Cats from Van
domestic animal has a different characteristic. One of the cats attracting human beings'
attention for centuries, having silky white fur, different colors, perfect hunting
abilities and loving to play with water is Van cat.
The fossil of ancestor primitive of modern domestic cats can be seen about
12 million years ago. It is known that domestication of cats was made by Egyptians in 3000
B.C. The domesticated cats were treated as holy creatures and respected as goddess.
Although there are various argument about the place and time of domestication, the thing
that is certainly known is that Asians took part in domestication. On the other hand some
resources suggest that the cats were semi-domesticated in 1900 B.C.
Cats are carnivorous. When generalized animals are nourished by proteins.
Having sharp senses, eyes seeing well in dark, sharp paws, sharp teeth, alerted and
energetic bodies, walking on their feet silently make them good hunters. They have
sensitive hairs around eyes and nose which strengthen their hunting abilities.
They lose their fur hair in Spring and fall, and they have facial muscles
which change as a reaction to anything happening. Muscle and skeleton form are controlled
in an excellent way and that is why no matter the position they fall from they always fall
on their feet.
Cerebrum area is wide and indicates the intelligence of them. In addition,
cerebellum is improved, which provides excellence in co-ordination.
Domesticated cats are either treated as holly creatures or are fed by
people at home for hunting harmful animals like mouse, rat and insects for centuries.
However, People have started to take them as close friends.
In recent years one of the cats attracting people's attention in Turkey or
in the world is Van cat. However, as required care has not been shown so far, they face
loss of the species. The number of them has been decreasing day by day and the original
breeds have been lost, while they were often seen in the region and almost each house had
one in the past. People of Van call the cat pižik. Van cats are not only seen as
a pet or hunter of rats and insects but also a friend and member of the family.
It is said that Van cats used to spend summer in mountain and winter in
houses. Today rarely they spend summer in Erek Mountain and winter in houses.
Van cats are described by the people of region as having long, white,
silky fur, long body, tiger walking, fox like tail. Different colors of eyes (dischromatopsy),
intelligent, agile is clean, friendly, loves playing and faithful to its owner and
therefore these characteristics make it a rare found cat. However, since 1950s, the cat
has been introduced to the world by Europeans but this unique cat has not been introduced
One of the
characteristics of Van cats is the color of their eyes. They are classified under three
groups according to the color of their eyes:
- Both eyes blue,
- both eyes amber color (yellow and its tones)
- one eye (dischromatopsy, one eye blue and the other amber).
Blue color of Van cats usually shows blue but amber color shows many
differences in tones. The tones are amber, light amber, yellow and green almond. Although
very rare, sometimes brown color can be seen. Blue eyed cats are classified as blue eyed
short, velvet furred cats and blue eyed, long silky fur cats. The color of newly born
kittens is grayish. 25 days after birth the color of eyes starts to change, and after 40
days the color reaches final color.
There are generally one or two black points between ears of kittens. Most
of the kittens having two black points are single eyed. And this black point is taken as
stamp of single eye cats. However, the black points are lost after 2 months. And sometimes
they may have black hairs varying between 8 to 30.
It is known that having different color of eyes which human beings, dogs
and doves face, is genetic defect syndrome.
Body weight of female Van cats is 2900 grams while males weigh 3600 grams.
Van cats have mating period in February-March-June. This period lasts for
up to 10 days. In case of pregnancy during this period, no other mating period is seen in
the same year. Pregnancy period is 62 days. The belly starts to swallow from the first
month and the cat never lets any one touch her belly. Van cats like other cats prefer to
give birth in the locations far away from vision, and for this reason they start to look
for isolated and dark location from the first month of the pregnancy. Immediately after
birth, placenta of the kittens are cut by the mother. Mother cat suckles its kittens for
50-60 days. However, this period can be more or less.
Van cats give birth to four kittens at one birth. The eyes of kittens are
open on the 10th day. Mother licks its kittens in order to clean them and starts suckling
immediately after birth. If mother deems that the location is not safe, it finds a safe
place and carries the kittens there. Mother hardly leaves its kittens alone and only
leaves them to meet its needs.
The kittens still with close eyes reacts to smells other than their mother
and try to protect themselves.
The movement of the kittens at the beginning is like walking and crawling.
Kitten brothers/sisters usually fight for milk. They usually play with
each other. Playing game is an essential factor for development. The game is under control
of the mother and the mother teaches its kittens how to survive. If the kitten is alone,
it wants to play with its mother and if mother is not there even it can play with other
The cats have a strong control over the areas they are settled in. They do
not want other cats to come to their living areas. When their living places or houses are
changed, they try to return to former place if they do not like the new one. Van cats get
used to their new living places in 20 to 30 days. During this period they examine the
surrounding and are not interested in their owners.
The cats have more cleaning sense than other animals. They are
considerably curious about cleanliness of themselves and their living surrounding. After
toilet, they have instinct to burying the dirt. They clean their mouths and faces with
help of their paws after eating and toilet.
The hunting characteristic of Van cats is superior. They hunt rats, mice,
bird, flies and insects indoor and outdoor, and eat them. They never attack to poultry
animals living with them in the house or out of the house.
Van cats love living with human beings in family environment. If they do
not have relation with human beings or have a little relationship they start to become
Van Cats are very affectionate, giving head butts and love bites.
Especially during pregnancy they are in need of love. They are very close to their owners
and love them. When they see strangers they react and escape. They jump on the lap of the
ones loving them. They are jealous of their owners showing affection to other cats and
Although there is a belief that Van Cats suffer from deafness problem,
only 2-3% of odd eyed (dischromatopsy) and blue eyed cats suffer from this problem.
Van Cats love to swim and play with water, and with this feature it is the
only cat species.
Van cats checks the meal if it is warm with their front paws and if the
meal is warm enough they eat. It is also observed that Van Cats eat melon, watermelon and
Although the fur is quite thick, they are affected by the cold.
They produce some voices in order to communicate with each other and with
human beings. The voices indicate their emotions. Their meowing has some varieties. Some
indicates communication with human beings some indicates communication with their kittens
or for their sexual activities. The sounds generated according to their needs have
different intensity and frequency. Van Cats meow loudly when they see their owners in the
morning in order to show their happiness. When they are hungry they go to the kitchen door
and meows to indicate that they are hungry.
When the food is given, they show their grates by means of touching their
owner. When they need toilet they go to the door and meow in order to ask their owners to
open the door. It is also observed that if the door needs to be opened, they jump to the
handle and open it.
The studies indicated that Van Cats respond to training very well. They
understand what have been taught very quickly. They immediately learn the place where soil
is put for their toilet needs, and never try other places for toilet needs.
Kittens are able to learn their names when they are 2-3 months. However,
it is thought that this learning is understanding the tone of the sound they are used to
rather than learning the names.
It is necessary to take any actions required for preservation of lovely,
friendly, intelligent, faithful, beautiful and attractive Van Cats and decrease of them.