Turkish Angora: Cat Breed Profile, Characteristics & Care

Appearance, Personality, History, Care, & Helpful Information for Pet Owners

A Turkish Angora cat sitting on a blanket

Anna Volgina / iStock / Getty Images

Known for their long, ballerina-like bodies and silky fur, Turkish Angoras are considered treasures in their homeland of Turkey. Despite their delicate appearance and relatively small size, however, Turkish Angoras are affectionate and playful with their owners, children, and other pets (as long as the other pets know that the Angora is the boss).

A natural breed that originated in Turkey as early as the 15th century, Turkish Angoras were long considered to be solid white cats with blue or green eyes. Today, however, it's widely accepted that Turkish Angoras can come in a variety of colors and variations, including Himalayan, calico, tortoiseshell, and tabby.

Breed Overview

Other Names: Ankara cat

Personality: Playful, social, intelligent, mischievous, and occasionally bossy with other pets

Weight: Up to 9 pounds

Length: Up to 18 inches

Coat Length: Long Hair

Coat Colors: White with lavender, chocolate

Coat Patterns: Tabby, solid, bicolor, Himalayan, calico, tortoiseshell, and colorpoint

Eye Color: Light blue, sapphire, emerald, green-gold, gold, amber, copper, or two different colors

Lifespan: Up to 15 years

Hypoallergenic: Yes

Origin: Turkey

Turkish Angora Characteristics

A Turkish Angoras has a friendly and sociable personality, so it thrives in a home with lots of love and attention. Compared to other cats, the Turkish angora is somewhat needy and doesn't like to be left alone. It appreciates the constant company of its owner or other pets.

Turkish Angoras also have a lot of energy and can get into mischief—especially when bored. Opening cabinets, turning on faucets, or knocking things off tables are just a sampling of the orneriness an Angoras might exhibit when it wants a little more attention.

Affection Level Medium to High
Friendliness Medium to High
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness High
Energy Level High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Vocalize Low
Amount of Shedding Low

History of the Turkish Angora

Unlike many "man-made" cat breeds, the Turkish Angora is a naturally occurring breed that originated in Turkey sometime during the 15th century. It is believed that the angora is a descendant of the African wildcat and that its long, silky hair is either the result of a spontaneous mutation or an evolutionary adaptation to the harsh, snowy climates in Ankara (formerly Angora).

Legends trace Turkish Angoras back to Mohammad, founder of the Islamic faith, who adored cats, and once cut off his sleeve to avoid disrupting the tabby-patterned Turkish Angora sleeping in his arms.

The earliest written reference to Turkish Angora cats dates back to 16th century France, so it's commonly accepted that Turkish Angoras began moving into Britain and France during the late 15th century. By the 1700s, Turkish Angoras were imported to the Americas.

Turkish Angoras were exhibited at some of the first cat shows in the late 19th century, and Persian breeds began to incorporate them into their breeding programs. This, unfortunately, caused Turkish angora populations to dwindle throughout Europe. In response, Turkish Angoras became the "treasures" of Turkey, and a breeding program was established at the Ankara Zoo to preserve them.

During the 1950s, American servicemen stationed in Turkey were captivated by the zoo's Turkish Angoras. Although the breeding program was hesitant to give up any of its cats, two were gifted to Colonel and Mrs. Walter Grant. These cats became the foundation of the American Turkish angora breeding program. Over the years, more Americans brought Turkish angoras home and propagated the breed through the United States.

The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) began to accept white Turkish Angoras in 1968, but colored varieties weren't registered until 1978. Today, Turkish Angoras are also recognized by the International Cat Fanciers Association.

Turkish Angora Care

Despite the Turkish Angora's delicate, luxurious appearance, grooming is relatively simple. Because Turkish angoras have a single coat, they're far less prone to tangles and matting. Simply brush your cat's coat once per week to remove debris, and bathe as needed. Fortunately, many Turkish Angoras love water and are natural swimmers, so bath time may not be as challenging as you'd imagine.

Like all cats, your Turkish Angora may be susceptible to periodontal disease if proper dental hygiene isn't practiced. Daily brushing is ideal, but brushing weekly will offer your cat some protection.

Be sure to check your cat's ears weekly for dirt, debris, or signs of infection. If your cat's ears are dirty, gently clean the ears with a soft, cotton cloth. Avoid ear swabs, as they can damage the delicate, inner-ear structures.

Because the Turkish Angora has higher energy levels, you should plan to exercise your cat for 15 to 30 minutes each day. Playing with cat toys is a fun, easy way to help your Turkish Angora expend some energy.

Keeping your Angora indoors at all times is highly recommended for safety.

Common Health Problems

The Turkish Angora is a generally healthy cat, but white Angoras with one or two blue eyes are prone to deafness in one or both ears. Two other common feline health issues seen in Turkish Angoras are:

Whether your cat is pedigreed or non-pedigreed, there's no guarantee that she will—or won't—develop certain health conditions. If you're concerned about your Turkish Angora's health, talk to your veterinarian about steps you can take to ensure a long, happy, healthy life.


Turkish Angoras are delicately built cats that have been described as ballerina-like. Their silky coat is long but single-layered, making it low maintenance. The hair tends to be wispy and shimmers in the sunlight.

Angoras were originally considered strictly white cats with blue or green eyes. Today, the breed standard includes a variety of colors and variations, including Himalayan, calico, tortoiseshell, and tabby with virtually any eye color.

Diet and Nutrition

Your Angora's diet depends largely on its age, sex, and activity levels. If you're not sure how much to feed your cat, check the feeding guide from your favorite cat food, or talk to your veterinarian. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, which can lead to a host of other health problems, so it's important to maintain a healthy, balanced diet for your Turkish Angora.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Turkish Angora

Turkish Angoras are relatively uncommon in the United States, so it may be difficult to find one through your local shelter or rescue organization. Check websites like PetFinder.com, which allows you to search for cats by breed, or ask your local shelter, vet, or a reputable breeder if they know of any Turkish Angoras that need a home.

If you choose to work with a breeder, it's important to do your research and ensure they have an ethical, reputable program. Be alert to signs of an unethical program, like extremely frequent litters of kittens or the ability to pay for your kitten online. If you're able to visit the breeding site, large volumes of cats and unhealthy or sick-looking cats are indicators of poor breeding practices.

Turkish Angora Overview

Cat fanciers who enjoy the occasionally mischievous antics of a highly intelligent (and easily bored) cat will adore the Turkish Angora. This silky, affectionate feline loves attention, from humans and other pets, and it's not afraid to demand it. The Angora's luxurious coat requires very little brushing and sheds minimally, so it is easy to care for. Plus, this breed is naturally quite healthy compared to many of its pedigreed cousins.

  • Beautiful and low-maintenance

  • Sociable and animated

  • Enjoys the company of people and other pets

  • Gets bored easily and doesn't like being alone

  • Can make mischief if ignored

  • Difficult to find

More Cat Breeds and Further Research

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

Otherwise, check out all of our other cat breed profiles

  • Are Turkish Angora cats friendly?

    These cats are friendly; they enjoy the company of people and other pets.

  • Do you need to brush Turkish Angoras a lot?

    You don't need to brush them much. The Angora cat's coat is long and silky, but it is a single-layer coat, so it does not tangle or mat as easily as double-layered coats.

  • How much does a Turkish Angora cat cost?

    Pure bred Turkish Angoras can cost between $650 and $2,000, depending on quality standards (pet or breeding quality).