A rare and ancient breed, the Turkish Van is also known as the ‘swimming cat’ due to their love for water. The breed was discovered in the area surrounding Lake Van in Turkey where they developed the habit of swimming.


The Turkish Van’s body is long and sturdy but elegant. They have a broad wedge shape head and large ears that are set close together. Their medium-length coat is waterproofed and is auburn and white with a distinctively red colour pattern around the ears and on the tail. This has come to be known as the Van pattern.


The breed has a gentle disposition, a hearty appetite and a lively, intelligent and inquisitive nature with an ability to adjust easily to most situations. As they love water, the Turkish Van will happily enjoy family activities that involve water.

They may be somewhat apprehensive with strangers but are very affectionate towards their owners, with whom they bond very closely – being almost doglike in their devotion.


Regular grooming will be required in order to keep the Turkish Van’s long coat looking beautiful and tangle free. Daily grooming is essential in winter as their coat tends to be longer and heavier than in summer.

Health concerns

For the latest research in breed-related problems in Turkish Van cats, visit the University of Sydney’s LIDA (Listing of Inherited Disorders in Animals) website.

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