Turkish Van Cat Breed Information

Quick Turkish Van Cat Facts:

  • Weight: 10-18 pounds

  • Life Span: 12-17 years

  • Nature: Highly Intelligent, Playful, Strong

Among the rarest and most ancient of breeds, the Turkish Van is certainly one interesting cat. They are well-known for their very conspicuous markings and exceptional intelligence. If you’re considering adopting a Turkish Van, here’s what you need to know.

A Little Turkish Van History

Throughout its storied history, the Turkish Van has been known by many names, including Eastern Cat, Turkish, Ringtail Cat, and Russian Longhair. It is believed that the Turkish Van first appeared in the Lake Van area of Turkey as many as 5,000 years ago. Carvings, ornaments, drawings, and even jewelry uncovered by archaeologists in the area from that time frame bear a striking resemblance to the Van. The breed made its way to Europe between 1095 and 1272 A.D. when soldiers returned from the Crusades. In 1955, a British photographer by the name Laura Lushington received two Vans who went on to mate. The offspring were identical to their parents, signaling to Lushington that they were purebred, which inspired her to secure their recognition by British cat fancy organization. They were awarded as much in 1969, and by 1970 the breed made its way to the U.S. Today, imports of this national treasure from its homeland are rare.

What is the Turkish Van Like?

The Turkish Van is not your average house cat. Yes, they are affectionate and love to play like most felines, but the Van steps up to another level – literally. The Van tends to make its way to the highest point in its home to observe its environment below. They are also very protective of their family, and unlike almost every other cat, they love to swim! They also are known to do well with children and other pets. They are strong and athletic, although a bit clumsy, so expect to find a few items knocked from shelves routinely. Their build is large and muscular, and their coats are as soft as cashmere. Their unique coloring is solid-white with dark markings on the head and tail (sometimes between the shoulder blades, too).

Caring for a Turkish Van

One benefit of their exceptionally soft fur is its resistant to matting. You won’t need to groom this breed very often, as a weekly combing will suffice. You should brush their teeth daily, and trim their nails every couple of weeks. Remember to wipe any discharge away from the corners of their eyes with a damp cloth, and use a separate area of the cloth for each eye to limit cross-contamination. Check their ears regularly, and remove any dirt or debris with a cotton ball.

Most Turkish Vans are generally healthy, although some develop hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. If possible, ask the breeder about familial health history and consult with your veterinarian about any health concerns. Some of the most common medical conditions that affect cats include vomiting, feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), and eye problems.

The Cost

Breeders charge between $400 to $600 for Turkish Van kittens, but you should also be prepared to spend around $1,000 for supplies, food, and initial veterinary expenses in the first year. Each year after that, you should expect to spend at least $500 annually on veterinary expenses.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to know when our pets will get sick or injured, and sometimes the bills can be just as unpredictable. With a cat insurance policy from 4Paws Insurance, pet parents can focus more on important veterinary decisions and worry less about the cost.

Sandy Says: Comments from the Chief Pet Officer

Interestingly enough, if Turkish Van cats are upset, their cute pink nose will turn crimson red.  If I were you, I would heed the warning and give them their space.  I have spoken to pet parents of this breed and some have been lucky enough to have their cats live to 17 or 18 years of age.  They usually have funny stories of them playing in Koi ponds, sinks and anywhere else they can find water.  They refer to them as highly intelligent and playful, with a little clumsiness thrown into the fray.