I have recently come to believe that Alfie is likely part Turkish Van cat.
Firstly, I am in no way, shape, or form a supporter of pedigreed or purebred animals as a hobby. I got him from a shelter and very likely the next cat I get (if and when that happens) will be of similar origin. Whatever his genetic makeup, I love him because he’s a splendid, beautiful, sweet loving little guy.
That said, I think knowing a pet’s breed is interesting, and can often be helpful in explaining their behavior, health, and other characteristics.
Secondly, though it’s unlikely by now that any members of the cat fancy eager to set me straight are lurking near, let me assure them anyway. I know he’s not a “real” Van. At best he’s a lowly “Van-Alike.” I get it and as noted above, I don’t give a crap.
I found out about the breed because I started looking for info about Alfie’s coat. I’ve never had, or for that matter, seen a cat with such a coat. It’s like a cashmere baby blanket, or the softest fur on the tiniest bunny you ever saw. Turns out Vans do not have the awn and guard hairs most cats do, just the silky downy stuff.
The other giveaway is his markings. The characteristic Van pattern is a brilliant while body with a colored tail and matching head, or as I call it, his toupee. As merely a VanAlike, Alfie doesn’t have stripes on his very plushy tail and as seen in pix, he’s got some big Holstein-like dark spots mixed up on his otherwise white body.
Lastly, water. I have become more aware as he gets bigger that he’s obsessed with water. He hasn’t actually jumped in any (that I’ve seen) but he loves being wet and playing with water. He like to rub against my legs when I get out of the tub, he likes to sit on the still damp door of the dishwasher, he likes to snake around in the damp tall grass outside. He hates being tagged by my water sprayer full stream but he does enjoy a nice misting. How did I find this out? I give the parrot frequent warm mistings and I discovered Alfie would sit on the floor underneath in order to get in on the act.
Which brings us to the best known fact about Turkish Vans: Often as not, they really enjoy water. They swim. On purpose.
So, some backstory on Alfie. Good to know, though he doesn’t appear that interested in any of it. He’s currently snoozed out on the floor.