The Turkish Van Site
Characteristics of the Van


Many people ask us "what is the Turkish Van's personality like"? It is difficult to generalize a set of characteristics for all cats within a given breed or even between the males and females. The Turkish Vans are very individualistic with personality traits varying from kitten to kitten and manifesting at a very early age. However there are some traits that do occur more frequently and I'll go over them here. Remember, these are just generalizations and all Turkish Vans will not necessarily exhibit these.

blue eyed black and white Turkish Van

this is Pairodocs BB - he lives in Germany

Some General Personality Characteristics of the Turkish Van Cat

very active and playful

Make sure to have plenty of feather teasers and balls about. They like to play with a variety of things, some of which you may not want them to play with (such as your socks). Some actually enjoy fetching and retrieving. You can throw a crumpled paper ball or their favorite furry mouse and they'll keep bringing it back to you for more. You will tire of this long before they do. One particularly playful cat of mine was very insistent that I pay fetch with him. He retrieved every ball in the house and deposited them on my pillow while I slept! When Vans play they go all out. They will leap in the air to catch a feather teaser and do all manner of acrobatics. They play very hard until the point when they just flop on their sides and pant like a dog.


They know EVERYTHING that is going on in their house. If you bring in something new, they will have to inspect it thoroughly. They can also figure out how to open doors and cabinets. You can almost see those wheels turn in their heads as they work out a solution to a problem.


In this respect they are similar to dogs in their interactions with humans. They will follow their favorite person all about. They are content to watch you work on the computer, sleep, read, or watch TV. Vans sometimes bond with one member of the household more than with others and want to spend all of their time with that person. They can recognize your car and wait for you at the door to greet you.

Van and rose

Did we say that Vans are curious :-)??


Turkish Vans get along amazingly well with a variety of different animals. We have placed them in homes with other cats, small and large dogs, birds, reptiles, and other creatures. After they get to know the other animals, they get along quite well with them. The Turkish Van generally does assert itself as the dominant member of the household. Vans do prefer the company of other Vans if that option is available and enjoy the social interactions, such as grooming and playing together. If threatened (real or perceived) the Van is very assertive and will defend itself, even against a much larger animal.

tallyandpup2 (20K)


I consider the breed as very loving and affectionate although this is not always displayed the same way as in many other breeds. The Turkish Van is generally not a cat that likes to be held for long periods or squeezed and cuddled (there are of course some exceptions to this!). This does not mean they don't like sleeping with you or laying on your lap. They love to be petted and stroked and like the interaction. Most do not feel comfortable with four feet off of the ground. Because they feel insecure when held they will often start to wiggle until you let them down. At this point, they don't run off (no hard feelings!), but will often rub against your leg as if to remind you how they like their affection. They generally like to be the initiators of the affection. When they are in the mood, so to speak, they are very insistent upon getting their fair share of attention. Another interesting characteristic is the "head butt". That is their way of saying hello to their favorite person :-))

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