Farfet Guzel Surpriz
Owner: Marianne Upham,
Yenicizgi cattery, Ilminster, Somerset, UK
Turkish Van not equal to Turkish Van
Turkey denotes as Turkish Van a pure white Van cat with blue eyes
Especially odd-eyed and blue-eyed white cats are considered to bring luck.
In the issue of January of Cat World 1988 the Dutch
breeders Bea and Leen Kort describe their journey to the Lake Van in 1987
to find the Van cats. They were made aware by Turkish people that a
Van cat in Turkey is an all-white cat with blue eyes or odd-eyed.
They only saw in that region white cats, longhaired and shorthaired.
They only found one Turkish Van (black-white) with a bicolor
black-whit male (more black than white). They took both cats home to
In Cat Breeds of the World,
Desmond Morris, 1996 and 1999 one can read that the TV-movie
Roger Tabor made a trip to the lake Van in 1991 to make a film for
the TV-series The Rise of the Cat. Also Tabor experienced that only
white cats with blue eyes or odd-eyed are considered as Van cats by
native Turkish people. Cats with an auburn Van-pattern were
considered to be of less value.
Farfet Guzel Surpriz
Owner: Marianne Upham,
Yenicizgi cattery, Ilminster, Somerset, UK
The Van-pattern is a bicolor pattern:
Between the ears there are two colored patches on the head
separated by white.
The ears are white.
The body and the legs are white.
The tail is colored, the color reaches up to the crump.
color patches may also be tortieshell, and may have also tabby
The Turkish Van, which had been imported from the
Van region, is only recognized with the Van-pattern in almost all
The white color of the Van-pattern is somewhat different from the
white in bicolor cats, it is white like chalk.
The color of the Van-pattern may be:
red (called auburn), cream
with silver: smoke, for example black smoke, tortie
All colors may have tabby stripes.
The pattern markings may also be with silver, for
example red silver tabby, blue-cream silver tabby, etc.
Colors with silver are not recognized in all organizations.
Yeni Yildiz N Cyprus
The origin of this cat is Cyprus.
Owner: Harvey Harrison,
Chocolate, lilac, cinnamon and fawn are not
The eye color of Turkish Van, as in all bicolor
varieties, may be:
odd eyed, one eye blue, the other eye amber
The amber color may have also a greenish cast.
Turkish Van white - Turkish Vankedisi
In some organizations the all-white Turkish Van is
recognized, but grouped differently:
- At TICA, LOOF it is a color in the Turkish Van, besides the
- At GCCF it is called Turkish Vankedisi.
The Vankedisi was imported by Lois Miles in 1992 to England, where
got provisional status granted by GCCF on February 23, 2005.
2007 the color was recognized in the Turkish Van by TICA.
Turkish or Armenian or Anatolian cat?
A historical, not a political question
This question should be raised, independently from any politics
or political statements from the parties involved, when it comes to the history of
Armenia and Anatolia.
Historic map of Armenia
As one can see from this map, the Lake Van once belonged to
Armenia (speaking from the region called Armenia!), before the
region Armenia was split in 1920 and large parts came to the
Ottoman empire (Turkey).
A History of Armenia, Vahan M. Kurkjian, 1958 published by the
Armenian General Benevolent Union of America
Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations
Both ladies, Sonia Halliday and Laura Lushington, had imported
only a certain pattern of the Turkish Longhair, and as these cats
originated from the Van region, they got the name Turkish Van. Thus
one pattern became a cat breed.
It would be logical to call these cats Turkish (or Armenian)
Longhair, like the shorthaired variety is consequently called
Anatoli or Turkish Shorthair, because it originates from Anatolia
and is recognized in all colors.
History of Anatolia, with many articles about the history of
great ancient cities
History of Anatolia, detailed description of the different ages
The Turkish Van originates from a region, where one must
deal with its history and culture to understand that this cat breed
is a great treasure.
Zoo in Ankara
How do the cats look like in the Zoo of Ankara?
Please do also remember that one can read that the Turkish Angora
originates from Angora (the ancient name of Ankara).
The cats look like the Turkish Vankedisi.
Pictures by the courtesy of Harvey Harrison, 2006.
The link to the article of the university (click on the title) describes only
all-white Van cats, their general behavior (which they share with
all other cat breeds), their feeding, giving birth (the litter sizes
has an average number), and that the cats are very affectionate and
like to play. Unfortunately this article does not write anything
about the history of the Van cat.
In the campus of the university
is a research center, which deals with the Van cats.
If one searches the Internet with the keyword 'Yüzüncü Yil
university Van cat', one will find articles, about which one starts
It would be interesting to get reports, which actions were taken to
conserve the breed of Van cats and how to increase their
Distribution of blood types A and B in the Turkish Van and Turkish
According to this study of the university
neonatal isoerythrolysis (incompatibility of blood types,
premature death of kittens) has been detected in these breeds.
Therefore breeders should have cats of those breeds blood typed
before using them for breeding and one should be cautious concerning
A different pair of eyes, by gate to turkey
The Turkish Van Site,
Pairodocs Turkish Vans from Karen Hooker
Hayastan (old name of Armenia),
History of Armenia
You will find here interesting articles about the history of Armenia,
with many beautiful pictures.
History of Turkey, Turizm.net
Complete Cat Encyclopedia, Grace Pond, Crown Publishers, New York,
1972, ISBN 517-500-175
Katzen, die neue Enzyklopädie (Cats, the new encyclopedia), Bruce Fogle, Dorling Kinderley,
München 2002, ISBN 3-8310-0287-8
Literature list to the traveler's book of Evliya Çelebis in the
German National Library
Wikipedia.org about Evliya Çelebis, you may also read about Melek Ahmed Pasha,
the Ottoman Greater Vizier and his wife
Kaya Sultan (daughter of the sultan Murad IV).
Cat Breeds of the World, Desmond Morris, Viking Adult, 1999, ISBN-10
0670886394, ISBN-13 978-0670886395
The Turkish Van is a medium to large sized, sturdy cat with semi-long coat with a Van-pattern.
The head is medium to large sized, with high cheek bones, and narrows slightly
downwards to the muzzle, thus building a triangle with rounded sides (no
straight lines). The muzzle shows a
slight whisker break and is rounded. The nose has a slight dip at the lower eye
level. In general the head is medium in length.
The ears are medium large with slightly rounded tips and open at the base, they
are set rather high on the head.
The eyes are rounded (not quite round), medium in size and slightly slanted. Eye color may be blue,
amber (also with a slight greenish cast) or odd-eyed.
The neck is not too long and may display a full ruff in winter.
The body is longer, sturdy and very solid, with firm muscles and full chest.
Bones are medium. The legs are medium in length, with solid muscles and round
paws, which are tufted between the toes. The tail is medium in length and
The coat is semi-long and does have any woolly undercoat. But the
cats have a different coat in winter and in summer, caused by the extremely
different climatic situation in the region of their origin. In winter the coat
is much longer and thicker, with a full ruff in adult cats. In summer the coat
is rather short, one can only see on the tail that it is a semi-longhaired cat.
Coat is soft and feels like cashmere, it is water repellent, but the single
hairs are rather fine. In winter the coat stands slightly off from the body.
It is said that Van cats like to swim, that why they are often called the
The development of the Van cat is slow, especially concerning the coat.
There had been found relicts, banners and weapons, from an ancient battle
during the occupation of Armenia by the Romans (75-387 AD), which picture a
white cat with 2 colored spots on its head and a colored, ringed tail. See at Katzen, die neue Enzyklopädie
by Bruce Fogle
Evliya Çelebis (March 25, 1611 - 1683) describes in the Seyahatnâme (10 books)
in one part called Travel from Bitlis to Van (book IV and V) also Van cats. This
travel journal describes the culture, buildings, the country and the people,
their songs and customs. Evliya Çelebis traveled from 1640 through many
countries of the huge Ottoman empire and noted everything of interest, which was
remarkable. Evliya Çelebis had been three times in Bitlis, in 1655 and in 1565.
Two English photographers, Sonia Halliday and Laura Lushington,
working for the office of tourism in the region of Van, imported in 1955 Van
cats (two cats with the Van-pattern) to England. They got one female in Eastern
Turkey, and one male from the hotel manager in Istanbul. The cats produced
kittens, which all had the Van-pattern and were true breeding. The names of the
first kittens were: Burdur, Bysantium, Antalya Anatolia and
Iskenderum. In 1959 they imported three more cats, in 1980 two more cats,
and in 1982 one cat more. These cats are the foundation lines of the classic
English Turkish Van.
The Turkish Van was recognized by GCCF in 1969 in the colors auburn and cream,
and in 2000 all other colors were recognized. Originally these cats were called
Turkish Cats in GCCF, but were re-named to Turkish Van in 1979.
The first Van cats were imported to the USA in the early 1970s by service men
working in Turkey. TICA recognized the Turkish Van for championship in 1979 in
auburn and cream, and recognized all other color in 1988.
1983 Barbara and Jack Reark (Matabiru cattery), Miami, Florida,
imported a pair of Van cats from France and three cats from the Netherlands.
They had been the ones, who propagated the Turkish Van in USA.
Dei von Saxe-Coburg (Stellamaris cattery) started to become interested in Van
cats in the mid 1980s and wrote the first standard for CFA. In May 1994 the
breed was recognized for championship.
1971 the breed was recognized by FIFe in auburn and cream, and in 1997 all other
colors were recognized.
In the legend there were also two white cats on board of Noah's ark, some
4300 years ago. According to the Old Testament, which reports about the Great
Flood, Noah always took a pair of each species into his arc. After months of
heavy storm in the Great Flood, which God had predicted to Noah, the arc
stranded on Mount Ararat, the highest volcanic mountain of Mesopotamia (today
Eastern Turkey). When Noah put down the wooden stairs the two cats ran out from
the arc, and the stairs hit their tail, which turned into fiery auburn. After
months in darkness the sun blended the cats so much that they became blind (may
be that is the reason, why the eye color is blue, amber or odd-eyed, instead of
God felt very sorry for these two cats and touched their forehead to bless them,
and thus the cats got an auburn colored patch on their head, the finger print of
God. The cats ran down the mountain to the ancient city of Van, where they found
many fish in the huge lake. The cats started to breed, and of course, all their
kittens liked to swim in the water and to fish.
There are references in Armenian legends to swimming Van cats.
Turkish Van have a very good hunting instinct, it is said that they like water.
Before they get acquainted to a new home, the inspect and investigate their new
home very carefully, if everything is right for them. They do not allow free
roaming cats to enter their house, they tend to become jealous, if their owner
spends too much time with other cats. But they can be trained easily, because
they learn very fast, thus learning also many other tricks. Unfortunately they
also learn very fast to open doors and to open shelves.
The Turkish Van needs much attention, which shall be noted, when it comes to
breeding. The more the kittens are handled the more they will have a lovely
temperament, because they have a tendency to become tough.
The cats are very affectionate and loyal to their owner, give head buds and
Grooming is not too difficult, because their coat does not have a
wooly undercoat. The coat has little tendency to become filthy or
knotted. The white color remains surprisingly white and does get a
yellow tinge (yellow patches like in other Bi-colors). Regular
bathing is not necessary, except for show cats. However, it is
recommended to brush their coat regularly.