Two of Harvey’s Northern Cyprus rescue cats playing

This is a very brief video by Harvey from Northern Cyprus. It is a kind of snapshot. I asked him to send me some video material if he could because I like to see cats that live in countries other than the USA and UK.

Harvey writes this about the video:

[It is] an older video of two of my rescues Balkar and Feliz playing together and obviously very happy. The outstanding thing is to see that Balkar a nearly fully-grown male does not harm this small kitten in any way, whereas it is common knowledge that mature males can kill unrelated kittens. Perhaps that applies only to newborns but Feliz arrived when she was barely 6 weeks old and Balkar accepted her as family right away.

If there is one notable thing about the cats, for me (and I may have a distorted idea about Mediterranean cats), it is that they are typical of Southern European cats. They have what I call the Van pattern or a slight variation on it. This is an inverted “V” of usually tabby colour over the forehead, a mainly white body and a solid or tabby tail. Orange and black solid or tabby colours feature frequently where there are colour blobs in the mainly white coat.

The cats are usually quite slender by Northern European or America standards except for the deliberately super slender pedigree cats.

All these features are Mediterranean (warm climate) domestic cat evolutions over 10,000 years. That is the way I see it. The coat type is very far removed from the wildcat.

You’ll also see the classic tabby in Turkey. This is the cat that looks like the domestic cat’s wildcat ancestor.

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Two of Harvey’s Northern Cyprus rescue cats playing — 15 Comments

  1. I feel like these cats are truly exotic because of their local and their ancestry. I too love to see cats from other countries. I think of the Cheshire cat when I see a British Shorthair. I think of the ‘waving cat’ when I see a Japanese Bobtail. I have seen several friezes, a few sculptures and paintings of from in Mesopotamia,Greek and Roman cultures. (I wish I looked for them online without any luck.) I even wrote a short essay on how cats replaced the weasel as the chosen killer of vermin in Rome. All of these small glimpses into ancient cats made me think of here and our discussions on the Fertile Crescent. These cats are NATURAL breed of ANCIENT date! I love it.

    Thanks Harvey and Michael. Five more weeks and a short break before I finally start computer classes in January! Will be taking World History II as well. I am devouring any tidbit of cat related history I can find.

    • Hi Dan, I agree that these cats are nearer the original domestic cats than cats in other parts of the world because the first domestic cats were were in these places and the oldest skeleton of a domestic cat was found in Cyprus as you know. There is a naturalness about them that I like. It is like looking at cat history.

      You’re doing computer classes? Tell me about that. What is the plan?

      • I’m working toward an AA in Web Design and Development and then a BS in Web Development. I had to work through some foundation classes before I got to the good stuff. Taking Intro to Graphic Design and Intro to Computer Programming first. Will be taking on a larger load the next semester I think. Only doing 4 classes this next semester Will add in biology as a minor when it comes online next year (I hope). Although I would love to learn about genetics now. We have some natural sciences stuff coming too I hope. Love the work and anxious to get to it! Thanks for asking.

  2. Here is my short essay:

    Ancient Rome (and Greece) used weasels instead of cats to catch vermin. Cats were kept sporadically as house pets until Palladius (350AD) recommended that cats be used for catching moles in artichoke beds. The names gatta and cattus both derived from the Romans. There is a ton of art, poetry and architecture based on the feline. Gregory the Great and others spoke about holding them in ones laps, domesticating them and how lazy they were! (source: *.html)

    I am a huge cat lover. I think that ancient Romans had a problem judging whether the cat was wild or domesticated. I see the same thing in the world today. Our cats sleep on our laps and cuddle against us while we sleep, yet they are apt to bring dead birds and leave them at our front door; a paradox. I too appreciate good cat art, pictures, literature, poems and song. Not to mention lolcats, cat pictures and videos. Let’s face it, cats haven’t changed much in 1700 years, but our appreciation for them has.

    • I think that ancient Romans had a problem judging whether the cat was wild or domesticated. I see the same thing in the world today

      This is a good observation, Dan. Cats have retained their wild character. Domestication means that they get along with us and other companion animals. However, the wild cat in them is always a whisker away. Cats are different to dogs in this way. Dogs seem to me to be further from their wild origins (the wolf). This may be because dogs have been domesticated longer and also because they are pack animals and are more likely to look to their owner for leadership (submissive to owner). Although domestic cats are sociable they retain that independent spirit that comes from their wildcat ancestor who is a solitary animal.

    • Wow Dan – what a great load of information and ideas. Very interesting. Weasels. I’m picturing something that looks like a Ferret but I’ll have to google it 🙂

  3. Hi Michael. It’s not really accurate to call these cats ” Southern European”. Even the term Mediterranean does not stand up to scrutiny. In actual fact the Mediterranean is the meeting place between two genetically distinct groups of cats. Southern European cats from Spain to Greece belong to the West European group. At the Dardanelles/Istanbul, an abrupt change takes place. Cats east of this point belong to the distinct group usually referred to as the East Mediterranean group but I think the term Anatolian is better. The cats of Greece maybe a mix of the 2 types but DNA sampling of random-bred Istanbul cats show very little European influence. A UC Davis document published by Patentscope shows that the cats of Turkey, and Cyprus, are identical. The cats of Lebanon and Israel I are a closely related E Mediterranean sub-group. The cats of Cairo are Turkish and Israeli which seem to have kept their separate identities. Egypt.Asuit, Egypt Luxor, and Egypt Abu-Simbel are very pure Turkish cats. ‘There is also some influence from Kenya Pate and Lamu and Iran in Egyptian cats. cats, but the high percentage of Turkish cats in Egypt is very interesting.
    Since the cats of Turkey show little influence from surrounding areas it is more likely that Anatolia is the site of cat domestication. Egyptian cats are comprised of cats from surrounding areas and Turkey which tends to indicate that cats came to Egypt from several different sources, and not from Egypt to other areas.
    The cats from other countries of North Africa remain a mystery through lack of data except for Tunisia which are W European.
    Balkar and Feliz are the Turkish Anatolian type. When young they appear slim but their morphology changes dramatically when adult and they become robust and heavy.
    Feliz can quickly reach 4.5 kg and strict diet control is needed. Balkar is now about 6 kg and very sturdy.
    Male long-haired cats in Cyprus can reach 9 kg but the average is about 5.5- 6 kg, see attachment.
    The cat fancy description of the Turkish Angora as a slim delicately-built cat is rubbished by the genuine Angoras of Turkey.
    The spotting gene is very common in Turkish cats which would give rise to the “Van” pattern. But this pattern occurs all over Turkey and elsewhere which makes this term and the breed Turkish Van inappropriate and misleading.

    • Harvey – your cats are always beautiful and so very alive – it’s so nice to see them in videos 🙂 – and photos… You really live in what I would call a paradise, not only because of the climate but because of the vegetation and you location with that beautiful view of the small mountains.

      I think one day I’d like to be in your situation 🙂 You know so much about your cats too – I would just love it so much if you would write a book or article that got around enough to give TICA(? the cat associations with the wrong ideas about breeds is who I mean) a run for their money. It makes me sad that they are who people look to for information yet they are on another planet in terms of reality and the origin of cat breeds. If only….

  4. That was lovely, short and sweet, it’s so nice to see cats playing together, Balkar must be a gentleman of the cat world to play so gently with baby Feliz.

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