Located at the boundaries of Europe and Asia, Turkey is home to an extraordinary variety of domestic animal species and breeds that include bees, camels, cats, cattle, dogs, domestic fowl, donkeys, ducks, goats, geese, horses, mules, pigs, rabbits, sheep, silkworms, water buffalo and several species of domestic birds (partridge, pheasant, pigeon and ostrich). In addition to the clearly distinct Angora and Van cat breeds a short-haired nondescript cat breed is found throughout Turkey. As well as private household ownership, Angora cats have been raised at Ankara Zoo which has belonged to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock since 1939. The Van cat is raised at the Van Cat Research Centre at Yuzuncu Yil University in Van Province which also has a small clinic for the cats. There is a risk of extinction for the Angora and Van breeds but none for the short-haired nondescript type. This paper reviews social aspects, the genetic resources and conservation status of the native cat breeds of Turkey.
The domestic cat is important in the social and cultural environments of Turkey and has been kept as a companion/pet animal for many hundreds of years. Two local cat breeds are valuable additions to the biodiversity of domestic animals. This paper provides the first overview of the cat in Turkey.
Breed, Angora cat, Van cat, Turkish native cat, Genetic resources, Pet animal, Domestic animal.
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This study received no specific financial support.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
The three first authors undertook fieldwork in Turkey, contributed mainly to the literature review and wrote a rough first draft of the paper. The last author was responsible for the instigation of the study, contributed to the international lite.