This breed is native to the mountainous areas around Lake Van in Anatolia (Turkey). Feeding on the fish and amphibians of this lake has engraved the fondness of swimming and fishing in their genes, being cats that greatly enjoy this environment. Its name refers precisely to the lake of volcanic origin and saline waters from which they come.
Large and muscular, they can be considered giant cats. In fact, some specimens are known that have reached one meter from the snout to the tip of the tail . This, the tail, is another of the most characteristic attributes of the Van, since it is open at the end and gives them great elegance and majesty.
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Physical characteristics of the Turkish Van cat
Its body is long, compact and strong. In general, they usually measure between 25 and 30 centimeters in length, with the hind legs being somewhat longer than the front ones. His nose is long and straight. As with large breeds, these cats reach adulthood at 3 years.
|Origin Europe (Turkey)|
|Weight from 7 to 9 kg males and 5 to 6 kg females|
|Semi-long, dense hair with a cottony touch. It lacks an internal woolly underlayer, so it does not tangle easily or lose it too much. The background is usually white while the tail and the spots on the face and back are usually brown, reddish, cream, blue or turtle.|
|Triangular and cuneiform head. It gives the sensation of being slightly inclined downwards|
|Large, triangular, furry ears|
|Large, oval, amber or blue eyes. The presence of heterochromia, one eye of each color, is common in this breed|
|Long, bushy, bottle-brush shaped tail (open at the end)|
|Estimated longevity from 13 to 18 years|
|Difficulty caring for it low|
Character and behavior of the Turkish Van cat
These cats are very affectionate, playful and curious. They love to be the center of attention, so if there are other pets in the house, they will claim their share of the limelight with their soft meows. They adapt easily to all environments and make good friends with children and other animals , if they must live with them.
They are somewhat suspicious of strangers and love to play with the water, swim, or fish. Heights are another of its weaknesses, so if you provide it with a cat tree or a scratching post with various heights, it will enjoy a great time. They are cats that need attention and activity on a daily basis. Therefore, do not forget the shared game time.
Care required by Turkish Van cats
Among the care that this breed demands, weekly brushing deserves your attention. It is advisable to get used to brushing 2 or 3 times a week. However, as it does not easily become entangled or show a marked fall, as it happens with other breeds, outside the molting season it will be enough for you to do it once a week.
Their morphology makes them prone to obesity if they don’t watch their diet or exercise regularly . Bet on a varied, quality and rationed diet in several doses throughout the day. This aspect is especially relevant in spayed or neutered kittens.
The hygiene of the eyes, ears and teeth is also a routine that you should establish from an early age and undertake it every week. Six-monthly visits to the vet to vaccinate, deworm and undergo a general check-up complete the list of care that these cats need to look healthy and happy.
Turkish Van Cat Health
The high consanguinity used in the various crosses that have had to be carried out to consolidate this breed gives rise to the concurrence of several congenital and hereditary pathologies in these cats. We are referring to total or partial deafness, which is responsible for the W gene and which is a common anomaly in white cat breeds .
The other disease they are prone to is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition caused by the thickening of the left ventricle. It is life threatening and is recurrent in large and elderly cats that abuse sedentary lifestyle.
History of the breed and fun facts
The Turkish Van corresponds to one of the oldest feline breeds that exist. In fact, already at the time of the Hittites, in the period between the XXV and IX centuries BC. C. there were already illustrations of kittens with the features of the Turkish Van. From their native Turkey they expanded to other countries in the area such as Iran and Armenia.
Around the year 1955 they arrived in England where the breed was recognized in 1969. A few years later but in the same decade of the 50s, a British feline breeder exported this breed to the USA where it is one of the most popular and loved. . However, it does not have the official recognition of a differentiated race.
There are several theories about its origin. They all have in common the presence of the hand of a god who, when touched, on the face or on the back, gave them spots on those parts of the body. This physical feature is called the “footprint of Allah.” Of which there is no doubt is their undeniable beauty and affectionate character, making them an excellent company.