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The Turkish Van - A Cat That Likes To Swim!

25 15:32:55

The Turkish Van - A Cat That Likes To Swim!

The idea of a cat that not only doesn’t detest the water but in fact actively enjoys playing in it and even swimming may seem like a totally unique phenomenon, but there is in fact a whole breed of cats that are renowned for their love of water and even their keenness to swim- the Turkish Van cat.

The Turkish Van is a pedigree breed of cat that is still fairly uncommon, although growing in popularity year by year. They have a distinctive personality and of course, the highly unusual trait of enjoying playing with and in water! Intrigued? Want to find out about this famous swimming cat? Read on to learn more!

All about the Turkish Van

The very name of the breed itself, ‘Turkish Van’ is synonymous with swimming and the water itself. Turkish Van cats were first found living around the shores of Lake Van in Turkey, and were imported into the UK and bred here to a pedigree standard from the 1950’s onwards. The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy formally recognised the breed in 1969, and while still relatively uncommon and rare within the UK, they are considered as desirable and popular pets for the cat lover.

The Turkish Van is a relatively large cat, with a semi-longhaired coat that is incredibly soft to the touch and does not hold water, causing them to dry off easily when wet and not become overly weighed down when swimming. Purebred Turkish Van cats come in four different colour varieties, all having a white body, and with markings on the ears, face and tail permitted in red (the most commonly seen variant) cream, black or tabby. Due to the various combinations of genes that make up the Turkish Van’s colouring and features, odd-eyed Turkish Vans, those having one blue eye and one amber eye, are not at all uncommon within the breed.

Turkish Van cats and their relationship with the water

Turkish Van cats are well known for their active fascination with and enjoyment of water, ranging from a simple enjoyment of splashing the water in their bowl to an outright desire to get as wet as possible and actually swim! While there are of course exceptions to this rule within the breed and not all Turkish Van cats will enjoy or actively seek out water, the vast majority of them are true water babies, and this is perhaps the most distinctive trait of the breed’s temperament.

The reasons behind why the Turkish Van is so enthralled with the soggy stuff are unclear, although it is commonly believed that it evolved within the breed due to a combination of their origins around the shore of Lake Van, and so easy access to water, and the incredibly hot weather that is often prevalent during Turkish summers. It is thought that Turkish Van cats may have originally ventured onto the shores and into the water itself as a means of cooling off when the temperature rises, and so began their affinity for the water and active enjoyment of bathing. Their coats are very fine and so do not hold water, and are incredibly water resistant, meaning that swimming is relatively easy for them and does not hold the same associations with discomfort and effort that swimming does in other breeds.

Turkish Van cats normally do not stray too far from the edges of the lake or pool that they are bathing in, and are not particularly enamoured of deep water. Some cats of the breed only enjoy paddling and dipping their toes in the water, whereas others will actively seek to swim.

Do you need a pool to keep a Turkish Van as a pet?

If you are interested in owning a Turkish Van cat, you do not need to provide a pool or other swimming area for them in order to keep them happy. You must, in fact, be very aware of any water features such as ponds or outdoor swimming pools that exist in the area around your home (unless you plan to keep your cat as an indoor-only cat). Make sure that any water features in the area will not pose a hazard to your cat, for instance if your cat gets into the water and is unable to get back out. Similarly, a chlorinated or otherwise treated swimming pool, or polluted water, are not suitable environments for a Turkish Van cat, and you will have to make sure that you can keep them away from any such local features.

Turkish Van cats will generally find any source of water a fascination- the bath, the shower, their water bowl, outdoor water butts or horse troughs, and may other things! This might even extend to the bowl of the toilet, and so keeping the lid down is highly recommended!

Making provision for your Turkish Van cat to have access to some water for their amusement is a good idea, even if this only means a small indoor water fountain or letting them play in the bath on occasion!

Could you keep a Turkish Van cat?

Turkish Van cats are not considered a particularly high maintenance pet, although they do require some grooming due to their semi-longhaired coats. The coat is very fine and soft to the touch, and not prone to matting or knotting, and so their grooming should not be too difficult or time consuming. They are not particularly prone to any inherited or genetic health problems, and are generally thought of as a fairly robust and healthy cat.

They are fun loving and inquisitive cats that often stay very playful and active right into old age, and enjoy lots of affection and interaction with their owners. They are also quite single minded and can be stubborn!

Turkish Van cats are often expensive to buy, being as they are a pedigree breed that is still relatively unusual in the UK. Turkish Van cats do not generally come up for adoption in rehoming centres, although it is worth keeping an eye out just in case if you have decided that the Turkish Van is the pet for you! You can visit our Turkish Van Cats for sale section on Pets4Homes to find any cats available from breeders in the UK.