The Turkish Angora cat breed has had a long history of friendship with humanity. Since the beginning of their domestication, they have been adored by everyone who has known them. They are beautiful, intelligent, and make purrrfect companions!
Turkish Angora Breed History
The Turkish Angora breed is one of the oldest cat breeds on record. One theory believes that the Turkish Angora came from the Pallas cat because this wild cat has longer hair. However, the personality and temperament of the Pallas cat is a far cry from the affectionate Turkish Angora. Another theory is that these kitties are descendant from the African Wildcat just like most domestic cat breeds. The long hair could have been a spontaneous genetic mutation. There is also speculation that the Turkish Angora could have been the breed through which all other long haired domestic cats received the gene for long hair.
The Turkish Angora breed was domesticated in the mountainous regions of Turkey. The Turkish capital city was once called Angora, but is now called Ankara. These cats have become a national treasure to the Turkish people and they hold a special place in the hearts of Muslims worldwide. Legend has it that the prophet Muhammad had a white Turkish Angora cat with odd-colored eyes named Muezza. He loved this cat so much that he cut the sleeve off of one of his garments to avoid waking Muezza as he rested in his arms. Due to Muhammad’s love for them, Turkish Angora cats with odd colored eyes are considered to have been touched by Allah.
The Europeans fell in love with the Turkish Angora breed as they became familiar with them. Written records of the breed go back as far at the 16th century in France. It is said that King Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette adored them and sent a few to the U.S. for safe keeping when the French Revolution began to take hold. When the first cat fancier show was held in London in the 1800’s, the Turkish Angora was there to compete. They were considered so dear that it is said that one cat owner of the time was offered $5,ooo for her Turkish Angora cat and she refused it.
Trouble for the Turkish Angora breed didn’t start until the early 1900’s. Cat breeders of the time began breeding them indiscriminately with Persian cats. The purity of the breed was completely lost throughout most of Europe. Luckily, a group in Turkey decided to preserve their precious cat breed by creating a very specific breeding program for them at the Ankara Zoo. They concentrated on the white cats with either blue, gold, or odd eyes.
The Ankara Zoo program was successful, but the Turks were very reluctant to allow any of their cats out of Turkey. It wasn’t until 1954 that a pair of Turkish Angora cats named Yildiz (white, odd-eyed male) and Yildizcek (white, amber-eyed female) were allowed to be exported to the U.S. for breeding. Today, the breed is doing quite well and the program at the Ankara Zoo continues. However, some cat fancier associations still require that a Turkish Angora’s lineage be traceable back to Turkey because of the mixing in the breed’s history.
Those Lovely Angora Looks
Elegant is one of the best words to describe the look of the Turkish Angora breed. Though they are solidly muscular cats, they look fluffy and light. Their bodies are finely boned, with long, slim legs. The Turkish Angora is graceful, agile, and sometimes described as looking like a ballerina.
One remarkable feature of the Turkish Angora is their beautiful almond shaped eyes. While any color is possible, blue and odd-colored eyes are more frequent than in other breeds. The downside to these gorgeous colors is that they can be indicative of a hereditary form of deafness. This deafness affects the Corti with in the cochlea of the ear. Often, if the cat has blue eyes it will be completely deaf. If the cat has odd colored eyes, the ear on the side of the head with the blue eye will be deaf. However, cats with this sort of deafness can and do live perfectly normal lives and make great pets.
Turkish Angora cats have a long, silky, single layer coat which does not often get matted. White is the most popular coat color, but almost any color and pattern can be found; black, blue, red, cream, tortishell, bicolor, tabby patterns, etc. Some cat fancier associations will not allow Turkish Angora cats with lavender, chocolate, or pointed colors because they indicate a lack of purity in the blood line.
Lovable, Yet In Charge
Outgoing and extremely affectionate, the Turkish Angora loves to be a part of the family. They want to be a part of everything that the humans in their household are doing. No guest will enter the home with out a greeting and thorough inspection by one of these kitties.
Turkish Angora cats do very well in homes with children, dogs, and other pets. They are full of energy and love to play! Of course, no one will ever have to guess who the “alpha” animal is in the home. These kitties will always be in charge.
If you are interested in bringing a new kitty into your family, check out the Turkish Angora kitties available for adoption.