The coat is the most fascinating trait on this cat. The climate change in Turkey throughout the year seems to have designed the cat's coat over time. Eastern Turkey is mountainous, and Lake Van sits over 5,260 ft (1600 m.) above sea level. The area faces such extreme temperatures during the summer and winter seasons that it is almost inhospitable. The semi long haired, water resistant single coat, is thick in winter but very soft, like rabbit fur or cashmere. At maturity, the cat will have a winter mane. During the spring and summer months when Turkey becomes extremely hot, the long hair on the body is shed for a shorter coat that retains the cashmere feel. The hair on the tail remains long throughout the year and has the appearance of a bottle brush.
The Turkish Van is a large, semi-longhaired cat with a swimmer's body. Ideal type should feature broad shoulders with a body that is 'top heavy', that is a cat with its center of gravity forward. The cat is moderately long and its back legs are slightly longer than its front legs but, neither the cat itself nor its legs are so long to be disproportionate. These cats are large and muscular and feature short necks. Male Vans grow to about 16 lbs (7.25 kg.) while Females tend to be a bit lighter in weight, 12 to 14 lb (5.44 to 6.35 kg.) A Van will take up to 3 years to reach full maturity. Vans have been known to reach 3 ft (0.9 m.) long from nose to tip of tail
The shoulders of the Turkish Van are broad with the ability for one to place three fingers between the legs at the chest area. It is said that large Van males are the only domestic cats that cannot follow their heads through a fence due to the broadness of their chest and shoulders. The rear end on the cat should not exceed the width of the shoulders - in other words, no bell bottomed or pear shape should be seen.
Vans are sometimes confused with Turkish Angoras, although a side-by-side comparison reveals vastly different characteristics. Angoras are...