As Sarah Hartwell aptly describes it, this is a tangled tale. The Angora and Persian histories are intertwined. The Angora Cat Association in Ankara, Turkey are annoyed because the original and genuine Turkish Angora (called the ‘Angora’ by them) has been lost in the scramble by American breeders to create their own version of the breed which, due to years of selective breeding, bears no resemblance to the original in Turkey.
The cat fancy’s use (and abuse?) of the Angora began in the early 1900s when the breed was used to help create the Persian and then forgotten by Frances Simpson, the doyen of the cat fancy at the time. She said:
“In classing all long-haired cats as Persians I may be wrong, but the distinctions, apparently with hardly any difference, between Angoras and Persians are of so fine a nature that I must be pardoned if I ignore the class of cat commonly called Angora, which seems gradually to have disappeared from our midst. Certainly there is no special classification given for Angoras, and in response to many inquiries from animal fanciers I have never been able to obtain any definite information as to the difference between a Persian and an Angora cat. Mr Harrison Weir, in his book on cats, states that the Angora differs somewhat from the Persian in that the head is rather smaller and ears larger, fur more silky with a tendency to woolliness.”
The genotype of the American Turkish Angora is completely scrambled and entirely different to that of the genuine article in Turkey. Apparently, the American Turkish Angora is closer to the Egyptian Mau than the original Angora ??. That shows you how scrambled it has become. This surprises me because the cat fancy often refers to the history of the breeds as a way to add to their status. The history of a cat breed is important because it’s about their creation. It’s a great shame, therefore, that the American cat fancy, in my opinion, screwed up so badly with respect to the Turkish Angora. It should be said that the original and genuine Angora in Turkey is a better-looking cat in any case.
Below are two articles which may interest you.
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