?The Swimming Cat?.HistoryAlthough the Turkish Van is an ancient breed, it is a relative newcomer to the United States. The first Van cats (named after the Lake Van region of Turkey) were imported to England in the 1950s, but the first Turkish Van did not arrive in the U.S. until 1982. Imports from Turkey are still accepted into breeding programs, although imports are quite rare as these cats are considered national treasures in their native land.ÿ The Turkish Van is accepted by most major cat registries.Many Turkish Vans are fond of water and swimming. In their native Turkey near Lake Van, they can often be found swimming in warm, shallow pools. Owners of Turkish Vans must be careful about allowing unsupervised access to water, including baths and toilets! Even Vans who don't enjoy swimming are nonetheless fascinated by water, well known for 'bathing' toys in water dishes and playing in dripping faucets. Some even learn to turn on faucets for more playtime fun.Although they share the word "Turkish" in their name, the Turkish Van and the Turkish Angora are completely different cats. Angoras are lithe, with silky fur, and the Turkish Vans are more heavily built with a plush coat.DescriptionThe Turkish Van is a semi-longhaired cat distinguished by its unusual pattern: the cat is white except for a colored tail and color on the head. (This is called the "Van" pattern, and is seen in other breeds as well). Show cats should not have color on more than 20% of their bodies. The most sought-after markings for show are restricted to the head and tail alone. Some small body spots are tolerated, but not most desirable. They can be found with blue, gold, or odd-eyes. (Odd-eyed means one gold eye and one blue eye).The Turkish Van takes three to five years to reach full maturity and is a large and agile cat of substantial strength. They are very intelligence as well as curious and make very rewarding companions in the right home. The breed is a healthy one and the unique coat does not lend itself to matting, so they require little grooming.TemperamentThe Turkish Van is a loyal, loving and very intelligent cat. Its temperament depends greatly on its upbringing, the amount of human contact and handling it receives as a kitten, and the temperament of the mother herself. They are very affectionate, giving head butts and love bites, but to the uninitiated this could be slightly alarming, but when you get to know your cat you will begin to understand. ÿThey tend to bond strongly to one or two people in a family. They are social and remain active well into old age.They are great climbers, so don't be surprised to find them sitting on top of doors, kitchen units or wardrobes, and some wouldn't think twice about climbing your curtains and sitting on the curtain rail. A great game is retrieving screwed up paper, some catching the ball of paper in mid flight, others making great somersaultsWhere water is concerned, some are not very keen at all, whereas others may love dripping taps, especially drinking from them, then flicking the water with their paws, or dropping toys into their water bowl. It has been known for Turks to swim in the bath, swimming pool or even the sea. So be warned they may come and join in your daily shower. They may also become curious about toilets, so don't leave the lid up!
This breed information has been assembled from a number of area which include "The Legacy of the Cat" by Gloria Stephens, "Eyewitness Handbooks - Cats" by David Alderton and the "TICA Breed Standards".ÿ As well, much information was obtained on the Internet. It was submitted to us by Southern Alberta Calgary Cat Fanciers