Turkey's famous Van cats, a domestic feline breed with distinguishing white fur, unmatched beauty and sometimes mismatched eyes, have now received ID cards. These cards will help authorities keep track of their whereabouts, health and the adoption process in a bid to preserve the breed.
This cat breed, which originated in the eastern province where they get their name, is carefully monitored by the Van Cat Research Center. The center aims to preserve the endangered breed, run scientific research on Van cats, on their genetic features and promote them as a registered trademark of the country. Under a new project, the center, run by Van’s Yüzüncü Yıl University (YYÜ), creates a new ID for each feline for their adoption.
The IDs include pedigree, vaccine data and other vital information about the cats. New owners can learn about the pedigree of their cat dating back up to five years.
The center’s director, professor Abdullah Kaya, told Ihlas News Agency (IHA) on Friday that the venue was established in 1992 by gathering cats owned by locals with the purpose of improving the health of the breed and multiplying its numbers. “We started putting them up for adoption five years ago, although on a small scale. Adoptions are a meticulous process for us and we closely examine new owners, whether they are able to properly raise the cats. IDs are part of this process to track the state of the cats,” he said. Every year, some 100 cats are put up for adoption. Adoptions from abroad from the center are restricted due to the protected status of the breed, though foreign owners can adopt from other breeders, after receiving special permits.
For those not interested in adopting a cat quite yet, they can visit the “Cat Villa,” a facility inside the center where felines are cared for. Thousands of tourists visiting the province stop by the villa every year, though last year the coronavirus pandemic curbed the number of visitors.
The rooms for the cats at the villa are regularly disinfected to prevent the risk of coronavirus infection.