Turkish Angora Cat

Turkish Angora Cat

Turkish Angora Cat – photo of Safira © copyright Helmi Flick



Introduction

This breed of cat is related, it seems, to the Turkish Van and it certainly has an equally distinguished and long history that marks this cat, and the Turkish Van, out from most other purebred cats (the Chartreux being an exception). Were the Turkish Van and Turkish Angora one and the same breed once upon a time?

This is a natural breed, therefore. Of course the breed’s naturalness would only extend to the time, in the early and mid 20th century, the early years of the cat fancy, when people got involved and started breeding the cat. This cat breed has been described as a “living legend”1. By ‘natural’ the cat fancy means that that it developed naturally without human intervention. This is an interesting topic because the TA is still in Turkey as a street cat not a purebred cat. It is not and never was a purebred, pedigree cat in Turkey. The West made this cat a ‘cat breed’ and in doing so changed its appearance and genotype. The exact same thing can be said about all the natural breeds. Another example is the Norwegian Forest Cat.

The history is outlined in tabular form below. The Turkish Angora can be traced back to the 14th century and had evolved in an area that used to be called Anatolia. Anatolia is centered by Turkey (see map below – Anatolia is marked in red). It was imported into France in the 16th century. The breed was originally called the Ankara Cat1.

Anatolia

{This file is in the public domain because it was created by NASA. It has been modified by en:User:Denizz (drawn a rectangle around Anatolia) and by me (cropped the image to fit this page)

There is a possibility that the Turkish Angora evolved from the Manul cat (felis manul) or Pallas’s Cat, which was a pet of the Tartars. Also, the breed possibly evolved in mountainous regions, hence the semi-longhaired coat. It may in fact have evolved in Russian initially1.

There was a certain amount of confusion, in that the word “Angora” was originally used during the early years of the cat fancy to mean a longhaired cat (see Angora cat). The terms “Angora and Persian were used interchangeably”1.

Turkish Angora Cat Turkish Angora Cat
Photos of Nightingale on left and Paolo on right © copyright Helmi Flick. Helmi says that Paolo is a good example of a “Turk”

 

History

Date Event
14th
Century
Possible importation into Europe during the Crusades.
16th
Century
Documentary evidence of the Turkish Angora in France. See this article on a painting from Paris in the 1780s of an Angora cat. Gloria Stephens in Legacy of the Cat writes that the TA was the first long haired cat breed in Europe and was brought from Ankara, Turkey to France initially in the 16th century. It was called the “Ankara Cat”.
17th
Century
Recognised as a cat breed in Europe.
Early
1900s
Used without regulation in breeding Persian Cats, which damaged (genetically) the Turkish Angora breed.
turkish-angora-cat-odd-eyed 1917 Turkey realize the importance of this cat to the nation and set about preserving the pure white classic cat with blue and amber eyes under the direction of Ankara Zoo.
1950 Discovered in Turkish Zoo by Americans.
1954 or 19601 First importation into USA.
1968 Accepted for registration by CFA. “Only a handful of breeders” in the USA at 2001.
1972 or
1973
Full Status (championship status) CFA.
1976 First CFA Grand Champion GC NoRuz Kristal of Azima.

 

Health issues

HCM is a heart condition that can affect the Turkish Angora Cat and many other breeds (HCM and Bengal cats (new window)). Ataxia is another inherited condition found in this breed (recessive gene). The symptoms of Ataxia are grossly uncoordinated movements. Perhaps the major concern regarding health is as a consequence of this cat being preferably white. The gene that produces a white coat can also cause deafness (Deafness in Cats). Odd-eyed cats may be deaf on the blue eyed side. In a study carried out between 1971 and 1979 this cat breed was seen for skin disease “3.6 times more frequently than it should have been based on the total hospital population”2.

Turkish Angora Cat

Photo of Qiet Riot: © copyright Helmi Flick

Special Interest

Cats are routinely used in scientific research, something that is not widely recognised. Indeed some of the major pet food manufacturers do animal testing to improve their products. For example, six magnificent Safari cats have been animal tested to destruction.

The Turkish Angora is another purebred cat that has been used in the furtherence of science (or so it is meant to be). Not that purebred cats are any more important than any other creature, but I wonder why they used purebred cats and not cats that would otherwise have been put down or cats from the Moran Market outside Seoul, where cats and dogs are sold as food and treated appallingly (makes me shudder).

South Korean scientists cloned (2008) Turkish Angora cats by apparently manipulating a fluorescent protein gene. The cats glow in the dark. This may be an attempt to re-establish the damaged reputation of their bio-engineering industry due to a faked earlier programme. I disagree with this and I am not impressed by it.

Turkish Angora Cat

Photo of Safira: © copyright Helmi Flick – Safira is an excellent example of a “Turk” so says Helmi.

Appearance and Character

Turkish Angora Cat

Photo of Caleb: © copyright Helmi Flick

Intelligent, active and elegant best describes this cat. This is therefore a curious cat. As you can see the Turkish Angora cat is semi-longhaired and a very interesting looking cat. If you have visited the page on the Turkish Van you will know that these “Turks” like the water. They like is so much that some cats of this breed will have a bath with their human companion apparently. The cat intelligence can translate into assertiveness (alpha animal characteristic). This is reminiscent of the Chausie, for example.

I think this cat has a nice, fine and elegant bone structure, which is very attractive.

The classic coat is silky white, sometimes with odd amber and blue eyes. This conformation is the most desirable to the Turkish Angora cat. Although many colors and patterns are now acceptable to the cat registries. In fact the Turkish Angora “comes in all colors and divisions of the traditional categoty”1.

The coat has no undercoat so it is close to the body and therefore easier to maintain. They are not in the same size bracket as Maine Coons (which are large cats). This breed typically weighs about 5-9 lbs, which in fact is on the light side.

See a bundle of Helmi Flick photos of this cat breed in a massive slide show plus reference to the CFA breed standard by clicking on this link: Turkish Angora Breed Standard.

Breeders

Top 2 listed catteries on Google (co.uk) search (3 pages) 2008:

Turkish Angora Cats
Located ini Southern California, USA. Runby  Michael and Lorraine Shelton. Lorraine Shelton is a co-author of Robinsons, “Genetics for Cat Breeders & Veterinarians”, a well known book on cat genetics.

Antioch Turkish Angoras
Located Central Ohio, USA.

Turkish Angora Cat

Photo of Nightingale: © copyright Helmi Flick

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page…

Should I take a cat I helped with me?  Hi Everyone…A few months ago, just a week before the new year’s eve one of the cats in our neighborhood had an accident.  I don’t know how it happened …

Sushel My Beautiful Angora Male  Sushel was given to me by my boyfriend in 1999, to ease the sorrow of my cat’s passing, Grizetta. He was at the time, about 4 months old. At first I …

This is Frankie who looks similar to a Turkish Angora  I was intrigued when I came across your site. I have three rescues, one of which looks so much like Tanje, another kitty from California I saw here.  I …

Duchess Fraya  About 3 yrs ago, my daughter was approached by a co-worker who had found a nearly starved, about 4-wk-old kitten on the roadside. My daughter brought …

Tabby and Turkish Angora mix – my mum’s cat TARCIN  About 12 years ago my mum had a Turkish Angora female and that cat gave birth to wonderful babies fathered by the tabby of a neighbour.  There were …

I have a Turkish Angora cat from Ankara  I am from Ankara, the capital of Turkey and I have an Ankara cat. We call them “Ankara cats”. She is pure white with green eyes and is very beautiful and .

Sakiz – The Computer Whizz  My Dear Cat Friends…Technology is part of our lives. It is most of the time enjoyable, as you know. I myself love the taste of cell phone charging …

SAKIZ Says Hello From Turkey  During January 2010, I and my husband decided to have a cat and share our life with it. My husband was more experienced about cats because he has an 11 …

MISS SCARLETT – A VERY SPECIAL ANGEL!!  Miss Scarlett was born on November 5, 2000. Same birthday as her owner Zita, my precious 85 year old mother.. Miss Scarlett was named after the movie …

Sasha My Turkish Angora  I have a white Turkish Angora named Sasha with yellow eyes. He is deaf, though :(. He is so affectionate and curious. I’ve had cats before but he’s something …

Help me identify if my cats are Turkish Angora or not  We have two beautiful cats (a mother and a daughter) which we got at the humane society years ago. We chose to keep them as indoor cats. When people visit …

First we should know what Turkish Turkish Angoras look like  The first thing that catches one’s attention is that the Ankara Zoo Turkish Angoras do not look very much like the contemporary Turkish Angoras and not …

Are My Adorable Boys Turkish Angoras?  My boys were strays along with their sisters and seal-point mother. I adopted them through an all-breed rescue group. I was very surprised when a TA breeder …

Why Turkish Angoras pop up in the non-purebred population of cats  When animals mate, their offspring’s traits are set by a giant double-helix DNA molecular complex present in every cell of the body. Our DNA encodes all …

The Embodiment of a Turkish Angora Cat  We already had two cats when the kids age 6 and 9 talked us into walking through a PetSmart store. On display inside was one of the many private animal …

Bunny On Her Catwalk  We found her by the side of the highway very sick as a little kitten. We nursed her to health and wound up with a beautiful Turkish Angora. She loves …

How I Got My Name by Furby  Hi again everybody. It’s Furby and I’m here to tell you how I got my name. I thought I’d NEVER get mama away from the story she was writing about taking …

How to Photograph Your Pet Without Breaking the Bank  Pictures-of-cats.org has asked me to write an article on pet photography and to share some of my secrets. I feel like I’ve had one hand attached to …

I wanted a Turkish Angora but adopted an orphan instead  His name is Wow and that is what best describes him. I wanted a Turk but adopted an orphan instead…except the orphan turned out to be a Turk! Wow. No …

Furby’s Story As Told By Furby  Hi everybody. My name is Furby and I am now 3 months old. I’m really good at a lot of things but human control is my favorite past-time. My mama who …

My Kitty Thinks He’s a Turkish Angora  I found my kitten lost and alone and injured the day of my boyfriend’s funeral. He just walked across the road in front of me on my way home and I turned .

Damiel My Amazing Turkish Angora Cat  Damiel came to live with me on January the 10th 2000 from the local SPCA. He was taken there because he had reacted badly to the former owner’s newborn …

Living with Bean  My boyfriend was moving out and taking one of our two cats. I always felt a person should have two cats so one never gets lonely. So after he was gone,…

Were the Turkish Angora and Turkish Van the same Cat?  I ask, were the Turkish Angora and Turkish Van the same cat in Turkey during the years well before the cat fancy started? I mean in the 15th to 19th century….

People say he looks like a Turkish Angora  Sick stray, dirty, no whiskers, and took him in, tried to find him a home but at 7 months, nothing, so he warmed our hearts by sneezing on the mirrors,…

The Turkish Van and the Turkish Angora  The Turkish Van & the Turkish Angora are both native Turkish breeds as presented in your history, yes, BUT, there the resemblance stops. The 2 breeds …

Is This a Turkish Angora?  Is this a Turkish Angora? I got her from a shelter. She’s quiet but sweet. I post my question on yahoo and people said it’s unlikely that an angora could …

A little Gem  I found my Turkish Angora by the rubbish bins abandoned. She had a collar on and I at first thought she could not possibly be abandoned, the beautiful …

Look-a-Like?  My sweet 7-month-old kitty looks exactly like your sweet Tanje. His name is Ranger and when we brought him and his sister home, he decidedly took to climbing …

KO KO PUFF  We found a Turkish Angora living in a junkyard. She is the sweetest most playful beautiful cat ever! She was tan and covered in fleas when we got her, but …

My Turkish Van  My favorite cat is my Turkish Van. Their coat is like silk. They have huge round beautiful eyes. Turkish Van’s are my favorite not just because, of their …

Turkish Angora Cat — Source:

  • 1. Legacy of the Cat by Gloria Stephens and Tetsu
  • 2. Medical, Genetic & Behavior Aspects of Purebred Cats Edited by Ros D. Clark DVM – page 185
  • CFA
  • Wikipedia
  • Breelist
  • Me

Comments

Turkish Angora Cat — 12 Comments

  1. Hello, Michael!

    This article still contains many mistakes… Of course we understand you made an article from what was available. Seeing how many falsehoods and wrongs are written about our native cat breed, we The Angora Cat Association, started to do a serious research investigating every claim. We rely on science and logic – things almost non existent in cat fancy.

    ”Safira is an excellent example of a “Turk” so says Helmi.”
    Let’s tell this to our Angoras living in Turkey! It seems they are not ”Turk” if that cat is an ”excellent example”.

    ”This is an interesting topic because the TA is still in Turkey as a street cat not a purebred cat. It is not and never was a purebred, pedigree cat in Turkey. The West made this cat a ‘cat breed’ and in doing so changed its appearance and genotype”.

    This is truth, thanks for including these sentences in this article.

    Anybody who wants to know more about the Turkish/Anatolian cats you may want to check our webpage to be completed soon:

    or email us: info@turkishangoracat.org

    Note: We don’t breed Angora cats, we are not affiliated with any organizations and we don’t make any money from doing a research about our native and natural cat breed.

    • Thank you very much for your welcome comment. I wrote this page about 4 and a half years ago! I know a lot more about the fantastic Turkish Angora now. You guys are the Turkish Angora experts :) Whatever you say, I take on board and agree with.

      When Helmi says a certain cat is an excellent example of a Turkish Angora she means from the viewpoint of the American cat fancy. I know that is a divergence from the true Turkish Angora but for them it is the sort of cat that is the Turkish Angora.

  2. We would like to thank you for your support once again, dear Micheal!

    ”You guys are the Turkish Angora experts :)”

    Thank you, we try to live up to this :)

    Keep up the good work!

    Kind Regards,

    The Angora Cat Association (ACA), TURKEY

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  5. I have a female cat that I have believed to be a Turkish Angora for some time. She fits all the stereotypical signs of one. She’s delicately boned–probably weighing no more than 5 lbs, insanely sweet and her coat is silky smooth. The only thing is, she’s colored as a Turkish Van would be. She has 2 black patches on her head, 2 black patches on either side of her torso, and a black tail with the rest of her being white. Is it possible that she’s still a Turkish Angora? I mean, what breed she is doesn’t really matter, I love her to pieces anyway, but for curiosity’s sake. I’m just interested. If anyone can offer and opinion, I would appreciate it!

  6. Hi Andrea. Your description of a delicately-boned cat fits the type of a an American “Angora” not the original native Turkish Angora which when adult is quite sturdily built with smallish widely spaced ears. The traditional Turkish Angora fits the bill for the cat fancy Turkish van also a western creation. The van pattern has nothing to do with breed identification. This is an expression of the spotting gene which can be found in many non-Turkish cats too. So fat we have foiund no evidence that in Turkey there are 2 different breeds the angora and the van and colour has nothing to do with ot. The Turks like to think the all-white Turkish Van or in Turkish the Van kedisi is a different breed from the Angora but are unable to distinguish between the 2 when set side by side! Many foundation Turkish Vans with the Van pattern have been imported into Europe but they test genetically identical to Turkish Angoras. Just enjoy you cat as it is. This website explains a lot about the Angora-Van controversy and other related breeds. http://www.turkishangoracat.org/arastirma.aspx?arastirmaId=1
    Best wishes

    • I am very pleased to have you around to explain the finer points of this tricky subject. Thanks a lot Harvey. It was nice of you to take the time to respond to this lady.

    • What picture would you like to use? Remember that a lot of the pictures are by Helmi Flick. These are copyright protected. Most of the others are published her under a creative commons license.

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