Turkish Angoras are one of the ancient, natural breeds of cat, having originated in central Turkey, in the Ankara region (historically known as Angora). The breed is also sometimes called simply the Angora (or Ankara cat), and in some obsolete works as the Angola.
The origins of the Turkish Angora remain a mystery, although longhaired cats have been seen in parts of the Middle East for centuries. Formerly known as “Ankara Cats,” in honor of the city of Ankara in Turkey, the name for a particular strain of these longhaired felines was changed to Turkish Angora when the name of the city was changed from Ankara to Angora.
Though there are indications that they appeared in Europe as early as the 14th century due to the Crusades, The Turkish Angoras and other longhaired cats where first introduced to Europe in the late 1500s. The breed came to the United States in the 1700s. Subsequent crossbreeding to other longhaired cats like the persian — to improve their coat — nearly destroyed the breed until in the 1900s, the Turkish government began a breeding program to save the all-white Angora. A pair of cats from this program were imported into the United States, and the breed got their comeback.
Although they are still a bit rare, the Turkish Angora is growing in popularity. The breed is recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association, The International Cat Association and the American Cat Fanciers Association.The breed is now also protected in Turkey. Turkish Angoras are not recognized in Britain.
Personality & Characteristics
Extremely active, intelligent are the two main words that describe the Turkish Angora. They bond well with humans, but will often choose for one particular family member. They seek to be ‘helpful’ in any way they can with their humans, and sometimes their intelligence is remarkable at times. Showing basic problems solving skills. But they are easily trained! Even deaf Angora’s won’t be a problem to train. This might be due to their intelligence and their desire to be in contact with humans.
They have a lot of energy! And they are real ‘high-sitter’, as we call it at home. A cat that rather sits high, then low on the ground. Furniture, bookshelves, everything. So it might be a good idea to get a high scratching post with platforms. But their personality is one of the endearing qualities that makes the breed desirable to certain people. They also get along well in homes with other animals, children and high activity. So if you’re planning to get a Turkish Angora, be ready for a ball of energy that might need a lot of play time! And they might be vocal as well!
Turkish Angora cats have a silky tail, medium-long length coat, no undercoat and a balanced body type. Although they are known for their shimmery white coat, there are more than twenty varieties including black, blue, and reddish fur. They come in tabby and tabby-white, along with smoke varieties, and are in every color other than those which show hybridization (cross breeding), such as pointed, chocolate, lavender, and cinnamon.
Eyes may be blue, green, or amber, or even odd-eyed (one blue and one amber or green). Their ears are pointed, large and wide-set, eyes are almond-shaped and the profile forming two straight planes. Another characteristic is the plumed tail, which is often carried upright, perpendicular to the back.
Breed Standard CFA
Head – small to medium, in balance with the length of the body and extremities. The shape is medium long, smooth wedge. Allowance is to be made for jowls. Profile: two planes formed by a flat top head and the line of the nose meeting at an angle slightly above the eyes. Their muzzle has a continuation of the smooth lines of the wedge with neither pronounced whisker pad nor pinch.
The ears are large, wide at base, pointed and tuffed. Set closely together, high on the head, vertical and erect. And the eyes of the Angora are large, almond-shaped, slanting slightly up with open expression.
Body – medium size, however, overall balance, grace and fineness of bone are more important than actual size. Males may be slightly larger than females. Body is long and slender, possessing greater depth than width, oval and not round (not tubular). Shoulders the same width as hips. Rump slightly higher than shoulders. Finely boned with firm muscularity. Their body has long legs, and their hind legs longer than the front legs. With small, round and dainty paws and tufts between toes. The Turkish Angora should weight around 6-11 lbs (2.7 – 4.9kg)
The tail should be long and tapering from a wide base to a narrow end, with a full brush.
Coat – single coated. Length of body coat varies, but tail and ruff should be long, full, finely textured and have a silk-like sheen. “Britches” should be clear on the hind legs.
The W gene responsible for the white coat and blue eye is closely related to the hearing ability (explained here). This also means that when a cat has a right blue eyes, they are prone in becoming deaf on their right ear. With some being totally deaf if they have two blue eyes. However, a great many blue and odd-eyed white cats have normal hearing, and even deaf cats can lead a very normal (and happy) life if kept indoors.
Some Turkish Angora kittens suffer from hereditary ataxia, a rare condition which is thought to be inherited as an autosomal recessive. The kittens affected by ataxia have shaking movements, and sadly they do not survive to adulthood.
Another genetic illness that is rare but known to the breed is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is a cardiac condition usually found between the ages of 2 – 6, with males being affected more often than females.
In the Maine Coon, HCM is thought to be an autosomal dominant gene and researchers are working to identify markers for this disease. However, in the Turkish Angora, the disease has not yet been studied, because of the rarity of the disease, and it is likely to result from a different mutation of genes, with a different gene location than that of the Maine Coon cat. HCM also affects many other breeds like the Ragdoll, Persians and Bengals.
So remember, when you’re planning to go for an Angora, you might get an active cat, that loves contact with humans. But will also go good with other animals and children.