Although often confused with the Persian, the Turkish Angora has a very different face structure, body type, and temperament.
White cats with long hair have existed in Turkey and surrounding regions for centuries. Long fur likely developed via a spontaneous genetic mutation, and this trait would have conferred a survival advantage during cold, harsh winters.
Turkish Angoras were brought to England and France in the 1500s, but European cat fanciers lost interest in the breed when they developed a preference for the Persian, and the Turkish Angora nearly went extinct throughout Europe as a result. Luckily, the Ankara Zoo in Turkey undertook a breeding program to save the cat. This zoo was protective of its Angoras and reluctant to adopt any out, but Colonel Walter Grant and his wife were able to obtain a breeding pair in 1963 and another unrelated pair 1966, which became the foundation of the American breeding pool.
Turkish Angora Appearance
The elegant Turkish Angora is a long, slender cat, weighing 5-9 pounds at full maturity. Its ears are large and close-set, and its almond-shaped eyes may be blue, green, gold, or copper, with many Angoras having eyes of two different colours.
The Turkish Angora’s coat is medium-long, soft and silky. Its fur is longer around the ruff and on the tail, and the coat shimmers when the cat is in motion.
Turkish Angoras can be found in many colours and patterns, including white, black, blue, red, cream, tortie, tabby, and bi-colour. The Cat Fanciers’ Association accepts any pattern or shade except those indicating hybridization, such as a Siamese pointed pattern, because the Turkish Angora is not supposed to be outcrossed with other breeds.
Although Turkish Angoras are often confused with Persians, they are very different breeds. Whereas Persians have round, flat faces, Angoras have wedge-shaped faces, and Persians are stocky and solid, while Angoras are slim. Also, Persians tend to be placid and mellow, whereas Turkish Angoras are always on the go.
Turkish Angora Personality
Alert and energetic, Turkish angoras love to climb, run, and play, and seem to enjoy showing off. Because they are among the smarter breeds, they tend to be strong-willed and assertive, usually getting their way in any given situation. They are accepting of dogs, but generally have the upper hand in the relationship.
A Turkish Angora will usually bond with one particular person in a household and follow that individual around like a dog, though these outgoing, friendly cats will show affection to other household members as well. Adaptable and accepting, they make good family cats because they can get along well with children, even very young ones.
Like another breed of Turkish origin, the Turkish Van, Angoras are swimming cats. Many (though not all) will voluntarily jump into water, particularly if they were raised by swimming mothers.
Are All Turkish Angoras Deaf?
None-purebred white cats with blue eyes are just as likely to suffer from the genetic defect causing deafness as purebred Turkish Angoras. Although deafness rates are higher among white cats with blue eyes than in cats of other colours, not all white cats with blue eyes are deaf.
Deaf cats adapt well to their disability, hearing through their feet by picking up on vibrations, and relying more on their senses of sight and smell.
Turkish Angora Health
Most Turkish Angoras are healthy and have good longevity, but a few lines are prone to developing Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, a life-threatening heart disease.
Another condition associated with the breed is Turkish Angora Ataxia, which causes loss of muscle control and death in kittens. The Turkish Angora Ataxia Project sells customizable cat-related merchandise to fund research by the nonprofit Winn Feline Foundation that will hopefully lead to a cure for this malady.
Turkish Angora Grooming Requirements
Turkish Angoras have very low grooming requirements for a long-haired breed because they lack an undercoat. Combing once a week is usually sufficient to prevent matting.
Adopt a Turkish Angora Kitten or Cat
The Turkish Angora is still relatively rare. There are few breeders worldwide, and they maintain waiting lists.
Turkish Angora kittens usually cost anywhere from $900 to $1,500 or more (prices vary based on whether kittens are classified as show or pet quality, markings, bloodlines, and other factors). Blue-eyed or odd-eyed Turkish Angoras with pure white fur tend to sell at the highest prices, unless they are deaf, in which case the price drops significantly. A retired adult show cat or breeding cat can sometimes be adopted for a lower price.
Turkish Angora breeders can be found through the Fanciers Breeder Referral List online.
- Diaz, J.M. (n.d.). “The Turkish Angora.” Fanciers.com.
- Helgren, J.A. (2010). “Choosing a Turkish Angora.” Petplace.com.
- P&G Pet Care, IAMS Breed Guide. (2010). “Turkish Angora.” IAMS.com.
- Reiff, D.. (November 2001). “Breed Article: The Elegant Turkish Angora.” CFAinc.org.
- Tanner, I. (22 June 2009). “Breed Profile: Turkish Angora.” CFAinc.org.