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Turkish Angora Cat History, Character, Health, Breeding & more

The Turkish Angora is called the "oldest pedigree cat in the world" by many fanciers. What is there to their claim - and why do the long-haired cats enchant animal lovers worldwide?

Turkish Angora Cat History

Is the Turkish Angora cat really the oldest pedigree cat in the world? Scientists have studied this issue and have proven with genetic studies that the longhair gene of the Turkish Angora is actually a result of natural mutation. Unlike other breeds, it was not bred out by deliberate selection. Thus, the Turkish Angora is actually one of the oldest cat breeds in the world.

The Turkish Angora originally comes from the Caucasus and is closely related to the Turkish Van. It has been known in Turkey since the 15th century. In the 16th century, sultans of the Ottoman Empire sent Turkish Angora cats as gifts to English and French courts, making them known in Europe as well. There, because of her long coat, she was sure to attract the attention of the nobility, the rich, and the beautiful! But the Turkish Angora cat was not only popular at court. Scientists and naturalists were also fascinated by the noble cats with the silky fur. In a book by the French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon, the Turkish Angora was mentioned and pictured as early as 1756.

In the 18th century, cats were considered a status symbol in the European courts. One of the descriptions of the breed thus dates from 1834. William Jardine wrote: "Angora cats are frequently kept in this country as parlor cats. They are considered more gentle and friendly than common cats." Charles Ross provided another description of the Turkish Angora in 1868: "The Angora is a beautiful breed with silvery hair of silky texture (...) They are all wonderful creatures with friendly natures." However, Persian breeding caused the Turkish Angora to fade into the background and its population to dwindle to a threatening level even in Turkey. In the zoos in Ankara and Istanbul, even a few specimens of the Turkish Angora were kept to ensure their existence.

The '50s were the birth of the modern breeding of the Turkish Angora cat. In 1954 the first Turkish Angora came to the USA, where they were recognized since 1973 by US cat breeding organization CFA - but first only with white fur. The recognition of colored Turkish Angora followed in 1978. From the USA also the first pedigrees came again to Germany. The breeding there, however, was finally based mainly on imported animals from Turkey. Interestingly, these cats were mainly imports from zoos.

Turkish Angora Cat Appearance

In Turkey, the Turkish Angora, known there as "Ankara kedisi", was even elevated to the status of the national cat. No wonder: the muscular and with up to 5 kilograms nevertheless elegant cat with the long fur enchants many cat lovers. The fur of the Angora stands out because of its silky texture. Without an undercoat, it lies against the body and is therefore particularly easy to care for. The climate of the area of origin of the Turkish Angora is also the reason why the cat shows a dense, bushy coat with a pronounced collar in winter, but the fur looks particularly short, light, and silky in summer: The cat breed is perfectly adapted to the hot summers and cold winters of the Anatolian and Caucasian mountain areas. The tail is long and very bushy. Due to its elegant physique with long legs, the Turkish Angora may seem delicate - but don't be fooled! The head of a Turkish Angora cat has a wedge-shaped form from the base of the ears to the tip of the nose. Their almond-shaped, upturned eyes stand out in particular. Great attention is also paid to the ears of pedigreed cats, many breeders prefer large, open ears with fine tufts.

The appearance of the Turkish Angora cat changed over time. No wonder, the cat breed is known since the 15th century and has a correspondingly long history behind it! The original cats imported from Turkey to Europe still showed a very strong, robust physique. Meanwhile, breeders and breeding organizations prefer the modern, rather slender type of pedigree cat. Until the 1990s, only white cats were recognized - in Turkey, even today, the rule is that the Turkish Angora must have white fur. At the beginning of the 90s, the colored varieties were also introduced at FIFe (Fédération Internationale Féline). Since then the Turkish Angora is recognized in all clubs also in black and red as well as the diluted and silver variants of these colorings. Thereby, also piebalds, as well as tabby markings, may occur. Not desired and recognized are the color strokes Chocolate, Fawn, Lilac, and Point. In contrast to other cat breeds like the Ragdoll, the Turkish Angora may have any eye color. No matter if green, gold, green-gold, copper, blue or bicolor - there is no relationship between eye color and coat color.

Turkish Angora Cat Character

The Turkish Angora is considered a particularly intelligent cat breed. She loves extended cuddling sessions with her humans but also wants to be mentally exercised. For food search and intelligence games, she is usually to be had. The fun-loving cats also enjoy traditional play with play fishing rods, play balls, and cat mice. Playing shows the cat's extraordinary joie de vivre, which it is happy to pass on to its human. The Turkish Angora is a very people-oriented cat and loves to follow its human at every turn. Continuous purring and cuddling attacks? Relentless playfulness? You've come to the right place with the Turkish Angora! The Turkish Angora loves the interaction with its family - and this makes it, despite its uncomplicated, friendly nature, a quite demanding breed that needs a lot of attention depending on its individual character. However, since the Turkish Angora shows no aggression whatsoever despite all its activity and is fully devoted to its human, it is easy to keep busy with it. The breed is so perfect for families, she loves playing with children, cuddling sessions with adults, and the attention she is guaranteed in an animal-loving family.

As much as the Turkish Angora loves the adventures of life as an outdoor cat, being out in the wild does offer certain dangers. The carefree breed of a cat often trusts people unconditionally and will often approach strangers with their tails up and purring loudly. Many animals also enjoy riding in strangers' cars. Cats that enjoy free running should therefore always be microchipped by a vet and registered with a pet registry so that they can be identified in case of doubt and quickly find their way back home!

Turkish Angora Cat Health

An autosomal recessive inherited ataxia occurs in the Turkish Angora. These so-called "wiggly cats" show a neurological disorder that causes problems of coordination. Many kittens die at an early age. However, with extended care, special assistance, proper home furnishings, and special veterinary care, ataxia cats can live to a ripe old age! The origin of this disease is not yet known, but it is certain that it is congenital - adult animals cannot become ill.

Genetically, hearing loss and deafness often occur in pure white cats. Disturbances of the sense of balance are also known. These problems are not breed-specific, but since many Angora cats are pure white, the disorders occur here more frequently.

Turkish Angora Cat Husbandry and diet

As a hardy, healthy breed of cat, the Turkish Angora does not require any special care or diet. The best basis for a long, healthy cat life is high-quality cat food with lots of healthy protein. As carnivores, cats depend on high-quality proteins - they cannot utilize carbohydrates, or only small portions of them, which can lead to secondary diseases such as diabetes.

"You are what you eat": This much-quoted saying also applies to our domestic cats. It has now been scientifically proven that cats know exactly what is good for them. They prefer food whose composition corresponds to that of a mouse - the natural food source of the carnivore cat. This prey animal consists of about 85 percent meat, including muscle meat Connective tissue, and organs. The rest is made up of vegetable components in the gastrointestinal tract, bones, and feathers. Thus, the average mouse is usually 50 to 60 percent protein, 20 to 30 percent fat, and three to eight percent carbohydrates from the contents of the animal's gastrointestinal tract. The right cat food should reflect this composition.

Contrary to expectations, it is quite easy to find out what is really in the cat food. On the label of any cat, food ingredients must be listed in terms of quantity - the ingredient with the largest share in terms of quantity is in the first place. So it's not surprising that meat should be at the top of the ingredients list. But not all meat is the same! The description "meat and animal by-products" indicates that in addition to pure muscle meat, all by-products and waste products such as organs, feathers, and tendons are also included. Although feeding pure muscle meat leads to deficiency symptoms, good feed must therefore contain offal - on the other hand, not all offal is readily usable. This is especially true for waste products such as horn and fur. In addition to the ingredients, the so-called "guaranteed analysis" is indicated on many feed labels. This is a quantitative chemical analysis of the substances contained in the feed. In most cases, you will find percentages of crude protein, crude fat, crude ash, crude fiber and moisture, and sometimes also information on vitamin and mineral content. So you can easily and quickly keep track of how good the commercially available feed really is!

Apart from the right nutrition, Turkish Angora cats should also be presented to the veterinarian annually for necessary vaccinations, a look at the dentition and to clarify any questions. A short listening to the heart and lungs is also part of the annual "check-up" to detect possible diseases at an early stage.

How to find the right breeder

Even though the Turkish Angora is not one of the best-known cat breeds, breeding has recovered today. Therefore, if you want to give a Turkish Angora a home, you do not have to travel all the way to Turkey - there are also many established breeders in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

A pedigree cat is only as good as the household in which it grew up. Professional breeders, therefore, attach importance to membership in one of the breeding associations and pay attention to the good health care and nutrition of their breeding animals! Of course, this has its price. Fancier cats cost from 500 Euro, breeding cats are often more expensive. Nevertheless, you should keep in mind that with this price you do not only acquire the breed papers of your future cat, but also the commitment and knowledge that the breeder has put into raising your animal and caring for the parents. From possible mating fees to food and vet visits for mother cat and kittens, a lot comes together here, which is rarely fully covered by the purchase price of the cat. Breeding is an expensive hobby - therefore do not trust so-called "breeders" who offer "pedigree cats without papers"! Usually, they save money somewhere, whether in a well thought-out mating of the parents, reasonable intervals between litters, the recovery time of the mother cats, health care, genetic tests, or nutrition...

A responsible breeder will be able to provide you with any veterinary examination records and papers of the parent cats and will give their kittens 12 weeks to grow and learn everything "cat-necessary" from their mother and siblings. Only then are the kittens ready to fully join their new family. Await that is well worth it! For the next 12 to 18 years, your Turkish Angora will be all yours and will enchant you with her people-loving nature and outgoing nature!

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