Let's talk Turkish Van cats

The Turkish Van is a striking looking cat with a generous coat of fur and a plush tail. Their athletic build and active temperament hide their adorable clumsiness. The breed is renowned for their love of water, so you may have to kitten-proof your home to keep their paws dry. Despite their H20 obsession, the Turkish Van is a sociable feline who will show affection towards everyone in the household. They may shy away from your lap but will be content to cuddle up close when it's quiet time.

Official name: Turkish Van

Other names: None

Origins: Turkey

Turkish Van lying in black and white

 Shedding level:

Warm weather? Very low
 Energy level (high, low, medium)*: Medium Family pet* 
 Compatibility with other pets:

*We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches.
Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.
Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed’s specifics should be taken as an indication.
For a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socialising your pet as well as covering their basic welfare, social and behavioural needs.
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
Inline Image 15
Illustration of Turkish Van
25 - 36 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
5 - 9 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
25 - 36 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
4 - 6 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight


 Baby cat  Birth to 4 months
 Growing kitten  4 to 12 months
 Adult  1 to 7 years
 Mature  7 to 12 years
 Senior  From 12 years

Turkish Van sitting in grass and purple flowers


Get to know the Turkish Van

All you need to know about the breed

The Turkish Van can sometimes be confused with the Turkish Angora but they have little in common beyond the name. This is an independent cat with a capital “i”, but they much prefer human company than to stay alone. The Turkish Van is known for their fascination with water and enjoy getting their paws wet at any opportunity. So keep your toilet seats down and the bathroom door closed if you welcome one into your home.

This sociable breed makes a great playmate for young children, once training is out of the way, although supervision is always required, as with any pet. With early socialisation, the Turkish Van also cohabits well with other cats and cat-friendly dogs. They may try to be the top pet of the household, but firm and gentle training will help them understand that there’s no pecking order.

They’re an active breed who likes to climb high and observe the comings and goings of the household, but the Turkish Van will be content to cuddle up close after some interactive playtime.

Side view of Turkish Van walking through grass


2 facts about Turkish Van cats

1. Holy beginnings

The discreet-coloured marking that some Turkish Van cats have between their shoulder blades, is referred to as the “thumbprint of Allah” in their homeland. Legend has it that Allah blessed the breed as they swam from Noah’s Ark to dry land.

2. Likes to stay close

Turkish Van cats don’t tend to be lap cats but that doesn’t mean they’re not affectionate. They will purr with contentment when you pet them and stay close to you around the house, but they prefer to be near you, as opposed to on top of you.


History of the breed

The Turkish Van cat originates from, you guessed it, Turkey and has an ancient history. Some even give the breed a biblical backstory, whereby the Turkish Van swam from Noah’s Ark to the dry land of Mount Ararat in Turkey. It certainly makes for a nice story.

Their sturdy body, cashmere-like coat and love of water came about due to the cold climate and mountainous landscape in which they found themselves. But while the Turkish Van is an active cat, they are a little on the clumsy side, which tends to add to their overall charm.

Whatever their origins, the Turkish Van is highly revered in their homeland with a national treasure status. The Turkish College of Agriculture and Ankara Zoo are partly responsible for making sure that the breed survives. Overseas, the Turkish Van was first introduced to the States in the 1970s, before being recognised by the International Cat Association in 1985 and the Cat Fanciers Association in 1988.

Turkish Van lying in black and white


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Turkish Van cats

1. Body

The body is muscular and long for an overall striking look.

2. Eyes

Eyes are large and oval shaped, with an expressive look.

3. Coat

A medium-length dense coat that is soft to the touch.

Side view of Turkish Van standing on a table


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Turkish Van
Close-up of white Turkish Van in front of branches


Caring for your Turkish Van

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The Turkish Van is a seasonal shedder, so their soft coat will get fluffier during winter. Outside of shedding season, their grooming needs are simple with one weekly brushing required to keep them sleek and shiny. Baths should be a rare event (and their coat is water repellent which provides a challenge). Like all breeds, keep their nails trimmed and stay on top of oral hygiene with daily brushing (if they’ll let you). This is a lively breed that requires interactive playtime and exercise to be content. The Turkish Van likes to climb high and knock things off of shelves so precious ornaments should be kept under lock and key. Toys will help to keep your Turkish Van out of mischief and their claws out of your furniture. Due to their intelligence, the breed is a delight to train and thrives on mental stimulation.


All about Turkish Van cats

The Turkish Van is more vocal compared to other cat breeds but they don’t usually abuse it. The Turkish Van meows when they are hungry, content to see you, or needs the door opened to go outside. It’s a manageable noise level.

Turkish Van cats are indeed affectionate but they are likely to pick a favourite human to bond with. This is not a lap cat breed but they tend to cuddle close and make a lovable addition to the family.



1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Cat Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book