Escapee from the cat fancy genepool, or Van and Van-alike


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.

7 Responses

  1. I have a van-alike from the humane society, too! I’d post a picture of her if I knew how. I’ll try pasting a code and see what happens.

  2. al, I mailed you back but I’m not sure you got it.

    Your kitty looks so much like my Alfie. Is yours kind of funky? Alfie is more like a dog than a cat, he loves water, and he’s getting very big. Not fat, but really muscular and heavy. He’s very solid and strong. Funny funny little guy. A real joy

  3. I, too, have a van-alike. I rescued him as a kitten at barely one pound. He is now 20 pounds of “the best cat I’ve EVER had”. He follows me like a dog, fetches, joins me in the shower and will get in the tub full of water. He also dumps his water bowl and lies in the water, licks the water off the wall of the shower, demands that the sink water be turned on for him and, just for fun I’ll fill the sink full of water for him to play in, paw in, and emerge his front end in. He will also hang his front feet in the water while I am taking a bath. If there’s water… he’s there. Tell me how I can post a picture of him, please.

  4. We just got a Van-alike and his name is Alfie too! We didn’t name him, we kept his name from the shelter. But I am very interested in finding out his “heritage” too. He is about 11 weeks old and he has that soft fur you talked about. And he has a toupee too!!!

  5. I rescued a cat off the street who turned out to be pregnant. One of her kittens looks identical to a Turkish Van, right down to the orange spot on his left shoulder blade.
    I personally don’t care if he’s a pedigree. He is the sweetest, most lovable, loudest purring, water loving cat I’ve ever known. I love my little

  6. My cat, Odd, looks a lot like yours! She’s got the patches on her head and tail and has one patch on either side of her body. They’re tabby-colored spots, though, which makes me wonder what she’s mixed with.
    I got her from the humane society, and she has been the best cat I’ve ever had. She has a bit of an affinity for water, but doesn’t like to get sopping wet if she doesn’t have to. She also gets along well with pretty much anything, which is something I never had in a cat before.
    I was just googling pics of Turkish Vans and your picture came up. The pose and the coloring reminded me so much of Oddie that I had to say something. 🙂

  7. We seem to have a shelter moggie along these lines, too. But we think of her as a ParaVan, with the end in mind of rewriting the lyrics to the Juan Tizol/Duke Ellington song (“Caravan”).

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