Turkish Van

Turkish Van

Turkish Van is a unique cat in many ways. Their unique and pristine white coat, is only marked with colours on the head and tail, and varies in length in winter and in summer. Impervious and dense, it also allows them to withstand the harsh weather and harsh climates of the mountainous regions of Turkey, from where they originated. Despite their elegance, this cat is more of an adventurer of gardens than of living rooms.

Key facts about the Turkish Van

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Playful Intelligent

Type of coat :

Naked Short Long

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Origins and history

The Turkish Van is a natural breed originating from the highlands of Lake Van in southeastern Turkey. The archaeological discoveries of Hittite jewels dating from 1600-1200 BCE, adorned with representations of cats with ringed tails, testify to the antiquity of their existence. Well known in Turkey, it was not until 1955 that the Van Kedisi was imported to Europe. It was the journalist Laura Lushington and photographer Sonia Halliday who brought back two Turkish Van kittens, which had been offered to them during their trip to Turkey. They worked for the recognition of the breed, which was recognised in 1969 by the “Governing Council of the Cat Fancy”, and later in 1985 by TICA in the United States, thanks to the efforts of Barbara and Jack Reak to promote the breed. Today, the Turkish Agricultural Institute protects the breed together with the Ankara Zoo.

Physical characteristics of the Turkish Van

Adult size

Female : Between 10 and 12 in

Male : Between 10 and 12 in

They reach full maturity at around 3 years old.


Female : Between 11 and 13 lb

Male : Between 11 and 20 lb

Coat colour

Type of coat

Eye colour



Medium to large in size, the Turkish Van has a long silhouette, a powerful body with a broad chest, the breed is well muscled with an average bone structure. The legs, average in length, are well muscled and end with rounded feet that have tufts of hair in between the toes. The tail is of average length compared to the body and carried in plume. The head is broad, in the shape of a triangle with softened outlines with a well drawn and rounded muzzle. The ears are medium to large in size, broad at the base and rounded at the ends. The eyes, big and expressive, are in the shape of peach stones and slightly inclined.

Good to know

The thick and unbreachable coat of the Turkish Van makes them resistant to rain, in fact instead of fearing water, they are known to be good swimmers.


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    Known to be affectionate and gentle, you won’t need to beg to stroke this cat.

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    Very lively and playful, they appreciate interactive games.

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    Usually in search of fun rather than calm.

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    Very intelligent, the Turkish Van is an ideal candidate for training. Train your cat to fetch and you’ll be killing two birds with one stone. Mental and physical exercise... Fun and exhausting!

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    Fearful / wary of strangers

    Even though they love company, you must respect the time they need to get used to new people.

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    They can tolerate being alone but be warned of the damage they can cause, on purpose or not, when bored.

    Behaviour of the Turkish Van

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      The Turkish Van is famous for being very chatty but their voices are neither powerful or disturbing.

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      Need for exercise / Sporty

      These cats need regular exercise to use the energy they build up when resting.

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      Tendency to run away

      Being very lively and curious, these cats have a taste for adventure. Be careful to keep windows and doors closed to stop your Turkish Van escaping.

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      Greedy / Gluttony

      Their appetites match their liveliness. These cats love eating.

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      Is the Turkish Van right for you?

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        Turkish Van and cats

        As long as the two cats are well introduced, they should be able to live together quite happily.

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        Turkish Van and dogs

        Playful, curious and dynamic, the Turkish Van can live happily with a dog as long as they are socialised with dogs as kittens and they have a place they can escape to if needed.

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        Turkish Van and children

        Being so playful they love having a companion with whom they can play games. But it is important to teach children to respect cats and to understand their body language, such as signs of when they would like to rest.

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        Turkish Van and the elderly

        Turbulent and active, the Turkish Van is not the best pet for someone looking for a relaxed cat.



        On average, the price of a Turkish Van Kitten is between £300 and £460, the price often varies according to the lineage, the breeder, the age or even the sex. For the monthly budget, it will cost on average £35 / month to provide for their needs, offer a quality diet and ensure their good health.


        During the spring moult, a daily brushing is recommended to clear off the dead hair and avoid the cat swallowing too much of it when grooming.


        The spring moult is impressive. The Van Kedisi loses most of their mid-length fur which will be replaced by an almost short coat in summer.

        Nutrition of the Turkish Van

        A high quality diet that meets the energy needs of this cat is required.

        Health of the Turkish Van

        Life expectancy

        The Turkish Van has a life expectancy of 14 to 19 years.

        Strong / robust

        Their dense fur, changing with the season (longer in winter) means they have a great resistance to extreme temperatures, whether they be freezing or boiling.

        Tendency to put on weight

        These cats are unlikely to put on weight due to how active they are. However, diets must be adapted for more sedentary individuals.

        Common illnesses

        The Turkish Van is famous for being a robust and healthy cat so there is no illness that is particular to the breed. However, they can develop the same diseases known to other domestic cats, including oral diseases.


        Turkish Vans can only be bred amongst themselves, but two all-white parents should not be mated together as this can lead to deaf kittens.

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