Definition of a Pure Bred Van Cat

In Turkey two variations of Van Cats are known, one is an all white breed the other is a white, with a tabby head crest and tail version. Both are common and produce two different coloured eyes. However in saying this to be pure bred the following characteristics can also apply as Van Cats but only as variant offshoots.

Secondary Variant Offshoot

Pure Bred
A mix of baby blue or honey coloured
Pure Bred Other Seen Cases – speculative cases of genetic playing
A mix of baby blue / green or brown coloured intermix
Secondary Variant Offshoot
2 baby blues
Secondary Variant Offshoot
2 honey colour -amber type yellows
Secondary Variant Offshoot
Other colours eyes









Please note in natural cases eyes may also look khaki, green or brown in some pure bred but if you look carefully at the eyes in bright light it is actually the same honey color with mild tinsels of other colors in them.

Other than the famous eyes that set the Van Cat distinctly apart from other felines the male cats are also slightly larger in size than the normal domestic cats.

Their genetics can handle extremely cold weather due to the harsh winter climatic region around the mountainous region of Van. Unlike our other house cats for example that run inside in freezing cold weather purebred Van Cats will comfortably roam outside. 

They are amazing hunting animals with relatively larger paws, this is an example of an adult paw in an adult hand.


General Characteristics Of White Breeds

The females are generally furry, males shorthaired

Male cats are excessively territorial over their mates and may become violent towards other unknown domestic felines even when neutered.

Van cats tend to shed their coats in late spring and look pink for two months preparing for the hot blistering summer months ahead.













Male cats can get very aggressive when teased, they are not recommended for households with small children or locked setting like an apartment or condo.


Cross Bred Samples

The cats make beautiful cross breed felines when mated with other breeds.  

This is a street cat, which gave birth on the same day as our secondary offshoot Van cat. This is a picture of both mother’s hugging and feeding their kittens.







Cross Breed Samples









Common Mistakes in Breeds of Van Cats

1- In the cross breeding process some have gone on to say that the pure breed Van cat has actually only auburn markings and can have the same coloured eyes. This is incorrect. To be a pure bred Van Cat you must correlate it with the legend and have the mixed coloured eyes.

Our reason is historically everyone in Turkey has associated the two colour eyes with its legend and the region of Van for centuries.  It doesn’t matter of the color marks of the feline or even the type of animal; this is based on its historical correlation. This legend most probably predates religion by centuries.

2- Like the market’s supply and demand functionality in economics, the rarity of a pure breed Van cat with all its rare characteristics, is what makes it such a high demand and priced breed.  Only 1 in a 100 come out first variant purebred Van.


3- Turks in the last twenty years, what I say as political correctness to Europe has tried suggesting that maybe the white Angora cat from Ankara can be the tabby crested Van cat’s sister version of the white version. This is to create a distinction between the two cats.

Make no mistakes there is only one genre of cat (colour-marks / genetics are irrelevant) that has such a pupil distinction and rarity –that is the pure breed cats out of the Van region with the distinct two colour eyes and temperament also famous in century old Turkish folklore and legends.

Interestingly if some one out of Turkey found a black cat by complete coincidence (the chances are almost nil) with mixed eyes that cat would also automatically be called a Van cat. In reality it is not the cat it is the general label that is important. Here is an example of a dog with that legend’s label. Newspaper articles.















4- Presently white Van cats are not common because they are not allowed outside Turkey and our considered a dying breed.  We are hoping to convince the Turkish government to allow licensing right to export these beautiful felines.

5- The white Van and tabby crested Vans as far as I know should carry different genetics, this is not important it is their associated legends and the fact that these cats are the only two that can predominantly produced mixed eyes.

They should both be classified as purebred Van Cats, and Turkey should move away from labelling cats with confusing variation like those called Ankara cats.  

6- Not all Van Cats swim but there is predominance in the species.

It is generally assumed that geographic isolation is responsible for the preservation of this unique breed of cat. The most notable feature of the area of Eastern Turkey known as Eastern Anatolia is Lake Van, bounded as it is by the mountains of Suphan in the north, and Nemrut to the west. Biblical Mount Ararat is some 100 miles to the north-east. The area around Van is mountainous and suffers extremes of temperature to which the Turkish Cat has fully adapted, shedding its long hair for a shorter cooler coat in the summer, and with tufts of hair between its pads to protect its paws from the cold in the winter.

The dominance of this region by Lake Van lends credence to the reputation bestowed on the cats of being swimming cats. This is not to suggest that all Turkish Van Cats like to swim, but many will do so in shallow warm water, and they love to play with running water too.

7- Persian cats are not Van cats. Van cats purebred ranges at $10,000 plus US. Second variant (same colour eyes) is marketable at the same price range as Persians cats.






History in Protecting the Breed

Most of the Turkish Vans alive today (Amber type) in Britain can have their origins traced back to the cats brought in by Laura Lushington. The registration requirements of the British Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) stipulated that cats of unknown pedigree must show proof of pure breeding for at least four generations, during which they were shown under the Any Other Variety category. However in 1969, at the Kensington Kitten & Neuter Cat Club show, Turkish Vans were shown in Britain in their own class for the first time.

Acceptance followed throughout Europe in the following years, and in the 1980’s the Turkish Van Cat was also officially recognised in America following a similar rebirth.

Today we can credit Laura Lushington is President of the Classic Turkish Van Cat Association for highlighting the breed further.





Translation by Yildiz Ilkin, regarding Anatolian Legends, History and their associated animals.  


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