What the Eff Is a Rare Turkish Van Cat and What Is It Doing in the Pool?

Okay, we have a new favorite animal.

Here at Unleashed, we all know that cats don’t get quite the same amount of love as dogs do. People think they’re not quite as cuddly, not quite as companionable, not quite as cute. But if any type of cat is going to get you to switch teams, it’s the Turkish Van cat.

What the eff is Turkish Van cat? We’re so glad you asked, as that is the very title of this article! The Turkish Van cat — which hails from the eastern Lake Van region of Turkey (hence its name) — has an unusual appearance that matches its unusual personality. Unfortunately, the rare breed is facing gradual extinction, which is where the Van Cat Research Center comes in: They’re actively working to protect the breed by providing healthcare and studying its genetics.

While all animals are worthy of protection, we think the Turkish Van cat is particularly extraordinary. Here are six facts about Vans that will have even the staunchest members of #TeamDog donating all of their money to a Turkish cat conservation clinic, probably.

1.  They are striking in appearance.

Turkish Vans have medium-to-long, silky white hair with just the occasional spot of color — which only appears on the head or the tail due to a pigmentation condition.

2.  Their eyes are especially captivating.

Genetically, the breed has three eye colors — blue, yellow, and green — and they are frequently mismatched, giving Turkish Vans that coveted David Bowie effect.

3.  They love to swim.

These strange kitties evolved around Lake Van, so they are predisposed to swimming. Modern Turkish Vans probably won’t leap into a random lake ... but they just might jump into your pool.

4.  They play fetch.

Turkish Vans are extremely social and bond very strongly with their owners. They love attention and they love to play, even initiating games of fetch with their humans. Your move, dog lovers.

5.  They are extremely rare.

The Cat Fanciers’ Association registers approximately 100 Vans each year in the U.S., making them one of the rarest cat breeds — and proving why we need to protect them from extinction.

6.  They’re frighteningly good jumpers.

Due to their large paws and strong musculature, Turkish Van can hop from your kitchen floor to the top of your fridge without thinking twice. Who says white cats can’t jump?

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