COPYRIGHT © Trademark ® DIANA FINERAN January 2, 2007
HISTORY - PERSONALITY - HEALTH
The Traditional Turkish Van has been around for hundreds and even perhaps thousands of years and will be with us for a long time to come. The history of this natural, magnificent breed is extensive and rich. Their unique feature is a solid white cat with color restricted to the head and tail. This coloration is attributed to the piebald gene, which is also known as the ‘white spotting gene’ or the “piebald white spotting gene”.
There are several theories concerning the origin of the
Traditional Turkish Van. At some point it is mentioned, that long-haired breeds
(Including the Traditional Turkish Van, the Traditional Turkish Angora and the
Traditional Persian (Doll Face)) descended from the short hair African wildcat,
native to Asia and
Legend has it that Mohammed (570 – 632), founder of the Islamic faith, possessed a Traditional Turkish Van he regarded so highly that rather than disturb it as it slept on his robe, he cut off the sleeve. Mohammed’s Traditional Turkish Van was reputed to have been odd-eyed (one blue eye and one gold eye).
The Traditional Turkish Van is believed to have originally
A book about “Feline Husbandry” was written by Niels Pedersen, who set forth what he called the “seven ancient mutations”. One of these Mutations created long hair in cats. The others were solid coloration, tabby striping, the dilution gene (which causes colors to produce a lighter tone), sex-linked orange coloration, the white spotting factor and dominant white. Of course, many other mutations occurred over the centuries, but these seven occurred so long ago, no one knows exactly when and where they developed. All of these mutations are seen in the Traditional Turkish Van, as well as in other breeds.
When such mutations occur in isolated areas, like the cold
With so many village, towns and even a
The first long haired cats seen in Europe in the sixteenth
century came from Van or
During the 1600’s these famous cats made their way to
Europe by caravans on the important Turkish, Russian and Persian trade routes
between Europe and the Middle East. Rare animals were a marketable transport. By
1626 they had arrived in
The French naturalist, Count de Buffon, observed in the
mid-18th century that cats in
In 1947 the Van was described as being imposing, white in color with a magnificent plumed tail. Even though they came in several other colors, breeders at that time were endeavoring to keep them only pure white with great success because white propagates itself with consistency. The Van was considered a parlor cat, very sensitive to cold and dampness and consequently delicate in constitution. Their owners were warned not to feed them tripe, giblets, or scraps of fish, since their digestion would upset much sooner than that of other cats. Vans and Persians were highly valued when they were purebreds. Yet, many young Vans were sold without their new owners knowing what they had purchased. For a while all long-haired cats were called “Vans”, and then for a while they were called “Persians”. The ordinary person made no distinction between breeds. The Traditional Turkish Angora, the Traditional Turkish Van, and Russian Long-hairs were indiscriminately used extensively in Traditional Persian breeding programs to add length and silkiness to the Persian coat.
Slowly the term “Van” in relationship to long-haired cats
As we see the three breeds were interbred, and when that
was done, the Traditional Turkish Angora and the Traditional Turkish Van
characteristics tended to disappear and the Traditional Persian (Doll Face)
dominated. In time, true Traditional
Turkish Angoras and Traditional Turkish Vans ceased to exist as pure breeds and
vanished from the western world. By the 1900’s they had virtually vanished from
They were brought to
They arrived in the Unites States in the early 1970’s with
servicemen who were stationed in
The Traditional Turkish Van is second to none. Strong, adaptable, lively, mischievous, friendly, docile, poised, regal, graceful, beautiful, and elegant, they are truly the aristocrats of the long-hairs. Usually they are gentle and easy to get along with, who make colorful, affectionate, playful pets. The whole house is their cat toy with any small object becoming a hockey puck. Climbing on furniture, door tops and shelves, while looking down at their owner is normal fun to them. They bond with their owners completely and are not happy unless they are right in the middle of things. A good conversation is always enjoyed, as they can keep up their end of the dissertation. A determined nature makes it difficult to change their mind once they get an idea into their head. Extremely intelligent, they are quick to learn simple tricks, such as fetching or laying catch with a soft ball. Helping to make beds, cook, and do laundry is on their “to do” list. If nothing is going on, they will make something happen. They can solve a problem and are eager to “show off” to company. They will tolerate being held for only a short time before wanting down to bat at sunbeams and chase toys. Some don’t like to be held at all. Even kittens are capable of jumping to your eye level from a standing start, when chasing a toy. Described as “pure poetry in motion”, “animated, fluid grace”, “Living sculptures in fur”, and “there’s nothing better on four paws”, owners are always emphatic about the wonderful temperament and personality of this breed. Their symmetry and devotion evoke strong responses of loyalty from their human family.
Unlike other long-haired breeds, the Traditional Turkish Van does not need a lot of grooming, because they have no wooly, downy undercoat. Their fur doesn’t mat the way a Persians is prone to do. They keep themselves very clean. A once a week combing does them well. Some of their owners claim that their usual allergies or asthma don’t flare up around Traditional Turkish Vans, perhaps because of their single coat.
In additional to their great capacity for affection and alert intelligence, their outstanding characteristic is their liking for water, not usually regarded as a feline attribute. Not every Traditional Turkish Van enjoys water, but many do. Those who do not only dabble in water and play with it, but have been known to voluntarily enter ponds and even warm horse-troughs for a swim. Even when young kittens they swim in shallow streams and still water. They soon became famous as the ‘swimming cats”.
Since their coat has no under coat they dry out faster. Actually their coat is quite water repellant. Dirt doesn not easily cling to the coat.
As parents, they have healthy, robust kittens with little
difficulty and with much enjoyment from courtship to the raising of their
The breed is a healthy one, with no known genetic defects.
Deafness is not association with the Traditional Turkish Van.
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