Turkish Angora Cat

Turkish Angora Cat

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Turkish Angora Cat – photo of Safira © copyright Helmi Flick

The page is in sections for tech reasons. Links to next section at base.

  • Click Turkish Angora Quick Guide for an overview.
  • Read a page about the TRUE Turkish Angora that looks like a traditional Persian (click here)! The US breed Turkish Angora is not true to the original


This breed of cat is related, it seems, to the Turkish Van and it certainly has an equally distinguished and long history that marks this cat, and the Turkish Van, out from most other purebred cats (the Chartreux being an exception). Were the Turkish Van and Turkish Angora one and the same breed once upon a time?

This is a natural breed, therefore. Of course, the breed’s naturalness would only extend to the time, in the early and mid-20th century, the early years of the cat fancy, when people got involved and started breeding the cat. This cat breed has been described as a “living legend”. By ‘natural’ the cat fancy means that that it developed naturally without human intervention. This is an interesting topic because the TA is still in Turkey as a street cat not a purebred cat. It is not and never was a purebred, pedigree cat in Turkey. The West made this cat a ‘cat breed’ and in doing so changed its appearance and genotype. The exact same thing can be said about all the natural breeds. Another example is the Norwegian Forest Cat.

The history is outlined in tabular form below. The Turkish Angora can be traced back to the 14th century and had evolved in an area called Anatolia. Anatolia is centered by Turkey (see map below – Anatolia is marked in red). It was imported into France in the 16th century. The breed was originally called the Ankara Cat.


{This file is in the public domain because it was created by NASA. It has been modified by en:User:Denizz (drawn a rectangle around Anatolia) and by me (cropped the image to fit this page)

There is a possibility that the Turkish Angora evolved from the Manul cat (Felis manul) or Pallas’s Cat, which was a pet of the Tartars. Also, the breed possibly evolved in mountainous regions, hence the semi-longhaired coat. It may in fact have evolved in Russia initially.

There was a certain amount of confusion, in that the word “Angora” was originally used during the early years of the cat fancy to mean a long-haired cat (see Angora cat). The terms “Angora and Persian were used interchangeably”.

Turkish Angora CatTurkish Angora Cat
Photos of Nightingale on left and Paolo on right © copyright Helmi Flick. Helmi says that Paolo is a good example of a “Turk”. Click on these photos to see larger versions.

14 thoughts on “Turkish Angora Cat”

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  1. Hi Andrea. Your description of a delicately-boned cat fits the type of a an American “Angora” not the original native Turkish Angora which when adult is quite sturdily built with smallish widely spaced ears. The traditional Turkish Angora fits the bill for the cat fancy Turkish van also a western creation. The van pattern has nothing to do with breed identification. This is an expression of the spotting gene which can be found in many non-Turkish cats too. So fat we have foiund no evidence that in Turkey there are 2 different breeds the angora and the van and colour has nothing to do with ot. The Turks like to think the all-white Turkish Van or in Turkish the Van kedisi is a different breed from the Angora but are unable to distinguish between the 2 when set side by side! Many foundation Turkish Vans with the Van pattern have been imported into Europe but they test genetically identical to Turkish Angoras. Just enjoy you cat as it is. This website explains a lot about the Angora-Van controversy and other related breeds.
    Best wishes

    • I am very pleased to have you around to explain the finer points of this tricky subject. Thanks a lot Harvey. It was nice of you to take the time to respond to this lady.

  2. I have a female cat that I have believed to be a Turkish Angora for some time. She fits all the stereotypical signs of one. She’s delicately boned–probably weighing no more than 5 lbs, insanely sweet and her coat is silky smooth. The only thing is, she’s colored as a Turkish Van would be. She has 2 black patches on her head, 2 black patches on either side of her torso, and a black tail with the rest of her being white. Is it possible that she’s still a Turkish Angora? I mean, what breed she is doesn’t really matter, I love her to pieces anyway, but for curiosity’s sake. I’m just interested. If anyone can offer and opinion, I would appreciate it!

  3. We would like to thank you for your support once again, dear Micheal!

    ”You guys are the Turkish Angora experts :)”

    Thank you, we try to live up to this 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

    Kind Regards,

    The Angora Cat Association (ACA), TURKEY

  4. Hello, Michael!

    This article still contains many mistakes… Of course we understand you made an article from what was available. Seeing how many falsehoods and wrongs are written about our native cat breed, we The Angora Cat Association, started to do a serious research investigating every claim. We rely on science and logic – things almost non existent in cat fancy.

    ”Safira is an excellent example of a “Turk” so says Helmi.”
    Let’s tell this to our Angoras living in Turkey! It seems they are not ”Turk” if that cat is an ”excellent example”.

    ”This is an interesting topic because the TA is still in Turkey as a street cat not a purebred cat. It is not and never was a purebred, pedigree cat in Turkey. The West made this cat a ‘cat breed’ and in doing so changed its appearance and genotype”.

    This is truth, thanks for including these sentences in this article.

    Anybody who wants to know more about the Turkish/Anatolian cats you may want to check our webpage to be completed soon:

    or email us: info@turkishangoracat.org

    Note: We don’t breed Angora cats, we are not affiliated with any organizations and we don’t make any money from doing a research about our native and natural cat breed.

    • Thank you very much for your welcome comment. I wrote this page about 4 and a half years ago! I know a lot more about the fantastic Turkish Angora now. You guys are the Turkish Angora experts 🙂 Whatever you say, I take on board and agree with.

      When Helmi says a certain cat is an excellent example of a Turkish Angora she means from the viewpoint of the American cat fancy. I know that is a divergence from the true Turkish Angora but for them it is the sort of cat that is the Turkish Angora.


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