The Turkish Angora is a semi-longhaired silk coat cat with a long slim fine boned body. They have slim legs, a long tail, long coat, large ears and wide eyes. Its gorgeous, coat which seems to shimmer when it moves.
This is a small to medium-size cat weighing 5 to 9 pounds.
Originally called the Ankara cat, the Turkish Angora cat descends from the same lineage as the Turkish van cat.
By the 16th century, the Turkish cat could be found in England, France, Persia and Russia, and was quickly becoming a popular companion. So much so that the Turkish government instituted breeding regulations to preserve the breed after it was used to cross-breed with the Persian cat in order to improve the other breed’s coat. As a result, the Turkish Angora cat was considered a near-extinct breed by the 17th century.
Like all domestic cats, Turkish Angoras descended from the African wildcat. The Fertile Crescent was a place where cats were first domesticated. Cats from eastern mountainous regions of Anatolia developed into longhaired breeds like the Turkish Van and the Turkish Angora through inbreeding and natural selection.
Longhaired cats were imported to Britain and France from Asia Minor, Persia and Russia as early as the late 16th century, though there are indications that they appeared in Europe as early as the 14th century due to the Crusades. The Turkish Angora was used, almost to the point of extinction, to improve the coat on the Persian. The Turkish Angora was recognized as a distinct breed in Europe by the 17th century. Charles Catton in his 1788 book Animals Drawn from Nature and Engraved in Aqua-tinta, gave “Persian cat” and “Angora cat” as alternative names for the same breed.
Angoras and Persians seem connected. The Persian cat was developed from Turkish angora mutations by British and American cat fanciers. Although some cat associations think the Persian cat is a natural breed, in the 19th century Persians and Angoras were identical. In 1903, F. Simpson wrote in her book The Book of the Cat:”In classing all long-haired cats as Persians I may be wrong, but the distinctions, apparently with hardly any difference, between Angoras and Persians are of so fine a nature that I must be pardoned if I ignore the class of cat commonly called Angora, which seems gradually to have disappeared from our midst. Certainly, at our large shows there is no special classification given for Angoras, and in response to many inquiries from animal fanciers I have never been able to obtain any definite information as to the difference between a Persian and an Angora cat.”
The Angora of the 20th century was used for improvement in the Persian coat, but the type has always been divergent from the Persian – particularly as the increasingly flat-faced show cat Persian has been developed in the last few decades.
In the early 20th century, Ankara Zoo, began a breeding program to protect and preserve pure white Angora cats. The zoo particularly prized odd-eyed specimens (i.e., with one blue and one amber eye); however the cats were chosen only by their color (white)—no other criterion was used. Despite the lack of selective breeding and no consideration given for the deafness problem, Ankara Zoo cats have a very similar type.
Turkish Angora cats are playful, intelligent, athletic and involved. They have an uncanny likeness to the snow weasel. They bond with humans, but often select a particular member of the family to be their constant companion. They are in turn, very protective of their person. They seek to be “helpful” in any way they can with their humans, and their intelligence is at times remarkable, showing basic problem solving skills. They are easily trained, including deaf Turkish Angoras, both because of their intelligence and their desire to interact with humans.
Turkish angoras are energetic, and often seek out “high ground” (or perch) in the home. This perch is then used as a way to observe activity of the home.This could include tops of doors, bookshelves, and other furniture. Some ride on their owners’ shoulders. Their personality makes the breed desirable to certain people. They get along well in homes with other animals, children, and high activity.
The W gene responsible for the white coat and blue eye is closely related to the hearing ability,
in this and other breeds, and presence of a blue eye can indicate the
cat is deaf to the side the blue eye is located, with some being totally
deaf if bearing two blue eyes. However, a great many blue and odd-eyed
white cats have normal hearing, and even deaf cats lead a normal life if
Some Turkish Angora kittens suffer from hereditary ataxia, a rare condition thought to be inherited as an autosomal recessive. The kittens affected by ataxia have shaking movements, and do not survive to adulthood.
Another genetic illness that is rare but known to the breed is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy,
which is a cardiac condition usually found between the ages of 2 – 6,
with males being affected more commonly and more severely than females.
Here is a helpful guide for the different characteristics of the breed. On a Scale of 1-5. 1 being very low level to 5 being high level.