Turkish Van

The Turkish Van is extremely intelligent and imaginative. A Turkish cat is very lively, loving and demonstrative pet. They frequently chatter in answer to their owners, more often than not getting the last word in.

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Turkish Van cats often retrieve toy mice, balls and crumpled paper, and will exhaust their owners long before they tire themselves.

An intriguing aspect of Turkish Vans is their insatiable curiosity for water, A few are not interested but the majority can be found dipping their paws, toys and bedding in water bowls, or sitting in sinks and baths waiting for the tap to be turned on. They will also assist with rituals like dishwashing and often sit entranced while their owners are showering.


The van is a large white semi longhaired cat with coloured markings on the head and tail. It is referred to a a piebald cat. The coat has a cashmere texture and does not have an undercoat. The coat is also water resistant which goes hand in hand with one of their personality traits of having a fascination with water.


Turkish Vans are not a difficult cat to groom as the fur having no woolly undercoat does not knot. Bathing is not usually a problem, some vans even enjoy it.

Breed History

Turkish Van is a rare and ancient breed that developed in central and southwest Asia, which today encompasses the countries of Iran, Iraq, southwest Soviet Union and eastern Turkey. “Van” is a common term in the region that has been given to a number of towns, villages and even a lake – Lake Van – so it is no surprise that the uniquely patterned cat native to the region was named the “Vancat” by the residents. They were first brought to England in 1955 as the Turkish cats, but this was later changed to Turkish Van to avoid confusion with the Turkish Angora.

Although the breed has an ancient lineage, the Turkish Van is a relative newcomer to the United States, arriving in 1982. They are considered regional treasures in their homeland, and are not readily available for export to other countries. Even in areas where the breed has been known for centuries, they are still relatively rare.