Vhantoms-All About Turkish Vans

Do you know why the Turkish Van is called the swimming cat? The answer to this question is rooted in the history and origin of these cats. They are uniquely adapted to the rugged terrain of eastern Turkey and to fish for dinner in the many shallow streams of the area. Since most of the cats in modern breeding programs are only a few generations removed from Turkish imports, they still maintain their fondness of water. Additionally, the lustrous sheen of their fur is due in part to the presence of an oil that imparts water resistance to their coats; a necessity to dry off quickly after a dip.

Turkish Van enjoying a swim
One of the cats of Matabiru enjoying a swim

But could there be another reason that the Turkish Van likes water? Well, you'll have to read our page on their origins to find out! But before you go,the map below will give you some perspective of the proximity of the Lake Van area to modern Armenia. Anecdotes from Armenian friends tell of poetry and songs of the lovely red tailed cat of Van.

A Van Research Institute has been established at Yuzuncu Yil University in Van, Turkey. We look forward to learning more about their work and sharing that information with you.

10 month old cream and white Turkish Van male

The photo of the 10-month old cream and white odd-eyed Turkish Van shown above was taken by Mark McCullough.

While you are here, please take a few moments to sign our guestbook. Our old one disappeared into cyberspace, so we are starting anew. Let us know a little about you and what type of information you would be interested in seeing on these pages. Or post your questions about Turkish Vans or cats in general and we'll answer them for you. We have gotten a lot of information and neat visitors so far.

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A Map of the Lake Van Region of Turkey

Map of the Lake Van area of Turkey and western Armenia

where the Turkish Van originated

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