Turkish Angora Cats
A National Treasure
Prized for its unique features and coloring, the Turkish Angora cat had an entire nation clamoring to preserve it from extinction more than four hundred years ago—long before such a move became politically correct or a cause taken up by a pet activist group.
Today, the breed thrives in homes around the world, beloved by its families and admired for its regal appearance and playful, vivacious personality.
The Turkish Angora cat was imported to Ankara, Turkey by Egyptian traders during the 14th century.
Originally called the Ankara cat, the Turkish Angora cat descends from the same lineage as the Turkish van cat.
By the 16th century, the Turkish cat could be found in England, France, Persia and Russia, and was quickly becoming a popular companion. So much so that the Turkish government instituted breeding regulations to preserve the breed after it was used to cross-breed with the Persian cat in order to improve the other breed's coat. As a result, the Turkish Angora cat was considered a near-extinct breed by the 17th century.
The breeding program still exists today. The Turkish Ankara Zoo, in conjunction with the government, houses a facility specifically for breeding white Turkish Angora cats, which are considered Turkey's national treasure.
The Turkish Angora cat made its way to the United States in the early 60s, at which time only the white Turkish Angora cat was accepted by the Cat Fanciers' Association.
Today, all colors of the Turkish Angora cat breed are accepted into national registries.
Known to be an outgoing, social cat, Turkish Angora cats are also a playful and affectionate breed, making good family companions.
The breed enjoys interaction and plays well with children, displaying an ability to learn and perform tricks.
The Turkish Angora cat is a good companion for those who enjoy interacting with cats. This breed can become depressed if left alone for too long.
While the white Turkish Angora cat is the most recognized, there are actually more than 20 color varieties in the breed.
Turkish Angora cat coloring includes black, blue, red, tabby, tabby-white, lavender, and cinnamon. This also includes smoke and pointed varieties, which occurs when the fur color has a different color at the tips.
While eye colors include blue, green and amber, prized Turkish Angora cats have "odd eyes," where one eye is blue and the other is amber or green.
Turkish Angora cats have a medium-length coat with a long silky, plumed tail. This breed does not have an undercoat, so maintenance may be somewhat less demanding than that of other long- or medium-length haired cat breeds.
The cat is also well known for its pointed ears, its large, almond-shaped eyes and fine bone structure.
Turkish Angora cats can suffer from a variety of health conditions. While these may be common medical conditions, your Turkish Angora cat will not necessarily develop them.
- Ataxia is a rare condition which is thought to be inherited as an autosomal recessive and typically affects Turkish Angora cat kittens who will display shaking movements. Most kittens will not survive to adulthood.
- Deafness: The gene responsible for the Turkish Angora cat's white coat and blue eyes is closely linked to their hearing ability — the presence of a single blue eye can indicate the cat is deaf in the same side ear. However, a great many blue and odd-eyed white cats have normal hearing, and even deaf cats lead a very normal life if kept indoors.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a cardiac condition usually diagnosed between the ages of 2 to 6 years, with male Turkish Angora cats being affected more commonly and more severely than females. This is a genetic condition known to the breed but considered to be rare.
As with any pet, be sure to regularly consult a veterinarian for routine care and medical advice for your four-legged friend.