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Turkish Van Cat Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

 Now if you’re someone who always like to have a “trick up his sleeve” or always likes to surprise someone, then we might just know the perfect cat for you, the Turkish Van!


Not only are these great looking cats that have a great personality, they are also one of just a few cat breeds that actually like swimming!  So much so, they’ve even been given the nickname “the swimming cat”.

But just because…

The look great and are a bit of a “freak” when it comes to water, this doesn’t mean that a Turkish Van is going to be a good “fit” for you.  This is why in this article, we’re going to try to shed some light on what it might be like to actually own one of these amazing creatures so that hopefully if you ever get a chance to own one, you’ll know for sure if it’s a good choice.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Turkish Van Cat Breed Fast Facts.

Country of Origin:  Turkey

Size:  Large

Weight:  10 to 13 pounds

Eyes:  Almond (blue, green, gold, amber or mixed)

Shape of Head:  Wedged-shaped

Lifespan: 12 to 17 years

Origin of the Turkish Van cat breed

The true origin of the Turkish Van breed is pretty much anyone’s guess.  It’s believed that these guys have probably existed along Turkey’s eastern Anatolian region for centuries without anyone or any “cat enthusiast” really taking any notice in them.

This however…

Changed when int 1955, two British women (Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday) were given a pair of these Turkish cats while vacationing in the Lake Van region of eastern Turkey.  Shortly their after, these two “Brits” had a little of little kittens on their hands each of which had the “classic” Turkish Van color points leading them to believe that they had inherited a pair of “un-named” or “un-recognized” pedigree cats.


The rest you could say is history because from there, both Laura and Sonia began importing these Turkish cats into the UK and started their own breeding program and introducing them to the rest of the world.

Fifteen years later…

The Turkish Van was first brought to America in the 1970’s, and then just 15 years after that, it was “officially” recognized by The International Cat Association in 1985, and by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1988.

And while

They may not be the most popular of all cat breeds in the United States, you can rest assured that they are very popular in Turkey and are actually considered a national treasure. They are overseen by the Turkish College of Agriculture and the Ankara Zoo to preserve them.

Physical Characteristics

The Turkish Van’s coat is semi-long-haired. And while most cats have an undercoat, but this breed does not.  As a result, the Turkish Van’s coat feels like cashmere or rabbit fur (Which is pretty awesome if you ask us!).

They’re also…

A large cat breed with a wedge-shaped head, that actually makes them appear a bit smaller them they actually are.  So, don’t be surprise if you find yourself doing a “double check” when you go to pick one of these guys up!


When we say large, we don’t mean “fat”.  Because these guys are all muscle.  All muscle with large broad shoulders combined with long muscular back legs which are actually a bit longer than their front legs.

You’ll also notice…

Their ears are large and rounded at the tips and many of them may have “odd” colored eyes which can be either:

  • Blue,
  • Amber,
  • Green,
  • Or gold.

But what really distinguishes the Turkish Van cat breed from other cat breeds is their coloring.

You see…

The Turkish Cat is a colored cat with large patches of white, which makes it look as though it’s a white cat with patches of color. This pattern is caused by the piebald white spotting gene. (The pattern is also known as the Van pattern.)

Their colorful side…

Is exhibited on their tail and at the top of their head. These colors can include:

  • Red,
  • Cream,
  • Black,
  • Blue,
  • And tabby in red, cream, brown, and blue.

Their noses are pink just like their paws.

Temperament of the Turkish Van cat breed

Turkish Cats are very social and affectionate animals. They love their family, though they may be extra loyal to some of them.  So, don’t be surprised if your Van plays favorites particularly if one person is always responsible for feeding him or her.

Now for such…

A large cat breed, they’re actually pretty active and playful from the time they’re kittens until they’re old and grey. Whether they’re playing with people or animals, they enjoy both types of company. They’re very athletic and love to roam around and play with toys.  This is why, if you do choose to adopt a Turkish Van, you may find it difficult to keep him indoors particularly if he is supposed to be an “indoor only” cat.

Which is a bit funny…

Because despite the fact that they love to run and play games, as far as “cats” go, these guys tend to be a bit “clumsy”.  Which is probably due to their large size.


They’ll catch toys mid-air, but they’ll probably land on their face. They like to run a lot, but they’ll probably trip 5 times on the journey from your living room to your bedroom.

That said…

They still love to climb. They like to look down at you from the refrigerator or even an easy to reach shelf. If you have this cat, then you’re advised not to have anything fragile like glass or vases that your cat could knock down.

We should also point out that…

They’ve got a malicious kind of humor. If they see a glass or anything that they can knock down from their high stance, they will.

And as we…

Mentioned before, these guys love water.  And it can be pretty much any kind of water so, don’t be surprised if one of these guys doesn’t decide to jump in the bath with your or figure out a way to turn on your kitchen sink.

We should also warn you…

That Turkish Van’s aren’t huge fans of being carried around or cuddled too much. They’ll be around you or next to you, but they won’t usually sit on your lap.  They sort of just prefer to be “around” you, not on you!

Common health issues

Though some cats have specific health problems, the Turkish cat doesn’t have any. But, the most common health issue amongst all cats is a heart disease known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This means that the left ventricle of a cat’s heart thickens.

This is a problem because the left ventricle is what receives oxygenated blood from the lungs, which in turns feeds that blood to the rest of their bodies.

This disease is most common…

Amongst male cats ranging from the age of five to seven-years-old. It’s usually hereditary amongst cats, but this hasn’t been seen to be the case among these felines. Still, they’re susceptible.

Another real problem amongst all cats is obesity, but as long as you watch their diet and make sure that they’re not eating everything they find, then you’re good to go.

That said however

We here at IndulgeYourPet still encourage al lof our readers to check out how much it would cost for you to be able to purchase a pet insurance policy on your new animal.


Even though, the Turkish Van is a very healthy cat breed, that’s still not going to reduce his or her chances of suffering from an injury.  And like many of us know, injuries can be pretty expensive when they require veterinarian care.

This is why…

We decided to write our Best Pet Insurance Companies article so that our readers can see whether or not purchasing a pet insurance policy is going to make sense for them.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Eva S. October 4, 2020, 8:56 pm

    This was a great help thanks

  • Amir December 11, 2020, 11:51 pm

    Thanks for the info. Our Turkish actually really loves cuddling and staying on our laps! He sleeps with us almost every night!

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