One of the oldest naturally occurring breeds of cat, the Turkish Angora. The breed takes its name from the capital or Turkey, Ankara, which used to be known as Angora. Longhaired cats have existed in the Middle East for centuries, and the were brought to Europe in the 1600’s. In fact, this is when the earliest mention of the breed occurred. Later, in his book “Our Cats and All About Them”, dated 1889, Harrison Weir mentions that they are not new to the cat world, he writes;
“They are not new to us, being mentioned by writers nearly a hundred years ago, if not more. I well remember white specimens of uncommon size on sale in Leadenhall Market, more than forty years since; the price usually was five guineas, though some of the rare excellence would realise double that sum”.
The breed almost vanished by the early part of the 20th century, when it was overshadowed by the Persian cat. However, wanting to preserve Turkey’s “national treasure” the Ankara zoo established a breeding programme to save the breed from extinction. They collected specimens of Turkish Angora cats and concentrated on breeding white cats with odd eyes, blue or amber.
After 45 years of being quietly bred at the zoo, the breed was re-discovered by American servicemen and in 1962, Colonel and Mrs Walter Grant imported the first pair of Turkish Angoras from Ankara Zoo. This pair, an odd eyed male named Yildiz and an amber-eyed female named Yildizcek were to become the foundation of the breed in the USA. The Grants imported two more Turkish Angoras in 1966. All Turkish Angoras must be able to trace their ancestry back to Turkey.
The breed was accepted for registration with the CFA in 1968 and in the 1970’s the breed found its way to Europe where it had once been so popular among cat fanciers.
Appearance of the Turkish Angora:
The Turkish Angora is a strong and muscular cat but light and elegant at the same time. It has fine bone structure. The hind legs are a little longer than the forelegs with small, round paws and tufts between the toes.
The head is wedge-shaped and small to medium sized, in proportion to the body. The large ears are set high on the head, wide at the base and are tufted. Eyes are large and almond shaped. They may be blue, amber or blue and amber (odd-eyed). The nose is medium length and slightly concave.
The coat is semi-long, close lying and extremely fine. The Turkish Angoras have a beautiful plumed tail, a mane and knickerbockers.
The traditional colour is white, but they now can be found in every colour and pattern.
Personality of the Turkish Angora:
The Turkish Angora is an intelligent breed of cat and it is said they are sociable, sweet, gentle.
They are quite an energetic breed of cat and extremely inquisitive, needing to check out anything new that comes into the house.
They thrive on human companionship and may form a strong attachment to one person in the household. They get along with children and other pets.
Turkish Angoras can be trained to walk on a lead, and some are happy to play a game of fetch with their humans.
Due to the fine texture of the coat, it is not prone to matting and brush once a week should be enough to remove any loose hairs.