One of the most outgoing and affectionate of all cat breeds, the rare and beautiful Turkish Angora has a fascinating history and is considered a national treasure in its native land. Many Turkish Angora owners in the United Stated consider their cats a treasure as well! Turks are not only intelligent, but extremely adaptable, loving and playful, which makes them an excellent choice for families with young children, and lively companions for senior adults. They readily accept dogs and other animals, but their assertive natures often make them the “alpha” pet in the household.
Elegant, finely-boned creatures, Turkish Angoras are graceful, energetic and usually the first to welcome visitors into your home. It is also not unusual for a pet Turk to act as the “host” at a party or other gathering, inspecting and interacting with every guest. It is no wonder that they are often considered “dog-like!”
The Turkish Angora’s soft, silky coat rarely mats and requires only minimal grooming. Most breeders recommend combing once or twice a week with a fine-toothed comb or slicker brush to remove excess hair and keep the coat looking and feeling its best. Like all long-haired breeds, they lose some coat during the summer months, when more frequent combing may be needed to prevent hairballs.
Most likely, the breed originated in the mountainous regions of Turkey, where it developed an unusually soft, medium-long coat for protection against the harsh winters. Possibly it evolved from the Manul cat, a small feline domesticated by the Tartars. This pure, natural breed can trace its written history as far back as 16th-century France. However, in the early 1900s, it was used indiscriminately in Persian breeding programs and virtually disappeared as a separate breed. For many years, all longhaired cats were referred to simply as “Angoras.”
Fortunately for cat lovers, controlled breeding programs had been set up in Turkey to preserve this living treasure. There, in the 1950s, at the Ankara Zoo, the Turkish Angora was discovered by American servicemen and re-introduced to the cat fancy. All Turkish Angoras registered by CFA must be able to trace their ancestry back to Turkey.
Although the first import on record arrived in the U.S. in 1954, it was not until the mid-1960s that the breed became numerous enough to seek recognition from CFA. White Turkish Angoras were accepted for registration in 1968, for Provisional Breed competition in 1970, and for Champion-ship competition in 1972. The first CFA grand champion, GC NoRuz Kristal of Azima, came in 1976. However, it took another two years before colored Turkish Angoras were permitted to compete in Championship with their all-white siblings.
While whites are still very popular today, Turkish Angora breeders have focused increasingly on colored cats. More and more people are realizing how lovely these lithe, elegant creatures look in other colors. At a CFA show today you might see these cats in other solid colors, such as black, blue, red and cream; in tortoiseshell or blue-cream; in classic, mackerel and spotted tabbies of many colors; and bi-colored cats in any of these colors with white. In recent years, many breeders have begun working with smoke and shaded colors as well. Any shade and pattern, except those that denote hybridization (such as lavender, chocolate or the pointed pattern) is accepted for CFA registration.
Pricing on Turkish Angoras usually depends on type, applicable markings and bloodlines distinguished by Grand Champion (GC), National, National Breed and/or Regional winning parentage (NW, BW, RW) or of Distinguished Merit parentage (DM). The DM title is achieved by the dam (mother) having produced five CFA grand champion/premier (alter) or DM offspring, or sire (father) having produced fifteen CFA grand champion/premier or DM offspring. Usually breeders make kittens available between twelve and sixteen weeks of age. After twelve weeks, kittens have had their basic inoculations and developed the physical and social stability needed for a new environment, showing, or being transported by air. Keeping such a rare treasure indoors, neutering or spaying and providing acceptable surfaces (e.g. scratching posts) for the natural behavior of scratching (CFA disapproves of declawing or tendonectomy surgery) are essential elements for maintaining a healthy, long and joyful life. Colors: a wide array of colors in the solid, shaded, smoke, tabby, bi-color and parti-color patterns.