Turkish Van in short

Turkish Van  is a very rare feline breed that comes from Turkey. The elements that distinguish the Turkish Van is characterized by its coloring, it is a white cat with chlorinated spots on the top of the head and on the tail. This particular division of color, naturally present in this breed, was called “VAN” in honor of the Turkish Van  and was also introduced in other breeds. Eye colors can be amber (yellow), blue or uneven (one amber and the other blue).

It is nicknamed “the swimming cat” and in fact they are generally attracted to water. Turkish Van in nature are seen entering the water (river, lake, etc.) spontaneously to play, refresh or swim. At home, they play with the water in the bowl, from the tap and also from the toilet (remember to always lower the lid!) This “swimmer” aspect is very attractive but Turkish Van can offer many other peculiar and fun aspects.

Turkish Van is highly active, athletic and playful both adult and kitten. They are more playful than other breeds and love to have a variety of toys and objects to prey on. They love interactive games (bring back objects thrown, cannula with duvet, etc.)

They are very intelligent Nachos and have a good understanding of what is happening around them every moment. They quickly learn new games and tricks such as bringing back objects, opening the door and faucets etc. They learn easily how to open doors, windows and wardrobes, so you have to be careful and ensure that all doors and hatches in the house are closed.

Blood group B (rare) is quite common in this breed. Therefore, all breeders should be tested and pet neutrals should also be tested.


Adaptability: high

Grooming: easy, low maintenance (no undercoat)

Health: very good

Temperament: good but could be bossy and stubborn

Needs movement: tall, very active and requires daily exercise

Breed category: semi-long coat

Size: medium-large

Weight: males – up to 6-9kg, females 4-7kg

The average life span: 12-17 years (many even reach over 20 years)


Turkish Van History

It is an ancient race and is considered to originate in southwestern Asia, somewhere in the regions of Iran, Iraq, southwestern Russia and eastern Turkey. “VAN” is a common term of these areas and has been used to name certain numbers of cities, villages including Lake Van. Probably because this breed is defined as “Van’s Cat – Vankedisi” by the residents.

Turcovan were originally brought to England by two English ladies, Laura Lashington and Sonia Halliday in 1955. Initially they were called “Turkish Cats – Turkish Cat” but when Lashington / Hlliday stopped breeding, they donated their kennel affix “VAN ”To the breed. Also to avoid confusion with Turkish Angora.

The breed was recognized by GCCF (UK) in 1969, by Fife (EU) in 1971, by TICA (USA) in 1985 and by CFA (USA) in 1994.

This breed has not undergone any intervention in the reproductions and always faithfully the original, it is not allowed to cross with other breeds. All registered Turcovans can trace their ancestry to the first cats brought to England from Lashington.


Morphology of the Turkish Van


Turkish Van is a large, robust and muscular cat. They have rather slow growth and do not reach full size until the age of 3-5 years and are very long-lived.

The body is moderately long and the rear legs are slightly longer than the front legs so that you can have more drive to jump. They manage to jump onto the refrigerator from the floor with a single jump. The center of gravity is shifted slightly forward to facilitate swimming. The legs are large and fingertips are covered with fur to protect from the heat and cold, and are slightly webbed. Despite their muscular and robust physique, they are very agile but their movement is not very delicate and rather clumsy. Fragile objects must be secured if Turkish Van is around the house.


Coat, color, and grooming

Turkish Van is actually a colored cat with a large white spot and it is not a white cat with spots. Piebold gene (Spot gene) is responsible for this effect and they have no problem with deafness like a white cat.

The colors of the pieces are red, cream – these two are classic colors -, black, blue, black tortie and blue tortie both solid (solid color) and tabby (with the pattern). The part of the white coat is compact and opaque, and is defined as “chalk white”. They do not turn yellow.

His hair is very thin and super soft like ncashmere. They have no undercoat so it hardly makes knots. The hair is water repellent and dries quickly even if it gets wet. It is sufficient to brush once a week (several times during the moulting period). They are water repellent and dries quickly.

Regular baths are not strictly necessary. Even if they love to play with water, having a bath with shampoo is another story. It should be used from an early age to take baths.

The tips of the nails should be trimmed and the ears should be cleaned regularly. It would be ideal if you can brush your teeth daily, but even once a week is better than nothing.


Personality and character

Turkish Van  tends to be independent of the kitten. They can be a bit “bossy” but at the same time they are very loyal and affectionate. Sometimes it can become mischievous and naughty. It would be better to always keep busy with games, otherwise they can come up with something we don’t want.

They love to have the company of humans and animals, and suffer from being alone for a long time. Generally very sociable and creates a bond with the family he lives with. In some cases, he bonds strongly with a person in the family and remains faithful forever. He could follow the favorite person anywhere in the house. For this reason, they also call it “dog disguised as cats”. Their inquisitive nature makes them eager to participate and get involved in just about anything.

Turkish Van is normally friendly towards other pets, even with a large dog but their authoritarian way of being must be respected. They are very assertive and know how to defend when someone attacks or tries to do it wrong.

It is not a cat that loves being in the arm and cannot bear being blocked, but when it wants, it asks for cuddles and seeks physical contact. He likes to sleep in bed.

They are very energetic and active. They can catch objects in mid-air, throw themselves, do somersaults and acrobatic moves … just because they can! Sometimes their euphoria can’t control itself and starts breathing with their mouths open. In this case, he must intervene to calm down.

They love to be in high places to control the situation. It can be found sitting on the door, on top of the bookcase etc. You need to have high seats to add. A high scratcher will be much appreciated.

It is a vocal cat and often communicates with its voice. Their verse is very particular and it seems more bleating than meowing. Very sensitive to sudden loud noises and could be very frightening.

They are very brave and their curiosity always pushes forward.

They take action without thinking about the consequence and they often get into trouble.

TURKKISH VANSHOULD NEVER BE UNDERESTIMATED. They are capable of doing things that are unimaginable


Compatibility with children and other pets

If you live with children, it is best to get the cats used to the children before leaving them alone. They are inherently friendly, but prefer to be in command and dislike overly assertive children. There must always be a place that can be added without the reach of children (e.g. high seats)

If they are socialized and accustomed as a child, they can feel comfortable with the presence of children. In this case, they will make good company and they play together while having fun.

However, ALWAYS remind children not to chase, pick them up or pull their tails and hairs.

He has no problem with the dog that is used to cats as long as they know who’s in charge (obviously Turcovan).

Generally, he prefers to have the company of the other Turkish Van, since they are very physical and a bit impetuous, sometimes a cat can’t stand their strong way of playing.

If you have to introduce other animals into the house with Turcovan’s presence, you have to do it very slowly following the step-by-step procedure under a controlled circumstance to make sure they learn to get along.



Today Turkish Van is considered one of the rarest breeds. Many people are attracted by their love of water, their way of being affectionate, of being independent but always playful. They are curious and intelligent by nature.

They get along well with children and dogs and other pets.

It is recommended for those looking for a loyal cat as a dog. Maintenance and grooming are simple.

They are comfortable at home where they can be allowed access.

They are naughty and funny (he must always have a lot of sense of humor). In the end they make you think “how could I live without them!”