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Turkey-Van cat (odd-eyed Van cat) Part 32

Nurettin Yilmaz

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The Van Cats/Van kedisi
The Van cat is a distinctive landrace of domestic cat, found mainly in the Lake Van region of eastern Turkey. It is large, all-white, and frequently odd eyed. The naturally occurring Van cat type is popularly believed to be basis of the Turkish Van breed, internationally selectively bred with a more recently developed ruddy colouring pattern on the white, as standardised and recognised by many cat fancier organisations. However, one of the breeds' founders has stated that none of the original cats used to found the formal breed came from the Lake Van area, but other parts of Turkey. The capitalised and run-together term "Turkish Vankedisi" is confusingly used by some organisations as a name for all-white specimens of the formal Turkish Van breed.
The Van cat has been reported living in the vicinity of the city of Van for centuries. At the end of the 19th century, Sultan Abdul Hamid II is said to have owned a Van cat, and having one is still seen as a status symbol: a Prime Minister of Turkey received one as a gift, and an ambassador from Greece put himself on a waiting list to get one. Kittens for the breeding center could be purchased for $282 in 2011, and currently the Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock does not regulate the export of these or any other cats from Turkey.
The cats are notable for their lean, long-legged appearance. Van cats are known for swimming in Lake Van (This may be the source of the popular but possibly false or exaggerated belief that the formal Turkish Van breed is innately more fond of water than the average cat.)
Their most notable genetic characteristic is their almond-shaped eyes that often are mismatched colours. The most valued and valuable members of the type generally have one amber-green eye and one blue eye.The Van cat is a landrace (naturally occurring variety), not a formal breed of cat.[15] They can still be found in east Turkey, near Lake Van, although their numbers have diminished (a 1992 survey found only 92 pure Van cats in their native area).
There is a breeding programme for the all-white variety,the Van Cat Research Centre (a.k.a. the Van Cat House),established in 1993 at the campus of Yüzüncü Yıl University.However, reports have suggested that the living conditions for the cats held there leaves much to be desired, and the breeding programme seems to be ineffective in reversing the Van cats' declining numbers. As of 2006, the center housed about 100 young adults and kittens, and is open to the public for a nominal entrance fee.

posted by manuellozanc