HomeCat BreedsTurkish VanThe Real Turkish Van Cat


The Real Turkish Van Cat — 19 Comments

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  3. Thank you Michael.

    We also try slowly introduce another term. I was suggested to call random bred cats as ”freeborn”. I like this term a lot of more. Aren’t random bred cats born freely without being controlled by humans? Moggie does not offer this exact meaning. Moggie is just about any cat without pedigree, I don’t think that all cats without pedigrees are random bred! Moggie could describe crossbreeds between established breeds, but not random bred cats which are not mix of breeds but representatives of naturally developed populations!

    What do you think?

    • Thanks Marc. The Angora Cat Association are excellent. They confirm what I have worked out for myself. The Turkish Van is a cat fancy creation dressed up as a “natural cat breed”. There are no longer any natural cat breeds other than the real thing – the moggies – living in the places where they came from.

      • Dear Michael,

        I doubt a word ”moggie” is best to describe random bred cats. We have random bred cats and controlled breeding (man made breeds). Every so called moggie is a representative of population of cats found in certain geographical location. They are not mixed, ”impure”, street cats. They are founders of ALL cat breeds! Forgive me for being harsh, but”Moggie” is a racist myth perpetuated by the cat fancy. This is not what genetics is teaching us!

        • Thank you very much for your advice. What would you call random bred cats? I am happy to change the words. People have trouble understanding what “random bred” means or “mixed bred” means but “moggie” is well known and understood (I hope).

        • I get your point. It could be seen as derogatory. The thing is that a lot of people see the word as friendly, charming and nice and they understand what it means. But that said, I understand your concerns. I’ll stop using the word.

  4. Hi Michael.

    Ref.- “What you are saying (as I interpret it) is that the American breeders re-write the history of the breed! It is as simple as that. It is bit like Russia and Stalin etc.”

    No they are not re-writing the history of the breed. That history remains the same and is repeated ad nauseum. The history of the breeds has been allocated to cats which are impostors because of illegal and unreported out-crossing. People only assume that the cats have remained the same but genetics prove otherwise.

    “So cat fancy Vans are not Turkish Vans but an invention of the cat fancy?”

    Not really an invention. Just an example of dishonesty and non-compliance with their association’s rules which say ” No out-crosses are allowed”.
    I think It’s more shameful and potentially divisive than confusing.

    There are those who cling to that rubbish because they can’t understand the science and others who know it is rubbish. The former defend their position by repeating what other people say and by waving a piece of paper in the air, and others who have 100% scientific proof. The 2 opposing group of course come into conflict. I.E. Dishonesty begets conflict. It’s an old story and does conjure up pictures of the USSR and China who’s agenda was and is based on lies and propaganda.( incorrect registration data and fairy stories respectively in the case of the cat fancy.).

    • Thanks Harvey. Appreciated. As I see it, the trouble is that when you read the history of the TV and TA you invariably read what the cat fancy has disseminated because it is mainstream and accepted. People repeat it and have no idea about the real stuff. In effect it is rewriting cat breed history.

  5. One of the main obstacles to understanding differences or similarities between cats especially Turkish cats are the cat fancy “scientists”. When they find a particular genetic marker they can allocate it any name at all in accordance with pre-conceptions and other influences.
    The multiple breed markers obtained from pedigree Turkish Vans (American Vans) became the SINGLE genetic marker for the breed. The same situation for the Turkish Angoras.
    For example sample No 9575 from the Ankara Zoo was identified as having only 18.32% of Turkish Angora markers but 73.14% of the Cyprus group. Since the cat fancy TA markers are made up of at least 5 West European and American breeds plus the Siamese and Korat it is pretty meaningless except to prove their non-Turkish origins. It is useless because it does not define what percentage of those breeds is involved in any given sample. Is the Ankara Zoo cat 18.2% Siamese, 18.2% Persian, or 2.6% each of those 7 breeds?
    Another is sample No 13558 registered as a Turkish Van in Holland with only 1.9% of the cat fancy Turkish Van marker, 21% so-called TA, but 76.77% of the Cyprus group. This indicates some mixing of the original Turkish cat with cat fancy Vans/Angoras.
    These are only 2 examples, I have details of several more, which show very clearly the sparsity to non-existence of the cat fancy Turkish Van genes in true Turkish cats. It shows that the main genetic marker for all Turkish cats is the same and the Turkish Van/Van kedisi does not exist as a separate breed in Turkey. They are all Turkish Angoras genetically identifiable as Anatolian E Mediterranean. This genetic marker can be as high as 98% for cats in Cyprus and one sample from Oraniye, Marmaris, Turkey is 98.42% Cyprus group. Of course the obfuscated term Cyprus group used in the unpublished 2012 Turkish Cats Genetics Study clearly means Ankara kedisi/legitimate Turkish Angora .
    The updated Tangled Tale of the Turkish Angora & Turkish Van covers the matter of Angora/Van subject in greater detail than before as well as shedding light on Laura Lushington’s Vans none of which actually came from Van.

    • The multiple breed markers obtained from pedigree Turkish Vans (American Vans) became the SINGLE genetic marker for the breed. The same situation for the Turkish Angoras.

      What you are saying (as I interpret it) is that the American breeders re-write the history of the breed! It is as simple as that. It is bit like Russian and Stalin etc.

      the sparsity to non-existence of the cat fancy Turkish Van genes in true Turkish cats…

      So cat fancy Vans are not Turkish Vans but an invention of the cat fancy?

      For me this is the cat fancy being irresponsible and creating new breeds and huge confusion for the public and even their members about a very important cat, perhaps the most important domestic cat in the world, the Turkish cat.

  6. Michael,

    To be honest I don’t like to point out mistakes in your writing. I am afraid you will accuse me of ”nagging” soon 🙂

    We really enjoyed your post and very pleased you have found time to write this article!
    Your opinions and observations are interesting.
    If not your inspiring article https://pictures-of-cats.org/were-the-turkish-angora-and-turkish-van-the-same-cat.html you wrote a few years ago, who knows maybe even today we could think that the Angora and Van were different cat breeds not only in cat fancy but also in Turkey.
    You should know that this article was a starting point for our research.

    Thank you very much.

    Warm Regards from Turkey!

    • Please nag me! I happy to be nagged because it makes the article better and PoC better and it is good for the cat. I really welcome your input everytime.

      I would you to do an article about yourself – just ten lines, off the cuff (ten minutes work) with a photo. You can do it in a comment. I’d like you to tell me your job and so on. You may have told me but I need reminding.

      • Thanks, Michael.

        The articles are property of the Angora Cat Association, not be associated with particular individuals. This organization is made up of volunteers, which have jobs unrelated to cats. None of us are cat breeders, although very familiar with the cat fancy world. Talking about myself, I pursue a career in science (biochemistry). Logic, science and cats are my life!:)

        We are aware that our research angers cat fancy and other related businesses. And this is just the beginning. We clearly know that for being honest we will be hated so much, but that’s a price we have to pay!

        I added a picture of my two Angora cats. One is a kitten and that one with a”Van pattern” (in its summer coat, about 1 year old) acts as a mother to the little one 🙂 She could be a stereotypical Turkish Van! Ironically, she likes water and doesn’t mind to get wet! 🙂

  7. Michael,

    This is a great writing! Thanks a lot.

    I think some parts need to be clarified.

    CFA does not recognize a solid white Van, WCF and TİCA does.

    Just to let you know, the cover picture we and you used is from Animals magazine (1965) “The Swimming Cats of Van”.

    ”However, the TV and TA are still the same cat in Turkey or very similar. If there are differences in Turkey, it is likely to be due to slight regional variations.”

    They ARE the same cats. If you think they are a bit different, why not consider what EACH Turkish city/area has different cat populations? Why Van patterned cats? Maybe tabbies from one area are different too? You should look at the graph of random bred cats from Eastern Mediterranean – if cats in İsrael, Lebanon, Cyprus etc. have similar genetic make up to the cats from Turkey, as you guess there is no hope that specific ”Van cat”exists. Turkey is NOT isolated area – the genetic pool between one area and the other should be very similar. ”Turkish Van” is the same random bred cat as Angora. Not similar – SAME. We don’t account for individual differences (which do not correlate with color of fur!)- as there is a lot of variety out of here. Individual differences do NOT justify creation of breeds.

    Lastly, there is NO EVİDENCE that the Angora cats came from Ankara. It could be from any city, or from anywhere near to Anatolia. But I would suggest the Eastern Anatolia and Syria as places where the longhair cats as ”the Angora breed” could have originated.

    I can see it’s very hard to get rid of ”cat fancy oriented” type of thinking. Hearing lies for years make us want to justify them somehow. Lies sound ”more natural” to us and the contradicting information ”too controversial”.

    The cat fancy had and has NO effect on populations of cats in Turkey. We don’t have different breeds in each city or location. There is no biological basis for this – in order to become different, cats have to be isolated for a long time, often thousand of years. This is what happened for cats which moved from Near east to Asia. Thousand years later they formed a distinct population with some minor differences. I don’t see how this could be possible in ONE country like Turkey! I am sure many biologists would agree with that!

    Kind regards 🙂

    • Thank you very much. I am nervous writing about the TA and TV because I know you are going to correct me as I make quite bold statements. However, I made very few mistakes 😉 I was playing safe on the TA and TV being the same. I’ll amend that soon.

      Thanks a lot too for your excellent page on your website. First class work. It deserves more exposure, which is why I linked to it.

      I’ll also adjust the Ankara reference (to TA).

      I’ll credit the picture right now.

      As for the CFA I read “solid & white” as “solid white” ! Going blind.

      Many thanks again. I love the work that you do. Very honest, sensible and full of insights.

      Update: I have now made some adjustments to take into account your comment.

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