A playful breed said to have a liking for water games, this energetic cat can be tireless in its search for amusement.
The predecessors of this cat, named after the Lake Van area of eastern Turkey, may have existed for hundreds of years in southwestern Asia. The breed is now a regional treasure in Turkey.
The modern Turkish Van was first developed in the UK in the 1950s, and breeding cats have since been exported to other countries, although they remain uncommon.
The breed is noted for its soft, semi-longhaired, water-resistant coat, distinctive markings, and quiet, bleating voice. A Turkish Van is an intelligent, affectionate companion, but perhaps is not the ideal choice for an owner who wants a peaceful lap cat—zestful and fun-loving, this cat needs plenty of exercise.
It loves human company and enjoys a game, especially if the family joins in. Many Turkish Vans are said to love water, paddling in puddles and pouncing at dripping faucets. The claims that these cats are confident swimmers have led to their nickname, the “swimming cats.”
The odd-colored eyes seen in this breed are caused by the white-spotting gene, which prevents melanin (pigment) from reaching the iris (colored part) of one eye. All Turkish Van kittens are born with pale blue eyes that then gradually acquire their adult color.
In some, both eyes become amber, but in others one eye remains blue. Turkish Vans can have two blue eyes too, but those affected by the white-spotting gene have eyes that are different shades of blue.
Origin: Turkey / UK (modern breed), pre-1700
Breed registries: CFA, FIFe, GCCF, TICA
Weight range: 7–19lb (3–8.5kg)
Grooming: 2–3 times a week
Colors and patterns: White with darker colors on head and tail.