One look at the graceful, beautiful Turkish Angora, and it's obvious why they are held in such high esteem by professional breeders and pet owners alike. These fine-boned cats look delicate, but they are extremely playful and active. Their deeply affectionate natures and mischievous personalities make them best suited for pet parents who like having an engaged companion, and their love of attention means they're perfect for homes with other pets or children.
Turkish Angora History
The Angora is named for Ankara, a mountainous region in Turkey, but, the same area that lends its name to Angora rabbits and goats, from which mohair is produced. However, the cat was likely introduced to the region by 14th century Egyptian traders.
The cat's striking features -- its all-white coat, sharp blue eyes, and small and delicate appearance -- made it beloved in its new homeland and to visitors. No one knows exactly how the Angora first appeared in Europe, but the earliest known written account dates to 16th century France. Within a couple centuries, the Angora was prevalent throughout Europe in a variety of colors and coat patterns, but its indiscriminate breeding with Persians led to its disappearance in Europe as a distinct and separate breed.
The Turkish Angora might have disappeared as its own unique breed entirely if not for the fact the cat was considered a national treasure in Turkey and part of a breeding program at the Ankara Zoo. The program focused on Angoras with the traditional appearance of long, white hair and blue, gold, and unmatched eyes. American servicemen visiting the zoo in the 1950s were enamored with the cats, and when news spread home, a serviceman and his wife were given a male and female Angora in the 1960s. Thus began the establishment of the breed in North America.
Turkish Angora Appearance
Turkish Angoras are small cats, usually weighing less than nine pounds when fully grown. Their long, soft, silky coats probably developed to guard against the harsh weather in its native Ankara mountains. This coat is usually white, but it can also be black, cream, and in a variety of patterns like tabby, calico, and tortoiseshell.
The Angora has large, almond-shaped eyes that are either blue, green, gold, or amber, and many have eyes of different colors. Like all cat breeds, Angoras with pure white hair and blue eyes are sometimes born fully or partially deaf due to a gene defect responsible for the white fur but also deafness. Odd-eyed Angoras are commonly deaf in the ear on the same side as the blue ear.
Turkish Angora Personality
Angoras' light weight combined with fine bone structure may lead some to think of them as delicate and fragile, but they are actually very athletic and outgoing. In fact, they are strong swimmers and have been known to go for a quick dip in the pool, bathtub, pond, or any other body of water they can find.
Angoras are very intelligent and extremely social. They're the life of the party and will often be the first to greet strangers to the home. They love nothing more than running around and playing, especially with puzzle toys that engage their quick and curious minds, so pet owners need to be prepared for lots of quality time. These cats are not for the absentee pet parent, as they can quickly become depressed when left on their own for long periods of time. Accordingly, they're best suited to pet owners with lots of energy and ability to engage them, and those who have other pets able to keep this rambunctious feline happy while the human family is away.
The Angora is affectionate and enjoys a good nap with its favorite human, but it's also known to be a prankster who enjoys playing good-natured tricks on others. He will do just about anything to get you to notice him, including being a little naughty like knocking items off shelves or pouncing on your feet poking out from under the blanket. He isn't trying to be mean; he's just letting you know he likes you and wants your attention.