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The Turkish Van Cat Breed


The Turkish Van cat breed is an ancient breed that has existed in the mountainous area of the Eastern Anatolian region since the Middle Ages. It was only discovered in the mid-1950’s when Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday were on tour in Turkey. On their travels they came across white cats with auburn markings on their heads and tails.

Two unrelated kittens were given to them and these kittens continued traveling with them. One day the two ladies stopped at a stream to cool down and rest and to their surpise, the kittens started splashing and playing around in the water. Returning to England, they took the kittens with them and started a program to promote this different cat breed.

Turkish Van cat breed
Male red tabby & white Turkish Van cat - grand champion Caravanserai Haldir of Furdervish

Even in its homeland the Turkish Van cat breed is rare and there are not many cats available for export. Breeders around the world worked together to preserve this beautiful cat breed and in July 1979 TICA granted championship status.


Turkish Van cat breed The Turkish Van is a large cat breed that has a substantial, powerful body. Mature males weigh between 10-20 pounds and mature females weigh between 7-12 pounds.

All Turkish Van cats have what is called the “Van pattern” which is a combination of white and colored patches with the colored patches restricted to the tail and the head and the white being a gleaming chalk-white. The exception is the solid white Turkish Van, often referred to as the Van Kedi.

The colored patches can be any traditional solid color, but the first Turkish Van cats had a very rich red/auburn color. The tail is a flowing plume that the cat will hold erect when it is running. The eyes range from amber, blue or odd-eyed colors.

The coat of the Turkish Van cat is semi-longhaired and there is no undercoat. As the cat gets older, the coat becomes even more luxurious with the unique cashmere-like texture repelling water and dirt.

In the winter the Turkish Van grows tufts of hair between its paws and the coat become longer and fuller. In the summer it sheds its long coat for a shorter one. The coat does not mat and tangle easily but it is important to brush the cat once a week to remove loose hair and to keep it in top condition. As these cats enjoy water and swimming, they enjoy a bath as well.

Personality & Temperament

Turkish van cat breed The Turkish Van cat breed is an affectionate and loyal companion that love to play games and can easily be taught how to play fetch. This is a highly intelligent and curious cat that will insist on helping you with your daily tasks.

As long as their dominance is respected, they get along well with other pets. A Turkish Van will cuddle on your lap for a short while but will not be overbearing and attention-seeking all the time.

Turkish Van cats simply adore running and water sports and you should create a place in your garden for you cat where he can run whilst splashing and jumping through puddles of water.

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