Harvey’s 37 Cats in North Cyprus
We are in Northern (Turkish) Cyprus (see map for location) today to have a look at some of Harvey Harrison’s 37 cats. Yes, he cares for 37 cats. That puts him in the top rank of cat carekers. No wonder he knows a lot about cats, especially Turkish Angoras. Dee, in Florida, sounds as if she cares for a similar number. Harvey is a regular contributor to PoC, as is Dee. Harvey owns the Angorarama Cattery, Mersin 10, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Firstly, I’d like to mention that it is important to me that PoC shows off cats from around the world. Websites can be accessed by almost anyone, anywhere. They should contain information and stories about cats everywhere and not be limited to Europe and the USA. Thank you Harvey for letting me create this page.
We know that Turkey is an important country in the world of cats because one of the founding domestic cats is the Turkish Angora. There is a woolly demarcation between two famous Turkish cat breeds: Turkish Angora and Turkish Vans. The Angora is the better know of the two. Are all 37 of Harvey’s cats Turkish Angoras? I reckon they are. Are all cats in Turkey either Angoras or Vans? I hope that Harvey will leave a comment on that.
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This is what Harvey says about his cats in response to my question, “how many cats do you care for?”
Harvey On His Cats
I have a video of my cats and kittens in my bedroom when they were at the growing up stage when socialisation is important.
I am a long way short of 600 [the number a Turkish lady keeps] but still I have too many. That conclusion is arrived at on account of not having much time left over for anything else. In total I have 37 cats.
However 8 live outside permanently and 7 are inside outside cats. 3 including my valuable Minos live in an outside enclosed patio, and there are 5 smelly toms in a purpose-built cattery with A/C. The cattery also houses Chulita my white short haired Anatolian with her neutered male kitten Arkos.
Arkos is better off inside permanently because he is over-excitable and soon gets into trouble. The first time I tried him outside he fell half-way down the side of a shallow ravine and I had to rescue him at some risk to myself. He is unhappy by himself but both he and his mother are clearly very happy together.
Interestingly the permanent outsiders rarely wander far and are usually within a short distance of the house. They have around 2,000 m2 of my own garden to romp around plus perhaps several square kilometres of olive and orange groves, bushes, woodlands, etc. (see photo) They are obviously satisfied with being close to home.
The remainder of the cats are inside the house distributed and separated according to a well-worked out plan. Needless to say these are the cats that have clean habits and get along well together. The house is 322 m2 so there is plenty of space for some cats.
Inside the house there are 3 intact tom-cats. Two of them are inside outsiders, but none of them mark their territory and only use their litter boxes. The 3rd tom, Karan (see photo), can only survive inside the house because he panics when he gets even just a short distance from his usual domain which is the kitchen. Recently he has been showing a little interest in the outside, just peeking out and I hope one day he will be confident enough to at least spend some time on the kitchen terrace. He is very affectionate and although highly strung is very nice with the other cats. This is a photo of him:
Two of my Angoras are booked to go to France on Oct 25th so that will be a little help. Orkide, probably my best ever Turkish Van kitten went recently to her for-ever home. Her mother Fatima never noticed!
….most of my indoors cats show no interest at all in going outside even with a door or window left open. This is just as well because my beautiful white cats would soon be snapped up by Turkish Angora/Van lovers.”
Note: Thanks again Harvey for telling us about your cats in Northern Cyprus. If you want me to change or add something, just say…Michael
Next year, 2018, The Veterinary Society of Turkey will hold a conference in Ankara. I am invited as a guest speaker to address the vexed matter of the western cat fancy’s appropriation of the terms Turkish Angora and Turkish Van for cats which are not true examples of the originals. May I use the term falsification? The President of the society has already visited me and my cats and the interviews and photos will be later aired on IzTV Turkish TV channel. The portrayal of Cyprus cats as a unique breed within the Mediterranean to concoct the new fake breed Aphrodite when in fact they are genetically identical to Turkish cats, will also be addressed. The cat fancy is not going to get away with their shenanigans.
@Michael Haigh. Sorry i didn’t see your post, or more likely did not get any notification. My concern is the conservation of the genetically pure “Vangoras” of the E Mediterranean/Anatolian grouping in the face of widespread falsification. Introducing new cats from unknown sources would be counter-productive no matter how nice. But of course the other problem is that I have too many already!. It shouldn’t be difficult to find homes for your cats.
We have three pure white kittens two femails and one male who appears to be a pure Van Cat with one blue eye and one amber eye. We have a number of other cats and this present litter of five is just too many for us.My question is, would you be interested in having any – or all of them – or know of any person who might be interested in having any. We are arranging for all of this litter, born April 14th, to be neutered about the middle of October.
What a lovely place to live and what beautiful cats!
It must be a full time job caring for them all, I didn’t realise you had as many cats either.
Harvey your cats are wonderful I love the picture of the Red and White kittens they really do look like a picture of health. Their territory looks fantastic all that land to explore I’ll bet you have a game getting them to come in I know I have enough with getting one cat in never mind 37!!
Ankara Kedisi Derneği Michael explained it pretty well, but from my point of view I don’t want to be accused of only being concerned with Turkish Angoras because most if not all cat people are convinced that there is the Turkish Van as well as the Angora. If I ask Agneta or any other “Van” breeder about their Angoras when they know them as Vans, they would just answer that they have no Angoras. End of conversation and no information given. One has to be practical and use the terms that have meaning to the person asked.
As a matter of fact there is a “Turkish Van” that is different from the Anatolian Turkish Angora, and that is the cat fancy “Van”, and also the cat fancy Turkish Angora for that matter.. You know what happens when we try to explain that to breeders.
The Turkish Angora cat conservation program in Ankara Zoo is a shame. White, deaf inbred cats, kept under terrible conditions. It would be better if this place would be closed. Sorry, but it’s truth.
I would like you to explain – in your words – why the Turkish Angora and the Turkish Van are the same cat and how one cat became two cats because of the cat fancy in the West.
If you have time please tell me. I can do it but it would not be as good as yours.
I think it’s a brilliant idea. I always wanted to write about this. Give me some little time and I can prepare a nice article on this topic 🙂
Great. You are the world’s best qualified person to write it. It will be a definitive article and no cat breeder in the West will be able to argue against it.
@Dee. Just a short comment on your posting of August 26, 2013. I have difficulty with the term breed when referring to the original Turkish Angora and Turkish Van. They are not bred by anyone. They are the product of nature and are the free-roaming, free-breeding cats of the E Mediterranean and Anatolia. The troubles began when the cat fancy got their hands on them and immediately started inbreeding and out-crossing so that there is little or no relationship between the cats of Turkey and the cat fancy “Turkish cats”, the latter now having lost their natural robust health. Please don’t confuse me with cat fancy breeders. A more applicable and accurate term would be conservationist.
Congratulations Harvey Harrison. Great article that gives us insight how you and your cats live in North Cyprus.
But one thing made us very sad.
Michael you still ask: ”Are all cats in Turkey either Angoras or Vans?” And then Harvey writes: ”Cyprus who cannot get it into their heads that a respectable proportion of those cats they regularly sweep up in the spaying and neutering campaigns are valuable and protected Turkish Angoras and Turkish Vans” Turkish and Turkish Angoras like two different breeds.
Harvey! You more than anybody else KNOW that Van is the same Angora. Even the DNA sample you sent ALL turned out Angoras. But you still continue mentioning Vans. I know you sell and register some of your Angoras as Vans and show them as such in cat shows. But let’s be honest and do not mislead the people please! Please know, you are not helping for the Angoras case making a separate cat with name ”Van”!
Ankara city is not likely a place where Angoras originated. Ankara does not have many examples of longhair cats in general the biggest population of Angoras are seen in Aegean coast and Istanbul. I recommend to look for the Angora cats there and don’t bother with Ankara. I myself rescued a couple of beautiful Angoras from Izmir. One of them fits to Van stereotype very well, she loves water, but we never had a thought it’s Van. All longhair cats in Turkey with Van pattern or not are Angoras!
Yes…I am pleased you raised that point. I have always said that Angoras are Vans. But I have to play safe when writing about them because it is a messed up area in the West. As you know people are convinced they are different cats in the West. The cat associations have made them different cats in the West.
I am sorry you were sad about it. I’ll see if I can do an article on that subject to make the point clear.
I wrote this article years ago. It is pretty crude but the question is a good one:
Was the Turkish Angora and Turkish Van the same cat?
Hi Rudolph. It also amazes me that the cats behave so well. I was pleased to see that when the 2 new Van patterned young toms went outside for the first time and met the outside gang of very big intact toms that absolutely nothing happened. That continues to this day. The Summers are very hot and the temperature in Winter can drop to zero. I have photos of snow and hail in Cyprus.
A better bet would be to visit Ankara. That is where the Turkish Angora cat conservation program is located. You can also see Angoras in the streets of Ankara. Other places of interest would be the Marmaris Rescue centre run by Jean Thirkill. There seem to be a lot of good Angoras in Izmir too but great cats can be found all over Turkey.
Hi Barbara. Thank you for your kind comments. The little one is called Sorpresa (Surprise) because she is an unplanned baby on account of one of her mother’s lightening fast escapes and frolic with another visitor a pure-white short haired Turkish Van usually referred-to as an Anatolian. She is very long-haired with a super bushy tail even in summer despite having a SH’d dad. She is lively and plays a bit rough but also affectionate. The “wild” dad, Kars, is now a permanent fixture outside the kitchen and hardly ever goes away for walkabouts now. When newly arrived he had no idea what stroking or petting was all about and acted defensively (see photo) but he is perfectly domesticated and gentle now and is mates with the other toms. Another great cat rescued from the surgeon’s knife.
Another impressive looking cat. You are surrounded by them. Interesting story too.
Hi Dee. You might be surprised that the calico, Risa, is the mother of the 3 red/white Van patterned kittens on the bed and in this attached photo. The sire is a walk-in gentle giant I call Muzaffer, which means Victorious. He seems to be quite old but he is a proud father now. His favourite perch during the heat of the day is up an olive tree next to the house. He keeps nice and cool there and also keeps an eye open for the arrival of goodies. What i dislike about breeders and their associations is their lack of regard for the truth and their disdain for natural or ordinary cats. The science of genetics has blown wide open their claim that their cats are pure-bred and special. They are fakes which they fob off on the public for big money.
This is an impressive photo of special looking cats. The kittens have a super Van-type pattern. Love these cats. You are surrounded by impressive cats. You must get used to it.
My Friend has a turkish Van and it loves water are these water cats. Susans cat will cry all night if it doesn’t have water in the tub Gizmo is his name and he has the color of the first kitten in this picture the yellow is a little lighter he is so sweet i just love him along with my cats
Hi Shirley. Thanks for sharing.
They say the Turkish Van likes water. Click on the following link to see the original Turkish Vans in water! The Real Turkish Van. The history of the Turkish Van though is not what the cat breeders say it is.
However, wild cat hybrids also like water. And individual cats of any type (moggies) might like water as well. It is not clear cut. The wild cat ancestor to the domestic cat, the North African wildcat is not a great lover of water but will go into water to get prey if it has to. Essentially the domestic cat is not a great lover of water but can swim OK and cope OK in water.
Beautiful cats, Harvey! I noticed the calico in the background right away!
I’m sure what you do is very fulfilling, and I realize that every region is different. Not to be a downer, but here in the U.S.., I abhor breeders. There are just too many wonderful mixes that need homes; and to generate any more cats, purebred or not, seems criminal to me.
I hope you understand.
I understand your point of view completely. It is a very difficult topic, which I struggle with. Harvey cares about cats very much. I am sure Harvey understands.
What I don’t struggle with, is your work and care helping cats, which I admire a lot.
Wow! Harvey I had no idea you had so many cats or where you live which looks absolutely gorgeous. I loved the video of the cats on your bed, and the little one who’s mum goes and gives him a wash. You must spend your entire days going from cat to cat and cleaning and feeding, you seem really well organised. Thanks for letting us have a peep into your world of cats.
Hi Marc. Thank you for your kind comments. Sometimes perhaps I don’t appreciate what a paradise I and my cats live in. The daily work load detracts from that. I don’t think that too many people realise what I am doing. It’s not just a matter of looking after a lot of cats. It’s more a matter of breed conservation in the face of general indifference and lack of understanding. There are several animal humane societies on Cyprus who cannot get it into their heads that a respectable proportion of those cats they regularly sweep up in the spaying and neutering campaigns are valuable and protected Turkish Angoras and Turkish Vans. The main culprits here are the cat fancy associations who have divided cats into only 3 general categories 1. The wild species, 2. Cat fancy pedigree cats, and 3 moggies.
They have no comprehension whatsoever regarding natural breeds which are very pure genetically but are born and live outside the artificial strictures of the cat fancy bureaucracy. As a result any cat found in the streets of Cyprus or Turkey are thus seen as a nothing and good only for sterilisation as a nuisance. The truth of the matter is that these “street cats” often prove to be genetically very pure, and their pedigree “pure-breds” an unauthorised mix of cats that are not even from the claimed country of origin of that breed. I hope my conservation work does something to address these problems.
Here is a photo of one such street cat which would have disappeared into the grinding mill of the humane rescue societies but for his good luck and my efforts.
I don’t think there are many people like you who see the value of moggies as purebred cats of better quality than cat association purebreds. It is very important work. The more I know cats, the more I become disenchanted with cat associations. I think we can do without formal cat breeds and cat associations.
The white street cat is stunning and very special.
What a beautiful white cat. He seems mysterious somehow, as if he knows some special secret or possesses a deep magic. Just my imagination at work, but he is just strikingly beautiful. I’m in awe of all your gorgeous cats.
Harvey ,have read your articles on “P.O.C” but didn’t realize you had these many cats and a palatial estate in Turkish Cyprus.As they say “You only live once in a life-time” and post voluntary retirement from sea-life spend my time touring a different Country every year,learning cultures and observing the cats.During my sea-faring years had passed across Istanbul numerous times and will definitely visit Istanbul some day to study the city and the famous Turkish Angora cat.Traditional Persian cats have developed from the “Turkish Angora” cat and the harmony of 37 cats living together amazes me. In my small flat in Mumbai at times my tomcat “Matata” fights with his Dam “Matahari” although he was raised as a kitten by her. He is not neutered and hence behaves this way occasionally.Hence i am surprised as to how 37 cats, among them a few non-neutered tomcats get along together without cat-fights ? Your passion is breeding and maintaining cats as a hobby, and few people have the money or the luck to lead your type of live.Excellent.
Wow Harvey – that’s just amazing. You live in a very beautiful place exactly the kind of place I dream of living one day. Your cats are beautiful – all of the ones I have seen photos of are stunning. I didn’t realize you had so many! Quite alot of work I can imagine! It’s a shame you can’t let them all out I suppose. But of course the tomcats have to be kept away from the ladies – I understand that.
Quite amazing – thank you for sharing. I just love the view in front of your house. This truly is a paradise for cats and I’m sure the climate is moderate even in the winter so it’s really very much of a paradise for cats – bearing in mind of course roads and bad humans. I would love to be in your situation one day with many cats. I would probably have neutered cats and let them all out but I’d have alot of them and I’d spend my days with them – one day I hope this will come true. Maybe a cat retirement home or something.
This land and climate and vegetation is really perfect – when I look at this photo and imagine myself sitting there on your veranda/balcony it gives me a feeling of great freedom. I really have to achieve this with my life, and get to a place like this – I’ve only got this life so I have to do it. It’s going to have to be far from the main road too! I’ll bet they are very happy cat snoozing in the shade of olive trees and patrolling at night. Heaven.