Turkish Van Cats

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Breed: Turkish Van
Temperament: Lively, trainable
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Recommended for: People wanting an activecat
Maintenance: Medium

Appearance: The Turkish Van is a large white cat with distinctive auburn markings on its head and tail, known as the Van pattern. While classified as a longhair, the coat is soft and silky without an undercoat, and can appear almost short-coated in warmer states. The eyes are amber, blue or odd amber and blue.

Temperament: This is a lively, playful cat which interacts well with humans. Some can be trained to retrieve toys. They are not known as ‘lap-cats’, and can cope with being left alone at home if their owners work.

Health:

Pale skin on ears and nose make them susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer. Keep indoors, or if the cat must go outside, apply waterproof sunblock on vulnerable areas; Furballs can develop especially when the winter coat is being shed: increase grooming and/or use gel products from vet surgeries;

Overall a strong, healthy breed.

Breeding: Turkish Vans have between three to five kittens with few birthing problems.

Space & exercise: While this is a big active cat, it can also be an accomplished hunter and responsible owners shouldn’t allow their cats out at night when native species are vulnerable. Most Turkish Van owners say their cats are best suited to homes and manage living indoors more or less permanently. Flats could be too restrictive for this active breed.

Grooming: Being a long-coated breed a brush-through twice weekly is ideal, although the lack of undercoat means tangles are not usually a problem. Increased brushing when the coat is shedding will reduce white hair on clothes and furniture.

Housepet potential: As mentioned above, white hair will be found on anything black or navy, and will probably be a trigger for people sensitive to cat hair. Being an active breed, toys such as scratching posts are recommended to minimise boredom (and destructive behaviour) if kept indoors. Some Turkish Vans are attracted to water and will play in anything available – even toilet bowls – whereas others show a more typical catlike resistance to getting wet.

Most can be housetrained successfully and some may even retrieve toys if encouraged.

Ideal owner: Turkish Vans are likely to appeal to cat lovers who enjoy a cat with an independent, outgoing nature. They are best suited to adults and families with school-age children and may not tolerate rough handling by toddlers. New owners should also be prepared that they might get a Turkish Van which loves water and may frequently find the contents of its water bowl splashed over the floor.

History: This breed is said to have originated in the Lake Van district, in southeast Turkey, where the cats are supposedly still seen swimming in the local waterways. While it wasn’t until the 1980s that any number of Turkish Vans were bred in Australia, it has since become a recognisable and popular breed.

Further information

Turkish Delight Breed Group

Secretary: Bernadette Roberts

Phone: (07) 3856 4948

Fax: (07) 3856 5318

email: bjr@gil.com.au