The Turkish Angora, formally known as the ‘Turkish Ankara’, is a naturally occurring domestic breed of cat, not to be confused with the slightly bigger Turkish Van. Angoras have been around for centuries, since the 1500s, and originate in the Ankara Region of Central Turkey. It is said that the first long-haired cat seen in Europe was brought from Ankara, leading many to believe it was a Turkish Angora kittens.
Like all domestic cats, the Angora comes from the African Wild cat. Their long fur is said to stem from a spontaneous recessive mutation due to their inability to leave their dense mountainous environment and being forced to inbreed. It is in fact believed that all long-haired cats stem from the Angora breed.
The Angora’s history includes both bumping shoulders with royalty and facing the threat of going extinct. Marie-Antoinette as well as King Louis XV, for example, both loved the Angora cat. Towards the end of the French Revolution, Marie-Antoinette (trying to flee France) put her Turkish Angora aboard a boat headed for Maine, although she was herself unable to join her beloved cats. Upon the breeds arrival in Maine, they started to breed with local cats and helped create a new breed known as the Maine Coon.
Back in Europe, Angoras were slowly losing their adoration and began to be eclipsed by the Persian breed. Starting to lose their appeal, the Angora almost became extinct. Thankfully a zoo in Turkey kept the breed from the grim fate of extinction by having an exhibit featuring this breed in all their glory. To this day, you can still go visit these beautiful cats at the Ankara Zoo.
During the 1960s, a couple from America visited Turkey and toured the Ankara Zoo that held the Angoras. Falling for their beauty, the couple quickly became infatuated and requested permission to take some of the cats back to America. In the end, the couple was granted permission and upon arriving back in the States began breeding them.
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