vans are not an expensive cat to adopt. The average cost is $75-$150 though some can be more.

Remember to do your research when adopting. Make sure the breeder is reputable and that you do not exchange funds before meeting your new pet.