A famously ancient breed, the Turkish Angoras have their origins in central Turkey. Unlike many of today’s breeds, Turkish Angoras were not deliberately bred, but rather are a naturally occurring breed. The breed was thought to have gradually travelled from its origins in Turkistan with the spread of the Ottoman Empire during the time of the Crusades. The breed, which is known for its attractive and unusual appearance, was popular as a gift as long-haired cats were a novelty in these areas. In fact, it is thought that the Turkish Angora was one of the first long-haired breeds available worldwide.

Despite its fascinating history, Turkish Angoras are a relatively rare breed today. This is because of past efforts to breed the Persian Angora with Persian cats, which resulted in a mixed bloodline. The breed was further weakened in the wake of World War II, when the Turkish borders were relatively open and cross-border travel was common. To help preserve the breed, a controlled breeding program was begun. The breed was imported into the USA in the 1960s, and is currently experiencing a revival of sorts. However, the breed still remains rare, and is difficult to find in Australia.

A strong and sturdy breed

Rare breeds are more likely to experience issues with poor health due to the fact that the available gene pool is limited, leading to inbreeding. However, breeding practices for the Turkish Angora have emphasised strength and good health, ensuring that Angoras are for the most part a strong and robust breed. Other than some issues relating to skin allergies, and the occasional occurrence of a disease known as ataxia, which is characterised by shaky movements, Turkish Angoras are typically free of health issues.

Appearance

Turkish Angoras are available in a range of different colours, and in their native country of Turkey are given a different name depending on the colour of their coat. The most common colours are: a red tabby, a silver tabby, and a white variety. In America, the breed standard is white, but moves to introduce additional colours are underway.

The breed is medium-sized, but is notably slender in build, and with a comparatively long body. Turkish Angoras often have long, slender limbs, with the hind legs longer than the front legs. Their coat, though a single coat, is thick and silky, with a thick neck ruff. In the warmer months the breed typically has a short coat, while in the winter months the coat becomes long and silken. Turkish Angoras also have a thick, plumed tail and tufted ears that are almost vertical in appearance. They also have tufts of fur between the toes. The coat of a Turkish Angora changes with the seasons.

The eyes of the Turkish Angora are almond in shape and should slant upwards. Eye colour can vary, with common colours including golden, green, copper, and blue. Unusually, the eye colour of a Turkish Angora is often unrelated to the colour of the cat’s coat.

Around the home

Turkish Angoras are unusual in their temperament. While many cats are independent and aloof, Turkish Angoras are typically friendly and fun. They are highly alert, and are quite active. However, they are also quite affectionate, and it is not unusual for them to want to remain close to their owners.

Turkish Angoras are prone to leaping and climbing, and owners will find that their pet is at home in high places, such as on a mantelpiece or bookshelf. Owners will need to ensure that valuables are placed out of the reach of their pet.

They are also hunters by nature, and will hunt anything from birds to mice to moths and insects. They may not be a suitable breed if other small pets are kept in the home.