The Turkish Angora is a breed of cat known for its elegance and beauty. Throughout history, it has been the muse of many painters who were inspired by the delicacy and finesse of the cat's features.
It's a lively, curious and very intelligent cat, making it an ideal companion for people.
The Turkish Angora originates from Turkey, more specifically from the village of Ankara (sometimes known as Angora). This village has also given its name to a series of long-haired cats (Persians) and semi-long-haired cats (main coon, Norwegian).
Over a thousand years ago, in the East, this breed was very popular thanks to rich merchants who used the cats as a symbol of wealth. The first Roman Emperor Auguste Octave also had a Turkish Angora as a pet, and described it as "delicate and refined, noble and independent of spirit".
In the 17th Century – around 1620 – Europeans were introduced to the cat for the first time, thanks to the Italian explorer Pietro Della Valle. After that, the French naturalist Fabri imported Turkish Angora cats from to breed them. This was the first time long-haired cats were brought to Europe.
The appearance of the Turkish Angora quickly attracted the curiosity of other naturalists, and became a symbol of wealth among European aristocrats.
The breed was brought to the American continent after Marie-Antoinette – who owed six of them – prepared to flee revolutionary France. In an attempt to save them from the violence of the revolution, the cats were sent to America along with the personal affects of the queen, and subsequently bred with farm cats. This led to the development of the maine coon.
In the 18th Century, the naturalist Karl Linné distinguished the Turkish Angora from the house cat and the Chartreux, giving it the name Cattus angorensis.
From the 19th Century onwards, the Turkish Angora was associated with Britain, where it was bred with other cats. This resulted in the birth of another long-haired breed – the Persian. This new breed quickly became even more popular than the Turkish Angora, and consequently after the Second World War the Turkish Angora was heading towards extinction. To prevent the breed from dying out, Turkish breeders decided to help the breed expand once more by taking them into the zoo in Ankara.
The Turkish Angora is small and delicately-boned, though its long hair can make it appear large. Its particularly long and slender body gives it the elegant appearance that the cat is known for.
Its paws, like the rest of its body, are long and delicate, and end in round or oval toes. The back legs are slightly longer than the front legs.
The Turksih Angora's tail is long and fluffy, and resembles a silky feather; another elegant attribute.
Characteristics may vary between the male and female Turkish Agora. The male cat has the same basic traits, but is slightly more imposing.
The Turkish Angora's coat can be semi-long or long, and they have no undercoat. The fur is soft, fine and floaty. At around a year old, these cats develop longer hair around the neck and on the belly. This hair is slightly more wavey than it is elsewhere on the body.
Source : Le monde des chats
The Turkish Angora originally had a white coat – this colour has always been symbolic of the breed and is even considered its official colour. However, cat breeders began to note that breeding white cats together often produced deaf kittens. As such, cat associations decided to accept cats with coats in a variety of colours.
Nowadays, all colours are recognised with the exception of lilac, cinnamon, chocolate, fawn, colourpoint patterns and mink.
Among the colours seen in the Turkish Angora, the most notable are: blue with gold eyes, Turkish Angora Black Silver Spotted Tabby, Black Smoked Tortoishell, blue smoked tortoishell, black, blue cream with white accents, and many others.
Interestingly, some of the cats are born with a small grey smudge on top of the head. This fades as the fur thickens around the neck and on the belly, from the age of one year.
Very close to people, the Turkish Angora has several qualities which are desirable in a pet. They are playful, affectionate, curious and intelligent. they love to play and hide in the smallest corners of their home. As they are lively, they need to be entertained and chased, but it is just as important not to push them to do so – the Turkish Angora does not appreciate being forced to play.
These well-balanced cats enjoy the company of both children and adults, and are happy to adjust to the habits of their owners.
Turkish Angoras like to perch in high spots and spend their time observing, and their light and delicate structure allows them to climb buildings or sit on your shoulders with ease.
The Turkish Angora is a natural breed which doesn't suffer from many feline illnesses. Their life expectancy is around 15 years. All the same, due to their curious nature, it's important to check that they are in good shape, and that the cat hasn't hurt itself upon its return from its ventures outside.
Despite its delicate appearance, the Turkish Angora's coat doesn't need a lot of upkeep. As it doesn't have an undercoat, the cat doesn't develope knots in its fur. Giving the cat a brush twice a week is enough to keep it clean. Nevertheless, it's advised the brush the cat more often during the malting season, so that its coat doesn't make it uncomfortable.