Monday, October 24, 2016

Cat Breeds: Turkish Angora

Through Turkish Angora is one of the most recognizable cat breeds out there today, but it hasn't always been this way. The earliest reference to these majestic cats can be found as far back as 16th century France, but they probably existed before that. Mention is made of the Angora in the late 1800s and the early 1900s, but then Persian breeders folded the Angora into its own breeding programs, meaning the Turkish Angora basically disappeared as a separate breed. For a long while very few people in the world of cat fancy even knew what a Turkish Angora was.

But in Turkey, that was not the case at all. Even while the rest of the world was ignoring or dismissing the Angora, Turkey considered the breed a national treasure and even established a breeding program for these cats at the Ankara Zoo. Though all colors were welcome, this program focused on white cats with blue eyes, gold eyes, or odd eyes. Records were meticulously kept and genetics were carefully observed and recorded. This program is the only reason the Turkish Angora exists today.

The zoo didn't allow the cats to be exported, however, causing a bit of a wrinkle for the breed. But then, in the 1950s, American servicemen stationed in the area started to write home about the breed, sometimes even including pictures. Interest was aroused, and in 1962 the Ankara Zoo felt pressured into sending a breeding pair of cats to the United States with Colonel and Mrs. Walter Grant. These would be the foundation of the breed in North America, but they were hardly the last cats to be brought over from the Ankara Zoo.

Another pair was brought to the United States in 1964, and a few others here and there, until finally there were enough Turkish Angora cats in the United States for breeders to stop worrying about importing cats from overseas. Finally, after years of work and discouragement, the Turkish Angora was firmly established in North America.

The Appearance of the Turkish Angora

Often called the ballerina of cats, the Turkish Angora has long legs and a fine bone structure. Thought graceful, he is also powerful and muscular, not at all thin or bony. The head is an elegant wedge, the ears and eyes rather large, giving the breed a majestic appearance.

The coat is soft and silky and varies in length according to the season. In winter, the hair is long and the tail has a full plume. In summer, the hair is shorter, leaving only slight britches and a fluffy tail to remind you of his winter glory. Any color is acceptable, but white is the most common and the most desirable. This breed also comes in most patterns, including tabby, smoke, parti-color, and solid, obviously.

Many white cats will have odd eyes, where one eye is blue and the other is amber or green. This is allowed, but only if the cat is white. White cats may also have blue eyes, green eyes, or amber eyes. Other Turkish Angoras should have amber eyes.

With semi-long hair you might expect the Turkish Angora to mat and tangle easily, but the silky texture and uniform growth limit the grooming needs of this cat. He should be brushed once a week to remove loose hair, but he won't generally mat and he always looks his best.

The Personality of the Turkish Angora

You would be hard pressed to find a breed more elegant and graceful than the Turkish Angora. He moves with the grace and power of a trained dancer, often doing so just to entertain you. He love to play and race around, chasing toys and leaping about until you are laughing at his antics.

The Turkish Angora loves people of all ages. Old, young, it doesn't matter. People are great and a constant source of love and affection according to this energetic breed. He can tolerate other pets, but only if he gets to take precedence over them. He needs to be able to command your affection before the dog does or he'll become one irate kitty.

If you're looking for a majestic bundle of energy who will crawl all over you day and night, the Turkish Angora might be the cat for you.

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