Turkish Angora cats belong to the natural breeds and they are one of the oldest cat breeds. The semi-longhair cat from Turkey is said to be the mother of all longhair breeds. In the 16th century, the white cats travelled as gift to the French royal house and became very popular in European aristocratic houses. In the 19th century, the Turkish Angora was gradually replaced by the Persian cat in its popularity and almost disappeared from the scene.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the natural breed was almost extinct, so in 1939 a conservation breeding program was started at the Ankara Zoo in Turkey. In Turkey, only the white Angoras, preferably odd-eyed, were considered “Ankara Kedisi”, so the offspring were exclusively bred with white Angora cats, which of course lived in the Ankara region.
In 2013 the zoo was closed and the cats were given to communities and families in Ankara. In 2017 a Turkish Angora cat house was opened again in Ankara to preserve the breed with a new breeding programme.
The export of Ankara Kedisi to other countries was and is very difficult, as the Turkish Angora are considered a national treasure and export is prohibited. Only a few cats found their way to the USA in the 50s and 60s, and from the 70s also to Germany and the Netherlands. In 1973 only the white variety was recognized by the CFA for a time, followed by the other natural colours in 1978.
In 1988 the white Turkish Angora was also recognized by the FIFE, then in 1994 the coloured ones. The Turkish Angora has been recognized in the TICA since 1979.
Chocolate, lilac and pointed are still not recognized, although kittens of these colours appear again and again; the genes are there in some lines.
The Turkish Angora is an easy-care, semi-longhair cat, with a silky top coat, no undercoat, quite short in summer and longer in winter, with a bushy tail and ruff. The fur hardly becomes matted, so daily brushing is not necessary, as is the case with other long-haired breeds.
The breed is of medium size, elegant, on high legs and with a long body, muscular under the silky fur, on small round paws. The face is triangular with high, straight, large ears - the hallmark of this breed. The eyes are almond-shaped (CFA) to walnut-shaped (TICA), the profile is straight to slightly curved, forehead and nose form two planes.
This breed is very active and playful, with often surprising jumping power, intelligent and very affectionate. A cat breed to fall in love with, once you have had a Turkish Angora, you will never want to live without this breed.
Turkish Angora Breed Standard
GENERAL: the ideal Turkish Angora is a balanced, graceful cat with a fine, silky coat that shimmers with every movement, in contrast to the firm, long, muscular body beneath it. It is a cat of angles and straight lines, medium in size with no exaggerated features. A Turkish Angora should create the impression of ethereal, flowing motion.
HEAD: Size: small to medium, in balance with the length of the body and extremities. Shape: a medium long, smooth wedge. Allowance is to be made for jowls. Profile: two flat planes formed by a flat top head and the line of the nose meeting at an angle slightly above the eyes. While slight differences in length of plane should not be penalized, equal length of planes are preferred. NO BREAK.
MUZZLE: a continuation of the smooth lines of the wedge with neither pronounced whisker pad nor pinch.
EARS: large, wide at base, pointed and tuffed. Set closely together, high on the head, vertical and erect.
EYES: large, almond-shaped, slanting slightly upward with open expression.
EYE COLOR: there is no relationship between eye color and coat color, and each eye color description can include much variation within its defined spectrum, especially as cats mature. Acceptable colors include blue, which encompasses shades from sky blue to sapphire; green, which can range from gooseberry to emerald; green-gold, which includes any gold or amber eye that carries a greenish cast or ring; amber, which can range from gold to rich copper but has no green cast or ring, and odd-eyed, with one blue eye and the other green, green-gold or amber. While no points are specifically allocated to eye color, deeper, richer tones are preferred. Odd-eyed cats should have similar depth of color in both eyes.
NOSE: medium in length. Entire length of nose even in width when viewed from the front.
NECK: slim, graceful and rather long.
CHIN: firm, gently rounded. Tip in profile to form perpendicular line with nose.
BODY: medium size; finely boned with firm muscularity. Overall balance, grace and fineness of bone are more important than actual size. Fine boning should not be construed to reflect or give advantage to a smaller frame. It should be taken in balance with the whole. Females are typically smaller than males. Body is long and slender, possessing greater depth than width, oval rather than round (not tubular). Shoulders the same width as hips. Rump slightly higher than shoulders.
LEGS: long. Hind legs longer than front.
PAWS: small, round and dainty. Tufts between toes preferable.
TAIL: long and tapering from a wide base to a narrow end, with a full brush.
COAT: single coated. Length of body coat varies, but tail and ruff should be long, full, finely textured and have a silk-like sheen. “Britches” should be apparent on the hind legs.
BALANCE: proportionate in all physical aspects with a graceful, lithe appearance.