Caring for Turkish Van Cats: The Swimming Sultans

Introduction to the Turkish Van Cat Breed

The Turkish Van, a pedigreed cat breed hailing from Turkey, boasts a swimmer's physique, a loving disposition, and captivating coat colors.

The Turkish Van Cat Breed

Believed to have ancient origins in central and southwest Asia, the Turkish Van breed derives its name from the rugged Lake Van region, proudly known as Turkey's national cat. Turkish Vans sport semi-longhaired, water-resistant cashmere coats that are perfectly suited for their legendary swimming adventures.

  • Appearance: Turkish Vans are medium-large cats with muscular bodies, broad chests, moderately long legs, and distinctive tails. Their coat patterns are truly striking.
  • Characteristics: These cats are incredibly energetic and playful, with a unique love for water that resembles a dog's personality.
  • Popularity: Turkish Vans are gaining popularity due to their striking appearance and affectionate nature.
  • Temperament: They are known for their intelligence, friendliness, and adventurous spirit, making them excellent companion cats.
  • Lifespan: Turkish Vans typically live for 12-17 years.
  • Coat Color: Their coats feature unique patterns with white and colored patches, including shades of red and cream.

Notably, the Turkish Van is a natural landrace breed, originating from cats native to the Lake Van area, rather than being a mixed breed.

How to Care for a Turkish Van Cat


  • Provide high-quality commercial food that offers balanced nutrition for their energetic lifestyle.
  • Consider canned or raw mixes to support their water-loving tendencies.
  • Offer occasional cooked turkey or chicken breast as protein treats.


  • Create spaces for climbing and perching, allowing them to survey their "territory" due to their inquisitive nature.
  • If possible, provide access to a garden for supervised outdoor adventures, ensuring safety with escape-proof fencing and doors.


  • Brush your Turkish Van weekly with a slicker brush to remove dead hairs from their water-repellent cashmere coat.
  • Trim their nails every 2-3 weeks to prevent damage during exuberant play.
  • After swimming, check their ears to ensure they are dry.

Care Method:
Engage their intelligence through interactive play, respect their independent nature, and provide companionship.

How to Buy/Adopt a Turkish Van Cat

  1. Locations of Popularity:
    Turkish Vans are native to Turkey and are also found in North America and parts of Europe.
  2. Average Price:
    Expect to pay between $600 to $800 USD for a Turkish Van cat.
  3. Adoption/Rescue Community:
    Consider reaching out to organizations like Turkish Van Rescue and the Turkish Van Cat Club.

What to Check Before Adopting/Buying:

  • Ensure the cat's general health by confirming vet clearance for parasites and infection.
  • Request genetic health certificates from reputable breeders.
  • Check the vaccination status, with kittens needing at least one FVRCP vaccine by 12-16 weeks old as recommended by the vet.
  • Inquire about the medical history, including screening for heritable conditions such as cardiomyopathy, PKD, and hearing issues in the parents.

Preparing for Life with a Turkish Van Cat

  • Create a cat-proof fence or enclosure for safe outdoor access to match their adventurous spirit.
  • Provide challenging puzzle toys, cat trees, and regular playtime sessions to engage their active nature.
  • Familiarize yourself with introducing pets, handling techniques that respect their independence, and water safety precautions.

Caring for Turkish Van Cats:

  • Choose high-protein and digestible diets in portioned meals to suit their indoor/outdoor activity levels.
  • Set up cat trees and perches by windows for a view of the outside world, enabling climbing and supervision.
  • Rotate interactive wand toys, food puzzles, and treat balls to stimulate their body and mind.
  • Maintain weekly brushing year-round, regular nail and ear checks, and attend annual vet visits.
  • Consider harness training for safe outdoor walks and use reward-based training for basic commands.
  • Gradually expose them to new places, people, and pets to build their confidence.
  • Ensure you have non-tip bowls, scratching posts, waterproof bedding, harnesses/leashes, and stay vigilant for prevalent health issues such as heart disease, FIV, and kidney stones.
  • Stay up-to-date with core FVRCP and Rabies vaccines, with Feline Leukemia vaccination strongly advised.

Common Names for Turkish Van Cats:
Regal names suit the Turkish Van's exotic charm, including options like Sultan, Ankara, Ozkan, Leyla, Ayla, Nazil, and Beyza.


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