The Turkish Angora Cat Breed
The Turkish Angora cat breed originated in Ankara (formerly known as Angora) and the earliest reference to these silky long-coated cats are found in 16th century France. Reference is also made by European cat fanciers in the late 1800/early 1900’s. In the early 1900’s Persian breeders used the Turkish Angora in their breeding programs and this different cat breed basically disappeared as a separate breed.
In Turkey however, the Turkish Angora cat was considered a national treasure and a breeding program was established at the Ankara Zoo. This program concentrated mainly on white cats with blue eyes, gold eyes and odd eyes. Proper records were kept of the genetics and the progress of the breeding program.
Turkish Angora Cat - photo by Pablo, November 2006
These cats were not allowed to be exported anywhere but American servicemen in the 1950’s told people at home about these gorgeous cats and eventually in 1962 the Ankara Zoo allowed two cats to be sent to the USA. The odd-eyed white male and the amber-eyed female belonging to Colonel and Mrs. Walter Grant became the foundation cats of this breed in the USA.
A pair of Turkish Angora cats were brought to Arizona in 1964 by Sergeant and Mrs. Ivan Leinback and Mrs. Ray Porter brought a pregnant odd-eyed white female home with her. In 1996 the Grants were allowed to import another pair and soon other cats followed, thus firmly establishing the Turkish Angora cat breed in North America.
Odd-eye Turkish Angora cat
The Turkish Angora is described as being the ballerina of cats. The legs are long and fine-boned and the head is an elegant pointed wedge. Large eyes and large, pointed ears round of the look and the tail flows out behind the cat in a long plume of silky hair.
Even though this cat is the embodiment of grace, it has a powerful, muscular body that enables it to perform graceful acrobatics.
The semi-longhaired silky coat rarely mats and a brushing once a week will remove loose hair and keep the coat shiny and silky. Traditionally, white is the only color associated with the Turkish Angora cat breed but they come in a range of colors.
In the winter the coat is medium length with a fully plumed tail, a fine, silky mane and britches. In the summer the coat is shorter with only slight britches and a fluffy tail.
Odd-eye color is common amongst Turkish Angora cats and the one eye will usually be blue whilst the other can be green, brown or yellow. This is a feline form of complete heterochromia, which is a condition that commonly affects white colored cats.
This condition occurs when the dominant white gene or the white spotting gene prevents melanin granules (melanin is a pigment) from reaching one of the eyes during the cats development.
Personality & Temperament
Just like the graceful dancers they are said to resemble, the Turkish Angora is an agile and powerful cat breed. They love to race around the house chasing toys and will often perform acrobatic leaps that leave you breathless.
This is an affectionate, people-orientated cat that loves to be around you helping you with anything and everything. Your Turkish Angora will make its presence known and will demand your attention in subtle ways. They are good with other pets but need to stay dominant.