The Yüzüncü Yıl University (YYU) Van Cat Research and Practice Center, located in the eastern Turkish city of Van, has introduced a monitoring system to track endangered Van cats.
The "Van Cat Watch System" allows researchers to closely follow the felines throughout Turkey by inserting an information chip beneath their skin.
Researchers can then obtain information about a specific cat's pedigree through a special computer reading system.
General Manager of the Van Cat Research and Practice Center, Professor Abdullah Kaya, explained that the center was established in 1992 in order to ensure that the pure pedigree of the cats would be maintained through the generations.
Kaya told Anadolu Agency that the aim of the chip system is to be able to track information about the cats and their offspring throughout their lifetimes.
"The system that enables us to do this is a chip system," he said, "in this way, we can also access information about the mother, father, brother, etc. These are matters of serious consideration for our research center when it comes to following Van cats."
So far, 120 chips have been administered to the felines.
Expressing that the goal is to increase the number of pure Van cats, Kaya said, "We are not just trying to increase the number of Van cats. Our Van cats have features that make them registered as a national species. We are trying to increase the number of cats that have these features."
Kaya said that the center hopes to one day put a Van cat in every household in the city.
"We will continue to work until we have reached this goal. Van cats are creatures that have come to us from previous generations, we must know their value and be sure to transfer them on to future generations," he added.
Van cats are famous for their soft white coats and blue or amber almond shaped eyes—many cats have one of each. The felines come from the Lake Van region in eastern Turkey and are also known for their love of water and affinity for swimming.
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