Have you wondered why there don’t seem to be any Turkish Van crossbreeds or hybrids? People often search for ‘van hybrid cats’ only to be frustrated by the lack of information out there. But if you know a little bit about the Turkish Van’s history and current status, this information gap will become somewhat clearer. Here’s the lowdown on why van hybrid cats won’t be appearing in a pet store or shelter near you anytime soon.
Rarest Cat in the World
It’s a big claim, but the Turkish Van is one of the rarest breeds in the world. The entire breeding stock is descended from two kittens who were brought to the UK in 1955. The owner bred them carefully to maintain the ‘van’ pattern; white body with color on the head and tail only. Van cats may occasionally have a spot of color elsewhere on their body, but it’s unusual. Some are entirely white, and these are known as Turkish Vankedisi. Each year, only 100 Van cats are born in America, making them extremely rare. Because of this, as you can imagine, they are not roaming the streets breeding with feral or wildcats. This means van hybrid cats are pretty much unheard of.
Protected Breeding Stock
Because Turkish Vans are so unusual and rare, they are almost never purposefully bred with other breeds of cat. Hybrids sometimes come about through selective breeding, such as in the case of the striped Toyger cat, or the Pixie Bob. These type of hybrids are purposefully bred to resemble wild cats, and sometimes even claim to have wildcat genes.
Breeding a new hybrid can be exciting for the breeder and fascinating to the world of cat lovers. But the Turkish Van is so rare and so revered, all breeding animals are kept solely for breeding more Turkish Vans. No Van breeder would ever allow their precious animal to be bred out for any purpose other than this, as this would reduce the number of Turkish Vans born each year even further. Van hybrid cats could possibly appear if a Turkish Van escaped and went walkabout! But there are no recorded cases of this, and with the cats being so rare and expensive, they are normally extremely well looked after and kept as indoor cats.
Another reason cat fanciers and breeders don’t want to create hybrids of the Turkish Van is that this breed is adored just the way it is. As a ‘natural’ breed that has had very little human intervention, the Van retains many of the natural instincts of its Turkish ancestors. They are excellent hunters, and as an indoor cat you will see this instinct come to life as they play with you and your family. Vans can learn tricks and will play fetch just like a dog. They love to get up as high as possible, just like many wild cats. This gives them a sense of safety and security and allows them to survey all that happens around them. They love water, and their coats are unusually water repellent. They won’t tolerate too much handling, but will cuddle on their own terms.
Hybrids are usually bred to mix the best aspects of domestic and wild cats together. With sharp intelligence, great instincts and beautiful, silky fur, Van owners know they don’t need to go looking for Van hybrid cats. They’ve already got the perfect breed for them.