Talk:Van cat

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Ethnicity of a cat[edit]

Is this a joke? It's a cat for gods sake not human, cats don't have nationalities. They may belong to a region but this ethnicity discussion is ridiculous. Just mention the region they habite and the rest is just pointless. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:50, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

I had made a change, apparently it has been reverted. How does one define the ethnicity of a cat? If there are 2 sources, can someone please include the relevant text in this talk page? Otherwise it's easy to cite obscure books and page numbers. I suggest that line is removed as it adds nothing to the content and is unsubstantiated. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:41, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

No complaints from me. The source line given is pretty weird, too. --Golbez (talk) 18:01, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

Stop kidding, the issue is not about the ethnicity, but the development, i.e. domestication of a cat type. Arantz (talk) 22:57, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Then give a source that specifies "development", because the sources given are simply "Well, Armenians happened to live near there, so it's obviously an Armenian cat and not a Turkish one", especially when it comes out of nowhere because I don't recall us ever saying it was a "Turkish" cat, so why the defensiveness? --Golbez (talk) 14:25, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
You know what is that like? Van cat isn't published under CC3.0, so if that is of Armenian creation, let's call the thing by its name. Arantz (talk) 15:11, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Prove it's an Armenian creation, please. The sources given don't justify that strong assertion. --Golbez (talk) 15:29, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Cats, as well as other domestics has no ethnicity, but any domestic animal may be or is a part of the culture of some group of people, depending on the time the animals' kind was domesticated. The domestication of cats happened in the period, when there were no ethnic groups, but tribes. If we follow the data of feline genetics and archeology, we will get very similar dates and a region that is very close to Van lake. The ancestors of what ethnic group were the inhabitants of the area in that period is not defined yet. But one thing may be said: they settled there to grow crops, they were not nomadic. As for Urartu, its inhabitants are recognized by the modern science as ancestors of the Armenians. The earliest written European document proving some relation of cats from the region with any ethnic group, as I know, was about Armenian merchants, who sold puffy Angora cats from Noah's ark to a member of Paris Parliament for his new house. I am sure all know the source documents, if not, write at my page, -- Zara-arush (talk) 18:08, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
PS: A breed of cats, as we understand it, is a modern creation. The cats regular breeding started at the end of 19th - beginning of the 20th cc. Now we shall wait for the data of genetics on the term, when the semi-long-haired cats appeared (when L- mutation happened), -- Zara-arush (talk) 18:31, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Even if the people there were Armenians, that's not enough to make the statement that it is an "Armenian cat." --Golbez (talk) 06:18, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
None offers to state ethnicity of cow or hen, horse or rabbit. The same shall be with cat. We may discuss only when and what region this or that animal was domesticated and what place a domestic animal occupies in an ethnic culture. Or we may speculate about when or where a breed has been created. F.i., though they say that Norwegian Forest cats in thousands were jumping in Scandinavian mountains and forests, the reality is that the breed was created in the second half of the 20th c. As for Van cats we may only say that an all white Van cat was described by Raffi, an Armenian writer, in his novel "The Sparks" and this description may be considered one of the best artistic descriptions of Van cat, if not the best. Or we may say that the Van cat was the symbol of liberation movement of the Western Armenians. Or, based on the genetic data, we may say that the origin of van-pattern in cats is located around Lake Van. The other thing is that, when publishing a genetic research results, the scholars will avoid to speak about the ethnic origin of the people, who settled in Van city and surrounding areas, when the mutations in cat coat color and pattern genes influencing the specific appearance of Van cat originated. But it is a rather important, because cats are domestic animals, and the types of domestic cats (I do not write here about the breeds, because the idea of a cat breed was created in 20th c.) originated by selective breeding only and reflect the aesthetic preferences of some tribes, or ethnic groups, Zara-arush (talk) 16:32, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
"Even if the people there were Armenians" - not even if, sorry. It is the earliest written proof of semi-long haired cats (what else may mean fluffy), and it is a historic fact that in XV c. Jean de Popin-court bought fluffy cats to struggle rats and these cats were sold to him by Armenian merchants, who named these cats "Angora" cats and who said that they went out of Noah's ark. It means that the LH cats existed in the XV c., that such cats were not a usual thing in France, and they were imported there by the Armenians. It was 100 years before Pietro Della Valle brought LH cats of his first wife from Isfahan to Italy, and earlier than it did Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, -- Zara-arush (talk) 17:15, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
So, pardon if I want to cut through everything, but what you're saying is you agree the sentence makes no sense? --Golbez (talk) 23:52, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
I was a little busy to follow the discussion here from the beginning. If it is possible, please write here in one sentence, what is the main point for opposition of views, if there is such. If it will be helpful, then the Armenians based on this document were the first, who brought LH cats to Europe. But before bringing the cats, they had to have them. That is, they had LH cats in 15th c. If they sold LH cats for they might fight rats, they had already such experience. But a cat in itself may not have any ethnicity, -- Zara-arush (talk) 10:34, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Merge discussion[edit]

Resolved: Merge from Van cat naming controversy completed 19:49, 23 February 2012 (UTC). No consensus to merge to Turkish Van or vice versa.

In September 2009, a template was added to Van Cat naming controversy proposing that it be merged with this article; however, no area for discussion was created. Please discuss this merge below. Robofish (talk) 13:28, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

As far as I know, there was never any discussion about merging the naming controversy (which has more to do with Kurdo-Turko-Armenian tensions than the cat itself) with this page... Perhaps Zara floated some things around, but not really seriously I don't think...--Yalens (talk) 22:27, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
It should definitely merge. The separate page is being maintained as POV-pushing exercise. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒〈°⌊°〉 Contribs. 09:08, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm merging this per the 1.5+ year old suggestion; no one has objected (Yalens's comment isn't an objection but an observation). — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒〈°⌊°〉 Contribs. 19:00, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

This is a good summary of why the other proposed merge, from Van cat to Turkish Van or vice versa, was rejected. I've copied it from Talk:Turkish Van:

SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 07:10, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Letter translation[edit]

Unresolved: More than one source for this letter, so it can probably be taken for genuine; what to do about it.

Zara-Arush sent me this... let us see how we can merge it into the page.

"When you recently did me the honour of calling on me, you imparted the recently held view that the so called 'Angora' cat does not exist or could not exist except in the vicinity of ancient Ancyra. I hasten to dispel this illusion. I myself came upon specimens of that lovely feline species in the great Armenian plateau, at Erzerum, where the climate is greatly different from that of Angora. The species is very numerous at Mourch in Kurdistan, where it is the dominant variety. I also found it at Billis and in the pashalik of Bayazit.. The finest specimens, however, which I saw belonged to the Archbishop of Van, a town in the east of Kurdistan, on the frontier of Azerbaidjan. He had three of them, one pearl grey, one orange-hued with black and white flecks, and a third, which was completely white. Their fur was magnificent, though there was thought to be nothing to be surprised at in them, as such cats are common in Kurdistan. I also saw some at the residence of Khan Mahmoud, Prince of Hekiars, at Alpeit. I can not recall having seen any in Persia, though, had I thought that scientists might have been interested, I would have taken care to seek them out, busy as I was. But what will surprise you most of all is that despite the high temperatures prevailing, one should find Angora cats at Baghdad, though certainly these are not so fine as those to be found on the northern slopes of the medique and Taurus mountains, though whether the difference is due to the hot atmosphere or the hostility of the people of Baghdad, I cannot say. You will no doubt settle that point better than I could, all I can say is that the people of Baghdad are in constant warfare with their cats, maintaining, not without good reason, in my opinion, that they bring the plague, because of their fur coats and their habits." from

I.e., it pretty much shows that the cats are native to the area and NOT Turkish catfancying inventions.--Yalens (talk) 14:47, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

For people who aren't psychic and can't magically figure out what Yalens, et al. are talking about, it's an alleged English translation of a letter from one M. Lottin de la Val, President of the Imperial Acclimatation [sp?] Society, to the president of the French Zoological Society in 1856. However, this come from someone's personal blog at, which is not a reliable source and which does not cite its own sources, so this letter cannot even be verified as genuine, much less its translation demonstrated to be accurate. The letter itself, if genuine, wouldn't be a reliable source for any fact other than de la Val's own personal opinion (which is obviously wrong on some facts – e.g., cats help prevent plague because they kill the rodents that bear plague-carrying fleas; the Black Death largely happened because people were superstitiously killing cats in massive numbers as "agents of the devil"). — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒〈°⌊°〉 Contribs. 19:44, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

I could not reply here earlier. Sorry, but I can not guess, why so many cat fanciers fail to find out that this letter really exists, was published in Bulletin de la Société nationale d'acclimatation de France (1896), and is even published on-line at Gallica for many years. Here is the link to the first part:
and the relating text:
«J’ai trouvé cette belle espèce féline sur le grand plateau arménien à Erzerouin, où le climat diffère singulièrement de celui d’Angora. Elle est très nombreuse à Mourch (Kurdistan); cette espèce est la race dominante, Il’en ai trouvé aussi à Bitlis et dans le pachalick de Bayazid ; mais les plus beaux que j’ai vus appartenaient à l’archevêque de Van, ville située dans l’est du Kurdistan, sur les frontières de l’Aderbaïdjan.»
The second part is at:
«P. S. Quant aux Chèvres d’Angora, je ne puis vous en rien dire. J'ëi traversé la haute Arménie et le Kurdistan deux fois: là première, dtirant l’automne et l’hiver, saison des neiges; lie seconde, à là fin dti printemps, alors que les troupeaux étaient dans lès plus hautes montagriès.»
I hope this will stop the speculations about the letter and questioning of its existance, Zara-arush (talk) 22:28, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
@Zara-arush: So, in what ways do you think this should change this article? Just because I source exists doesn't mean we have to use it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:53, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
This source together with other sources, including 18-19th century artist's pictures, prove that the stock of Van cats existed in the region long before the modern breed was recognized, and originally Van cats were named in most of the cases as Angora cats. Also this source indicates directly the territory, where Van cats were spread, but the center was just the city of Van and surrounding villages.-- Zara-arush (talk) 16:02, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
In the previous message I wrote about other sources, relating to Van cats that were initially named Angora cats, their relation to Eastern Anatolia and the fact that the Van cats populated the area long before Turkish cat fancy appeared in the territory. One of such sources is the article on Persian cat in Encyclopaedia Iranica - with the name of French ethnologist Jean-Pierre Digard ( may be found at the bottom of the page. In particular, Digard wrote: "... in the 15th century “big, woolly cats” were said to have been bought from Armenian merchants at the fair of Lendit by Jean de Popincourt to contest with rats; they were born, they said, “from the sneezing of lions in Noah’s ark”: coming from Turkey, they were called “Angora cats.” On the other hand, sources considered authoritative do not mention such cats in Turkey; thus, the naturalist Pitton de Tournefort, who traveled there in 1702, does not mention longhaired cats, although he speaks of cats in general and of the love of Turks for them. Finally, a 19th-century traveler only mentions the presence of longhaired cats in the Ankara area to point out their rarity: “the breeds of animals that are remarkable for the length of their hair, such as goats and cats, do not extend within an area of more than 24 miles around Ankara” (Aucher-Eloy, 1843, pp. 68-71)." -- Zara-arush (talk) 17:20, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
In addition to the previously written here a sentence from WP article Islam and cats: The medieval Egyptian zoologist Al-Damiri (1344-1405) wrote that the first cat was created when God caused a lion to sneeze, after animals on Noah's Ark complained of mice.[1] This legend has ancient roots in the folklore of various nations of the region, including the Jews, Arabs, Persians and Armenians.-- Zara-arush (talk) 21:37, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

No subsections under "Naming controversy"[edit]

Stale: Discussion died 8 months ago.

Because of the recent activity (vandlism) in this article, I noticed also that the former sections that article was ever devided and its original composition " had been lost" in the course of time. Why not to insert the sections in it? Why not to add the new materials and new data on the genetics of Van cat? Van cat and Angora cat are relative but different cat breeds. Angora cats (of CFA and TICA breeding) are more related to Nothern African cats, -- (talk) 13:10, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

ahhhh....I should really work on this page more o.O. Me and Zarah found some French letter once that seemed good for use on this page. As for sections, feel free to put them in yourself, or we can discuss them here first if you prefer. --Yalens (talk) 18:35, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
The section (#Naming controversy), formerly the separate article Van cat naming controversy, does not appear to have enough viable content (much of it should be removed per WP:NPOV, WP:NOR, WP:V and WP:NOT#SOAPBOX policies) that it needs any subsections. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒〈°⌊°〉 Contribs. 19:31, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Original research[edit]

Resolved: Blatant WP:OR.

Turkish authorities din't give name "Turkish Van" in the first place. They use the name "Van Cat" for this species. Takabeg (talk) 18:19, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Feel free to change it accordingly if you have sources. --Yalens (talk) 23:40, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
And it's not a species. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒〈°⌊°〉 Contribs. 18:57, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page speedily moved. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒〈°⌊°〉 Contribs. 16:28, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Van CatVan catTypes of animals, a.k.a. landraces, as opposed to officially recognized breeds with standards published by an international breed registry, are not capitalized. WP:MOS doesn't even sanction capitalization of standardized domestic animal breed (or plant cultivar) names, actually, though I think it could eventually do so; the matter is under discussion at WT:MOSCAPS. Even cat, dog and horse fanciers know better than to capitalize the names of non-breed landraces and broad types. Before anyone even thinks of bringing up the fact that the Turkish Ministry of Culture likes to capitalize it as "Van Cat" please see WP:Specialist style fallacy and realize that Wikipedia doesn't care; government agencies capitalize everything under the sun with impunity, and specialists of all kinds love to capitalize things in their specialty that are important to them. No notable English-language style guides support such nonsense. (Actually, I don't think any non-notable ones do either.) See also non-controversial moves of other such articles to lower case, e.g. at St. John's water dog, domestic short-haired cat, mountain dog, Przewalski's horse, wild horse, etc. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒〈°⌊°〉 Contribs. 09:20, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Support – in the last RM, to Van Cat, the source cited in support had "Van cat" lower case. There's no reason to capitalize here. Dicklyon (talk) 04:10, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment: Given that WP:MOS clearly indicates that we do not capitalize the names of groups of animals (it doesn't address formal breeds yet, but this isn't one), I'm just going to speedy this per WP:CSD#G6 with {{db-move}}, as "uncontroversial maintenance". — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒〈°⌊°〉 Contribs. 01:42, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Ethnic edit-warring[edit]

At Van cat#Naming controversy, I have removed all the unsourced, blatantly inflammatory ethnocentric/racialist crap. The next person who adds ethnic attacks of any kind – Turk, Kurd or Armenian – to this article is going to end up at WP:AN/I for blocking, I promise you that. Wikipedia is neither a soapbox nor a battlefield, and the bad feeling some members of these ethnicities have for one or both of the others is not what this article exists to indulge in. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒〈°⌊°〉 Contribs. 21:34, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

PS: I've posted at WP:Arbitration/Requests/Clarification#Request for clarification: WP:Requests for arbitration/Armenia-Azerbaijan 2 about this, seeking clarification whether the one-revert-rules applies to "Armenia ...and related topics" can be applied here if editwarring begins again. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 22:13, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

I've reverted another edit which appears to be anti-Kurd. As a matter of courtesy, I'm asking for a rationale for the removal of " and northern [[Kurdistan]]", in light of the facts as sourced at Lake Van, Kurdistan and related articles. An article about cats is no place to push geopolitical points of view. If it happens again without a clear consensus as the result of discussion I will feel compelled to noticeboard this matter. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 21:53, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
PS: I've reworded things to refer to the general Turkish Kurdistan region of Turkey. This removes any implication that Kurdistan is a nation-state (never the intent, but seems to be the source of the contention), while also keeping Kurds in the picture, in both the lead and the infobox, along with the Turks and the Armenians, so everyone can quit grinding their teeth. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 22:56, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
But why do you want to keep "Kurds in the picture"? The article specifies the current geographical and national location of Van (i.e. Turkey), and its historical location (at the time when the Van cat's dsitinctive looks developed). Why do you want to add more. And in the infobox we are talking about the origins of the breed - there was not an "historical Kurdistan" in the lake Van region for the cat to have originated in. The only Kurdish statelet in the area was at Bitlis, and even that is recognised to have been geographically in "Armenia". Meowy 03:22, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
Kurds are "in the picture" because they're relevant, with three sources cited. Efforts to minimize or eliminate any mention of Kurds (and, by some, Armenians as well) is what led to Van cat naming controversy, a messy PoV fork, in the first place. There is no sourced proof of when the Van cat arose as a distinct landrace (all that's reported so far is that they date back to at least the 1800s), so any assertion that Kurds aren't relevant is original research; Kurds did not just move into the Lake Van area last week. No one ever used the phrase "historical Kurdistan". You've been the one insisting on the wording "historical", even as you insist on pretending Kurds do not exist and that Kurdistan and Turkish Kurdistan specifically, which does include the Lake Van area, don't exist. I'm unaware of any policy that says that a place mentioned must be an official "statelet" such as Bitlis. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 21:22, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
Who says they are relevant? You? If so, then hard luck - because this article is not about your opinions. Give some sources which say that a "Kurdistan" or "Kurds" are relevant to this article. Or get rid of your "Kurdistan". The lake Van region is not "historical Kurdistan". Do you know what "historical" actually means? Meowy 03:52, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't say "historical Kurdistan". Please stop making up nonsense. The Kurdish relevance is already reliably sourced. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 22:37, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
You know very well that I am refering to your edit which added the words "formerly Kurdistan" for the origin of the Van cat. Van is not "formerly Kurdistan". Meowy 02:47, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

I have no problem or opinion with the cultural ownership issues in the article, but I see no reason why "Lake Van region" in the intro needs to be qualified. If people want to learn more about the geopolitics of an internationally undisputed region, they can click through to its article, otherwise it's coatracking. --Golbez (talk) 20:19, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Fair enough, but then Armenia is coming out, too. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 22:37, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
Armenia needs to stay as an clarification of the Van cats' origin. Remember, that bit of infobox content is to explain the origin of the Van cat. It clearly did not originate in Turkey because Turkey did not exist until the 1920s. Really, your statement of intent to remove it sounds just like a case of vindictive editing: I can't get what I want so I'm not letting you get what you want! Saying "Armenia is coming out too" is not a valid argument to remove the content. Van is within the territory of historical Armenia, and its population was 70% Armenian until 1915. There are ample sources indicating that the Van cat existed in Van before 1915. Please stop your continuing bad-faith comments about "ethnic editwarring" - it is starting to look like you are doing it as a way of avoiding discussion. Meowy 02:33, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
This is...a cat. The location of its origin is given in present day terms because that's what readers are most likely to understand. The note about Armenia seems simply random. CMD (talk) 11:30, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
That seems rather a condescending attitude to take towards readers: give them just what they are most likely to understand. It is not better to give them information to expand their understanding of a subject? And you have not answered my point. How can stating, in the origin part of the infobox, the name of the land they originated in be called "simply random"? It is not as if I chose to put "Armenia" there by spinning a globe and sticking a pin at random at a placename! Now that would be random! If anything, it is the "Turkey" that is simply random, given that Turkey did not exist at the time of their origin. Maybe the answer is to remove all reference to both past or current countries and just say "Van". Meowy 20:12, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
The only option seems to be if we have a solid source on what era the breed emerged, and state who owned the region at the time. Interesting how "Turkey" and "Armenia" are the only presented options; has everyone forgotten the Ottomans? --Golbez (talk) 20:42, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes. Why don't we give readers "what they are most likely to understand"? It makes sense to do so. Not doing that would be giving readers what they are likely to not understand; surely you're not proposing that? You missed the "seems" in my statement. I see "Origin: Lake Van area of Turkey, in historical Armenia". Why is historical Armenia there? The area has historically been in a few countries. Turkey on the other hand is where it currently is. Pandas are from China. Bilbies are from Australia. Red Wolves are from the United States. Things are always placed in present day context. CMD (talk) 23:28, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
However, like Armenia, China and Australia are also names used for geographical regions. I'd be concerned if an article said Red Wolves were from the "United States". Do they need a passport when straying into Mexico, and do those that might live in Mexico get consular representation from the USA? :) Meowy 23:36, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
Armenia and China aren't used for geographical regions. When used geographically, they refer to the territory currently part of the country. Australia's geographical use, as a continent, is far rarer than using it to denote the area of the country. Your argument on Red Wolves should surely also apply to historical Armenia, where cats had to pay a tax to the Sultan to obtain their religious autonomy. Your wolf argument also ignores your other one about using countries as geographical regions. Why can't the United States be a similar geographical region, per your argument? CMD (talk) 23:47, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
But the United States obviously isn't a geographical region. A region can still exist regardless of whatever external Power controls it. Meowy 00:14, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
And what makes armenia a geographical region and not the United States? CMD (talk) 00:39, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
See Armenian Highland for instance. Sardur (talk) 05:49, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
The Armenian highlands maybe, but in modern English that's not what the term "Armenia" refers to (the source given as such in that article actually doesn't actually seem to assert this at all, but seeks to determine the borders of historical Armenia). CMD (talk) 08:41, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
I checked the book, you're wrong: Hewsen uses both terms in his geographical description, which applies to the whole Armenian history, including the modern Republic of Armenia. Sardur (talk) 20:38, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
He's using Armenia far more abstractly than as an alternative name for a plateau. This is established at the start of that section, where he notes "Armenia occupies the central...plateau", rather than it is the central plateau. He also lists geography as only one of five reasons why the borders of Armenia were hard to define. CMD (talk) 22:26, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
I hadn't forgotten the Ottoman Empire. :) However, Van was a rather late addition to the Ottoman Empire, and before that Van was controlled by Persia (and culturally, and also for trade, Van always looked towards Persia). I think that the Persia connection is probably significant in the development of the Van Cat because they may originally have been Persian cats - but that would be OR. All we know is that the cat certainly existed in Van when it was part of the Ottoman empire, but it could very well have existed in Van before the Ottoman period (though that "Urartian depictions" and "Roman banners" stuff that formerly existed here is made-up nonsense). So that is one reason why I think the Ottoman Empire isn't really an option for its origin. The other reason is the "empire" part - we don't give as the origin of, say, the Maine Coon, as "British Empire". Armenia does reflect the ethnic background of the population of Van (at the end of the 19thC it was still 70% in Van). It also reflects the physical location of Van. It doesn't matter whether it was the Ottoman period or the Persian period, Van was, geographically anyway, still in Armenia. Meowy 23:31, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

I say take the easy way out and simply say "Lake Van region of present-day Turkey". Or just "Lake Van region", and expound in the text. --Golbez (talk) 20:46, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

The text is to go after the word "Origin" in the infobox, so saying "present-day Turkey" could imply that the cat originated in present-day Turkey. So, maybe the answer is to state just Van. But (because I've not seen any sources that mention Van cats in the northern or western sides of the lake) rather than having "Lake Van region", how about "the city of Van and its hinterland"? With Van Wikilinked to its article. Meowy 19:55, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Vrtanes Papazyan?[edit]

This article curently has an invalid citation that just says "Vrtanes Papazyan, Vana Katu". Could this person actually be Vartanes Papazian (1866-1920), Armenian of Van, founder of newspapers Ardzagank and Mshak, author of Partkerner you urk'ahayeri kyank'ic (Scenes of the life of the Armenians of Turkey, 1891). Meowy 23:29, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Papazian, Vartanes Born Apr. 13 (25), 1866, in Van, Turkey; died Apr. 26, 1920, in Yerevan. Armenian writer.

Papazian, who began publishing in 1883, graduated from the Echmiadzin Theological Seminary. In 1894 he graduated from the University of Geneva. His work is marked by realistic description, found in his numerous short stories about the life of the western Armenians in sultan-ruled Turkey and in his novellas and novels Khat-Saba (1890), Anna (1894), The Insurgent and Emma (both 1897), and The Ruler of the World and The Fire-Bearer (both 1904). Papazian also wrote criticism and articles on public affairs. His History of Armenian Literature (1916) defended the realistic democratic tradition in Armenian literature.

WORKS [P’ap’azyan, V.] Erkeri zhoghovatsu, vols. 1–5. Yerevan, 1958–59. Erkeri zhoghovatsu, vols. 1–3; vols. 1–2 in print. Yerevan, 1972–73. Grakanut’yan masin. Yerevan, 1962. In Russian translation: Piatna krovi i dr. rasskazy. Moscow, 1911. “Ocherki iz istorii armianskoi literatury.” Armianskii vestnik, 1916, nos. 31 and 34. REFERENCES Shaumian, S. Literaturno-kriticheskie stat’i. Moscow, 1955. Nanumyan, Rh. Vrt’anes P’ap’azyan. Yerevan, 1956.

Huh ... he has a wikipedia article! Vrtanes Papazian Meowy 23:33, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

"The Van Cat" Van Cat stories and Fairy Tales by Vrtanes Papazyan. - but is it the same person? Meowy 23:43, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

At one time, Vans get into belles-lettres, as well. Well-known Armenian writer Vrtanes Papazian (1864 - 1920) dedicated one of his novels to them, which was named "Van Cats." In the tale, he described a Van cat whose kittens were murdered by one gray cat. The mother that became an orphan mourned her kitten, but after had another litter. The gray also cat killed these kittens, but the Van cat sought revenge, killing the gray cat. 'This story can be explained as an allegory: Turkey attacks Armenia, committing the massacres, but one day Armenia will rise up again and destroy Turkey," says Nargizian. So it is the same Papazian. Meowy 00:01, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Interesting. Sounds like an "in popular culture" item. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 22:43, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Deleted following extract from article[edit]

"The earliest recorded people in the Lake Van region were the population of Urartu (also known as Biain or Biainili) and the Hurrians, who have been former Armenian empires."

There is no basis for the claim that either Urartu or the Hurrians are in any way associated with the Armenians. Both pre-date the existence of a recognisable Armenian ethnicity and language by millenia, and both are non-Indo-European civlisations. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:37, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Nor does it matter, because this article is about a cat, not a region. --Golbez (talk) 21:50, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Armenian Genocide claim[edit]

It says:

"Descendants of the Western Armenians who escaped the Armenian Genocide (1915–1918) under the Republic of Turkey and ..."

I will not discuss Armenian Genocide claim since Wikipedia has a policy on it. But this statement says it happened "under the Republic of Turkey". So, Armenian Genocide supporters are a little bit illiterate about the histoy. Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923.-- (talk) 05:44, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

Removed, thanks. CMD (talk) 13:32, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Ankarakediler (talk · contribs), an obvious WP:SPA, and who by what they say on their user page has a potential conflict of interest on this topic and who has clearly been using this and related articles to promote their organisation's website, in violation of WP:EL and WP:SPAM, and who has already been warned on their talk page about extreme revisionist POV-pushing like this, later removed the entire claim, not just the "Republic of Turkey" error that someone inserted, despite the fact that the claim is reliably sourced to Papazian. The justification for the removal was the "Van cat DOES not have nationality!!" [sic] No one has suggested this. The section on political controversies is entirely about nationalistic claims pertaining to the cat; it's about people and their (sourceable) foibles as the related to the cat, not about any innate property of the cats themselves of course. If potentially uncomfortable information like this is removed again without consensus here on the talk page to do so, someone's very likely to get blocked from editing due to the administrative discretionary sanctions available under WP:ARBAA2. The same Ankarakediler user has made many other questionable edits, some of which I'm reverting, and some of which I'm bringing up as new talk page threads. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 00:04, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Declining numbers[edit]

The article previously (in an unsourced and POV sentence) specifically stated that the landrace is on the decline. This is probably true, as it is for cat landraces everwhere due to people bringing in cats from other areas and these "breeding out" the local distinctiveness. This information needs to be found in a reliable source and restored to the article, as the decline is an important fact to the topic. The only even slight hints remaining in the article as of this writing that Van cats are scarce is a quote about the "soldiers killing Van cats" story not being very plausible and a passing mention in the part about the university breeding program[me]. It needs to be spelled out, with reliable sources, in the "Current status" section which would seem to have been created for this reason to begin with. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 23:13, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

The following unsourced information was removed a long time ago, but should be sourced and re-added if it is real:

  • "To increase the population of the Van Kedisi, the local government of Van instituted a program which would pay residents the equivalent of $38.00 per month to keep one. This program was discontinued by a later government."
  • "The director of the Van Cat Research Center, Zahid Agaoglu, has stated that he estimates there are roughly 350 to 400 Van Kedisi left in the world."

SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 12:29, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Medieval sources[edit]

The article long stated that "medieval sources mention white cats as being one of the exports of the Van region", without naming much less citing these sources (or any source for this statement). If true, this is seriously important to the article and needs to be restored with reliable sourcing. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 01:23, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Export restrictions[edit]

The claim that the Turkish government has some kind of export restrictions on these cats was removed a while ago, as unsourced. It was then replaced with a citation to the Turkish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock regs, which do not have such restrictions. The problem is that this particular ministry not regulating export does not necessarily mean that some other Turkish authority does not, as some have suggested. I have fixed the over-broad claim in the article that "no Turkish law" regulates Van cat export, as no sources have been cited for such a vague claim. If there is or formerly was some form of export restriction or other regulation or legal protection, this needs to be sourced and covered in the article. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 01:46, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

One very specific claim was made in the article, but removed for being unsourced. It should be re-added if sourceable:

  • "Their export from Turkey is theoretically outlawed, with a reported fine of US$50,000."

SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 12:30, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Alleged Kurdish variety with "marks of Allah"[edit]

The following was removed (by someone else) as unsourced:

The Turkish variety of the cat is different from the version the Armenians and Kurds claim to be the proper Van cat; the Van cat bred by the Turks is solid white, whereas the Kurdish version has red-brown spots,[citation needed] referred to by the Kurds as the "marks of Allah", due to a legend that God picked the cat up to help it out of Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat.[citation needed]

I cannot find any English-language sources supporting this "Marks of Allah" story (other than Wikipedia rehash), but then again sources on this probably wouldn't be in English to begin with. If any of this is accurate, it needs to be added back in with proper sourcing. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 01:56, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

The racialist Turk/Armendian/Kurd editwarring has to stop[edit]

If there are any further anti-/pro-Turkish, anti-/pro-Armenian or anti-/pro-Kurdish POV-pushing edits of any kind made without a clear consensus on the talk page, I will file a WP:AE case under the discretionary sanctions at WP:ARBAA2. A WP:CHECKUSER/WP:SSP case may also be filed, as it is extremely suspicious that when one tendentious editor is warned of ARBAA2 sanctions, they disappear only to be replaced by an IP editor and a different named editor making the exact same kinds of politicized WP:SOAPBOX edits to this article, now including WP:COI problems. This article has long been a focus of disruptive editing of this sort. I've left this article alone for over a year on the presumption that people would get get the point and stop editwarring and pushing their angry, revisionist points of view, but that was clearly a poor assumption on my part. Enough is enough. Two WP:ARBCOM cases about abusing Wikipedia for Turk/Armenian/Azerbaijani/Kurd racialist flamebaiting should be enough by now. — SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 02:06, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

The university research center[edit]

The following unsourced information has been removed from the article, but should be added back in with sources if it's verifiable:

  • "The Turkish government has created a Van Cat Research Center near the campus of Yüzüncü Yıl University in Van, Turkey, to ensure the survival of the cat." (Has two now-missing details: created by govt., created to ensure survival of the landrace).
  • "The center, as of 2006, houses around 100 adult cats and kittens."
  • "It offers free exams and vaccinations for any Van kedisi.
  • "It is open to the public for a nominal entrance fee."
  • "The director of the Van Cat Research Center is Zahid Agaoglu."
  • "The center has reported some success in breeding recently, having all of its ten 'birthing rooms' occupied simultaneously by mothers and their newborn kittens."
  • "The living conditions for the cats held there leaves much to be desired, and the breeding program seems to be ineffective in reversing the Van cats’ declining numbers."

SMcCandlish  Talk⇒ ɖכþ Contrib. 12:32, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Some of this has been sourced and restored, but much has not. Has anyone looked for sources in other-language versions of this article?  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:03, 19 August 2014 (UTC)


This article describes the cats as follows: "The cats are notable for their lean, long-legged appearance." Even the short-haired variants may hardly be named lean and long-legged. One may describe as lean and long-legged for instance Siamese cats or Angora cats. But Van cats have developed chest and developed muscles of the torso and legs.

The all-white color may not be the only color of a domestic cat. The isolated group of cats would not survive, if all cats were only all-white. The fetuses homozygous W genes does not survive and die before a kitten will be born. The European travelers, who visited the area in 18-19th c.c. wrote not only about all-white cats but also about large pale and spotted cats. The color may be important for current cat fancy and even it might have been important for per-christian religious cults, respecting the cats of some definite color, if such cults ever existed in the area. But for and isolated group of cats the most important was the type of the body structure connected with the quality of hair. As for the white-spotting, it is the first response of the organism to the process of domestication that is reflected in the color of cat coat. The origination of van pattern in Van cats may only be explained by the continuous process of targeted breeding of cats in Van area. -- Zara-arush (talk) 01:15, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

What travelers? Cite the sources. It doesn't help to mention that sources supposedly exist, somewhere.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:44, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Turkish Van (not Van cat) and water[edit]

Note: This dispute is about the brief mention of the Turkish Van cat breed in this article, which is about the Van cat landrace.

Van cat: Revision history 09:28, 18 August 2014‎ - "cat owners aren't reliable sources, & wouldn't be even if identified."? Then who is - someone that is not at all familiar with the cat and never owned one! That's the most ridiculous statement I've ever heard! If this logic was true - then our entire legal system would break down as no one would be qualified to give testimony just becuase they owned the cat. Yet a single unnamed "Cat Fancy magazine article" is somehow a reliable source for its "possibly false" opinion contradicting all other "probably true" magazine articles, web sites and owner reports. when it comes to pet behaviors - the actual owners are the "expert" witnesses and anyone else is just second guessing. If you don't own a cat, then you've got nothing to say about the subject!

But since you seem to be owner of this page - why don't you Goggle search and see the number of sites and other sources (who are actual owners!) reporting that these cats love water. In fact, you can even watch one on YouTube who loves to jump in their swimming pool for a swim. To say that these cats don't like water is to say Labrador Retrievers don like water either which is utter non-sense!

See Labrador_Retriever#Temperament Photo: "Labradors like water" - who siad? Anyone can take a picture of a dog standing in a baby pool - does that mean they like water?

- Ozdawn — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ozdawn (talkcontribs) 17:36, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

You're misunderstanding. Please, please, please, read our basic content editing guidelines and policies, to which you have been directed repeatedly: WP:Verifiability, WP:Identifying reliable sources, WP:Neutral point of view, and WP:No original research. Even if you've read them before (you've been here, but only very sparsely, for several years). You are evidently not remembering and understanding them, and are wasting far more time getting into angry disputes and revertwarring that could be avoided by knowing these policies, than it would take to just read them.

"Cat owners", as in some amorphous, unidentifiable class of people, are not a reliable source for anything. Of course most people who are cat experts are or have been also cat owners. You can't cite "owners of this breed" as a source; "owners of this breed" is not a publication.

No on is citing an unnamed magazine article. A well-known, well-reviewed book from a reputable publisher has been cited. I or someone else happened to have noted that the book got this particular fact from a previously published article. At some point maybe someone will track down the article and cite it instead of the book, but this is not necessary.

In point of fact, no one has to be a cat owner to edit articles on cats here and do a good job at it (it may well help to not be a cat owner, so that one has way less emotional involvement than some do in fighting over perceived slights against one's favorite breed). I am a life-long cat owner if it makes you feel better.

I have no interest in Googling for more online articles (probably blogs, i.e. probably unreliable) that say the same thing as sources we've already cited; books are a better bet. That won't resolve the fact that some source say these cats like water more than usual, and some disagree. There's lots of unsourced stuff to find any source for at all, which is much more important that providing redundant citations for the same facts just to try to bolster one side of a point. There is no need for Wikipedia to resolve that swimming dispute; the real world can resolve it by doing controlled studies that prove it or disprove it, and we can cite that research.

A serious problem with this and related articles is that few sources clearly distinguish between the Van cat landrace and one or more breeds often (but dubiously) said to be directly descended from them. Thus, many claims that the breed loves water are actually based on observations of Van landrace cats in Turkey, not Turkish Van breed cats in the West, where the breed was developed. I have no doubt that some additional reputably published sources can be found for the "Turkish Vans love water" theory, but they must be ones that clearly distinguish between the breed and the landrace, or we have no idea whether they know what they are talking about.

No one can prove that someone's uploaded video is a pedigreed Turkish Van voluntarily swimming. It might be a Van landrace cat, it might be a Turkish Van someone threw in the water, it might be some mutt cat that looks "Vannish" that does like to swim, whatever. Even if it were a real Turkish Van breed cat swimming because it wants to, that doesn't prove anything about Turkish Van cats in general. You really have to stop confusing anecdote with reliable sourcing. Reliable doesn't mean "I darned well know it's true", it means published by a reputable publisher, and not suspect for any clear reasons particular to the circumstances. While I have my doubts about the accuracy of some breed books and fancier magazines, they're certainly reliable enough to use for general facts on Wikipedia, absent particular reasons to doubt them (like the constant Van cat/Turkish Van confusion), while random blog posts and YouTube videos are not (see WP:Self-published sources). We have no basis on which to prefer one such source over another, so where they conflict we observe this fact and move on.

Your Lab retriever image is not being cited as a reliable source that Labs like to swim; other sources at that article provide this information (and source the caption) while the image just supposedly illustrates the principle.

No one "owns" any article here. I am one of the few doing regular patrolling of policy problems on this and various other cat pages, like insertion of POV pushing, treating myths and assumptions as fact, and confusing (often intentionally) of the Turkish Van breed for the possibly unrelated landrace with the similar "Van cat" name (and with Turkish Angora).

Please also see WP:MOVEON, and consider how much energy you're expending about a tiny bit of side trivia about the Turkish Van here in this article on the Van cat.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  10:28, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Quit exploiting this article for politics![edit]

This cat has nothing to do with the Armenian or PKK topic! -- (talk) 14:50, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

God bless wikipedia moderators. How many irrationalities and absurdities like "armenian cat", "kurdish cat" and "turkish army poisoning cats" do they have to cope with... (By the way: No we Turks are simple monsters, we do not poison cats, we eat them...) :D ... You should come to Turkey to understand how much the cats are loved in this country. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:09, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

The fact that the accusation has been convincingly debunked (and that claims pertaining the cat may have politicised motivations) is important to include in the article, with the source. This necessarily also means including the claim and the sources for it. Consider that if it's all removed, then tomorrow or next week or next year, someone may discover the poisoning claim and re-insert it in the article with sources for it – without anything to contradict it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:45, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
    • ^ Campo, Juan Eduardo (2009). Encyclopedia of Islam. Infobase Publishing. p. 131. ISBN 1438126964.