Turkish Van cats

turkish van cats

Turkish Van cats grooming

Although Turkish Van cats are longhaired cats, their coat is made up of a silky texture that hardly succumbs to tangles. A grooming performed once a week should be quite sufficient in removing any loose hairs, debris and dander. Use a brush with wire bristles on the one side to remove any tangles and with soft bristles on the other side to remove any remaining fuzz. Make sure that the brush has a satisfying grip; actually I prefer those with elastic grips.

However, be aware that their coat sheds considerably during the seasonal change. Extra brushing is beneficial at this time to remove as much loose hair as possible before your cat swallows it and develops hairballs.

Turkish Van kittens care

When you introduce a turkish van kittens to your home let them find their own way out of the basket and allow then to explore one room at a time. Make sure that all doors and windows are shut, to prevent kittens from escaping.

Turkish Van kittens are very often frightened by children or other pets that are new to them. Children should therefore be recommended to be quiet and wait for the kitten to adapt to the new environment, while other animals should be introduced later, gradually and one at a time. Remember that adult cats might attack to the baby cat, since they confront it as a competitor and therefore as an enemy.

Talk to your van kitten and encourage it to play with a toy but do not overwhelm it with extreme attention.

Van kittens need warmth, since they miss their mother and litter mates. If there is not some form of heating in the room at all times, you had better buy a heated bed from a pet shop.


Tapeworms are parasites that live in the small intestine of cats. They will cause severe diarrhea, poor or extreme appetite, avitaminosis, lethargy, coughing and abdominal distention to your cat.

To find out more, check our tapeworm treatment guide.

Hair ball

When a cat grooms itself by licking its own fur, it will swallow some of its own hair. Most of the hair passes all the way through the digestive tract with no problems. But if some hair stays in the stomach, it can form a hair ball.

To find out more, check our hair ball treatment guide.


Even clean cats can pick up fleas, especially during the summer months. They get fleas through the contact with infested pets or through the contact with fleas in the environment (e.g. from an infected bedding).

To find out more check our flea treatment guide.

Turkish Van cats care

A litter tray must be available at all times and kept in the same place. Solid matter and wet lumps should be removed from the tray frequently and the litter renewed when necessary. The tray should be washed and disinfected frequently. Rinse thoroughly after disinfecting and allow drying before use. Turkish Van cats are very fussy and will not use a dirty tray.

Never give a cat any drugs that have not been prescribed for it; many human drugs are poisonous to cats. Seek veterinary advice immediately if you suspect any form of poisoning.

Make sure that cat toys or parts of them cannot be swallowed. Plastic bags and rubber bands can be extremely dangerous, since they do not show up on an X-ray.

Turkish Van cats health and lifespan

Turkish Van cats are generally healthy cats and have no genetic problems specific or common to their breed.

Turkish Van cats usually live up to 13 years, but with the proper care and nutrition they can live up to 15 years of age. In the market there are available cat meals that provide the essential vitamins and minerals. Some of them even protect them against hairballs, dental problems and skin inflammations. However, the major problem is the breed’s tense to obesity. They have a hearty appetite, so always select balanced cat meals, with high quality protein and fibers.

Turkish Van cats history

Archaeological evidence reveal that domestic cats were known in Turkey as long as 7000 years ago. Excavations by the British Archaeological Institute uncovered small Neolithic figures of women holding, or playing with cats.

From 75 AD to 387 AD the Romans occupied the Lake Van region in Eastern Turkey. An armor from this period displayed in Louvre, depicts large light colored cats with tail rings, proving the early presence for Turkish Van Cats.

The isolated nature of Lake Van in combination to the respect the area’s citizens demonstrated towards Turkish Van cats, helped preserve the breed and its unique characteristics.

In 1955 two British photographers, Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday, were working in the Lake Van region on an assignment from the Turkish Tourist Board. Charmed by tales of the "swimming cat" they showed a lot of interest in the local felines with copper head markings and faintly ringed copper tails and were given a pair of Turkish Van kittens.

The Turkish Van kittens traveled to the UK, where it was established that they belonged to a breed unknown to the world of pedigree cats. A serious breeding program started and four years later, litters of consistently patterned kittens were being produced.

However, registering Turkish Van cats as a new breed was harder than the two ladies had thought. Van owners published stunning photographs of their cats while they were swimming, which made the breed popular to the masses, but this was not enough to win the feline associations’ approval.

Maybe this was caused because of Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday's decision to use the name Van for the breed and also for their possessing a private registered cattery, which was not permitted by the associations.

In 1969 the breed was given recognition, however for a time Turkish Van cats were known as Turkish cats rather than Van cats.

The first Turkish Van kittens arrived in US in the 1970s, but it was not until breeders Barbara and Jack Reark started working with the breed in 1983 that the breed began to flourish. In 1985 TICA granted the Turkish Van Championship status. The CFA accepted the breed for registration in 1988 and in May 1993 the Van achieved Provisional status with the CFA.

Turkish Van cats personality

Turkish Van cats temperament is quite variable, depending on early socialization, their upbringing, the amount of human contact and handling they receive as kittens and the temperament of their mother.

Generally speaking, most Turkish Van cats are very affectionate and purr more than the average cats. Their love may be shown with head butts and gentle love bites. However, most of them prefer not to be picked up or carried around.

Turkish Van cats are highly intelligent and quite trainable. They are known for following their owners around like dogs, actually they tend to get along well with dogs, provided that they remain the boss. They also get on well with children, as well as with other pets.

Turkish Van cats are highly active and energetic and require a lot of playtime and interaction to canalize their overflowing energy. Most like to play fetch and are just as happy with small paper balls as with expensive store-bought items. They love to climb and perch in high places, such as door tops, cupboards and curtain rails. Most of them can even figure out how to open doors and drawers.

Finally, regarding water, most of them absolutely love it. They will drink water from a dripping tap, flick the water with their paws, throw their toys into their water bowl or even join their human family in their shower. No wonder why they are called the swimming cats.

Turkish Van cats breed standards

According to the Fédération International Féline, Turkish Van cats possess a short, blunted triangular head, with a straight nose of medium length and a firm chin. Their ears are medium to large and well furnished, wide at the base and slightly rounded at the tips. They are set wide apart and usually are white outside and pale pink inside.

Their eyes are large and oval, set slightly oblique. The accepted color eyes are blue, light amber and odd eyed, meaning one eye blue and the other one light amber. The eye lids should also be outlined with pink.

Turkish Van cats body structure is long, however strong and muscular, with a strong neck and medium long legs. The paws are dainty, round and well tufted and the tail is medium in length, well furnished and without undercoat. The tail's color can be black, blue, auburn, cream, tortie or blue tortie.

Turkish Van cats coat is fine and silky, semi long on the body and without any undercoat. The coat's color can be nothing bur chalk white regarding the body and the following regarding the head and tail:
· solid black
· solid blue
· solid auburn
· solid cream
· black tortie
· blue tortie
· black agouti
· blue agouti
· auburn agouti
· cream agouti
· black tortie agouti
· blue tortie agouti

Finally, the nose and paw pads of the van cat can be nothing but pink.