It is thought that the Turkish Angora was the first longhaired cat, and the original ancestor of today’s longhairs, although its coat is nowhere near as long as that of today’s Persians. These cats had been kept for centuries in their native Turkey, but by the 1960s they were very scarce, so the government decided to set up a breeding programme for them at Ankara Zoo. Since then, their numbers have increased and the future of the breed is now secure again. Turkish Angora. Tabby forms have been bred in a range of colours, but Oriental-type markings are not permitted.
- BREED DEVELOPED: 1400s
- COUNTRY: Turkey
- TYPE: Longhair
- BODY SHAPE: Long, slender body
- WEIGHS UP TO: 5kg/ 11lb
- PLUS POINTS: Intelligent, lively companions
- WATCH POINTS: Often very keen climbers
These cats are often described as semi-longhairs, with their appearance varying slightly with the seasons. Their coat is usually to be seen at its finest during the winter, offering good protection against the cold in their native region. During the summer however, when the weather is often very hot, they shed much of their long, dense winter coat, resembling a shorthair at this stage, although still retaining a distinctive full plume of long hair on the tail. The fur itself is fine and silky in texture, feeling softer than in other longhaired breeds. During the moult, the careful use of a rubber brush helps to strip out the longer hair which is being shed. Otherwise, these cats can be especially vulnerable to furballs if they are left to groom themselves.
The silver undercoat of these tabbies contrasts with their darker tabby markings, with the coat patterning becoming more distinctive during the summer when the coat is short.
Only in recent years has the breed started to be seen again with increasing frequency in other parts of Europe and the USA. The ancestries of today’s bloodlines generally trace back to cats obtained as a result of the breeding programme at Ankara Zoo. The breed started to become more popular in the USA during the 1960s, and was then introduced to the UK in the following decade.
- White is the traditional colour associated with this breed, forming the basis of Ankara Zoo’s breeding programme.
- The Turkish Angora is quite distinct from the Angora itself, which is a British attempt to recreate the breed, introduced in the 1960s, using Oriental Shorthaired stock with a longhaired gene for this purpose.
- The Turkish Angora lost favour with cat fanciers outside its homeland in the late 1800s as the longer and more profuse coat of the Persian Longhair was being developed.