Turkish Van

The Turkish Van or Van cat is a medium to the large, semi-longhair cat. Their color is typical for them: auburn-white. This is a pure white body color with maroon markings on the head and tail. She looks so very classy and graceful. The Turkish Van is a variety of the Angora cat.

Origin and Breed History

Almost 50 years ago, practically all long-haired cats were referred to as angora cats. Later the term “Persian” was used for the same cats. Persian cats are known everywhere today as a classic of the long-haired cats. A number of other breeds derived from the old Angora have been added, such as the Turkish Angora, the Norwegian Forest Cat, the Ragdoll, or the Maine Coon.

Genetic tests have shown that all long-haired and semi-long-haired cats are descended from a large population from large areas of Russia and the countries bordering it to the south. This is where the terms Angora – for Ankara, Turkey – or Persian – Persia, today Iran – come back into play as an origin. The Persian cat ousted the Angora cat only in its name, not as a cat. According to legend, a pure white variety of the Angora cat lived on Lake Van, a large lake in eastern Turkey near the border with Iran. In 1955, British women took a couple from there to England from their vacation and so established the breed of these cats.

A cat called “Turkish Van” appeared in England at the end of the 1950s and was first recognized in 1960 by the Fédération Internationale Féline (FiFe). The Turkish Angora, on the other hand, was not recognized until 1988. The Turkish Van has remained unknown in Germany for a long time and is still a very rare occurrence today.


The Turkish Van is a medium to the large-sized, semi-longhair cat. She has an elegant, slim build. According to the standard, your movements should radiate grace, be supple and flowing. You should be muscular but show a fine physique without a pronounced chest. Hangovers can weigh 6 to 9 kilograms, cats are a little lighter. The paws should be small and petite. Their tail should be long and bushy, wider than the body, and carried “majestically”. The fur of a Turkish Van is silky and semi-long. She has no undercoat. Therefore, with the winter fur, thick trousers form on the hind legs, and a thick frill around the chest and shoulders.

But you only see this in mature specimens from around the age of two. The fur sheds in summer. The desired color is pure white or chalks white with markings on the head and tail. These badges should ideally be marbled brown like chestnuts but can have other colors. An agouti-colored, i.e. tabby or brindle, variety with white markings is also permitted by the standard. The approval of the latter color inevitably results from the first desired color, as this cannot be sustained in the long term in a breed.

Lime or pure white – as requested by the standard – are based on a genetic defect that can sometimes be associated with serious damage to health, such as deafness, blindness, and imbalance. In addition, such cats can sometimes die very early. One expression of this problem is the odd-eyed characteristic of Van cats. Odd-eyed cats have a not fully pigmented black eye combined with either a green or an amber eye.

Temperament and essence

The Turkish Van has a very people-oriented, friendly, and gentle nature. She is rather calm but has sly white ears. In no time she figured out how to open cupboards, doors, and lids. She is very smart. She is also an active family cat. She is athletic and can climb very well. The Turkish Van is attentive and knows its people very well. Turkish Van is very social and loves life with their people.

Some Van lovers compare them to dogs for docility and devotion. The hustle and bustle can not disturb you so quickly. Of course, we also like to move around in nature, but they can also only be kept in the apartment. Turkish Van has a wonderful calming and relaxing aura. Van cats are affectionate but do not allow themselves to be captured and remain their own proud personality. Here and there they are also called water cats because they are not afraid of water and would even like to play in the water. This tendency is very different from cat to cat.


A Turkish Van is an ideal house cat for the apartment. She is undemanding and frugal with regard to her husbandry conditions – apart from grooming and healthy breeding provided. For aquarium or terrarium lovers there might be problems, as they could cleverly open a lid and then fish out a fish.

A Turkish Van needs an intimate relationship with its two-legged friends. She loves to be with people as well as the animal partners in her family. However, both cats and dogs, for example, should have been used to each other with patience. She doesn’t have to be outdoors to feel good all around, but she doesn’t want to be left alone for a long time. The breed is extremely sociable and gets along with children, all friends of the family, and fellow animals without any problems.


The Turkish Van can be brought up very well. If it comes from a reputable breeder who has looked after and socialized parent animals and kittens well, then it will easily fit into the rules and habits of its family by itself.

Care and Health

The Turkish Van has hardly any undercoat and is, therefore, less prone to matting. Still, it should be brushed regularly. This is especially true when the coat is changing. Van cats mostly love brushing their fur. Because with a little feeling and skill you can turn it into a daily ritual of bonding, which cats and humans do very well emotionally.

Diseases Typical of the Breed

Some breeds of the Turkish Van cat suffer from severe inbreeding. This not infrequently leads to immune deficiencies, sickness, and shortened life expectancy in some animals of this cat breed. A number of genetic diseases that are widespread inbreeding, such as ataxia, can occur in her. Pure white coat color can be associated with hereditary diseases, such as predispositions to deafness, blindness, or imbalance. Odd-eyed cats – a black eye combined with a green or amber eye – can also be at higher risk.

Nutrition / Feed

The Turkish Van is usually a problem-free border for a cat.

Life Expectancy

The Turkish Van without breeding exaggerations and without coat colors such as pure white is considered a long-lived breed.

Buy Turkish Van

If you want to get yourself a Turkish Van, you can first have a look around in animal shelters. Every now and then you will also find a breed like the Persian or a hybrid with Persian. Finding a healthy and seriously bred Turkish Van is not easy. You should look at the family tree. No ancestor should appear twice here in order to rule out excessive inbreeding. Both parents should absolutely test negative for the hereditary diseases common in Turkish Van cats. Please do not buy all-white kittens, as this is often associated with a predisposition to deafness and other diseases. Seriously bred Turkish Van Kitten from healthy breeding should cost around 800 euros.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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