The distinguished and important cat breed, the Turkish Angora, has been hijacked not once but twice. While the real Turkish Angora resides in Turkey the American cat fancy has created a new cat and given it the name “Turkish Angora”. It is not even a good replica of the original. It neither looks like the original nor has the same DNA as the original2. Yet, it has the same name. I have called this a “theft”. It is a theft of the name and what the name represents. It is a bit like stealing a trademark in the business sense.

The “new model” seems to correspond with what the American cat fancy calls “refined” which in this case appears to mean thinner. “Refined” means anything other than the original appearance because the original is too “ordinary”.

Photo of American Turkish Angora is copyright Helmi Flick. The real Turkish Angora photo is copyright Angora Cat Association, Turkey (ACA). Please don’t steal them……

The other hijacking of the name “Turkish Angora” is by the creators of a new breed of cat, the “Cyprus Aphrodite Giant”. This cat has been accepted and registered by the World Cat Federation (WCF), a European cat association. It has the same “genetic heritage” as the Turkish Angora and is identical to the “the true Turkish Van”1 but is called something else. This is a shoddy way to proceed.

In America, scientific research, using DNA testing into the genetic history of the cat breeds and their origins has fudged the differences between the “created” cat that Sarah Hartwell renames the “American Angora” and the real Turkish Angora. The reason? To rewrite the history of the breed and legitimise the new creation making it THE Turkish Angora, when it most definitely is not.

It seems that the scientists found genuine Turkish Angoras difficult to group and classify because they failed to fit in with their preconceived ideas of what the Turkish Angora should be, namely, the American version of the real thing.

A DNA sample from an Ankara Zoo cat named Minos, numbered 9575 in the 2012 Turkish Cat Genetics Study by L Lyons, et al, was found to be 74% pure Turkish Angora (Ankara kedisi) but obfuscated as a Cyprus Group cat. Unintelligibly, Lyons stated that this cat was difficult to group “because it has significant markers from several breeds”, but fails to explain why other cats some with less than 2% of the same Ankara kedisi marker were placed squarely in the Turkish Angora group. The answer is very simple. The Ankara kedisi marker do not correspond to her assumption that the American “Angora” fabrication is the legitimate Angora from the Zoo and cats with this marker were conveniently shunted into the Cyprus group. Other samples from the Ankara Zoo were likewise excluded as well as many cats from Turkey and Cyprus with very a high Ankara kedisi identification. You can read about them and an overall critique of this seriously flawed study on Sarah Hartwell’s site.

In the Lyons study under the heading “Materials and Methods”, the scientists write:

“…We obtained DNA samples of most breeds at cat shows and by request from cat owners in the United States. Korat, Turkish Angora, Turkish Van, and Siberian samples were acquired from the United States and Europe because these breeds have the same standards between continents…”

Am I missing something? Why didn’t they obtain DNA samples from Ankara Zoo in Turkey? I would like to hear from Harvey Harrison and the Angora Cat Association in Turkey on that subject, please. The reason may be a simple one; the scientists are stupid.

This is a difficult subject made all the more difficult when science appears to work with the cat fancy (deliberately or inadvertently) rather than in a totally objective way. I have to conclude, and I think it fair to say, that the cat fancy in America and probably elsewhere have not been faithful to the authenticity of the cat breeds. The cat fancy likes to use cat breed history to promote the cat breeds, especially the so called “natural breeds” but conveniently rewrites it. This creates what I have called the cat breed mashup.

People who care about cats would like to see clarity, accuracy and fair play in respect of the cat breeds. We need to be able to understand them better. When the breeds are mashed up in this fashion it dulls our enthusiasm for the breeds. This is bad management by the associations. In the long term it will work against them. It is also very unfair to the good people of the Angora Cat Association, Turkey (ACA), who look after the real and precious Turkish Angora.

Note: This is a tricky subject. I like accuracy and fair play. If I have made a mistake please tell me and I will amend it promptly.


  1. Reference: Sarah Hartwell’s
  2. There are very minor similarities.
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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • "Why didn’t they obtain DNA samples from Ankara Zoo in Turkey?"

    Thank you all who published their comments here! DNA testing is the only respectful prove to find out the origin, in our case, of cats. Unless we receive explanations from Dr. Lyons concerning your above question, we may only offer our suggestions. Can anyone here answer the following questions: Is there any standard of Ankara Kedi officially adopted by Ankara Zoo? Is the data of breeding registries of Ankara Zoo anywhere officially published, if there are any breeding registries there? What is an official standard of Van Kedi of any Turkish cat fancy club or other organization? If you or others may reply here, it will be helpful for all parties interested.

    • Hi Zara, I would contact the person who made this comment (click on the link please). They are the experts on the Turkish Angora in Turkey. You might get a response from them if you reply to their comment.

      There are US Turkish Angora breed standards of course. You'll see them on the CFA and TICA websites. But as mentioned these standards are inventions by the US cat fancy and bear no resemblance to the real Turkish Angora.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  • Thanks Michael. She is also a nice cat with comical and cute ways. She rolls on her side, licks her paws, and makes gurgling sounds when approached. Not bad for a cat that had a bad start in life in a Zoo.

  • Just a couple of points to clarify some of L Lyon's goofs. She states
    ”Similarly, breeds such as Siberians, a new breed, and Turkish Angoras, tend to resemble the random bred street cats of their populations of origin, Russia and Turkey, respectively”
    But no samples of street cat samples were ever submitted from Russia, and random-bred street cats from Turkey as per the phylogenetic tree in the published Ascent of the Cat Breeds, DO NOT show this claimed resemblance. L Lyons science is about as credible as Pres. Bush's proof of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. She can't remember what she wrote from one moment to the next.


    I refer to the controversy over the origins of the Persian breed. Very careful and prolonged research will reveal links between the original Turkish Angora and the Persian in the early days of it's history. If this were the case then traces of this ancestry would still show up in the DNA of even the massively out-crossed modern Persian. We have seen the deliberate misnaming of the Ankara kedisi markers as "Cyprus" in the 2012 Turkish Cat Genetics Study in order to protect the integrity of the cat fancy created fake Turkish Angora, and therefore L Lyons would have had to look for the Cyprus marker in the Persians. Since she has completely left out the Ankara kedisi and Cyprus group cats in all her papers except for the unpublished 2012 study, a golden opportunity was lost. Only modern lines were reported which are quite damning enough but in so doing genetic evidence as to their ancient origins was stupidly squandered. Here is a photo of my Minos from the Ankara Zoo in her winter coat which shows where the Persian breed most probably originated.

    • Gorgeous cat by the way. A special cat. She looks like the original looked ;) I don't know why I believe that but she has an authentic look about her.

  • ”The samples from the clinics were provided by the Turkish collaborator -who is a co-author on the paper. Likely the clinic gave them to him and then they came to me. The study is many many years old now”.
    We asked:"
    This statement from L Lyons provides more revealing information than is apparent at first glance. "The study is many many yeas old now". This then suggests that there were no new samples from the Turkish collaborator for the 2012 Study. The samples from this one batch and supplier were apparently used in the 2005. 2007, and 2012 studies. Therefore the same samples were variously described as Turkish random-bred cats unrelated to the American Angora described as a Tunisian-E Mau mix in the earlier studies, but then identified as Turkish random-bred cats closely related to American Angoras in the 2012 study. This arrant nonsense gave rise to the ridiculous suggestion by Monica Lipinski that the Ankara Zoo authorities stocked the Ankara Zoo program with cats that had wandered to Turkey from Egypt and Tunisia. Later attempts to justify these contradictory results hold no water and are clearly irrational. The fact of tghe matter is that science was manipulated and laboratory samples juggled and misnamed to authenticated a fake as a genuine product.
    Analysis of these studies reveals much misconduct, shabby work, and poor thinking. Only the ignorant and those with ulterior motives find them convincing and factual.

  • ""We asked:
    ”When looking at the sample list we saw a number 9575 and next to this it
    was written ”import Ankara Zoo”.* *One sample statistically may not be
    the most significant, however it was shown that this sample has major
    influence from Cyprus. We are very surprised by this, because Ankara Zoo
    never imported its cats from Cyprus, but all of them came from Ankara streets*..”
    Lyons replied:
    ”The sample was sent to me and listed as from Ankara zoo. If others have not told the truth when submitting samples – I am not responsible. The study is only as truthful as those who sent samples”.""
    You can see here that L Lyon's infers that the Ankara Zoo sample is falsified despite being submitted with the original documentation from the Ankara Zoo. Of course she will have conveniently forgotten about that pesky documentation but this is also a measure of her poor memory and thinking abilities. These deficiencies show up throughout the whole of her studies. Interestingly she has no qualms about accepting many many samples as legitimate without any corroborative documents and even from non-existent Veterinary clinics. Only samples from the Ankara Zoo and Turkish sources need 100% waterproof testimony. , but of course this is so that samples of genuine Turkish Angoras are effectively filtered out of the studies. What a horrible mind she has.
    Much to the chagrin of all the parties involved in this atrocious so-called scientific study, the truth is being told and it is encouraging to see that our observations are being upheld by respected experts in the field. In stark contrast much time and energy has been wasted on trying to convince a horde of mindless bigoted American and European fake Angora breeders by means of logic and the scientific principal, to no avail. I did my best to explain everything clearly but the fact remains. You cannot teach a donkey to do much more than eat straw and bray.

  • Please understand that the real Turkish Angora isn't a concern of the (American) Turkish Angora breeders only. It also effects other cat breeds made from the real Angora: Turkish Van and Aphrodite Giants. As well, a false breed Van Kedisi, ''protected'' by Turkish government in Van University.

    No one really benefits from the real Turkish Angora... It's a ''street'' cat found everywhere in Turkey, as well in Cyprus and some other neighboring countries.

    Cat fancy, especially CFA, TİCA which were part of L. A Lyons genetic studies do not want us to know the truth. Cat fancy benefits from the racism of Anatolian cats. And the scientists, like Leslie Lyons just tries protect this establishment.

    A well designed genetic study would be a really important step, however it's difficult to find who would be willing to conduct such a study. The Pennsylvania University agreed to do the study only if we get it funded. On the other hand who would fund such a controversial study?
    Nobody wants to upset cat fancy...for some reason...
    Science should lead us to truth not to be used to for someone's vested interests... But..

    • Science should lead us to truth..

      I think that when science leads us to an untruth we are lost. Science should be hard, immutable fact. It is not in the world of cats.

      I don't think the genuineness of a cat breed is a concern of the cat fancy. The cat fancy is not about truth or history or being faithful to the origin of cat breeds or cat types.

      It is about a group of people who like to play around with creating what they think are good looking cats. That is it. Nothing else really matters.

  • First, dear Michael, thank you very much for writing this article. We didn't see when it was published, so our comments may be late.

    Thank you, Harvey Harrison for sharing all this important information which will be a good addition to the article.

    Harvey Harrison was involved in Leslie A. Lyons studies since the beginning. If not he I don't think we would know about this horrible scientific misconduct.

    We are thankful for Sarah Harwell as well, who agreed to look at this matter seriously and published her conclusions about the Lyons studies in her website.

    Valley Girl, as we understood you are a scientist. Many good points, thank you for trying to explain the motives of scientists who choose falsify their studies..

    Lyons, in 2012 January unpublished study claimed:''The (American)Turkish Angora breed contains the most representative cats of Turkey'', although the data from 2007 published study completely disagrees with this interpretation where the American Angora is linked to Tunisian cats and Egyptian Mau - breeds which mainly originated from European random bred cats...

    The another study '''Variation of cats under domestication: genetic assignment of domestic cats to breeds and worldwide random-bred populations'' reveals that the American Angora is closer to Western (Europeanean,American) random bred cats and the genuine Turkish imports were ''assigned to the Eastern Mediterranean (group)'' and ''STRs
    alone can differentiate about 24 of 29 breeds, in addition to
    Turkish- versus USA-originating Turkish Angoras.
    The paper however is written in the way that those sentences would be remain invisible fora a reader. Only carefully reading every sentence, one may notice these very important conclusions.

    And in the latest study Lyons & co loose their memory:
    ''Similarly, breeds such as Siberians, a new breed, and Turkish Angoras, tend to resemble the random bred street cats of their populations of origin, Russia and Turkey, respectively''

    Turkish random bred cats were not used in this study but from phylogenetic tree (figure 2) we clearly see that American Angora and Siberian both are from Western Western random bred cats!

    And the list goes on and on... We have to publish an article about all of these mistakes and how the real Turkish Angoras was ignored in all of these genetic studies in order to satisfy CFA/TİCA cat breeders.

    We would like to share some emails from Leslie A Lyons sent to Harvey Harrison and us (Harvey I hope you don't mind).

    You may get a better impression what this geneticist is thinking...

    ''Sent: Tue, January 4, 2011 11:43:28 PM
    Subject: RE: Cyprus DNA samples Aphrodite, etc

    Hello Harvey and all,

    Sending to me emails that are just trashing other people and not offering other suggestions is not helpful.
    Note that you all want it for free.
    I will now make my own decisions on these samples based on what I know about cats in the region. (emphasis needed. L. A Lyons acts as breeds historian even when she has very little knowledge about this)

    I assume you four are working together and any other samples I have are not in your group.
    Thus, not all the samples will be run and I may not be selecting the samples you think most important.
    Best regards,
    Leslie A. Lyons, PhD
    Professor ''

    Another one. Harvey asks about the Ankara zoo cat sample:

    ''Date: Wednesday, January 4, 2012, 12:18 AM
    Sorry, forgot to attach.
    I can’t explain your cat.
    Best regards,
    Leslie ''

    We emailed Leslie Lyons personally and asked some questions about the study.

    We wrote: '' It was said from this report's notes that samples were sent from Yeşilköy, Istanbul and Doğuş veterinary clinics. We tried to contact them, these clinics told to us they didn't send any samples for any particular Angora and Van study. It's very strange, why would they deny sending samples?*''

    ''The samples from the clinics were provided by the Turkish collaborator -who is a co-author on the paper. Likely the clinic gave them to him and then they came to me. The study is many many years old now''.

    We asked:
    ''When looking at the sample list we saw a number 9575 and next to this it
    was written ''import Ankara Zoo''.* *One sample statistically may not be
    the most significant, however it was shown that this sample has major
    influence from Cyprus. We are very surprised by this, because Ankara Zoo
    never imported its cats from Cyprus, but all of them came from Ankara streets*..''

    Lyons replied:
    ''The sample was sent to me and listed as from Ankara zoo. If others have not told the truth when submitting samples - I am not responsible. The study is only as truthful as those who sent samples''.

    We asked: ''Are Cyprus cats distinct breed? We read the published study ''The ascent of cat breeds: Genetic evaluations of breeds and worldwide random-bred populations'' and didn't find anything about Cyprus cats...*
    We are very confused...

    Lyons replied:
    ''The Cyprus cats were part on an extended study that is now in the stream on being published''. (the extended study was never ever published anywhere. Due to wrong interpretations It could never ever pass peer review. And Lyons knows that).

    Lastly she refused our help to send the Ankara Zoo samples for the study (and never responded our emails again):
    ''I am sorry - your persistent doubting of my science does not impress me. I will no longer accept samples from you and other Turkish breeders. If I get samples from the zoo, it will be via the zoo directly.
    Leslie Lyons'' (8 June 2012 23:08)


    • I think you guys are great. The more I know about you and the more I read what you write, the more I appreciate you.

      You are a breath of fresh air. It is a pleasure to write about the Turkish Angora in a realistic way.

      I feel sad that the real Turkish Angora is sidelined and parked so to speak on a back lot out of the way.

  • Although L Lyons & Co seem to have the intention of scratching the backs of the cat fancy associations, who by the way are interconnected with the WINN Foundation, who provide much of the research funding, the outcome is detrimental to the reputation of all of those parties. There is obvious distortion and misinterpretation of scientific data for political and financial ends. This manipulation is so stupid and clumsy that it is obvious to any knowledgeable investigator and achieves the opposite result to that intended.

  • I submitted samples for both the 2007 and 2012 studies and so am in a position to see these irregularities. In 2007 several of my cats were described as unrepresentative of the Turkish Van breed and were a mix of Exotic SH , Scottish, Fold, Maine Coon, etc which is very hard to believe. The 2012 study gave totally contrasting results with their kittens to either back up or contradict the results. The usefulness of these studies hinges on my Minos of Angorarama a documented and verified Ankara Zoo Angora who's DNA matches that of other Turkish and hordes of Cyprus cats, but not that of the fake Angoras which are European "cuckoos". This point plus the details in the raw data blew apart L Lyons & Co's conclusions. Lyons did not grasp the importance my samples. Her conclusions are based on a few unverifiable and suspicious samples whereas verifiable data from trustworthy breeders was stupidly ignored, an inexcusable blunder that reduces the studies to junk status.

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