Turkish Van kittens for sale! Turkish Van breeders selling this longhaired large cat. Known for its unusual love of water & swimming with great ease & grace. The body is white. TICA registered. Turkish Van cats for sale.
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The “Swimming Cat”—The Turkish Van
Turkish Van Cat is an ancient, natural, longhaired cat breed of domestic cats that is descended from the cats found near Lake Van in Turkey. The breed is extremely rare outside of Turkey, and rare even inside Turkey, and is distinguished by the van color pattern, where the color is limited to the head and the tail, and the rest of the cat is white. This is due to the emergence of the “piebald white spotting gene.” Known for its unusual love of water and swimming, the Turkish Van has been nicknamed “the swimming cat,” as most individuals will actually immerse themselves completely in bodies of water, and swim with great ease and grace.
While you may feel drawn to the Turkish Van partly for its fascination with water, you'll fall in love with the breed for its other qualities too. “Vans are energetic, agile, and intelligent. They are extremely healthy and, ‘get along with people swimmingly,’ “ notes one Van owner (Barron’s Encyclopedia of Cat Breeds,” J. Anne Helgren). Turkish Vans are talkative, demanding of attention, and show great gusto, especially around dinnertime. You may need a few months of strenuous workouts in order to keep up with them, as Vans are famous for their “action-packed” temperaments.
The origins of this delightful feline are shrouded in mystery and folklore. One story has it that in the chaos of Noah’s and the Ark’s arrival at Mount Arafat in Turkey some 5,000 years ago, two white and red cats leaped into the water and swam ashore. When the Great Flood receded, the cats set out trekking to Lake Van, about 75 miles south of Mount Arafat—and they have lived there ever since. They have also inhabited bordering areas of Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Russia, as well as Turkey, for millenia.
One possible explanation for the Turkish Van’s love of water is that the areas in which it has dwelled tend to be extremely hot, so the cats may have learned to swim in order to survive more comfortably. Most domestic cats hate getting wet, possibly because their coats become so disorderly when wet. The Turkish Van kitten, however, has a cashmere-like coat that is totally water-resistant, which allows the cat to go “doggy paddling” and still emerge from the water relatively dry.
Most Vans in the U.S. are indoor cats and do not have access to large bodies of water, but their love and curiosity for water remains in their psyches. Instead of swimming, they may stir up and tip over their water bowls, and invent fishing games in the toilet.
Whatever the reason for this cat’s love of water, no one knows for certain when they first appeared around Lake Van, but native ornaments depict cats that look a lot like Turkish Vans dating back as far as 5000 b.c. If this is the case, then the Turkish Van kittens may be one of the oldest natural cat breeds still in existence.
The modern and confirmed history of the Van began in 1955 when two British women were given two Van kittens while touring Turkey. The breed was unknown in Britain at the time, and these ladies decided to commence a formal breeding program. Vans turned out to breed “true,” and an effort was begun to get the breed recognized by European cat registries. Obtaining Van cats meant many return trips to Turkey, and waiting for lengthy quarantine periods before the cats could enter England, so the going was slow. But the hard work paid off in 1969 when the Turkish Van was given full pedigree status by the British GCCF (the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy).
The gene pool thrives because until recently, it mainly used cats imported from the Lake Van area of Turkey. Imported Vans have had no human breeding intervention and are quite robust and healthy. No other breed is allowed to be mixed in, and all registered Turkish Vans can trace their ancestry back to imported cats from the original area. In 1985, TICA (The International Cat Association) granted the Turkish Van Championship status. The CFA (the Cat Fanciers Association) accepted the breed for registration in 1988, and for Championship showing in 1994. Since then, CFA has registered only approximately one hundred Vans born each year in the US, making them one of the rarest of cat breeds.
Today, Turkish Vans are being preserved by the Turkish College of Agriculture in conjunction with the Ankara Zoo, the longtime breeder of the Turkish Angora . Vans are no longer permitted to be exported from Turkey, so most of the current breeding stock now comes from Europe.
The appearance of the Turkish Van is quite unusual and distinctive. The body is white, and the color appears vividly on the head and the tail. Breed standards allow for one or more body spots as long as there is no more than 20% color and the cat does not give the appearance of a bicolor cat. A few random spots are acceptable, but they should not detract from the overall pattern. The rest of the cat is pure white. Although red tabby and white is the classic van color, the color on a van's head and tail can be any one of many other colors, such as Black, Blue, Brown, etc.
The coat on a Turkish Van is actually considered to be semi-longhaired. While many cats have three distinct hair types mixed in their coats--guard hair, awn hair and down hair--the Turkish Van only has awn hair. This makes their coat feel like luscious, like cashmere or rabbit fur, and the coat dries quickly if it does get wet. Lake Van (at 5,260 feet above sea level) is a region of very extreme temperatures, and the cats have developed a coat that grows in thick with a large ruff during the harsh winters, with a bottlebrush tail. The coat sheds on the body during the hot summers, but the full tail is kept year ‘round.
The Turkish Van part of the large cat breeds. The ideal Van should feature broad shoulders with a body that is “top heavy,” meaning that the center of gravity is forward. The cat is moderately long and its back legs are slightly longer than its front legs, but the body and legs are still in proportion to each other. These are large, very muscular cats. Males can reach sixteen pounds and the females weigh about twelve to fourteen pounds. Vans have been known to reach three feet long from the nose to the tip of the tail. They have massive paws and they are very strong jumpers that can easily “hit the top of a refrigerator from a cold start on the floor.” The Van can take three to five years to advance from kittenhood to full maturity, so show judges take gender and age into account when judging the Van.
The piebald spotting gene (called partial “leucism”) appears in other species like the horse and ball python. It also shows up in the common house cat, and other breeds of cat. A Turkish Van may have blue eyes, amber eyes, or one eye of each color, making it an “odd-eyed” cat. Breeding two cats together with the same level of white spotting will produce cats with a similar degree of spotting. Deafness is often associated with white cats of all breeds that have two blue eyes.
Turkish Van cats are very intelligent and somewhat aggressive, and will easily take over their home and owners. Vans want to be with people wherever their people go. They like to play and jump and explore anything in their reach, which is quite broad. They are very energetic, playing hard and sleeping hard. Many owners describe them as "dogs in a cat suit" because of their unusual personalities. The degree of the Van’s loyalty to its owner(s) is such that it may be difficult to ever transfer an adult Van from one household to another. Once bonded, they seem to be bonded forever!
Vans love to play fetch, and they like to play with a great variety of things, “allowed” or not (such as your jewelry). You may tire of their interactive games long before they do. When Vans play, they play until they drop. They are very athletic and acrobatic, and will leap and jump and spin in the air almost endlessly. They need and want to be involved in everything that is going on around them, and can, relatively easily, figure out how to open cabinets, doors, and child-proof locks!
The Van gets along extremely well with other animals after they get to know them. They tend to want to be alpha in the household, even over much larger animals than themselves. They enjoy the presence of other lively cats, particularly of other Vans. I presume that, like most other cats, they would prefer not to be left alone for long periods of time without the companionship of other animals. Vans are extremely assertive and will defend themselves against perceived attacks, even from much larger animals.
Turkish Van cats are generally not lap cats, preferring to keep all four paws on the floor, although there are exceptions to this rule. They do love to be petted and shown affection, and will return that affection big-time. They may rub against your legs in order to initiate affection, and at that point, they may be willing to be held and cuddled for awhile. They also like to “head-butt” you as a way of greeting you and attracting your attention.
In the Lake Van region and surrounding areas, the Van was and still is treasured for its hardiness, its temperament, and its lovely fur. Turkey is largely a Muslim country, and Turkish Van breeders who can create Turkish Vans that have the "thumbprint of God" pattern are highly prized. These Turkish Van cats have a colored patch between the shoulder blades called the Mark of Allah-- somewhat reminiscent of the dark-colored “M” that appears on the foreheads of some other breeds--and it is believed that these specially colored cats have been especially blessed. No doubt, you too will be blessed if you decide to bring a Turkish Van (or two) into your home!
With thanks to:
Barrons Encyclopedia of Cat Breeds, J. Anne Helgren