Saturday, April 19, 2014

SATURDAY CATS

The TURKISH VAN (not to be confused with Van cat or Turkish Angora) is a longhaired bred of domestic cat with genetic origins in modern Turkey.  The breed is claimed to be descended from the landrace of Van cats, mostly found near Lake Van, though one of the two original breeders has stated that none of the original cats used to found the formal breed came from the Van area.  The breed is rare, and is distinguished by the Van colour pattern, where the colour is restricted to the head and tail with the rest of the cat being white; this is due to the expression of the piebald white spotting gene, a type of partial leucism.   A Van may have blue or amber eyes or be odd-eyed, having one eye of each colour.

The breed was developed in Britain from a selection of Van cats obtained from various cities of Turkey.  It was first recognised by a breeder/fancier organisation, the U.K.-based Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), in 1969.  The term "Turkish Vankedisi" is used by some organisations as a name for all-white specimens of the formal Turkish Van breed, and is easily confused with the landrace Van cat, the Turkish name of which is Van kedisi.


The coat of this cat is considered semi-longhaired.  They only have awn hair which makes their coat feel like cashmere or rabbit fur, and the coat dries quickly when wet.  Lake Van is a region of temperature extremes and the cats have evolved a coat that grows thick in the winter with a large ruff, and bottlebrush tail for the winters.  The coat sheds out during the warm summers but the full tail is kept year round.  (Strangely enough, although of course she is just a moggy, our Precious also grows a thick coat in the cool weather and sheds during summer).


The Turkish Van is one of the larger breeds of cats.  It is moderately long and its back legs are slightly longer than its front legs, but neither the cat itself nor its legs are so long to be disproportionate.  These cats are large and muscular.  They have massive paws and rippling hard muscle structure which allows them to be very strong jumpers.  Vans can easily hit the top of a refrigerator from a cold start on the floor.  They are slow to mature and can take up to 3 years to reach full maturity.  Their fetching skills are also quite good and they are quick to learn.


One of the incredible attributes of the Turkish Van is that they enjoy water and love swimming. The breed is noted to have an unusual fascination with water whereas most cat breeds dislike getting wet.  The alleged unusual trait could be due to the breed's supposed proximity to Lake Van in their native country.  It could have acquired this trait due to the very hot summers and having extremely water proof coats that makes bathing them a challenge.  Most Vans in the United States are indoor cats and do not have access to large bodies of water, but their love and curiosity of water stays with them  Instead of swimming, they stir their water bowls and invent fishing games in the toilet.  The Turkish Van is nicknamed "the swimming cat".


Turkish Vans are very intelligent and will easily take over their home and owners.  Vans are people cats that want to be with people wherever they go.  They like to play and jump and explore anything in their reach, which is quite large.  They are energetic; they play hard and sleep hard. Many Vans are dedicated to fetching their particular object of interest, and many owners describe them as "dogs in a cat suit" because of their unusual personalities.  This is a very social breed with a friendly, lively disposition and they develop a great fondness for their owners with whom they enjoy interactive games. They are playful and tend to 'teach' their owners.  Many know how to play fetch and will drop toys at your feet until you join in the game with them. 





9 comments:

  1. So Jazz, has some Turkish Van in him. He can, and does jump to the top of the fridge (drat him) and is certainly adept at training me.
    I knew the Turkish Van were swimmers but didn't realise just how intelligent they are.
    Thanks Mimsie. Another cat to drool over.

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    1. They are so beautiful aren't they? Precious can leap well but she is in her 13th year and is not jumping higher than about 3'6" these days.
      It is the growing of new hair and the annual shed that is similar to this Turkish Van. Precious can be bossy but she's nice with it. She doesn't like water though so there the similarity ends.

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  2. I have never heard of the Turkish Van cat but now I would like one they are very pretty and the fact that they can swim is very interesting to me. Have a nice weekend Mimsie. Hug B

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    1. I'd not heard of this one before and I think it is a sheer delight. I am used to hair shedding as our Precious does it every year. Hope you and your Hero have a wonderful Easter. xxx

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    1. They do Delores but that shedding can be a pain. Precious does it every year and her hair is so fine that any dust always contains fluff which must come from her. Otherwise I'd have one of these if I received it as a gift as I am sure they would be very expensive.

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  4. "...are people cats that want to be with people wherever they go. They like to play and jump and explore anything in their reach, which is quite large. They are energetic; they play hard and sleep hard."
    This describes my Angel perfectly!
    Apart from the odd coloured eyes, which I find disconcerting, the Turkish Van sounds like a very interesting cat. I wonder if there is a tiger gene in there somewhere as tigers have been known to enjoy a swim in the heat of summer.

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  5. Hari OM
    Oh yes this is one of those which took my fancy in childhood (when we had a cat ban in the family...like that worked!) as a neighbour had one. it really did love to play and I have never forgotten 'Sookie'... if only because i that was the daftest cat for a male cat. sigh. YAM xx

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    1. ...name... daftest NAME for a male cat. tsk... the Easter sunshine has gotten to me! xx

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