The Turkish Van is distinctive. It is not only eye-catching in looks,
but has great character and personality. Apart from being loyal, loving
and intelligent, it can also be very affectionate. However, its temperament
depends very much on its upbringing and the temperament of its mother
and cats with which it is reared.
Being a very active cat, it is rare to see one walking, or even on the
floor! Most Van cats have a love of heights and can often be found on
the highest point in a room, even if that means the top of a door. It
is a very agile cat and loves joining in games with balls or scraps of
paper, which it will retrieve endlessly. With such quick movements, these
cats can also wreak havoc amongst ornaments or in furnishings, and being
intelligent they can use this to their own advantage.
If allowed outside access, the Van cat can be an excellent hunter, and
has no respect for its white coat, often returning covered in debris from
the local pond or wood, together with trophies of various kinds, fishy
Vans seem to happily ignore rain as they have a pretty water-resistant
coat, but dislike strong winds. Most of them also have more than a normal
love of water, ranging from dripping taps, especially drinking from them,
and dunking their toys in water bowls or a sink. Over the years, several
Van cats have been featured swimming in baths or pools and even the sea,
though usually the temperature has to be pretty warm before they will
do this. However, they love being with you, so when you take a bath or
shower, you could easily be joined by one. Naturally toilet seats should
be kept down when any cat is about, but this is obviously more important
with any water-loving cat.
Turks are not always good travellers, although this can be helped to
a certain degree by various travel remedies. Taking them out regularly
in a car from an early age also helps. Quite a few cats will accept a
harness and enjoy walks with their owners.
Having a quiet voice, which can sometimes sound rather like a sheep,
is a strange characteristic, and the Van cat can also be sensitive to
certain noises and to strong smells. If frightened or caught unawares,
they can react by coming forward.
The Turkish Van is an excellent pet and makes a devoted companion once
its loyalty and confidence have been won. It can be very dog-like, often
following the owner around, and indeed they do get on very well with dogs.
It is always an eye-catching cat with its pristine white coat and contrasting
colour markings, which now come in Auburn, Cream, Black, Blue, plus Tabbies
and Torties, with eyes in light amber, blue or one of either colour.