Turkish Angora

turkish angora cat

Turkish Angora

The Turkish Angora is described by its many fans as 'the world's oldest pedigree cat'. What's the story behind this assertion – and just why do these long-haired cats leave animal lovers all over the world spellbound?

Genetic tests confirm that the Turkish Angora really is one of the world's oldest pedigree cats. The long fur came about through natural mutation rather than targeted selection by humans – this makes the breeding history of the Turkish Angora stand out in contrast to other pedigree cats!

Appearance

In Turkey, the Turkish Angora is called 'Ankara kedisi' and has become the nation's favourite cat. It's hardly surprising, because this muscular, long-haired, elegant cat weighing up to 5kg enchants many cat lovers. The Angora's long fur has a particularly striking silky texture, whilst the lack of undercoat makes it lie flat against the body. As a result, the coat is very easy to maintain. The climate of the Turkish Angora's area of origin is another reason why the cats in winter have a thick, bushy coat with a pronounced collar, whilst in summer the fur is particularly short, light and silky. This cat breed is perfectly adapted to the hot summers and cold winters of the Anatolian and Caucasian mountain regions.

The tail is long and very bushy. The elegant physique with long legs can make the Turkish Angora seem delicate, but don't let yourself be fooled! The Turkish Angora's head is V-shaped from the base of the ears to the tip of the nose, and the high-set almond-shaped eyes are a real stand-out feature. The ears of this pedigree cat also attract a lot of attention, with many breeders preferring large, open ears with fine tips.

The Turkish Angora's appearance has changed over the course of time, which is to be expected considering that the cat breed has been known since the 15th century. It certainly has a long history behind it! Originally imported from Turkey to Europe, the cats still have a very strong, robust physique. However, breeders and breeding associations now prefer modern, slim pedigree cat types.

Only white cats were acknowledged up until the 1990s. In Turkey, the rule that the Turkish Angora must have white fur still applies to this day. At the beginning of the 90s, coloured varieties were introduced by the FIFé (Fédération Internationale Féline). Since then, black and red Turkish Angoras have been acknowledged by all associations, along with the diluted and silvery varieties of these colourations. As a result, even spotting and tabby characteristics are to be found. The colours chocolate, fawn, lilac and point are neither recognised nor considered desirable.

In contrast to other cat breeds like the Ragdoll, all eye colours feature amongst Turkish Angoras. There's no relationship between eye and fur colour – be it green, gold, green-gold, copper, blue or two-tone.

A young white turkish angora with yellow breed cat

Character

The Turkish Angora is considered a highly intelligent cat breed. They love to spend lots of time cuddling with their people, but also wish to be mentally stimulated. These lively cats are readily available for intelligence and foraging games, but also enjoy traditional games with fishing rods, balls and mice. Their incredible zest for life comes fully to the fore during play and proves infectious for their owners. The Turkish Angora is a very people-focused cat and likes to follow its loved ones wherever they go. Constant purring and cuddle onslaughts? Relentless playfulness? If this appeals to you, then you're just right for the Turkish Angora! Indeed, the Turkish Angora truly loves interacting with its family, which despite its uncomplicated, friendly nature makes it a highly demanding breed that requires lots of attention based on its individual character. However, Turkish Angoras show absolutely no aggression and wholeheartedly connect with their owners, making it easy to have fun with them. The breed is perfect for families, since the cats love playing with children, cuddling with adults and the attention guaranteed from an animal-loving family.

As much as Turkish Angoras love the adventure of life as outdoor cats, letting them roam outdoors does involve certain dangers. This carefree breed often trusts people unconditionally and approaches strangers purring loudly with its tail held high. Many cats are more happy to go along for the ride in cars with strangers... Cats that enjoy the outdoors should always have a microchip and be registered on the domestic animal list, so that they can be identified in case of doubt and easily find their way back home!

History

Is the Turkish Angora really the world's oldest pedigree cat? Scientists have carried out research in this area and have proved through genetic tests that the Turkish Angora's long-hair gene actually came about through natural mutation. In contrast to other breeds, this was not introduced to the breed through targeted selection. So the Turkish Angora truly is one of the world's oldest pedigree cats!

The Turkish Angora originally comes from the Caucasus region and is closely related to the Van cat. The breed has been famous in Turkey since the 15th century, with sultans from the Ottoman Empire sending the cats as a present to courts in England and France, thereby making them well-known in Europe too. The long fur was bound to catch the eye of the noblemen and the rich and beautiful people! The Turkish Angora didn't just prove popular at the court, with scientists and naturalists too fascinated by these elegant cats with silky fur. The Turkish Angora was mentioned and visually depicted in a book by French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon in 1756.

The cats were considered a status symbol at European courts in the 18th century. One of the descriptions of the breed comes from 1834, with William Jardine writing “Angoras are often kept as lounge cats and are more friendly and tender than normal cats.” Charles Ross offered an alternative description of the Turkish Angora in 1868: “The Angora is a stunning breed with silk-textured silvery fur (…) They are all wonderful creatures with a friendly manner.”

However, the Persian breed pushed the Turkish Angora into the background and reduced the population in Turkey itself to a dangerous level. Less Turkish Angoras were kept in the zoos of Ankara and Istanbul to protect the population.

The modern Turkish Angora breed was born in the 50s. The first Turkish Angora arrived in the USA in 1954 and has been recognised by the US cat breeding organisation CFA since 1973 – albeit only with white fur at the start. Recognition of coloured cats followed in 1978. The first pedigree cats once again reached Germany via the USA. However, there the breed was eventually mainly based on imported animals from Turkey. Interestingly, imports from zoos predominate amongst these cats.

Healthcare

Autosomal-recessive hereditary ataxia occurs amongst the Turkish Angora, a so-called 'shaky cat' with a neurological disorder that causes coordination problems. Many kittens die at a young age. However, with extensive care, special help, the right living environment and veterinary supervision, cats with ataxia can reach a ripe old age! The origin of this disease is still unknown, but it is certainly hereditary – it does not affect adult cats.

On a genetic basis, deafness and impaired hearing can often occur amongst white cats. Even balance disorders are well-known. These problems are not breed-specific, since many Angora cats are pure white and also regularly suffer from these disorders.

Housing and Nutrition

As a robust, healthy breed, the Turkish Angora doesn't require any special care or nutrition. The best foundation for a long and healthy life is high-quality cat food packed with healthy protein. As carnivores, cats depend on premium proteins – they cannot utilise carbohydrates or only small amounts, which can lead to secondary diseases like diabetes.

“You are what you eat”: this oft-quoted mantra applies to domestic cats too. It has now been scientifically proven that cats know exactly what's good for them. They prefer food with a composition reflecting that of a mouse – the natural source of nutrition for carnivorous cats. This prey is made up of approx. 85% meat, including muscle meat, connective tissue and organs. The rest consists of plant components in the digestive tract, bones and feathers. The average mouse consists of around 50 to 60% protein, 20 to 20% fat and 3 to 8% carbohydrates from the animal's digestive tract. The right cat food should correspond to this composition.

Contrary to expectations, it's really easy to find out what actually goes into cat food. Ingredients should be listed quantitatively on the label of every cat food – the main ingredient should come first. Hence, it isn't surprising that meat should come at the top of the list. But meat isn't necessarily meat! The description 'meat and animal by-products' indicates that all secondary and waste products such as organs, feathers and tendons feature along with pure muscle meat. Feeding pure muscle meat can lead to deficiency symptoms though, therefore good food needs offal – but not all offal can be well utilised. This is particularly true of waste products like horn and fur. Along with the ingredients, many foodstuff labels give the so-called 'guaranteed analysis'. This is a quantitative chemical analysis of the substances in the food. In most cases, you can find percentages for crude protein, fat, ash, fibre and moisture, sometimes vitamin and mineral content too. So you can quickly and easily find out what the food on the market really contains!

Apart from the right nutrition, Turkish Angora should go to the vet once a year for any necessary injections and a dental and general check-up. A brief heart and lung check also forms part of the yearly check-up to recognise potential diseases at en early stage.

We wish you and your cat a great life together!

How to find the right breeder

Even though the Turkish Angora isn't one of the most well-known cat breeds, the population has recovered in the present era. You don't have to travel all the way to Turkey if you want to give a Turkish Angora a home – there are many established breeders in Germany, Austria and Switzerland too.

A pedigree cat is only as good as the household in which it grows up. Professional breeders value breeding association membership and ensure their animals receive good health provision and nutrition. Of course, this comes at a cost. Rare cats cost over 500 euros, and pedigree breeds are often more expensive. Nevertheless, you should ensure that for this price you acquire both the breeding documentation of your future cat and the dedication and knowledge that your breeder has applied to your cat's upbringing and care of the parent cats. From possible stud fees to food and vet appointments for mothers and kittens, it all adds up to a lot and is rarely entirely covered by the cat's sale price. Breeding is an expensive hobby – don't trust breeders offering huge quantity or 'pedigree cats without documentation'! Costs have usually been cut at some point, be it regarding sensible pairing of the parent cats, familial proximity of litters, sufficient rest between litters for mothers, healthcare provision, genetic tests or nutrition...

A responsible breeder can present you with potential veterinary reports and documentation from the parent cats. They give their kittens 12 weeks for growth and to learn all feline essentials from the mother and siblings. Only then are the kittens ready to fully connect with their new family. It's worth the wait! Your Turkish Angora will be all yours for the next 12 to 18 years and will enchant you with its people-focused nature and open character!

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