Turkish Van

P1. The gipsy family and their cat. Southeastern Turkey (photo: Sonia Halliday)

The Turkish Van:
Myth or reality?




1)  Ancient origins?
2)  Van cat or Laura's cat?
3)  Van Pattern Magic
4)  Swimming cats that don't swim
5)  Cat fancy & The Turkish Van
6)  How to sell a cat to Armenian
7)  Are the Turkish Van and the Angora the same cats?
8)  Van cat genetics?
9)  What it has to do with the Angora cat?
10) Sources




Introduction



Have you heard about the Turkish Van cat? It is a gorgeous white cat with beautiful markings on its head and tail. It is said that this cat came from the Lake Van area, loves swimming and have ancient origins. Beside this we are told that Van cat is completely unrelated to the Angora cat!
But there is something you probably don’t know.  Here is another side of the story, which confirms the old saying ''if it sounds too good to be true, probably it isn’t true!’’

So are you ready to hear a true story of Turkish Van cat?

P2. Cats which said to be The Turkish Vans (by Heikki Siltala, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License)



1)  Ancient origins?

Cat breeds. Every each of them have some ''historical facts’’ to make those cat breeds more interesting. We have learned that Abyssinian cats lived in palaces of pharaohs; Norwegian cat came from Scandinavian forests or Persian cat was a spoiled pet of Persian kings.
Of course, most of these stories and myths are not true, but they are very important in maintaining the identity of the breed.

"Myth disease" is rather frequent among breeders and they are being intensely spread through the books and articles intended for the general public. The reasons are entirely clear: the number of legends surrounding any of breed is directly connected with breed popularity’’1

The first ''historical evidence’’ we came up about the Turkish Van was a famous Biblical story- Noah’s Ark.

Turkish Van & Noah’s Ark?

If you asked yourself, what Noah has to do with Van cats? Well, maybe you have heard a few years ago evangelical ''archeologists’’ have ''discovered’’2 (Ker Than, Nat Geo, 2010) a wooden structure, which they thought was Noah’s boat - in mountain Ararat, Eastern Turkey, where is also believed Van cats originated! It doesn’t matter that this archeological finding is a hoax and the Ark will continue to be "found" by those looking for it—whether it exists or not.
The sources about the cat breeds don’t care about accuracy, because for the most of part without exaggeration you can’t make an impression.

''Local legends and belief (which?), in various forms, state, that the Van Cat accompanied Noah on the Ark and gained its fondness for water when, being impatient, jumped off the Ark and swam to shore (…) or fell of the Ark’’ 3 (Raupach, 2007).
Here is another unheard but a bit creepier version: ''two solid white cats accompanied Noah, when they left the Ark, the door accidentally shut, mashing their tails. The tails turned fiery auburn.  God felt sorry for the cats and their aching tails. He blessed them, touching them on their foreheads’’4 (Rainbolt, 2007).
Although Noah’s Ark mostly appears in Turkish Van breed articles, some breeders can’t decide, maybe after all it was a tailless Manx cat5 (Quasha, 1999), as the story of smashed tail suits it far better!
Of course, we can’t take Noah’s Ark legend for granted. It will always stay purely a myth.
However we should ask is it fair when cat fanciers remake this Biblical legend to market their cat breeds?


P3. Cats 101: Turkish Van video (Animal Planet) is full of mistakes. For example, in their map Van lake is missing. Instead of it they show you Caspian Sea!



Nonsense dressed up as historical facts

It’s time to talk about so called factual evidence- are there really carvings, jewelry and war shields with ringed tail cats?

If you have ever read at least one article about the Turkish Van (on the internet; from the book about cats) almost all of these writings will claim that archeological findings prove that The Turkish Van is an ancient cat breed.
If a cat with markings and ringed tail was such an import animal in ancient world, how come the respected historical and archeological books/ articles never ever mention anything about these discoveries. The photographs of these findings are missing too… What’s going on?

1. ''the first record was cats with ringed tails on carvings on jewelry by Hittites (1600-1200 BC) during the Bronze age (Edwards 1975)''6 (Hayes, Cat Fanciers Almanac)
No evidence.
The given dates specifically mean a peak and fall of Hittites Empire. What about these carvings and jewelery with cats?
Deborah Hayes (the Turkish Van breeder in USA) tries to back up her claim with Edward’s big, informative history book7 (Edward’s, Cambridge Press). Does this history book have anything written about the findings with ringed tail cats?
No, a book says no such a thing! No jewelry, no cats, no jewelry with cats! Nothing!
In fact it's totally nonsense. Citing a book which have never written anything the author of article claims, is dishonest and manipulative!

2. ''The Urartians also carved ringed-tail cats on cylindrical seals and ornaments. (Source: Coburg 1988)’’ 6
 
No evidence.
Coburg wrote this. Who is Coburg by the way? Is he/she a historian, archeologist? No, (Dei von Saxe) Coburg8 is a breeder who owned a Turkish Van cattery Stellamaris. So breeder quotes another breeder? Exactly!
How Coburg knows that Urartians carved ringed-tail cats? From nowhere - it must be his/her opinion.

3. ''Finally the area was conquered by the Romans (AD 75-387) and a Roman legion adopted a feline emblem on their battle standard and armor6. "The image showed a cat whose fur was neither long nor short, was of a light self-color and had a ringed tail" (Russell, 1982)’’ 9

...or
''It appears that one Roman legion adopted the image as their battle standard as it is found on a Roman shield, dated AD 75-387, which is now found in the Louver Museum, Paris’’10 (Hayes, Pairodocs cattery website).  ''What better symbol for a soldier than a cat which can look after itself in the unforgiving environment of the Middle East’’6
 
No evidence AGAIN.
The date is written wrong, ''AD’’ should be at the end (75-387 AD)
75 AD wasn’t a time when Romans invaded Armenia; they founded Caerwent city in Wales11 (Baker, 2001), while 387 AD actually has something to do Armenia, but not with cats; Armenia was partitioned between Rome and Persia12 (Blockley, 1987)
The claim belongs to Lydia Russell9 (Turkish Van breeder). Why do breeders lie about their cat’s history?

The Turkish researchers don’t fare any better. The book ‘’Van Kedisi’’13 written by professors Odabasioglu and Ates also repeat s everything mentioned in this article above: Van cats were symbols of Hitites jewelry, Romans shields and even battle flags. Just like Turkish Van breeder, they misspell a world famous museum as Lourve (?).
Isn't Lourve a fictional museum like those artifacts with cats themselves? If you wonder does Louvre museum have a Roman shield with Van cat ornaments – it doesn’t, because such a shield does NOT exist.

Blatant lies are not historical evidence: The Turkish Van is not an ancient cat breed.
The Turkish Van history has begun since the 1950’s. A history of a breed which wouldn't exist if not one ambitious British woman who started it all...


P4. ''A Van cat by the sea'' This photo is from Hatay (Southeastern Turkey); There is no sea in Van area.



2) Van Cat or Laura's Cat?

Laura Lushington was a British journalist and Sonia Holiday was her photographer. They had worked for Turkish Tourist Board in 1950’s and were traveling throughout Turkey14 (Weaver, Cat World,  1986).  
Laura Lushington noticed Turkish cats with auburn markings and liked them a lot. She decided to bring a couple of cats to Britain in 1955.

Laura Lushington without seeing Van lake area and cats there, instinctively ''knew'' that the cats she got had a strong relation to Van city.
Based on what? Of course, it is based on her flawed understanding what ‘’Van cats’ should be like.

Laura Lushington gave an interview to Animals magazine in 1963:

"I first came across the Van cat about seven years ago, while I was traveling through Turkey. I was given a female in south-eastern Turkey and a male by the manager of the hotel in which I stayed in Istanbul."15

Names of cats were not chosen accidentally. Van Iskenderun Guzelli was a cat from Hatay province Iskenderun and another one from Istanbul had a name Stambul Byzantium.
P5. Cats brought from Istanbul and Hatay16 (Pond, 1959)

P6. Van Iskenderun Guzelli from Hatay and Anatalya Anatolya (on the right) with their kittens.


In 1959, Laura Lushington and Sonia Halliday return to Turkey bringing some more cats.
Cats named Anatalya Anatolia (1959) and Burdur came from Antalya and Burdur cities.

All these four cats became a foundation for her Van breeding. Mr. Lushington practiced breeding of closely related cats, like mother to son etc. It’s called inbreeding.
Inbreeding is a harmful practice17 that can result to the genetic defects, however without this you can’t make a predictable breed with a predictable look. In cat fancy, this predictability is called 'purebred'.

P7. The locations where Laura Lushington’s cats were taken from (red colored city names)


P. 7. a Van kedisi propaganda: Turkish newspaper claims that L. Lushington bought a white odd-eyed cat from Van city. Lushington never expressed any interest to these type of cats and never got a  cat from Van. 53



Laura Lushington: ’’Now at last I have been to Van’’

In 1963 Mrs Lushington and Mrs Holiday visited Van area - after 8 years of her discovery of Van cats 15.


P8: Van cat expedition to Turkey: Laura Lushington visits Van. (Milliyet newspaper, 1963)



''Now at last I have been to Van, in Eastern Turkey, and seen with my own, eyes the ancient city of Van and the glorious Lake Van. My photographer and I were given special permit to visit Van by air, for two days and two nights’’
''I must confess I did not see a Van cat actually swimming in Lake Van, but this was hardly remarkable because the lake shores are very thinly populated’’.
'' Van cat has more sense than to waste his time fishing. Whether or not they swim for pleasure, as mine did on their return journey through Europe with me, I do not know—I could not stay long enough in any village to find out their habitual routines''.15 (Lushington, 1963)

Yes, in your head you have an image how you want to see YOUR breed why would you waste your time to learn about the cats from Van?

How Mrs Lushington knows that cats she brought to England were pure ''Vans''?

l have been asked how l can be sure that I have seen pure-bred Van cats in Turkey: this question always implies that cats, being notoriously promiscuous, must always be of mixed parentage15(Lushington, 1963).

This is a very good question which could be paraphrased to ''How do you know your cats are different from other cats you have faced in Turkey? What makes them special?’’

Of course, this question is always asked by people who have not had the good fortune to make a close study of any one breed, because a breeder knows the points of bone structure, coat-texture, set of ears, eyes, and tail, so thoroughly that he or she can tell to a whisker if there was mixed parentage. (Lushington, 1963)15

Laura Lushington admitted that she did not have enough time to do any ''close study'' of cats living in Van lake area.  Yet, at the same time she strongly believes her cats are best representatives of cats from Van area. We wonder what she means saying ''breeder knows''. There was no other breeder of ''Turkish Vans'' other than Mrs Lushington. It seems she is talking about herself. No doubts someone who creates a breed the way one wants to see it has an advantage over other people. But such a breed is not a ''Van Cat'' it is a ''Lushington’s cat''- her imagination, her ideal. So what is all about? Why cats from the Van region were dismissed as unimportant in creating so called 'Van breed’’?

Was Mr. Lushington aware that her cats from Turkey looked similar to the original Angoras? Maybe. Pat Turner, a geneticist and a breeder of Orientals, told this for the Cat World magazine:

''One comment Miss Miss Lushington made at the time she first saw the Van cats was that they had true Angora type. Differing from the early Angoras imported into Britain only in having deep auburn markings on the faces and deep auburn rings on the tails. Although Miss Lushington would not have seen the original Angora imports in the 19th Century there is ample pictorial evidence of their body type to be found in old cat books and she would have been familiar with these.
(...) The Turkish van actually represents the original Turkish longhair type and can thus be represented as a natural breed of Turkey''18 (Turner, 1993).



3) Van Pattern Magic

In cat fancy it is possible to have a ‘’breed’’ in one or very few restricted colours just because a founder of a breed wants this way. We have grey breeds (Charteaux, Russian Blue, Korat), black (Bombay), pointed (Siamese) and nobody can explain why those cats come ONLY in those colours but not the others? Trying to justify this irrational thinking of the cat fancy would only lead to the failure.

''Van pattern’’ plays an important part in breed’s recognition and popularization. Even in cat breeds where various colors are allowed, cat breeders prefer choosing only one signature color, for example Angoras in white and Maine coon- in tabby color. The signature look of ''Van'' are markings on its head and tail. It makes the ''Turkish Van'' easily recognizable even by those who know very little about the breed.
However many cats posses this not-so-rare color and it’s amazing how breeders managed to get it called ''Van pattern’’ and convinced everybody that not-so-rare color is a main characteristic of the breed!
Laura Lushington back to England found out that the pair of imported cats produced kittens with similar colours like their parents. She assumed that this is a proof they are ''purebred’’. 
''I certainly didn‘t realise at the time that they were anything special. It was only after l had brought them home and the female had given birth to three white kittens with identical head and tail markings that I realised that they must be thoroughbred cats''15.

Van pattern (high white) is a normal variation of White Spotting gene19 (Cooper, 2006). This gene has many expressions. ‘’The presence of other genes (polygenes), interacting with S (white spotting gene) could be partly responsible for the wide variation in spotting20 (Vella, Shelton, 1999)
White spotting unpredictable so cats with 'Van pattern' may have kittens with too much color in the ''wrong'' places.
''Through selective breeding, it may be possible to stabilize the spotting at certain grades’’ 20(Vella, Shelton, 1999).

P9. White spotting Gene (click on picture for larger size)
(Author: Sarah Hartwell)

• Van pattern a term coined by cat breeders. This coloring has nothing to do with Van and it didn’t come from 'Van cats'. It is widespread in all cats around the world, both longhaired and shorthaired, as well in many accepted cat breeds.
• White spotting gene is unpredictable: Van patterned cats may have kittens with 'too much color' and cats with very little white may have Van patterned kittens! Even breeders who try to breed cats with a color limited to the head and tail, still every so called 'Turkish Van' will have unique markings as well random spots anywhere on body.
• Some people believe that The Angora cats can’t have ''Van pattern''. This is completely false. This coloring is often seen in the Angoras cats in Turkey.



4) Swimming cats that don’t swim?

''I must confess I did not see a Van cat actually swimming in Lake Van (…)''

P10. Kittens swimming in river, somewhere in Europe


''I first discovered this liking for water on the drive back from Turkey with my original pair. The two kittens seemed to suffer from the heat as much as I did (…)to my astonishment, the Van kittens strolled into the water, too, and swam out of their depth- apparently thoroughly enjoying themselves. This, I suppose, is the reason they were dubbed ‘Swimming Cats’ by the Press on my return to Britain''. 15(Lushington, 1963)

To prove this unusual liking for water travelers took a picture of ''swimming kittens''. Could kittens willingly enter the river to refresh themselves? Knowing that most cats are not keen on water, it is more likely that the kittens were intentionally dunked in a shallow pool and photographed as they struggled to get out. It is more usual that rivers have steep banks, not shallow pools, due the rapid water flow... Kittens did not seem to enjoy their swimming experience. We can see Sonia’s or Laura’s arm nearby. Both women were professional photographers and knew how to take good quality photographs.

The Turkish Van breeder Diane Marcus also does not believe that this picture proves that the Turkish Vans love swimming:
''Marcus says it is possible that the extreme weather drove the kittens to try to cool down in the pond, but this should not lead people to believe that Vans love to swim, as their reputation now claims. "[Lushington and Halliday] never saw ''any cats swimming in the wild -absolutely not,'' Marcus said.

When Lushington told the pond story, "some reporter in the audience said 'Let's call them the swimming cats!' One of the women said, 'Great idea.' So that's how it happened, and it keeps getting repeated," Marcus says. "They hate being bathed. You have to bathe them to show them, and it's a fight. They don't love it." 21 (Jordan, 2006)

Laura Lushington was pleased to see that the swimming kittens photograph attracted media’s attention. She and her friend Sonia Halliday continued taking photos of cats which were published in some British newspapers in order to convince the people that Vans are the special breed, fascinated with water55.

P11. Love for water or a great photographer?


''Alanya, the kitten (born in 1962) stepped into the four inches of water where she snuggled down, purring happily. After three minutes in the water she got out. But Alanya soon got too hot and jumped out of my arms and into the Water again. She went through this procedure three times in a row, giving me time to photograph her''15(Lushington, 1963)

Also giving time to Mrs Lushington to place a water bowl in the corner and then back to its original place (!).
Replacement of water bowl allows us to arrive to conclusion that photographs were staged. Alanya enters, sits into the bowl and leaves it in very different times!
The surroundings are also changed: in the second picture there are more things we don't see in first and in the last picture, where water bowl stayed at first; we see a dark brown box (?) instead.

Cats do not enter to the water accidentally: some cats love to throw their toys into the water bowl; furthermore a cat could fall into the water while playing.
On the other hand if a cat enjoys water, it doesn’t mean it would enjoy swimming. Putting the toys in the water bowl and drinking from tap is not the same thing as swimming!
And if those cats really loved water? Even some Laura’s cats had unusual liking to water, it doesn’t mean that the other cats with similar coloring will behave the same!
There is no correlation between cat’s fur colour and it’s fascination with water let alone swimming. The anecdotes, staged photos don’t count as evidence. If there are a few cats with markings that ‘’swim’’ by their own free will, many more will hate water with a fiery passion or it may turn out that cats with different colors statistically outnumber Vans! This could be actually tested in a scientific experiment.
But remember that correlation is not equal to causation.

Most of cats hate water some may be OK with it and this has nothing to do with cats: 1) Color of fur 2) or its breed.

P12. No evidence that cats with markings on a head and tail love water more than other cats.
''Van cat has more sense than to waste his time fishing''. (Lushington, 1963)15.



5) Cat fancy & The Turkish Van
  
Cat breeders are self-regulatory. Their breeding of cats is NOT in any way controlled by the cat registry, because cat registry is actually ruled by cat breeders and depend on them!

Don’t think that cat registries do any research before accepting any cat breeds. The cat breeder actually does this for the cat registry. 99 % of breed histories will be a fiction and the rest opinions and the personal experiences of the writer.

A cat with markings we know today as Turkish Van did not become a breed because it was something extraordinary. The coloring is beautiful but ordinary and widely seen in many cats around the world. The look also wasn’t unusual; Laura, if searched well maybe could find Van look-alikes in Britain too…

P13. Laura Lushington’s 'Swimming Van cats' appeared in British press 54,55. 
Jan Dowling, a breeder of Turkish Vans, said: ‘Originally from the hills of Turkey, they are known to survive on fish, including river salmon and goldfish from private ponds’.(Photo from  Daily Post, Liverpool, 1997, Is Beast of Bala a Turkish terror?).



The breed’s existence always depends on breeders efforts. Laura Lushington brought cats from Turkey. It was her ambition to become a founder of Van breed. She drew attention to her cats through media: newspapers like Daily Post, Daily Express, Grace Pond’s books, interviews where she advertised herself as the only Turkish Van breeder.

However the only way to make a breed well known and accepted was to seek its recognition in the cat fancy. In Britain it was GGCF - (The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy). This registry was not friendly for the new ''natural breeds''.  Mr. Lushington had to overcome the GCCF's bureaucratic procedures. She needed to breed over four generations similar looking cats in order to register those cats as a breed with the GCCF.

British cat fancy was originally set up so that colours were breeds rather than divisions of breeds. Black Persians had different breed numbers to blue Persians; silver tabby shorthaired were separate from black/brown tabby shorthaired. This way of thinking made it logical in Britain that a Van patterned cat could be a breed (thanks Sarah Hartwell for the input).

Laura Lushington had friends in cat fancy that helped her - Grace Pond (famous fancier of her time, a breeder and judge) and Kathleen Yorke (Chairman of GCCF).

P14. Laura Lushington’s friend Grace Pond and the Turkish professor Emin Aritürk (Milliyet, 1988) who wrote a letter for GCCF.


GGCF also requested a proof of existence of Van cat in its native land, Turkey.
Laura Lushington asked a Turkish professor Emin Aritürk (his field not related to cats) to write a letter for GCC, that Turkish Van is a known breed in Turkey:

''Among the documents submitted to the GCCF was a letter dated 29th May 1968 written by Professor Dr Emin Ariturk, the Acting Head of the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Ankara (1968-1970), who
confirmed that the Van Cats of Turkey were a recognized breed and had been bred domestically in Turkey for many years. He added that he had been following the work of Laura Lushington and her fellow breeders for the preceding 13 years'' 52.

Why didn't she choose a solid white and odd-eyed cat, if it was regarded as a true Van breed by locals in Turkey? Maybe because white Van cat as breed wasn't even known by those who lived in Van - it has not yet existed. So L. Lushington could freely decide the colour of its Vans and she preferred auburn patterned cats.


Although ''Miss Lushington named the cats Vans but the GCCF did not allow place names for breed names so they were registered as "Turkish" cats (on the 12th February 1969). She took Van as her cattery name''6 (Hayes, 1994).

''When the Turkish Angora was being developed as a breed in America in 1962, the confusion required that the cats be renamed the Turkish Van''6(Hayes, 1994). In 1980’s Mr. Lushington retired from breeding and then Turkish cats became ''Turkish Vans''.

At the beginning the Turkish Vans were only red patterned cats. ''Laura Lushington declared that any other color in a van pattern indicated a contamination of the original breed''6(Hayes, 1994). British breeders even today prefer cats with red markings because Turkish Vans started as cats with red markings and the other varieties of ‘’Van’’ pattern were accepted much more lately.

Despite of Mr. Lushington’s disapproval of any colors other than red and white, breeders nowadays have the Turkish Vans in  black, grey, cream, tabby, Tortoiseshell (calico) etc. patterns. Sure, no solid colours except for white which is shown as a variety of Turkish Van under the name ''Van Kedisi’’.

Some breeders expressed their fears that white Vans will be mistaken for the white Angoras. This is probably the biggest phobia of any Turkish Van breeder: to realize that their Vans look like the Angora cats!
Additionally Van pattern makes the breed immediately recognizable so why make matters more complicated!

The famous ''Van pattern'' isn’t the only characteristic of the Turkish Van.

Unlike Angora which must be (according to cat fancy) slender thin boned belly dancer with oriental type of ears, Turkish Van must be a complete opposite – big, muscular, wider head and with no sign of elegance. A color can be only on head and tail, and like TICA and CFA22 says not more than 20 % of random color on body. If it’s more than 20 % that’s bad! We would love to know why 20 % and not 30 % or 10 % and how do they measure this?

As we know ''Van pattern'' is not predictable and the colour is rarely limited to head and tail. Turkish Van breeders found to justify these undesirable spots as well: ''Some Van cats possess color-cordinated random markings on the back or shoulder. . The moslems call this the ''Mark'' or ''thumbprint of Allah'' it is considered a great blessing''23 (Rainbolt, 1996).

It’s obvious that those who identify themselves as Muslims, don’t give any particular importance for colored cats so why should they believe that spots of color on a cat is some kind of blessing of Allah? This just makes no sense!
 

If I want to get the Turkish Van, should I better go to Van lake area or any Turkish city will do?

You don’t have to go to Turkey for the Turkish Van. For example, CFA registry allows to get Vans from many countries because ''the geographic area of Lake Van now includes Georgia, Iraq, Jordan, Azerbayjan and new Armenia''24 (Hayes, 1997, CFA Yearbook).

You probably thought that cat breeders go as far as Van city to get the new Van cats. They don’t. If a breeder can save time, money and avoid problems by taking a cat from Istanbul (or any other city), he/she will definitely do this. 
We can’t blame them for not bringing cats from Van, since the founder of a breed didn’t do this either! There are minor differences between cats from one location to another; it’s really not hard to get a cat that looks like the Turkish Van!

In fact, many Turkish Vans came from really different locations…

P 15. These cats were accepted as the Turkish Vans.
Image copyrights belong to their respective authors


It’s really not very important how many cats were taken from Turkey and by whom when speaking about the Turkish Van’s breeding history. It’s all about which cats dominate the pedigrees.
There are also cats which don’t have their origin documented. We can only guess where they came from.
Turkish Van history is like any other breed’s history- like pieces of puzzle with many missing parts.

Van cat from Ankara; What about the Persian cat?

In 1950s Swedish woman Eva Björkman who lived in Ankara at that time. She had many cats, some of these were Tilki I, Minka and Persian Assim of Lycas. Eva Björkman took her cats back to Sweden. She registered them as the Turkish Angoras, but later these cats, including white Persian were used for Turkish Van breeding (cattery: Yerli av Ankara)25. There is very little known about her cats. All images and other material were destroyed shortly after her death25. Did she have some secrets she didn’t want anyone to know?

Let’s buy Van cat from Istanbul

British Lydia Russel (Kastamonou cattery) was active in breeding Turkish Vans. She introduced this breed to many cuntries6. In the 1980’s she realized a long cherished ambition’’ to bring cats from Turkey.
''My husband Noel went all the way to Istanbul to buy some Turkish Van cats''26 (Russel, 1986).
I made contact with an animal protection society, Istanbul Hayvan Sevenlar Dernegi, who introduced me to families who possessed the type of cats I wanted9 (Russell, 1982).
When cats were available, Lydia’s husband returned to Turkey to get a couple of cats named Benek and Cicek.
''These were to develop into a beautiful amber. We had intended to bring back three kittens, two females and a male, but no males were to be found.
In Turkey there is no conscious breeding, no Cat Fancy, there are no known breeders (other than zoos who breed Angoras,) therefore there are no pedigrees. All that you can be sure of, having found a suitable type, is that your little foreigner, mated to a Turkish Van, will breed true''26(Russel, 1986).

Went to Van, didn’t find Van cats

Dutch breeders Bea van der Lende and Leen Kort went to Van city (Bitlis area) to look for cats in 1987. They quickly became aware that the solid white cat, preferably odd-eyed was considered as a Van cat by Turks living there. Even brochures for tourists displayed pictures of these cats. They saw some white cats, but to find those with markings was not easy! Maybe they didn’t search well, or cats were in general scarce in the region they went. However they didn’t return to Netherlands with empty hands: they found one black/white female (Hediye Bitlis’den – A gift from Bitlis) and her son (Bebek- baby ‘’more black than white’’) 27.



6) How to sell a cat to Armenian

When Roger Tabor once said ''it seems we got the wrong Vans''28 was not alone thinking that way. Sooner or later people, including breeders have learnt that Turkish Van is almost unheard in its homeland – Turkey. It seems that folks in Van were unable to understand the beauty of cat with colored head and tail.  Made up ancient origins and folklore were at threat. It wasn’t Turkish Van, but a totally white odd-eyed cat. Controversially, Van Kedisi seems to have the identical description of the Angora cat.

Turkish Van breed was for too long that it could be dismissed. There was no mistake. Cat registries don’t do mistakes and if they do, nobody is going to know about this.
The Turkish people became obsessed over white odd-eyed cats after 1960's, and its government funds white cat breeding program in Van - all of these  did not advertise the Turkish Van breed but brought more and more confusion.
Talking about Van city, it can stir up a very hot debate between Kurdish and Armenian nationalists who claim this part of Turkey for themselves. A white cat is a symbol of their shared national identity. This is the main reason why people feel so passionate about it.

Some cat breeders, who sympathized for Armenians and their case, chose to remake Turkish Van story that it would appear like it was a part of Armenian history and culture:

 ’’The lake Van was at one time part of ancient Armenia, and the Van cat was and is still considered an important symbol of Armenian culture and heritage’’45 (Helgren, 2000).

If one wants to convince Armenians that Turkish Van is their breed, you have to throw in some Turco-phobia into play, mention genocide and lost part of Armenian highland, occupied by evil Turks.

For example, you may use this extreme example, pulled out of thin air29 (Gareginia, 2009):
''Among the sadder stories including the Van Cat are tales of how the Turks would use the animals as a means of torture of Armenians before and during the genocide. One tale relates how Turks would capture Armenians, strip them, and stuff them into cloth bags with Van Cats, beating the bag. The poor animals, driven into a frenzy, would lacerate the Armenian captives''.

All you do just say something to awaken their nationalistic feelings:
''For hundreds of years in the Lake Van area of Turkey, the Armenian people would see these native cats swimming in shallow streams and rivers''30 (Marcus, 2002).
As we understood only Armenians were able to see those swimming cats, while others couldn’t? The writer thinks only Armenians lived in that area at that time?

Additionally, Karen Hooker, American Turkish Van breeder explains how Turks endangered Van patterned cats in Van city31 (Hooker, Hayes):
''As white cats are considered Turkey's national cat all of their breeding programs are geared towards producing white cats (...) The Van Institute is now marketed as part of Turkey's tourism campaigns. As a result, van patterned cats are virtually non-existent in the same area where the gene responsible for their pattern is generally agreed to have been first documented''. (Do they mean Laura Lushington who documented ''Van pattern'' before seeing Van cats in real? It must be oh, so accurate!)

P16. Arpi, a cat from USA appeared on Armenian stamp in 1999 (by Albert Kechyan)



Armenian connection

If Armenians are made to think that cats with auburn markings are their national cat breed, they probably could find those cats in their own country. Armenia has a border with Turkey so we can expect that they too have the same cats.

If you want to sell your cats to Armenia, then you should tell them that there are no Van cats left in Armenia. Or at least you should make them believe that only breeders from West preserved this rare breed. The title like this one:
 ''Turkish Van Cat Species Close to Extinction in Armenia’’32 should be enough to create a sense of urgency.
''Violetta Gabrielian–the chairwoman of Aragil Club of Pet Lovers told Armenpress–expressing her concern regarding the fate of Turkish-Van cats that live in the area.
According to Gabrielian–there are only four Van cats in Armenia today–three males and one female which have lost its reproductive capability. Club members cannot afford buying Van cats from Europe to prevent their full extinction in Armenia’’.

P17. Armenia: still there are beautiful cats like this one! (Tsaghkadzor, 2008)


''Mr.  Hratch Nargizian is in contact with a social club in present day Armenia called the Van Cat Club (..). They have begun a breeding program with a pair of Turkish Van kittens from the United States and a male Van cat from southern Georgia (Russia)''6 (Hayes, 1994).
 
Hrach Nargizian is American architect and historian, and lives in San Francisco, USA. He bought the Turkish Van from USA in 1993 (Summitspring’s Arpi) with  $50029(Gareginia, 2009)
However Karen Hooker, an owner of Pairodocs gave her Van named Sipan for free, expressing her support for Armenian cat conservation program33.
In 2000 Armenian breeders purchased a couple more Vans from Holland (EC Shadycombe Izmir and Aghtamar"s Ourakhali-Van).

P18. Armenian biologist Karen Manvelyan became one of breeders of USA imported Vans


P19. Imported cats from USA, Holland and Britain are renamed to ‘Armenian Vans’’


Who leads Van Cat Club today? It seems its Irina Tadevosyan. She lives in Yerevan, Armenia. Here are some excerpts from a couple of her interviews:

''I think many people don’t know how the Armenian Van cat really looks like''34 (Karapetyan, 2011).
She thinks that the white Van cat is a result of outcrossing with Angora. She is aware that many people in Armenia consider their Van cat as solid white only– just like Turks do! Irina thinks that her fellow countrymen are ‘’victims’’ and brainwashed.35 (Mkrtchyan, 2010).  Irina states, that by not accepting the true Vans these Armenians indirectly contribute to their disappearance!

P20. Irina Tadevosyan and her cat


Irina Tadevosyan is dedicated breeder of ''Vans’’. Of course, she calls them as ''Armenian Vans’’. All her cats have Armenian names.

''I purchased my first Armenian Van cat for 300 dollars. At the time, one had to be insane to pay that much money for a cat, but we did it''.
''We have already established the Van Cat Association, and we sign contracts with all those wishing to keep a cat. I paid 4,500 Funt Sterling to bring four cats from England, but I do this so that the generation continues. I have nothing to do with Turkey, and there are no more Van cats there''35. (Mkrtchyan, 2010).  



P21. The Turkish Van (by Heikki Siltala, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License)



7) Are the Turkish Van and the Angora – the same cats?

''The Turkish Van is often confused with the Turkish Angora, but put them side by side and you'll immediately see that they're entirely different breeds. The Angora is smaller and more delicate than the Van and does not have the classic Van pattern''36 (Helgren, 1993)

When we compare the Angora with the Turkish Van…

Which Angora cat?  A cat from Turkey or that one from the cat shows?
Which Van cat? A cat from Turkey with a colored head and tail or a cat called the Turkish Van from West’?
The Turkish Van is being bred to look heavy, muscular cat with a bigger head.
The American Angora is another matter, which must look thin, slim with a narrow face and large ears.

The differences we see today between breeds are MADE by breeders. 
P22a. The Turkish Van (on the left) still resembles the original Angora. The American Angora however does not (on the right)



P22b. Two body types made by cat fancy for differentiation of their created breeds. On the left, a normal-substantial body (Turkish Van) and on the right, you can see thin boned, slender type- foreign/Oriental type (American Angora).


''The American Angoras owe very little to the true Turkish Angoras. Any genuine Turkish Angora blood has been swamped through outcrossing to other breeds and types. New imports of genetically correct Turkish Angoras (Ankara Kedisi) from Turkey and the Ankara Zoo meet a mixed reception on the American show bench. When young they may do well at shows against American Angoras, but when adult, their larger, stockier, thicker-boned physique is penalized by a breed standard written for the more “refined” (i.e. skinny) American Angoras''37 (Hartwell, 2013).

Michael Broad, an owner of a website pictures-of-cats.org asked a question:

''Were the Turkish Angora and Turkish Van the same Cat?''38 
I suggest that the distinct but relatively slight difference between the Turkish Van and Angora that is visible today has been developed by the cat fancy.(…) There is no reason to believe that a distance of 500 miles can make a difference in the basic genetic characteristics of a moggie cat in one country. Were the Turkish Angora and Turkish Van the same cat? The answer is yes, more or less, and the cat fancy has made two cats out of one moggie (Broad M., 2012).

In Turkey there is still only one type of cat which has not been changed by cat breeders. With Van pattern or without, it’s the Anatolian cat. The longhair ones are known as Angoras.
P23. Randomly selected Angora (Anatolian longhair) cats with ‘’Van pattern’’, photos; Cats in Turkey don’t try to live up to cat fanciers expectations.



Tips for comparing cats from Turkey (or elsewhere):

1. Make sure the cats you choose to compare have roughly the similar age. Don’t compare kittens with adults! Kittens look very different from the mature adults (about 3-5 years).
2. Males will be more robust and will have wider heads than females.
3. Color and markings may deceive your eyes.  
4. How was the photograph taken? Actually you can completely change the look of a photography subject with a different angle. The same cat may not look the same in every photo!
5. If you had a chance to see some random bred cats around the world, you will notice they don’t vary much in shape and size.
6. Each cat is individual so there always will be some minor differences between them. But exceptional examples shouldn't be a reason to stereotype the whole population of cats. Look for the average characteristics seen in most of cats when describing any natural cat population.


8) Van Cat Genetics?

In the world of science, a genetics field became a very important tool. Histories can be wrong, biases can corrupt it all, but DNA never lies.
But can genetics gives us the definitive answers on breeds of cats? Can it tell if there is Van cat or there is no such a cat?
Before you go into this matter deeply:

P24. Genetics of random-bred cat populations- Eastern Mediterranean 39 (Lyons, UC Davis, 2012)

Anatolia and its neighbors (not Egypt) are the place where cats have been domesticated40 (Driscoll, Raymond, 2007), therefore cats from these regions have the most genetic variation which is indicated in all these mixed colors. Note that the Turkish graph only describes Istanbul cat’s genetics. Testing cats from various locations of Turkey would lead to more accurate results.

It’s widely accepted that all humans migrated out from Africa which happens have the most genetic variation. Only a part of African variation reached Asia, Europe etc.42 (Tishkoff & Verrelli, 2003)

It seems that domestic cats also share similar to humans, history. Cats from Anatolia and Northern Fertile Crescent are ancestors of ALL domestic cats41 (Lyons, Kurushima et. patent, 2012). Some cats with a help of human, moved to the different places of the world.  Only a part of original genes could be carried by those cats. Some genes became dominant, others were lost, mutations also occurred, creating different populations in distant geographical areas.

Associate professor, Leslie A. Lyons is a feline geneticist who has done variety of studies on cat populations and its breeds. Sadly for most of part these studies aimed to verify the cat fancy breeds and their origins. The Anatolian cats were underrepresented in her analysis.

Most of cat breeds did not originate from the exotic locations. People who breed cats often used the most accessible cats and those cats happened to be from Europe and USA. Most of cat breeds are European origin. American cats are immigrants from Europe43 (Lipinski, Froenicke, 2008), so they are pretty much the same. The famous Siamese cats are from Southern Asian cats which became separated from Anatolian populations pretty early.

We will use the definition the American Angora to name a cat which is thought to be the Angora in West, but isn’t!

Is there the genetic evidence that shows us clearly – is the Turkish Van still Anatolian cat or a man made breed?

DNA studies overview:

2005 – Tufts Conference44.
It appears that the Turkish Van and American Angora are related.
''The tree also indicates the American Angoras are related to the Persian (from which it was re-created!), American Shorthair, Siamese and Russian Blue (likely to have been used in the re-creation of the type).
The accompanying the observation that all of the Turkish Angoras studied had the same, apparently unique, haplotype was claimed to agree "with the historical account of the breed as being a small, geographically isolated population." In actuality, the indigenous Turkish Vans and Angoras do not come from a small geographically isolated population because Turkey is not a small isolated country. Angoras and Van-patterned cats are found naturally everywhere in Turkey, Cyprus and neighboring regions'' 37(Hartwell, 2013).

2007 - The Ascent of Cat breeds43 came up with the conclusion that two geographically related breeds, the Turkish Angora and the Turkish Van, were distinct from each other. This could be correct, but what about the American Angora which is different from Turkish cats? The phylogenetic tree, used to illustrate the relationships between breeds and random bred cats clearly showed that American Angora was not related to the cats from Turkey and Israel.  The inaccurate Mediterranean grouping used justify not only origins of the American Angora but also Egyptian Mau which later turned out European cat as well!46 (Kurushima, Lipinski, 2013)

2007, August – S. O’Brien study47 showed ''clustering of two breeds of Middle Eastern origin (Turkish Van and Turkish Angora)''. Interestingly, the American Angora was shown almost identical to Russian Blue! It doesn’t mean they are directly related, just have similar breeding history.

2008 – This Turkish Van study was not published. The researcher discovered subgroups (A-D) between tested Turkish Van cats, also included cats from Cyprus and Turkey.  Cyprus and Turkish cats ''are more like the other breeds than the Vans'' – a confession of L. A. Lyons (Nov.6, 2008) to H. Harrison, a breeder who participated in her study (The Angora Cat Association has the copies of this email as a proof).

2011 – This study of Mitochondrial DNA concluded48: ''Some were representative of their hypothetical country of origin; Korat (Thailand), Birman (Burma), Siamese (Thailand) and Turkish Van (Turkey), while others were not, such as the Turkish Angora (Turkey)''.  
Turkish Van related to cats from Turkey, while the American Angora didn’t.

2012 - Unpublished study ''Genetics of Turkish cats populations and breeds’’: The Angora cat from the Ankara zoo, cats from Cyprus and Marmaris and other Turkish cities were very different both from the American Angora and the Turkish Van (samples mostly from USA). The cat fancy "Turkish" Vans also showed little or no relationship to any of the cats from Turkey (Lyons, 2012-2013)49.
The geneticist chose to ignore this data and interpreted the results very differently.  Genuine Turkish and Cyprus cats were classified as a new breed ''Cyprus Aphrodite'' (Lyons, 2012-2013)49

2012, July - Selkirk Rex study50 (Filler, Alhaddad). The American Angora and Turkish Van belonged to Western cats group, but paper says: ''Sokoke and Turkish Van, denoted by * and ** respectively, are breeds that group within Western II at K = 3 but form their distinct groups at higher K values''. It means, Turkish Van and Sokoke probably are not European origin, but the researcher won’t bother to find this out.

2012, August – Variation of cats under domestication: genetic assignment of domestic cats to breeds and worldwide random-bred populations46(Kurushima, Lipinski)
''When analyzed with data from SNPs and STRs, the Turkish Angora was assigned to Europe or to the Eastern Mediterranean''.
''STRs alone can differentiate about 24 of 29 breeds, in addition to Turkish- versus USA-originating Turkish Angoras''.
''The Turkish Angora breed was reconstituted from the Persian (European) pedigree post-World Wars, and their genetic diversity has recently been supplemented via outcrossing to Turkish random-bred cats. The identified subpopulations within the breed may reflect the latest influx of random-bred cats''.

In other words, Angoras from Turkey were different from American Angoras. The real Angoras, Turkish Vans, random bred cats from Istanbul (only Istanbul cats samples were available), Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel random bred cats were grouped as Eastern Mediterranean/Anatolian, while the American Angoras and numerous other breeds – with European random bred cats.

2013, January51 (Alhaddad, Khan) - Both American Angora and Turkish Van (USA/Europe) grouped together to Western group. Cats imported from Turkey, it seems were not included to this study.

Conclusion:
Good sampling methods are very important. We have to make distinction between The Turkish Van breeding in USA and Europe. The American Vans usually come from the small inbred population of cats. European can be newly imported Angora or its descendants. It seems that USA Van has been changed the most – not only inbreeding but also outcrossing could happen. Sometimes it is Turkish; sometimes studies show it’s European.
The additional studies should be done to clear up the relationships between Turkish Van and Anatolian cats. If Turkish Van has not been changed, then it should be similar to the Anatolian cats – the real Angora cats.

The Turkish Van has perhaps become man-made cat breed, although it seems it has preserved a relation to the real Angora cats. It depends who breeds the Turkish Van and which cats are used for this breeding.

In Turkey, the Turkish Van remains as a color variation of the Vangora* cat – a natural Anatolian cat variety.


9) What it has to do with the Angora Cat?

Do you really know what the Angora cat really is? What makes you think that there are two completely different cats in one country?

The Angora is an old name used to describe a cat with a long fur. It has no particular relation to Ankara city. According to available genetic studies, The Angora and its shorthaired variants are random bred cats unique to the Anatolia and Eastern Mediterranean regions.

The Angora/Van cat is not man-made breed this is why they are NOT defined by how cat fancy wants to see it or by its unscientific standards they created for themselves.


*Why name it Angora? Why not Van cat?*
You can call it as a Van cat too, if you wish, as long you share the same view that this cat is natural, has variety of colours and is not limited to one city.




10) Sources

1)  Shustrova , Inna; Rolandus Union International (The International Cat Fanciers' Association’s branch in Ukraine) "Aboriginal cat breed" - What does it mean? http://rolandus.org/eng/library/felinology/shustrova01.html
2)  Ker Than, Noah's Ark Found in Turkey, National Geographic News, April 28, 2010 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/04/100428-noahs-ark-found-in-turkey-science-religion-culture/l
3)  Raupach, Denise; Ancient Middle Eastern Mountain Cat – The Turkish Van,  TICA Trend publication, april/may, Vol. 28, No. 2. 2007
4)  Rainbolt, Dusty; Ghost Cats: Human Encounters with Feline Spirits (Turkish Van Cat breed club ex-president), page 11.
5)  Quasha, Jennifer;  The Manx: The Cat with No Tail (page:10)
6)  Hayes, Deborah Childs-Pairodocs Cattery; Cat Fanciers Almanac, Vol 11, Turkish Vans rediscovered: A living history, 1994 October, vol 11, no.6
7)  Edwards; Part 2. Middle East and the Aegean Region,  Cambridge University Press, 1975
8)  Coburg, Dei von Saxe;  The Odyssey of the Turkish Van” (The Cat Fanciers’ Newsletter, December 1988).
9)  Russel, Lydia, the Turkish Van; Cat World International Magazine. Vol. 10, No.3, July/August, 1982
10) Hayes, Pairodocs Cattery website: www.hayes-ent.com/pairodocs/standard.htm (It appears that one Roman legion adopted the image as their battle standard as it is found on a Roman shield, dated AD 75-387, which is now found in the Louver Museum, Paris.) archived.
11)  Baker, Charles Arnold; The Companion to British History- 2001 Routledge
12)  Blockley, C. Roger; The Division of Armenia between the Romans and the Persians at the End of the Fourth Century A.D. 1987
13)  Odabasioglu, Ates; Van kedisi; Yüzüncü Yil Üniversitesi, 2000 (page 6)
14)  Weaver, Jill; Turkish origins, Cat World magazine, May 1986
15)  Lushington, Laura; The Swimming Cats of Van” (1963), Animals 1 (17) magazine, 24–27.
16)  Pond, Grace; The Observer's Book of Cats’’ by Grace Pond (1959)
17)  Lorimer, Heather, Ph.D academic pages, Is inbreeding as a way to select against genetic diseases? http://people.ysu.edu/~helorimer/purge.html
18)  Turner, Pat; Cat World, Vol 181, March 1993.
19)  Cooper,  Fretwell, Bailey, Lyons, White spotting in the domestic cat (Felis catus) maps near KIT on feline chromosome B1, Anim Genet. 2006 April; 37(2): 163–165. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2052.2005.01389.x
20)  Vella, Carolyn, Shelton, Lorraine -  Robinson's Genetics for Cat Breeders and Veterinarians, etc.; 4 edition, Butterworth-Heinemann 1999. page 148-150
21) Jordan,  Elisa - Van-ity fair, Cat fancy magazine, 2006 June. (page 22)
22)  TICA and CFA  Turkish Van Standards found in their websites.
23)  Rainbolt, Dusty; Noah’s cat – The Turkish Van; I Love Cats magazine 1996 Sept/Oct.
24)  Hayes, Deborah; Turkish Van, 1997 CFA Yearbook
25)  Madsen, Ole - Aristokatt, Tyrkisk Van, August 2003; Kattemagasinet Den Tyrkiske Van’s mange ansigter Feb. 2003 (Dannish). Can be found in http://www.tyrkiskvan.dk/artikler/artikler_om_tyrkisk_van.htm
26)  Russell, Lydia - Turkish Delight, Cat World magazine, 1986.
27)  The article about trip was published in Cat World magazine,  Vol.15, No.ll, January 1988
28)  Tabor, Roger - BBC TV documentary ‘’Cats’’ 1991, published as a book named Cats: The Rise of the Cat by BBC books, ISBN:  9780563360117, EAN: 9780563360117;youtu.be/fyqGwKR0hBc (3:39) (from the episode ''Aristocats’’)
29)  Gareginia, Ashot -  Armenian Vans - Real "Aristocrats", Tour Armenia. TACentral.com. Retrieved 17 July 2009. http://www.tacentral.com/features.asp?story_no=13
30)  Marcus, Diana; The Turkish Van, Cat Fanciers’ Almanac, May 2002.
31)  Hooker, Karen and Hayes, Deborah, cattery website (14 October 2000) www.swimmingcats.com/aboutus4.htm
32)  Armenpress, Turkish-Van Cat Species Close to Extinction in Armenia (Oct. 30 2000), republished by Asbarez Newspaper in October 31st, 2000,  asbarez.com/43947/turkish-van-cat-species-close-to-extinction-in-armenia/
33)  Hayes, Pairodocs Turkish Van cattery website (Pairodocs Sipan and a female from SummitSprings Cattery in California were greeted as royalty upon their arrival in Armenia.  In 2000, Pairodocs Ani joined the family, and was a TV celebrity upon her arrival in Armenia.  They are all producing beautiful babies now that are truely Armenian Vans- Deborah Hayes and Karen Hooker). http://www.hayes-ent.com/pairodocs/aboutus.htm
34)  Karapetyan, Tsovinar -  My children grew up in the mouths of mastiffs along with the Armenian Van cats” Interview with Irina Tadevosyan “Eritasard” on-line newspaper,15-12-2011  http://www.youth.am/index.php?lang=2&id=8553#
35)  Mkrtchyan, Naira, Armedia IAA Inc. News, Interview with Irina Tadevosyan, 29.10.2010 (armenian); http://www.armedia.am/?action=Interview&what=show&id=1225427769
36)  Helgren, Anne - The Turkish Van, Cats magazine, May-June, 1993
37)  Harwell, Sarah, Messybeast: Cat-breed DNA studies - True origins or legitimising imposters? (2013) www.messybeast.com/dna-studies-critique.htm
38)  Broad, Michael: Were the Turkish Angora and Turkish Van the same Cat? (2012) pictures-of-cats.org/were-the-turkish-angora-and-turkish-van-the-same-cat.html
39)  Lyons, Leslie; UC Davis breed diversity graph (random bred populations from various countries) emailed to the cat breeders, 2012. Not published.
40)  Driscoll, Raymond - The Near Eastern origin of cat domestication, Science. 2007 Jul 27;317(5837):519-23.
41)  Lyons, Kurushima, Froenicke, Lipinski, Gandolfi; Patent of the Regents of the University of California, Genetic Identification of Domestic Cat Breeds and Populations. Publication No. WO/2012/158772
42)  Tishkoff & Verrelli, Patterns of Human Genetic Diversity: Implications for Human Evolutionary History and Disease; Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics Vol. 4: 293-340 (September 2003) DOI: 10.1146/annurev.genom.4.070802.110226
43)  Lipinski MJ, Froenicke L, Ozpinar H, Lyons LA.  The ascent of cat breeds: genetic evaluations of breeds and worldwide random-bred populations, Genomics. 2008 Jan;91(1):12-21
44)  Lyons, Leslie "Genetic Relationships of Cat Breeds" at Tufts' Canine and Feline Breeding and Genetics Conference 30/09/2005 - 01/10/2005, 2005, Sturbridge, MA, USA (cited as Lyons, 2005), page:56-59
45)  Helgren, Anne, The Turkish Van, The Remarkable Swimming Cat by J. Anne, Cats magazine October 2000, page 42-45
46)  Kurushima, J. D., Lipinski, M. J., Gandolfi, B., Froenicke, L., Grahn, (2013), Variation of cats under domestication: genetic assignment of domestic cats to breeds and worldwide random-bred populations. Animal Genetics, 44: 311–324. doi: 10.1111/age.12008
47)  Menotti-Raymond M, David VA, Pflueger SM, Lindblad-Toh K, Wade CM, O'Brien SJ, Johnson WE, Patterns of molecular genetic variation among cat breeds, Genomics. 2008 Jan;91(1):1-11.
48)  R.A. Grahn, J.D. Kurushima, N.C. Billings, J.C. Grahn, J.L. Halverson, E. Hammer, C.K. Ho, T.J. Kun, J.K. Levy, M.J. Lipinski. (2011) Feline non-repetitive mitochondrial DNA control region database for forensic evidence. Forensic Science International; Jan; 5(1):33-42. doi: 10.1016/j.fsigen.2010.01.013
49)  Lyons, Leslie, 6th Tufts’ Canine and Feline Breeding and Genetics Conference, September 27-29, 2013, Boston, MA Genetics of Cat Populations and Breeds: Implications for Breed Management for Health! A population case study: Turkish Cats page 20-25
50)  Filler, Alhaddad, Gandolfi, Kurushima, Cortes; Selkirk Rex: Morphological and Genetic Characterization of a New Cat Breed, The Journal of heredity 07/2012; 103(5):727-33. (Figure 3)
51)  Alhaddad H, Khan R, Grahn RA, et al. Extent of linkage disequilibrium in the domestic cat, Felis silvestris catus, and its breeds. PLoS ONE. 2013; 8: e53537
52) Turkish Van cat club (GCCF), Folklore and history, by Melva Eccles  www.turkishvancatclub.co.uk/folklore.html
53) Milliyet newspaper, 1963, July 14, page 2
54) Turkish Cats Delight, Daily Express,  May 3, 1963, Page 11.
55) The Telegraph (via New York Times news service), 1964, December 28, Van cats from East Turkey appear to enjoy swimming.
Laura Lushington: 'it's not a matter of swimming if they absolutely have to, which other cats do too. They definitely like swimming'



Authors: Perla Aksoy, Batu Aksoy
Last edited: October, 2014


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