The Turkish Angora is a stunning cat breed, known for elegance, intelligence, and loyalty. Like the onscreen personality of Duchess in the Disney classic "The Aristocats," Turkish Angoras are poised, carrying themselves with pride. But like little kitten Marie, they can also be headstrong, if not downright bossy.
The Turkish Angora breed nearly disappeared in the early 1900s when cat breeders crossbred them to improve the coats of the Persian cat breed. But the people of Turkey, considering the Turkish Angora their crown jewel, refused to let that happen. They established a breeding program at the Ankara Zoo, and in 1962 the first Turkish Angora arrived in the Americas.
Most cat enthusiasts know Turkish Angoras as white cats with mesmerizing blue or odd-colored (heterochromatic) jewel eyes. But Kit Goodwin, a TICA-registered Turkish Angora breeder in Johnstown, Ohio, says they come in a wide array of eye-catching colors.
For instance, black smoke Turkish Angoras have white fur with black roots and tips. Their fur flashes like a shadow, she says. Turkish Angoras also come in red, cream, black, blue, blue cream, silver, calico, dilute calico, and tortoiseshell variations. Their long, silky coats conceal a muscular physique.
Caring for a Turkish Angora
Turkish Angoras make great family pets. That said, it’s important to teach kids how to interact with their Angora, as these Turkish cats tend not to like to be held for more than a few minutes at a time.
While not your typical docile lap cat, Turkish Angoras thoroughly enjoy the company of their human companions and other furry family members. They tend not to shy away from welcoming strangers at the door. As long as they have plenty of toys and activities to keep them entertained, Angora cats thrive in both homes and apartments.
Angoras might give the impression of being high-maintenance, but their silky fur tends to remain free of mats. Nevertheless, brushing your Turkish Angora a few times a week will keep their coat and skin in good condition. While bathing isn't obligatory, you may discover that this water-loving cat enjoys bonding over an occasional bath.
Turkish Angora Health Issues
Like many cat breeds, Turkish Angoras can be susceptible to a handful of common feline genetic health conditions. However, overall they’re healthy felines that often have lifespans in the double digits. Purchasing pet insurance for your Turkish Angora kitten can help cover unexpected or routine care your cat may need.
White Turkish Angoras with blue eyes are highly sought after, but they also have an increased risk of hereditary deafness. In fact, around 80% of white cats with two blue eyes are deaf.
White cats with blue eyes lack color in their fur and eyes because a gene called "W" suppresses melanin production. The "W" gene also causes a reduction in melanoblasts—cells that migrate to the ear in healthy cats and help maintain a chemical balance. Without melanoblasts, chemical imbalances can cause the tiny hairs of the inner ear to die.
White cats with heterochromia—one blue eye and one yellow, gold, green, or copper eye—are often deaf in the ear on the same side of their blue eye.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a congenital heart disease that will lead to heart failure in cats if left untreated. Cats are typically asymptomatic in the early stages of the disease, often only being diagnosed when a heart murmur is heard during a routine physical exam. In more advanced cases, signs include:
Coughing and/or wheezing
Abnormal heart rhythms
Pale, gray, or blue gums
Blue foot pads and nail beds
This heart condition can be prevented in kittens with testing of the breeding parents. Ask your Turkish Angora breeder if HCM runs in your cat’s family tree.
What To Feed a Turkish Angora
Feed your Turkish Angora a high-quality commercial cat food meeting the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional recommendations for their life stage (kitten/all life stages, adult maintenance, or senior).
It’s best to discuss your cat’s ideal diet with your veterinarian, as they can make recommendations based on your cat’s medical history, lifestyle, and age.
How To Feed a Turkish Angora
Cats can be fed two or more small meals a day, although kittens must be fed more often than adult cats. Cats thrive on routine, so maintaining a set feeding schedule can help reduce stress and regulate their appetite.
Even elegant cats like the Turkish Angora are hunters at heart. “Puzzle feeders that dispense treats when solved will engage a cat’s mind,” says Stephen Quandt, a training and behavior specialist and owner of Stephen Quandt Feline Behavior Associates, LLC. Alternatively, hide a few kibbles or treats around the house for your cat to find.
How Much Should You Feed a Turkish Angora?
Turkish Angora are medium-sized cats that typically weigh 8–15 pounds. Feeding your Angora cat too much food can lead to weight gain, obesity, and other weight-related conditions.
The instructions on your cat's food can be used as a feeding guide based on your cat's weight. However, your cat's health, lifestyle, and ideal weight also play a role in how much they should eat, so it's best to talk to your veterinarian for guidance.
As with all cats, treats should not make up more than 10% of their daily caloric intake.
Nutritional Tips for Turkish Angoras
Your Angora cat will get all their nutritional needs met when fed a high-quality diet meeting AAFCO nutritional recommendations. However, as cats age, they may be prone to joint conditions such as arthritis.
Behavior and Training Tips for Turkish Angoras
Turkish Angora Personality and Temperament
Turkish Angora cats have playful, affectionate personalities and can be great companions for people of all ages, including children and seniors. They may not always enjoy being held or cuddled, but they love to play and retain a kitten-like energy throughout their adult years.
They're also good companions for other pets, despite their desire to always be in charge. With proper introductions and socialization, they tend to form strong bonds with humans and animals alike.
Turkish Angora cats have playful, affectionate personalities and can be great companions for people of all ages, including children and seniors.
Turkish Angora Behavior
Quandt recommends utilizing vertical space for any cat, but it can be especially important for agile cats that love to climb, such as the Turkish Angora.
“Cat trees provide exercise, help stretch muscles and, when positioned near a window, give a view of life outside,” he says. Other items that will deter your Angora from roaming the tops of your bookshelves: window perches, cat shelving, and high-up hammocks and beds.
Turkish Angora Training
All cats can be trained, and it's a fun and enriching activity for both you and your cat. Reward-based training is the best way to teach your Turkish Angora desired behaviors and tricks.
To reduce the likelihood of unwanted behaviors, socialize your cat early; introduce them to new people and situations carefully and provide them with an enriching environment.
Fun Activities for Turkish Angoras
Sunbathing on a window perch
Birdwatching from a catio
Solving puzzle toys
Climbing cat trees, shelving, and scratching posts
Playing with interactive toys
Turkish Angora Grooming Guide
While only white Turkish Angoras are bred at the Ankara Zoo, the breed can come in all colors and patterns. No matter the color of their fur, the Angora's single-layer coat is easy to groom and varies in length with the season, becoming shorter in the warm months and longer and thicker in the cold.
Light-colored cats, such as all-white Turkish Angoras, are more prone to sunburn than dark-colored cats. To protect your ivory feline, limit their sun exposure, dress them in a UV-blocking shirt, or apply UV-blocking film to windows.
If your cat shows signs of skin irritation or itching, schedule a checkup with a veterinarian.
The Turkish Angora’s coat should be brushed a few times a week. Baths aren’t necessary, but your cat may enjoy splashing in water from time to time.
The Turkish Angora’s eyes don’t typically require regular upkeep. If you notice changes in your cat’s eyes, such as redness or discharge, contact your vet.
Head shaking, scratching the ears, and discharge are all signs of an ear infection. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your vet.
If you suspect your Angora kitten may be deaf or partially deaf, see your vet for an exam.
Considerations for Pet Parents
Turkish Angoras are beautiful, intelligent, and affectionate cats that can make wonderful companions for people of all ages. Before adopting or purchasing a Turkish Angora, be aware that they are prone to a few genetic conditions. For instance, white Angoras with two blue eyes or one blue eye may be deaf or partially deaf. Hereditary deafness doesn’t affect a cat's lifespan, and Turkish Angoras come in many more coat colors than just white.
Turkish Angoras are known for being playful and bonding with their humans, but they’re not typically considered lap cats. Instead, you might find your Angora gracefully perched on the highest shelf.
Consider adding a cat tree, perches, and lots of interactive toys to your new cat or kitten checklist. These items will provide your Angora with places to climb, perch, and play, which can help to reduce boredom.
Turkish Angora FAQs
What’s the difference between a Maine Coon and a Turkish Angora?
Both Maine Coons and Turkish Angoras are friendly and make ideal family pets. However, Maine Coons are known for being cuddlier, while Turkish Angoras are more independent.
The silky, single coat of the Angora makes them a low-maintenance breed. Maine Coon cats have thick, double-layered coats that require daily grooming to prevent matting.
Are most Turkish Angora cats deaf?
Hereditary deafness is associated with all-white cats with either two blue eyes or one blue eye, regardless of breed. Turkish Angoras come in many colors and coat patterns. Therefore, not all Turkish Angoras are at risk of deafness.
That said, according to the Cornell University Feline Health Center, 65–85% of all-white cats with both eyes blue are deaf.
How expensive is a Turkish Angora?
Turkish Angoras are a rare cat breed, and their price reflects their scarcity. Turkish Angora kittens typically cost $1,000 to $2,000. Retired studs and queens may be purchased at a lower cost, typically $300 to $1,000, depending on the breeder and the cat's age.
Why are Turkish Angora cats rare?
The Turkish Angora breed nearly disappeared in the early 1900s when breeders used them to improve the coats of Persian cats. To preserve the breed, the Ankara Zoo established a breeding program in 1962, where it continues to breed only white Turkish Angora cats. Today, there are few reputable Turkish Angora breeders in the U.S.
Featured Image: Courtesy of Kit Goodwin
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