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Turkish Van Cats

A Turksih van with its striking eyes A young Turkish Van ready bat a toy with its paw A Turkish Van with ginger colouration A Turkish Van ready to pounce A pretty Turkish Van sitting happily A playful Turkish van


The Turkish Van originates in Turkey. Turkish Vans have the distinct Van marking which is a coloured head and tail. One legend states that when Noah’s ark came to a standstill on Mount Ararat after the flood (close to Lake Van in Turkey), the cats ventured down into the valley, and the coloured mark seen on their shoulders was the result of God having blessed them as they left.

These cats were first brought back to the UK in 1955 by two british woman, Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday. The two cats were ‘Van Iskenderun Guzelli’ (female) and ‘Stambul Byzantium’ (male). These two cats were bred by Lushington, and later on she went back to obtain more cats to add to the bloodline. With the help of established breeders and show judges Lushington went about establishing the breed. By 1969 the breed achieved full GCCF (the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy) Championship status. In 1982 the breed started appearing in America and in 1994 the breed was accepted into championship for showing in the Cat Fanciers' Association.


Turkish Van’s are a lively playful breed. Because they descend from rural cat that lived in tough conditions they are excellent hunters and are independent cats. Despite their independence this breed can still be affectionate, however any affection will most likely be on their terms. They can form very strong close bonds with their owners, and love to play with moving toys upu high. This breed has a fascination with water, so don’t be too surprised when your turkish van jumps into your bath with you.


White with coloured patches on head and tail- coloured patches can be red, cream, black, blue, red tabby, brown-patched tabby, blue-patched tabby, cream tabby, brown tabby, blue tabby, tortoiseshell, dilute tortoiseshell (also known as blue-cream).

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Place of Origin: Turkey / UK
  • Rough date of Origin: Pre 1700
  • Hair length: Medium
  • Activity Level: Medium
  • Vocalness: Medium
  • Child friendly: Good with children
  • Intelligence:
  • Playfullness: Playfull
  • Grooming Requirements: Everyday
  • Weight: 3.0 - 8.5kg
  • Size: Large
  • House Cat or Outdoor Cat: House Cat
  • Pet Compatibility:
  • Social Needs:

Turkish Van Pictures

white and brown cat on a lead sat on a wall
cat lying down with a collar and a bell

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