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Turkish Van Cat
While you might be drawn to the Van for his fascination with water, you'll fall in love with the breed for his other qualities. 'Vans are energetic, agile, and intelligent. They are extremely healthy and, get along with people swimmingly,' notes one Van owner. You may need a few months of working out to keep up with them, however; Vans are famous for their 'action-packed' temperament. They are talkative, demanding of attention, and show great gusto at dinnertime. Breeders also say that Vans are known for their attachment to their human companions, and sometimes that makes transferring a Van from one household to another difficult. They tend to pick out one or two people in the household, usually the ones that deal with them initially, and bond with them forever.
The Turkish Van is often confused with the Turkish Angora, but put them side by side and it's easy to see that they're entirely different breeds. The Angora is smaller and more delicate than the Van and does not have the classic 'Van pattern', a term borrowed from the Turkish Van that is used to describe any cat that has a mainly white body and colored head and tail markings. The color should not take up more than 20 percent of the entire body. The Van pattern is governed by the dominant white spotting factor piebald gene (S), which gives them patches of white along with spots of color. This gene is hard to control and therefore makes breeding Turkish Vans with the proper color pattern difficult.
Some Vans have a color patch between the shoulder blades called the 'Mark of Allah'. Just as the M on the tabby's forehead is said to be a gift from the Virgin Mary, this 'thumbprint of God' is considered good luck in Moslem countries.
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