Angora Cat



The Angora Cat (Anatolian)




Note: This is the older version of the article. The newer version can be found here.

Main image: Angora cat from Heybeliada, Istanbul by Stijn Nieuwendijk.


It is probably the most famous longhair cat, however at the same time the most misunderstood cat in the world. So what is the Angora cat? Where it comes from? How it looks like? Where can I find it? These and similar questions will be answered in this detailed guide, which unofficially could be called the mini "Encyclopedia of Angora cats".



Contents

Glossary

1. The Angora’s fact-sheet

2. The Origin of long-haired felines

3. Taming of the cat 
    Cats in Anatolia

4. Everything about the Angora cats
4.1 Phenotype and other curiosities.
4.2 The Anatolian short-hair
4.3 Behavior and Personality

5. West meets the Angora cat 
5.1 Della Valle and Peiresc
5.2 The cat trade
5.3 The reliability and accuracy of historical sources


6. The Persian cat
6.1 Are there Persian cats in the streets of Iran?
6.2 Made in Europe: the Persian cat
6.3 The Persian and its hybrids
6.4 What is wrong with the Persian cat? 


7. The Angora cat in Turkey 
7.1 How Turkish people see the Angora cats
7.2 The Ankara Zoo
7.3 The Government standard


8. The Western Angora 
8.1 A vague history of the Western breed
8.2 Some clues about the Turkish Angora’s genetic history
8.3 New ambition: Cyprus breed
8.4 A word about Aegean cat


9. The future of Angora cats



Glossary

Anatolian cats - indigenous and ancient group of domestic cats. These cats have an unique DNA profile and history, in relation to Anatolian region and its inhabitants.


Angora cat - the long-haired Anatolian cat. A natural cat, not a breed.


Ankara kedisi - it means the "Angora/Ankara cat" in Turkish. 

Cat breed
A group of domestic cats, having common ancestors and similar looks. Cat breeds were/are developed from the natural cats, but can also be crosses of wildcats or mixes of two or more recognized breeds.
Cat breeds are made through artificial selection (selective breeding), based on breeders preferences, by choosing the distinguishable phenotypic characteristics (fur color, body type or a mutation etc.). 

Cat fancy or cat registry

is a profit based, self-regulatory organization of cat breeders, acting as a governing body for breeder community. The cat registries exist solely for its members interests. The cat fancy relies on stories, legends, appeal to tradition and pseudoscience to market their cat breeds for general public. Its activities are limited to registering cats (pedigrees, standards etc.), encouraging pedigreed cat breeding and organizing cat shows. 
The cat fancy creates a demand by inventing a breed then promises a cat for “every lifestyle and taste”. Lastly, the cat fanciers believe doing an important conservation work, by “saving a breed”, they created for themselves!
Cat fanciers views dominate in majority internet sites, books, TV programs and other media. Since the cat fancy promotes their breeds as superior to natural cats, the natural cats have gained a negative image and in result are valued less by general public. 

Domestic cat - a small feline (Felis Silvestris Catus), known for its tame behavior and ability to adapt to living with humans. Domestic cats have a variety of colors and fur types compared to its wild relatives. 
The term "Domestic cat" (can be kept as pet, tame) is not the same as "domesticated cat" (selectively bred by humans, docile and different from its wild ancestors). Many scientists agree that cats are only partly domesticated. 

Natural breed (see: Pseudo-breed) - the term used by cat fancy for categorizing breeds, which they believe are "natural". "Natural breed" idea justifies the creation of new cat breeds using natural cats. However at some point all cat breeds came from the natural cats, therefore the term itself makes no sense. There are roughly three categories of cats: a breed, breed hybrids and natural cats. 

No cat breed comes to existence naturally - breeds are made and maintained by humans, not nature!

Natural cats – the populations of domestic cats (Felis Silvestris Catus) evolved naturally. The breeding of natural cats is not controlled by humans. There are at least 8 distinct varieties of natural cats (3,4), 
The natural cats did not come from the cat breeds and are not mixed with them, in contrary, the cat breeds were made from these cats.
The accepted term “random-bred” is inaccurate, because no breeding in cat populations is truly random: it is restricted by various barriers, like geography, sexual and natural selection. 

Note, the "random-bred" term frequently appears in scientific studies, therefore in these cases it should be regarded as a synonym of the "natural cats".

Pseudo-breed (see: "Natural breed") - a group of natural cats, which has not been selectively bred by breeders, yet believed to be "breeds", based on a certain myth, story or a personal belief. These cats belong to a natural cat population and lack any distinguishable, exaggerated traits as seen in breed cats. 

All cat breeds had started as pseudo-breeds, because for breeds in order to exist, they have to be invented by humans. 
Pseudo-breeds examples: Aphrodite/Cyprus Giants (natural cats from Cyprus), Aegean cats (natural cats from Greece), Van kedisi (white cats from Turkey).

Turkish Angora (TA) or Western Angora - a long-haired cat breed, having a slender body (described as "elegant"), long head and large ears. This breed was created by American and European breeders in 1950's. The Turkish Angora breed originates from the European (Persian?) and Siamese cats, with little to no influence from Turkish cats.

Do not confuse with the Angora cat from Turkey (Anatolian long-haired cat), which is a natural cat, unrelated to breeders made breed "Turkish Angora".

Turkish Van - a long-haired cat breed, having a rounder head and body compared to the Turkish Angora breed. The cat fancy accepts only a color on tail and head (called as "Van pattern"). Various made-up stories and "swimming ability" are attached to this breed. This breed was created by Laura Lushington in mid- of 1950's from the Turkish cats. Read more: The Turkish Van.


Van kedisi - the white Anatolian cat with odd-eyes, wrongly associated with Van region and regarded as its symbol. People in Turkey are misinformed, that the cats with solid white fur are breeds (Van or Ankara Kedisi) and this trait is a sign of "purity". Read more: Van Kedisi.



1. The Angora fact-sheet

Name: the Angora, Anatolian long-haired cat.
Species: Felis Silvestris Catus (1) (Felis silvestris lybica (2)

Found in: Anatolia and neighbouring areas (3,4,208)
Genetic characteristics: natural cats, Anatolian/Eastern Mediterranean (3,4,208) cat family.
Not different from the short-haired Anatolian cat, which lacks a gene for long fur. Healthy cats due to large and diverse gene pool (5)
Colors (6): tabby (black, grey, red, cream etc.), solid (grey, black, white), colors with white, tortoiseshell/calico.
Eye color: green, amber, blue and odd-eyed. Fur: long; shorter in summer and long in winter. No woolly undercoat, easy care. Length varies; average length in cold season of neck and tail hair 10-11 cm (7)
Body: balanced/intermediate; weight is variable (7)
Personality and behavior: typical feline behavior, but each cat has an unique personality.
Socialized community cats tend to be very affectionate.
Alternative names: Anatolian cat, Turkish Angora, Ankara Kedisi, (Turkish) Van cat, Van kedisi, Sokak kedisi (Turkish: "street cat"), Aphrodite Giants, Cyprus cat, Aegean cat.




2. The Origin of long-haired felines

The Angora cats are not different cat species. These cats belong to a large domestic cat family, known by taxonomic name, Felis catus (in Latin "catus" (1) means a "cat"). It is not distinct from its short-haired counterpart. The long beautiful fur is what sets this cat apart from others.

There are various theories of its origin, but probably the most repeated and a wrong one is, that the Angora cat came from Pallas cat (Otocolobus manul (8)) – this wildcat belongs to leopard, not domestic cat lineage, the latter split from all other felines, including Pallas cat, about 3.36 million years ago (9) (Figure 1)Besides Pallas cat's long-haired gene is completely different from the domestic cats (10), leaving no possibility that a long fur gene was acquired from this wildcat.


Figure 1. The Evolution of Felines (Johnson, O'Brien, Sci Am, 2007). Felis catus (domestic cat) shows a very recent divergence from its ancestors, wildcats.

All cats originated from the Near Eastern wildcat, F. S. Lybica (2), living in Israel and Arabian Peninsula. They are descendants of at least 5 wildcat maternal lines.

Why cats are descended from the F. S. Lybica and not from any other wildcat? No one knows for sure, perhaps it was by chance or something to do with cultural practices of early human societies? A tendency to tameness is not unique to F. S. Lybica species, but is widespread in many wildcats (133)

From the evidence available today, the cats in Middle East are still genetically identical to F. S Lybica (2) (Figure 2). It raises the question if "pure" F. s. lybica still exists in its wild form (11).


There is a possibility that another wildcat, F. silvestris ornata (12) could contribute to modern cats lineage too.

Figure 2. Near Eastern wildcats and domestic cats formed one group (brown color), but domestic cats from Europe, Asia and Mongolia were grouped separately (Driscoll et. al, 2007).

Cats changed very little from its wild ancestor. The main differences between (domestic) cats and wildcats are a wide variety of colors, a long fur, ability to adapt to living with humans and affection towards them (35). The cat even learned to manipulate with sounds as an effective strategy to attract human attention (131a). This adaptation is not only seen in cats, but has been observed in other tame animals, such as fox (132b).

Domestic cats still mate indiscriminately with wildcats (Coming soon)

Where did long-haired cat come from? Were not all wildcats short-haired?

Yes, the ancestor of cats, a wildcat f. s. lybica was a short-haired and a tabby.
FGF5 gene regulates the growth of hair in humans and fur length in dogs. The mutation in this particular gene resulted to long fur in cats.The long fur/hair in animals is called by scientific name the "Angora phenotype".

FGF5 gene posses different mutations, but in cats the most common mutation (10called c.475A>C is likely the oldest, having an ancient origin (13) delivered from a rare short-hair variant (SH-2 haplotype) (10). Prevalence of this mutation in many longhaired cats woldwide, shows that just like most of coat colors, the long fur was introduced to many parts of the world early, with the first cat "migrants".
Furthermore the long fur was a spontaneous mutation in a short-haired cat. Why did the longhair mutation get passed to the future generations of kittens?
It could be a sexual selection, whereas males with long fur appeared larger, providing a competitive advantage to dominate in its territory, or indirect human selection (14). Humans could affect the phenotypes of cats, favoring the long-hair and different colors of fur (199): "It is clear that without humans, even the most basic coat color variants would not (have) persisted in the wild for more than a generation"(14)

"Although long-hair is thought to be a simple trait, the actual hair length of a long-haired cat is highly variable"(10); It means that the differences in fur length, thickness etc. are regulated by additional genes/ mutations.




3. Taming of the cat 
"The modern domestic cat is the product of 11 million years of natural selection in a world free of people and 12 thousand years of natural selection in a world increasingly dominated by humanity (207)". 

For many years people believed that domestic cat history did not stretched far and that a cat was fully domesticated in Egypt a few thousand years ago. 

It is not hard to understand, why this theory is still popular today. The cats in ancient Egypt had a rich cultural and archaeological history and were a part of religious cult.
However it does not mean that if the cats were sacred animals, they were never killed. It looks as if the cats were being specially bred in huge numbers for one specific purpose. Archaeologists revealed an interesting yet cruel aspect of this religious cult: the young cats were killed by breaking their necks and then turned to mummies (15)


Because of historical significance of cats in ancient Egypt, it was naturally assumed that cats originated there, about 2000 BC.(16) However archaeological findings uncover cats presence in Egypt earlier than thought- about 3700 BC (17). Although F. S Lybica species are widely distributed in North Africa, surprisingly Egypt was not the area, where cats became tame or "domesticated". In contrary, the genetic studies reveal that, Egypt was not a source of domestic cats. "The cats in Egypt might well have originated from the Near East, perhaps migrating to Egypt via the Levant with trade as already domesticated animals."(18)

On the other hand, modern-day natural Egyptian cats can rightfully claim to be "the companions of Pharaohs",  because the genetic analyses (18) confirm, that they are descendants of Egyptian cats mummified in 664-332 BC (~2,500 ago). Egyptian cats may have mixed origins (213), but they share similarities with Anatolian cats (
recent divergence could be observed) (4).


Cats from unidentified species also appeared in China about 5,300 years ago. They lived in early agricultural village and were fed by humans with grain based food (19). However there is still no sufficient evidence to support the independent cat "domestication" event in Asia and genetic testing is necessary to verify if cats were f. s. lybica descendants or native wildcats (20). "If they were China’s native subspecies of the wildcat, then their domestication didn’t lead to modern house cats" (210).

Cats in Anatolia

Dr. S. T. Özçetin suggested that cats were tamed and lived in Mesopotamian villages long before they became a part of Egyptian culture (7). This view seems to be well supported by latest archaeological and genetic discoveries.


Anatolia was a home of earliest human settlements and it is a place, where the agriculture first arose. Many animal species and plants were domesticated there too. 

The most important crop, wheat (einkorn) was also domesticated in Southern Anatolia, Kardacağ Mountain (200,201), close to location of Göbekli Tepe.

The cat taming happened exactly at that time, when the first agricultural villages were established. Rodents, especially mice and trash heaps attracted wildcats to human settlements. It appears inhabitants of Çatalhüyük were overrun with mice and had to practice a sort of pest control, by allowing the small carnivores, including the wildcats, to enter to their settlements (202). The similar situation could be present in other settlements too. 


"Cat (...) domestication likely resulted from colonization of human settlements, followed by toleration and then acceptance as a part of Neolithic village life. Archaeological evidence suggests that this process occurred very soon after the founding of agricultural villages, as cats were intentionally transported as part of the "Neolithic package" to the island of Cyprus and beyond by the Middle PPNB (Pre - Pottery Neolithic B) (203)".

The earliest archaeological evidence of cat taming is ~9.500 year's old cat burial in Cyprus (22). A cat was brought by boat to Cyprus from today's territories of Turkey or Syria (22,23,180). This means taming of cats had already been happening in the Northern Fertile Crescent, perhaps somewhere in Southern Anatolia, long before a tamed cat was carried to the island of Cyprus and other parts of Middle East.

Tame wildcats not only helped to protect the food stores of Neolithic villagers, they later were probably valued as companions. The attractive, juvenile features of wildcats triggered nurturing responses in humans. 
"Pet-keeping (…) is extraordinarily widespread among living and recent hunting and horticultural societies, and there is no obvious reason to think that the inhabitants of the Neolithic Near East were any different. More to the point, these animals do not need to serve any functional or economic purpose in order to be valued by their owners."(21)

"Cats may have had a special status in the early Neolithic societies of the Middle East, as already suggested by stone or clay figurines found at sites in Syria, Turkey, and Israel (22)." 
Female figures were found in sites of Göbekli Tepe, Çatalhüyük and Hacilar. Some believe these could be the first depictions of Anatolian Goddess Cybele (204,205). The women in these figures often were portrayed with felines, probably leopards. The big cats, such as lions and leopards, were praised as symbols of power. However it appears, that feline symbolism in ancient Anatolian art carried another meaning - femininity and fertility. 

The history of Anatolian cats, unfortunately, still remains a mystery. The evidence for cultural significance of domestic cats in Anatolia is very difficult to find.

Although (wild) cat bones were found in oldest settlements, such as Çatalhüyük (25), Göbekli Tepe (26), Hallan Çemi (206) there is no way to know if those wildcats were already tame and lived in close proximity with humans. In addition to this, it is difficult to identify a wildcat and Felis catus from bone fragments (27), which are often poorly preserved, and have little use for many archaeologists. 

Another reason for scarcity of cat remains, that the cats were buried by humans in the area outside the settlements, and these areas are not well studied by archaeologists (211). Furthermore "the natural behaviour of the cat itself is the reason behind why it is seldom found in archaeological excavations. One of the authors has observed that cats which die a natural death try to find a quiet place to die while other animals, like dogs, stay with their owners who will subsequently bury the animals; Therefore, this solitary, nocturnal animal possibly contributed to the scarcity of its remains by its own natural behaviour"(212).
Finally, like Klaus Schmidt noticed: "compared to most European and Levantine countries, Anatolia remained a neglected area in terms of Paleolithic research"(28). Traditionally, Egypt was believed to be a place of cat domestication, but more recent findings disagree with this popular Egyptian hypothesis. The Southern Anatolia with its oldest agricultural settlements, looks like one of the best candidates for cat domestication, yet it lacks the cultural "evidence" as found in Egypt.                                                                                                                                             
If we consider that tame cats from Southern Anatolia became ancestors of domestic cats, it is possible to imagine how these cats spread throughout the world. First they migrated towards Iraq and Levant, then to Egypt, later reaching Asia and Europe (4). When a small group of migrants inhibited the new lands, they interbred with each other and remained fairly isolated by distance from their original population. These cats became founders of distinctive domestic cat populations in Europe, Asia and Middle East (for explanation, see Figure 21).

The descendants of ancient companions continue their lives in their homeland: but many of them moved to the streets of Turkish cities in exchange for village life. Despite of impressive 10 thousand years of history in this land, these cats are regarded as no more than "street cats" by local people, without giving any thought to their actual origins.

4. Everything about the Angora cats
4.1 Anatolian DNA

The Angora cat is not a breed. It is commonly known as "sokak kedisi", a street cat of Turkey. The Angora is a natural, long-haired cat of Anatolia. Natural cats are "the original populations from which the breeds developed, not a population of pedigreed cats gone feral."(3) It means these cats did not come from abandoned or lost pets, but are descendants of freeborn and ancient Anatolian cats, which lived in this country for thousands of years. 


But if a cat lives on the street, how can we be sure it is not mixed?

Mixed with what, exactly? Natural cats will breed with other natural cats living nearby, and their gene flow will be restricted by geographical barriers and the distance. Pedigreed cats – cats purposely bred by humans, have a known ancestry and they account only a tiny percentage of the cat population in the world. Therefore it is highly unlikely they have any significant effect on the natural cats. Even if a few "breed" cats ended up in the street, they would be unable to compete with a high number of natural cats: genes of pedigreed cats would be soon lost. As long as pedigreed cats stay a minority house-pets, responsibly neutered by their owners, the natural cats mixing with breeds is going to be of little concern.

The natural cats differ from each other. The genetic difference is correlated with the geographical distance: the larger the distance, the more different they turn out to be. These differences may not obvious, because the phenotypes of natural cats appear indeed similar, but genetically these cats correspond to separate groups of Felis catus family in relation to their geography (see: Figure 3).


There are 5 ancestral cat lineages: Eastern Mediterranean/Anatolian (Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel), Europe (including Americas), Middle East (Iran, Iraq), Arabian Sea region/Asia and East Asia (4).These groups of cats can be subdivided to a few more modern, more recently diverged, eight populations such as India, South Asia, Indian Ocean region and Egypt (4). Within European grouping currently are known 4 more distinct groupings of cats, making in total 12 modern populations (175).


Figure 3. Cat populations of the World (by L.A Lyons and J. Kurushima (4)). A map of cat populations based on microsatellites (using inverse distance function)Color saturation is based on the value of the likelihood (e. g. low saturation means low likelihood)
Pie charts represent the genetic makeup of populations. (Note: In Turkish chart the dark orange and green colors show wrongly sampled Siamese and Persian cats). This map has been edited to give emphasis to Anatolian cats and their relation to other populations.

Clarification: the map shows the regional varieties of natural cats (known by general public as "random-bred" or "street cats"), and not applied to breeds! Middle East does not mean "Persian cat", South Asia are not about "Siamese" and Egypt is not about "Egyptian Mau", and Anatolia includes all native cats with long/short fur in variety of colors (not limited to imaginary white breeds "Ankara Kedisi" or "Van Kedisi"). Natural cats are ancient group of cats and do not come from abandoned breed cats. In reality, breed cats were created from "street cats" by breeding them for different and predictable looks. 

According to the genetic studies (3,4,29,208), the Angora cat and its shorthaired counterpart, belong to the large and ancient family of cats from Eastern Mediterranean region, consisting of Anatolia and Levant areas (Figure 3).
The European and American cats are distinct, so are Asian, Iranian/Middle Eastern and Indian cats. A cat from China or Germany compared to Anatolian cat may look similar in appearance and size, but at the genetic level, they will group separately.

It is worth to mention that no studies were done to compare phenotypes of natural cats from various regions, so it is not possible to tell, if one natural population can be distinguished from another, only by relying on generalizations about its morphology. Let's say if cats from Turkey appear to have a rounder face shape compared to cats from Egypt, how can we be sure if this observation is valid? There are many variables such as, selection biases /observer-expectancy effect (researcher looks for rounder faces in Turkish cats, but fails to notice the similar trait in Egyptian cats), unrepresentative sample (unbalanced ratio of cats with different ages and sexes, scientist samples one location only and cats are relatives to each other) and biased interpretation (Turkish cats sample could have more cats with rounder faces by random chance, it does not mean most of Turkish cats have rounder faces in comparison with Egyptian cats). 

Morphological studies may be prone to stereotyping the cats, this is why the value of these type of studies is questionable.

In one study the body measurements of 84 short-haired cats from Çanakkale (209) were compared to the Angora cats from Ankara Zoo and those kept as pets (Özçetin, 2007 (7)). The short-haired cats were similar to the Angora cats, but leaner and smaller. The researchers jumped to conclusion that these measurements define the "Turkish shorthair breed" characteristics (surely, these cats are are the siblings of Angora - natural cats). Yet the difference is not breed related, but has something to do with environment. Free-roaming cats consume less food and rarely benefit from human care unlike cats kept as pets (209). The lifestyle, health status, food intake and similar factors should not be overlooked when comparing the morphology of natural cats.



4.2 How it looks like?

People sometimes ask us: how can we recognize if a cat is the Angora or not?
They even cite cat breeders' standards from internet pages: length of tail, shape of ears and head, color of eyes etc... All these superficial traits may have a use in the cat show, but very unhelpful, vague and confusing for anything else.

The Angora cat looks like many other natural cats: balanced and attractive features, without exaggerations as seen in man-made cat breeds. 


How can I find out if a cat is the Angora or not?

These are two important questions you have to ask: 

1. Is a cat from Turkey or neighboring countries? If you found it on the street, you can be nearly sure it is the Anatolian cat.

2. Does it have a long fur? If yes, it is the Angora cat.

The Angora is a natural cat and the cat fancier's standards (which are actually the collective opinions), do not apply for this cat.

Since Anatolian cat reproduction is not controlled by humans, these cats will not have a record of their parents, grandparents etc. In short, the Angora does not need to have a pedigree in order to prove it is the Angora cat.


There are some other traits that may be helpful in identifying the Angora cat.

Note: all characteristics described below apply for the Anatolian short-haired cats too. The only exception should be made for fur length.
The Angora is a long-haired cat. It has brush like tails; in cold season - a beautiful ruff around the neck. The fur is a lot of shorter in the summer, and thicker, considerably longer in the winter. The length of fur in winter is on average 10-11 cm (7). Older cats and males have slightly longer coats (7)

The cat fancy uses the term "semi-longhaired" to any cats which do not have a fur comparable to Persian breeds. The Persian fur is an abnormality and the other cats should not be measured up to it.

* The length of fur and its thickness is a highly variable trait in the natural population. The length of fur depends on individual cat's genes, its health, age etc.



* The fur is soft and feels silky (this is more pronounced in cold season) does not have a woolly undercoat, it does not mat.
* Anatolian cats have usual to cats "triangle" shaped face, however mature males develop masculine heads and have jowls, making their heads appear round.
* Eye shape varies from almond, oval to almost round in some cats.

Figure 4. Rare variations of cat eye colors: partial heterochromia in a white and colored Angora cat; cream (diluted orange) colored Angora cat with blue eyes.

* Eye colors: green, amber and its shades, blue and odd-eyed in white and bicolor cats (Figure 4).
* Fur colors (6): various tabby markings, orange tabby, solid colors like black and white; diluted: grey and cream; calico and tortoiseshell in females, and all colors mentioned above in combination with white.

* Medium to large size, but depends on cat's sex (31). Females weight on average: 3- 4 kg, males are heavier, about 4- 6.5 kg (7). One study (30) of the Turkish Zoo cats reported about 3 kg for females and 4 kg for males.


* Ears appear larger in young cats, but in adults they are neither big nor small; appear widely spaced. 
* The body is longish and well muscled. The difference between females and males is obvious, where males develop to strong and larger cats in contrast to females.


Not characteristics of the Angora/Anatolian cats

Ø Foreign (slender), oriental body type in adult cats. Malnourished, sick cats tend to be appear very slim however it is not a normal condition.
Ø Excessively round and short body type with brachycephalic head indicates Persian out-cross.
Ø Very large, close set ears as seen in the Turkish Angora breed.
Ø Pointed colors, chocolate, cinnamon and its diluted variants, which come from mixing with Siamese and Oriental type of cats or Persians.
Ø Extreme silver coloring as seen in Persians and related breeds: chinchilla (extreme silver), smokes are man made through selective breeding and generally do not occur in natural cats to that extent.
Ø Dark blue eyes in white cats in most cases show that a cat hides pointed color under its white fur.

Ø Woolly coat with thick undercoat comes from outcrosses with Persians. 

Special considerations

Ø The fur of the Angora cat requires almost no maintenance. Although brushing is not essential, it may help to prevent hairballs and allow fur to shed faster in spring months.
Do not follow the misguided advice of veterinarians who recommend shaving cats once or twice a year. Since many owners fail to look after the fur of their Persian cats, they end up with horrible matted clumps of fur that must be shaved. But the Angora cat is not a Persian! The Angoras fur will shed naturally on its own. If hair bothers you so much, rethink your decision, if a long-haired cat is a right choice for you. If you have the Angora cat already, the hair issue can be managed by brushing a cat more frequently and vacuuming a house more often. 

Ø White cats should not stay under the sun for long periods of time. The sunburn may cause squamous cell carcinoma, particularly on its head, in areas where fur is sparse. White cats are about 13.4 times at risk compared to colored cats (32).

Ø Many white cats are deaf (33). White fur interferes with hearing. All homozygous white cats are deaf, while those carrying a color allele have a significantly lower rate of deafness (34).
Breeding deaf cats or any white cats with unknown hearing status, is strongly discouraged.
Breeding hearing (as confirmed by electrodiagnostic test) white cats with the colored ones, reduces risk somewhat, but does not prevent the deafness issue completely. If white is a preferred color but a priority is given to health - hearing cats, cats with white spotting gene, whose body is nearly white, except for small amounts color on head and tail, is the best possible compromise.
Remember: Deafness is a disability and any cat suffering from it, must be kept indoors only.
Read more about deafness.

Ø Bigger is not better: Neutered cats of both sexes tend to be heavier than cats intact (7). Energy requirements decrease after spaying or neutering, this is why owners of these cats should monitor food intake and calories to prevent obesity and with it related complications (35a).

Ø Blood groups of Anatolian cats (coming soon)



Mutations in Anatolian cats

Figure 5. Examples of phenotypic mutations in Anatolian cats: bobtail, short legs and cross-eyes. 

The Anatolian cats, as a natural and ancient population, accumulated a lot of variation - unique mutations. However evolution is imperfect. Many mutations are either neutral or harmful, only in rare cases they may be beneficial. This is where natural selection, a beautiful metaphor for a really cruel process, serves its purpose in eliminating unfit, sickly individuals with harmful mutations, "assuring" the continuity of the population. But the natural selection has its weaknesses too. It does not always work efficiently. Detrimental mutations still occur and could be passed down through the generations, if a cat with such a mutation survives long enough to reproduce.
There are rare examples of Anatolian cats which are born with unusual phenotypic mutations, such as shortened tail (bobtail), short legs and crossed eyes (Figure 5)

From a cat welfare point of view, these are not the characteristics which we should use as a basis for the new cat breed creation. 

4.3 The Anatolian short-hair 

In its native land, Turkey, the Angora "breed" is seen as both long-haired and short-haired, as long as it is all white. If we discard that "white fur" dogma, technically this is a correct statement.

The Angora cat is the Anatolian longhair. The short-hair type, has a name the "Anatolian short-hair", although we admit it would be wiser to call both as the Anatolian cats, without giving emphasis on fur length.

Is the Angora cat always long-haired? The name implies that a cat in order to be called as the Angora must have a long fur. The "Angora" name defines animals with long fur, just in the way it is used for long-haired rabbits and goats.

Is short-haired Anatolian cat any different?

No, not at all.



The short-haired cats are exactly the same cats like long-haired ones, just lacks the longhair gene. The Angora cats breed with short-haired cats naturally. Mixed litters are quite common (Figure 6).The long-haired and short-haired kittens are often sisters and brothers to each other.

Due its recessive (weaker) nature, the long-haired cats are much rarer than short-haired ones.
The two short-haired cats can have long-haired Angora kittens too, if both parents carry the long fur gene (Figure 7).


Figure 6. Mendelian inheritance of long fur. The short-haired cats often carry a long-haired gene and when mated with longhaired cat or another carrier, may have long-haired kittens.

Figure 7. Matings between short-haired and long-haired cats do not produce intermediate (something between short and long fur) variants, as believed. The kittens born to one or two short-hair parents may have the fur similar to those cats having two long-haired parents.




4.4 Behavior and Personality
 

When people think about the cat breeds, it is not only about the different look. They believe that cat breed's have generic and predictable personalities.

The descriptions of certain breeds characters are that much accurate as astrology signs, explaining the complex personalities of human beings. In other words, they are vague generalizations, guesses and often will match to almost any cat.

Only certain cat breeds have traits which are more or less predictable: like Siamese, being more outgoing and demanding, Persian – a slow and inactive cat and a Ragdoll, selectively bred for docility and fearlessness (103).


The Angoras (Anatolian cats) character traits are variable and it would be unfair to attempt to generalize them. Every cat has a unique personality shaped by its genes and environmental influences.

Natural cats can be as much as affectionate as a cat from controlled breeding. If only we assume that it is bred for its temper, because not all pedigreed cats are well-behaved!

The socialization has a strong effect on feline friendliness. In the areas where human population is small and cats receive little attention, rarely fed by humans, these cats are likely to display more wild behavior, distrust and anxiety.

This is why the friendliest cats are found in larger cities where its inhabitants have a tendency to care for their cats; food and treats act as a powerful reward that drives and encourages the affectionate behavior. The friendliest cats get the most attention and benefit from human care, in result they are more likely to pass their genes, at the same time a preposition of tameness for their future kittens. This is an example of indirect selection by humans, unconsciously practiced since the beginning of human civilization.

In larger cities, where neutering became a method to control natural cat population, unfortunately, the friendliest cats became an easy target; In contrast, untamed cats, which are not good candidates for sterilization, because they are difficult to catch in first place, reproduce and thrive while friendly cats do not. Cats, which instinctively fear and avoid humans, will have kittens behaving similarly, making the whole population of community cats less human-friendly.
There is no reliable way to predict personality of a cat.
Friendliness or tameness is the only exception.
Certain regions in cat genome (35b), particularly those associated with "stimulus-reward learning" are probably responsible for tameness in cats. "Tameness or domestication" genes are probably natural variations present in natural populations, not spontaneous mutations (36). However it appears that contribution of "domestication genes" to cat behavior is quite modest. The domestic cat is still closely related to its ancestor, a wildcat.
Thus by selecting the friendliest cats and breeding them, the chance that kittens will have a similar behavior, is very high.



A pregnant Angora cat


There are many factors that will determine how friendly a kitten will become: 


1. Age of separation from mother: In one study (37) kittens were separated from their mothers at 2 weeks old and others- at 2 and 3 months, and then their behavior was compared. Kittens taken from their mothers younger than 2 months old, had significant behavior problems when grown-up: fearfulness and aggression directed towards humans, anxiety, impaired learning ability. Some of these cats even developed asthma-like syndrome (37). 

2. Socialization (or lack of it). The amount of handling in first 8-12 weeks had a long lasting effect on cat’s friendliness (38,45).
However a minimal interaction between humans and kittens was ineffective. Some cats were aloof even when properly socialized (39)The genetic factors may be stronger than socialization in some cases.
Cats successfully will form social attachments to other animals, like dogs. It is important that a cat would get introduced to a dog early (40). Cats which encountered a dog for the first time not older than 6 months, had the most harmonious relationships, the least aggression and were able understand dog’s body language well. The same could be said about the dogs which started to live with the cats at the age of 1 year or less (40).
The ability to silence predatory instinct in cats had been tested with rats. Kittens which grew up with rats, considered them as their siblings rather than a meal (41). 

3. Mother: kittens imitate behavior of their mother. For example, they copy her predatory behavior and their choices of prey will depend on their mothers preferences (41,43); kittens prefer the food their mother selects to eat, even when it is a less satisfying choice (mashed potato instead of meat pellets) (44). 

4. Father: kittens sired by friendly father were also more affectionate and less-stressed. They did not fear strangers (39,45,46). The father's behavioral traits could be inherited.

The Angora cat was for a long time stereotyped as aggressive and violent cat "breed"(47). This misunderstanding aroused from the observation about the white cats, which were often deaf and reacted in an unpredictable manner.
It is unfortunate that the preferred fur color by many people is still a solid white. More than half of white cats are born partially or completely deaf. Deaf cats tend to exhibit significant behavior problems and may make less satisfactory pets.
People tend to over-generalize the large group of cats based on what they observed in their pets behavior. "My cat is very fond of me, so all Angora cats are like this", "they are like dogs" – all these are nothing more than personal opinions. Of course, these observations may be true about some cats, but certainly will not describe all Anatolian cats. In fact, we will be quick to learn that if we take another cat to our house, it will be nothing like the previous one we have had before. The Angora and all other natural cats have very distinct personalities and all are individuals, not to be judged by one superficial standard.

Many cats could be great pets if only humans did not hold unrealistic expectations about them, and wanted to understand and learn more about their cats behavior and needs, instead of treating it like a small version of human (Anthropomorphism- the attribution of human characteristics to nonhuman animals).


5. West meets the Angora Cat


5.1  Della Valle and Peiresc

The long-haired felines were at the center of attention a few centuries ago.
Admired by foreigners, cats in Anatolia were probably not regarded as exceptional by its people.
According to Prof. Samuel Aysoy, Turkish people had a few superstitions about the cat colors: calico (red-black) and red tabby cats were a symbol of good luck, but solid black cats were not. The grey cat with five black stripes on its head was considered blessed by a prophet. Hurting any cat, even a black one, was unthinkable: if someone throws a stone to the cat, that person will be unlucky and crippled (52).

Anatolian people were "extremely fond to cats"(50and treated them with kindness and respect. The love and compassion for animals in Anatolia had been witnessed by foreigner visitors in 17th (48,49,50).

Around the same time, the reports about the longhair cats from Anatolia, Persia and other places started to appear in foreigner traveler's books, memoirs and letters. These long-haired cats were frequently called as the Angora or Persian breeds, however these and any other names not necessary implied the origin of these cats.


Generally, people in countries of Middle East, gave no importance to cats with long fur over short-haired ones, as cats with long fur are rarely, if ever, depicted in local folklore, art and literature (51,52etc. On the other hand, foreigners, mainly from Europe, who had an opportunity to visit Anatolia, Iran, Afghanistan and similar places, expressed a great interest in long-haired natural cats, which they perceived as breeds associated with those particular locations.

Pedro Della Valle was the first written source (53), suggesting relationship between long-haired cats and Persia (Iran). Persia and long haired cats connection was met with curiosity and excitement by other travelers, wealthy pet lovers and writers for centuries to come. Today many believe that Pedro Della Valle actually took cats from Iran and introduced them to Europe (54,55)
These cats, they say, were ancestors of today’s Persian breed (55). These conclusions were drawn from a single letter (53) where Pedro Della Valle hoped to bring "a breed" to Rome- in reality, a very unlikely event. In his correspondence with Peiresc, Della Vella did not talk about cats; it is obvious there was no serious intention to get them to Rome (56).

Pedro’s Persian cats "una razza bellissima di gatti" (53), as he probably had heard from somewhere, came from Khorasan (this province although was a part of Persia, largely consisted the territories of countries known today as Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Pedro Della Valle had not visited that area (57)). They looked like usual cats, except for the long fur, they were grey, and in his opinion, superior to those found in Syria (Angora?). His wife, a Christian originally from Southeastern Anatolia, used to enjoy the company of these cats.
French naturalist Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc was unaware of Della Vella’s Khorasan cats theory. He admired "aux beaux chats d'Ancyre ou Angoury"– the beautiful cats of Angora (Ankara) which he had a chance to see during his visit in Syria (58).
Antrophologist Jean-Pierre Digard claims (56) that Peiresc actually imported some of these cats to France, but again this remains unclear. 

Not everyone was convinced Pedro’s Khorasan breed and saw it as a type of Angora cat, just like Peiresc did (59,60,61,81)
Buffon quotes Della Vella and Peiresc in his famous book, L’Histoire Naturelle (59)- a grey Persian cat from Khorasan and a white Angora cat from Syria. However Khorasan cat, he says, resembles the Angora and they are probably even "the same race" (59).
Della Valle and Peiresc are possibly the earliest written sources witnessing the long-haired cats in Middle East. The other reports came much more later, only in 19th century.

Although the first cat show was in 1871 (in London; marks the beginning of cat fancy), the breeding of long-haired cats or keeping them as pets was commonplace in Europe as early as 1800’s. These cats were status symbols "generally only seen in the houses of the rich" (62) and "pets of ladies."(63,64)

It seems that Europeans had enough long-haired cats in their countries. However the interest in furry felines from Middle East did not fade away completely, since there are numerous books and letters drawing attention to these animals.


5.2 The cat trade
Figure 8. The Cat trade, illustrated by Dieulafoy, La Perse, la Chaldée et la Susiane (74).

The cat trade is an interesting phenomenon. Nearly all testimonies (66,67,68,69,70,71,72,73,74,75,76about the cat trade are from 19th century,  but there are exceptions, like Evliya Çelebi, Ottoman traveler (65), who spoke about the cats from Divriği (Central Anatolia) with unusual coats. These cats were praised as good mousers and for that reason they were brought for sale to Ardabil (Iran) in 1647. (Why? Was it because cats were scarce in İran?).
However in most of cases, cats were not exported for the sake of rodent control, but because they could be sold to rich foreigners who admired Middle Eastern cats as valuable and exotic pets. The largest market of cats, as claimed, was located in India. Cats for sale were brought mainly from Iran (66,70,71,72,74,75) or from Afghanistan (67,68,69,77).
"The long silky-furred Angora cats are annually brought to India for sale from Afghanistan, with caravans of camels, even so far as Calcutta. These animals are currently known as ' Persian cats". (Balfour (69))

How can we be sure that India had no natural long-haired cats and that all longhaired cats were imported? As a matter of fact, it would be nearly impossible to identify the origin of long-haired cat from its appearance only, if it is from Iran, Anatolia, India or elsewhere, since the natural cats tend to look pretty much alike.

The cat trade, even if practiced by a small minority, could not last for too long, as it was impractical (very time consuming, think about the transport travelers used in those times!), potentially deadly (75,76) for cats and simply unnecessary, as European long-haired cats were not only readily available, but also could be bred to unusual looking breed with extremely long fur and a desirable large and round shape.

5.3 The reliability and accuracy of historical sources
Figure 9. Three mythological cats, illustrated (from the left): Angora cat, Khorasan cat and Chinese cat, as described first by Peiresc (58), Della Valle (53)  and Martini (79).


Source: Ernst Keil's Nachfolger, J. Bungartz, 1897, Die Gartenlaube, Leipzig, (page 745)

Persian and Angora cat names were well known from the works of travelers and later writers gained inspiration from them. Furthermore it is hard to distinguish the rumor ("I have heard", "I have been told that…") from the actual experience (observation of the cats in the region).

It is often assumed, that if many travelers said the same thing, this provides a strong evidence for the case: "If X, Y, Z, K… says that cats came from Iran, then it is true".
The claim is based on fallacy Argumentum ad populum. If idea is popular and supported by many, it still may be wrong. There is always a possibility that a traveler recorded the popular rumor without giving a deeper thought. This would explain why reports on the same subject are so contradictory.

The provinces of Persia, notably Isfanah (71,72,73,75), Shiraz (66) and Yazd (70) were supposedly famous for their long-haired cats.
However there are travelers who did not noticed the presence of long-haired felines in Persia at all (80), while many others claimed that long-haired cats were seldom (if ever) seen in Persian streets (62,66,67,76,77,82). "I hardly remember ever seeing an ordinary short-haired one during the three years we were in Persia" (Hume-Griffith, 1909) (76).
Persia (Iran) is probably neither a source of the long-haired cats nor could be said it had large population of these cats. After all cats with long fur were documented in other parts of Asia, such as China (79), Uzbekistan-Bukhara (83,84), Afghanistan (67,68,77), Turkmenistan (77) and of course, Anatolia (58,59,62,63,73,81,85,86,87).

The association between Angora goats and cats was strong and convincing for many, this is why cats in Angora/Ankara province, not cats from other parts of Anatolia, were a center of attention. Princess Christina di Belgiojoso (85) described the Angora cats (in relation to goats) as large cats with impressive fur and a wide head. She said, they did not fear the biggest dogs. Cats in Konya were similar "yet without attaining their incomparable beauty". 
In spite of the popularity of Angora’s name, the long-haired cats were still named independently after locations where they were first seen by travelers.
For example, Millinger (63), Teule (88) and Wills (62) with their "Kurdistan" and "Van" cats. Teule (88) invented a bizarre explanation that Angora (Ankara) supplies Istanbul with its cats, but it too "procures its cats from the town of Van". Millinger (63opposes the name "Angora" used for Eastern Anatolian cats and complains about the rarity of these cats in the area of Van. If we take these reports at face value, does it mean they prove Van breed’s existence?
Lottin de Laval (87), a French archaeologist is a better example, because he paid a closer attention to the cats in several different locations of Eastern Anatolia. Many, like Aucher-Eloy (89) and Belgiojoso (85), believed that Angora cats existed in very limited area, not extending far from Ankara, but Lottin de Laval opposed this point of view. He said that Eastern Anatolia too was populated by many beautiful Angora cats (87). Lottin de Laval chose one name for all longhaired Anatolian cats – the "Angora", emphasizing their relatedness and similarity regardless of the region.
As we see, historical reports may point to the right direction or mislead, but they can never give a definitive answer, only the clues.

The biggest problem with those reports is that travelers see the natural long-haired cats as breeds.
A cat breed is a creation of man and subjected to the strong selection pressures (best example: Persian cat). The natural cat occurs naturally, without any help from humans, and is related to other cats in its area, even if a cat happens to look unusual. The long-haired cat may appear more beautiful and dissimilar compared to others, but it is still a part of "less impressive" short-haired cat family.
Charles Darwin (90) also believed that the long-haired cats were more like different species rather than cat coat variation: "The large Angora or Persian cat is the most distinct in structure and habits of all the domestic breeds. I am assured by Mr. Blyth that the Angora cat breeds freely with Indian cats, which, as we have already seen, have apparently been much crossed with F. Chaus. In England half-bred Angora cats are perfectly fertile with one another".


The limits of historical reports
1. The long-haired cats are not seen as a part of natural population.
2. Incomplete observations: İf one sees some long-haired cats in one part of country, this does not mean, that these cats are indigenous to this particular location and do not exist elsewhere!
3. Subjectivity: No traveler ever went just for sake of knowledge of cats; most of descriptions of longhaired cats are quick, unexamined thoughts – a mix of beliefs of others, popular rumors and subjective observations of the author. Many travelers and book authors, instead of doing a deeper study on that matter themselves, tried to fit their knowledge about cats to what was reported by other influential travelers like Della Valle or Peiresc.
4. The origin of longhaired cats or ancestry of cat breeds is a scientific question rather than historical. Historical sources are not particularly useful in this matter.

The "historical portrait" of the Angora cat looks like this:
a long and silky fur is the most important characteristic (58,86,94).
 large in size (85,86,92), but some disagree and attribute this "trait" to Persian cats (91,93).
 The color is not always specified; mostly solid colors like "silvery" or white (59,81); Harrison Weir could not imagine Angora being tabby (95).

Travelers usually give vague descriptions, centered around the fur and size, while secondary sources (Figure 10) attempted to detailed generalizations and represented drawings of what they imagined the Angora actually looked like (Figure 10).
The difference between "Persian" and Angora was not well defined (Figure 11). The Angora and Persian names were synonymous. Angora or Persian was nothing else, but a fancy way of saying "a long-haired cat" (96,97), although the name "Angora" had many more uses than Persian.  Not only goats or rabbits were Angoras, but just about any animal with the long fur (98).


Figure 10.
a) The Angoras portrait according to Lydekker (81) (1893)
b) Buffon’s Angora (59) (1767) appears suffering from starvation or disease; Although this cat has an impressive neck ruff, its tail is exactly the same like one seen in short-haired cats! 
Buffon invents a taxonomical name Catus Angorensis - invalid today, because longhaired cats are not different species. This drawing belongs to Louis-Claude Le Grand (1723-1807)
cAngola cat. G. Wood (92) misspells the Angoras name (1859).
d) C. F. Partington (94) imagined the Angora cat similar to the goat (1835)


Figure 11. The Angora and Persian cats in art are portrayed identically; The concept of elegant, "thin-boned" cat with large ears and a prominent nose, appears to have a fairly recent origin

Many believe that there were no long-haired cats in Europe before 1600’s (55), as nobody noticed or wrote about them. So it is assumed, that cats with the long fur must be brought from somewhere else.

A trend of keeping long-haired cats by rich classes in France and elsewhere, did not result from the idea that there were no longhaired cats present in Europe at that time; or due to difficulty obtaining them.
Contrary could be true, that long-haired cats were in general rare in Europe and most importantly, they remained unnoticed, until travelers made everyone curious about the special breed of cats from the Middle East.
It is speculated that cats arrived to Europe in Roman times, more than 2000-3000 years ago (99). If long fur mutation has ancient origins, and it seems it does, it is difficult to believe that longhaired cats reached Europe only a few centuries ago.



6. Persian cats

6.1 Are there Persian cats in the streets of Iran? 

Why famous Persian cats had disappeared from Iran "without leaving any significant traces?" (100) 
Some say they Persian cats had vanished just after foreigners lost interest in them (101), bringing the cat trade altogether to the end.
Figure 12. The Persian cats in 1900’s (78) already looked like a man-made breed, without extreme brachycephalic noses, but with wide heads, woolly coat and a round body. These Persian cats could be easily found in Western Europe as early as mid 1800’s (62) – but not in the streets of Iran.

However this explanation is unconvincing, because we still have to ask, if Persian breed had ever existed in Iran at all. Was there a cat similar to the Persian breed we know today?
The travelers fascination about Persian cats was a persistent myth, which was fed many years by those who strongly wanted to believe in it. Eventually it led to creation of a breed, which had nothing in common with Iran itself, only inherited its name (Figure 12). 

Of course, we will not see any Persian cats freely roaming in Iran and elsewhere. It not a "street" cat and never was one.  The Persian cat is a man-made breed it does not occur naturally, it comes from human initiated breeding, where any traits perceived as "cute" or weird can be perpetuated without thinking about disadvantages they impose on cats. 
Nature will "select" against the traits and mutations which have a negative effect on cats survival, fitness and function. This is why natural cats are destined to look "ordinary" (in human terms!). There is no advantage for a cat in having a fur which requires brushing from humans, a short muzzle, that makes eating and breathing difficult, or a body type that affects how cat moves etc. All of these make cat's life harder and unsuited for outside. Persian is a good example of domesticated cat. The natural cats can not be grouped together with Persians and it would be unwise to call them "domesticated", since they did not lose their "wild" characteristics (102).

6.2 Made in Europe: the Persian cat

Although genetic studies comparing natural cats from all over the world with cat breeds are available, almost nobody has heard about them. Most importantly the findings from genetic studies had absolutely no influence on descriptions of cat breed histories even if authors were aware of them (103). A finding showing the Persian breed originated in Europe, was simply ignored. The descriptions of cat breeds are stubbornly resistant to any kind of change.

The genetic studies (3,104,105,106) confirm that Persian cat breed is completely unrelated to cats from Middle East or Anatolia. The Persian cat was developed in Europe and USA from Western European cats.

This is not that cats from Iran got out-crossed to European "street cats" (if that was a case, a remnant of the Iranian cats could be detected), it’s possible that they were not a part of Persian family tree from the very beginning.
Saying the Persian breed is from Iran, is plain wrong, but accepting its true origins would mean rewriting a history of the breed, something, what cat registries and breed enthusiasts will not be doing anytime soon.


6.3 The Persian cat and its hybrids

The Persian cat once associated with Angora cats, became the most popular breed in the world. But did it deserve the popularity it gets?

The Persian influenced the large number of cat breeds. It has a large family that includes short-haired variants Exotic and British Short-hair, Scottish fold with a mutation, affecting ears and Selkirk Rex, with curled coat. All these breeds look different, but in principle, they are all Persians (106,108.

In Turkey, cross-breeding the Angora cats with Persians became increasingly common and a worrisome problem. The dangers of this hybridization are not only the changed look, which no longer resembles the Angora cat, but also a wide range of harmful mutations carried by Persians. The Persian cat breeding in Turkey is largely unregulated, so the prevalence of inherited diseases in the breed will be very high.
One particular group of Angora cats is at the highest risk for Persian hybridization – the white Angora cats kept as house-pets.
To recognize the first generation Persian hybrid is easier, but if such a hybrid is bred to a natural cat, the phenotypic characteristics of Persian will get "diluted" (Figure 13). The kittens from such a mating may not show any visible signs of Persian ancestry.  The look is deceiving because they still may carry disease genes from the previous out-crossing. The subtle Persian traits, such as woolly fur, body type, shorter nose and temperament may unexpectedly reappear in future generations.

The causative factors of distinctive look in a Persian cat, need further investigation. The breed specific traits, both anatomical and behavioral seem to be dominant and always appear as a "set", suggesting that this could be an unknown feline syndrome ("Persian syndrome"). Down’s syndrome is the first thing that comes to people’s minds; however cats can’t have it, because of differences in their chromosomes (107).

Identifying the Persian hybrids (Figure 13) is particularly useful for estimating the risk for certain inherited diseases in a cat. Also it is useful for conservation of the Angora cat, where cats with Persian ancestry should never bred.


  Figure 13. The signs of Persian hybrids:
1. Take a look at cats face and head, then compare it to what you see in non-breed cats (see pic. 3-6).  Does it have wide, round head and small ears? Does muzzle looks somewhat flat? Do eyes look unusually round?
2. The body will appear stocky, legs and tail short, paws large.
Note: Do not confuse with the obese or pregnant cat. Mature Angora males will have sturdy, rounder bodies. The long fur on stomach may create illusion of short legs in Angora cats.
3. The coat will have a woolly texture, thick and with undercoat, easily mats.
Note: some hybrids may inherit Angoras fur (see pic. 7); and some can be short-haired.
4. Kittens (starting from 4-5 months) will look unusually mature for their age, will have a wider head, small ears and stumpy legs (see pic. 1 and 2).  In contrary, a young Angora cats will look slender, its legs never short, and ears will be moderately large.

6.4 What is wrong with Persian cat?

It is undeniable that Persian breed is popular. There are many breeders of these cats, many who own them and a lot of more who promote these cats.

There are many reasons why Persian cats are undesirable candidates for breeding with Angora cats. At the same time this short review on Persian/Exotic and its hybrids health and behavior should be interesting for those who are not satisfied with anecdotal information and want to know disadvantages of these breeds as well.


Health problems and inherited diseases

The most common genetic (110) disease massively effecting Persian cats is Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) (109), a formation of cysts in cats kidneys. 40-50 % of all Persian cats worldwide suffer from this disease (111,112,113,114).
It progresses slowly, usually without symptoms (112), until leads to kidney failure  (when cat is 3-10 years old (109, 112)). No treatment exists (117). The only way to prevent it, is not to breed any cats with disease, by screening all Persians and their mixes with ultrasound and genetic tests (112,115,116).


Unfortunately the disease will not be eliminated, because:
1. Breeder may not know about PKD; or may not want o give up his breeding stock, even if cats carry PKD; 
2.  Lack of symptoms create an illusion that cat does not have a disease. Breeding of cats is done before diagnosis is known.
3. Screening may be unavailable and costly. Most of breeders, driven by monetary gain and those supplying pet-shops with Persians, are not going to do this. A small minority cat show breeders may screen their cats, but that would give a "false impression of decreasing prevalence (113)".

Persians are prone to facial dermatitis (119), skin (120) and eyelid infections (121,122).
The genetic disease Progressive Retinal Atrophy (123,124) is more common than reported and occurs in all colors of Persian cats (73). It causes blindness, "with the low activity temperament of the Persian and the strong adaptive ability of blind cats, many owners may not realize that their cats may have vision loss" (79).

Persians may have metabolic storage disease (125), which is deadly.
Persians suffer from urinary disease (126) that would explain why problems with litter-box are so common in this breed. "Urinary disease was the most common cause of death in total and in the Persians, British short-hair, and Ragdolls" (126).

Blue, smoke-colored Persian cats with yellow-green eyes may have rare Chédiak–Higashi syndrome (127) (effects immunity system).

Persian may have a higher preposition for many other diseases, such as Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), Congenital portosystemic vascular shunts, corneal or other eye abnormalities, dystocia and hip Dysplasia (130).



Deformed face is not to be admired

 
Whether anyone finds flat-faced cats with a nose in eye level cute, is irrelevant.
What matters is, that this deformity - moderate and severe brachycephally, causes suffering. The life of such a cat is very uncomfortable.
These cats have difficulties with breathing (128) (Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome), its tears cannot pass normally (distorted drainage function (128)), leaving dark stains around eyes, irritating them and causing infections (129). A short nose also makes eating and grooming a real challenge.
The breeding of cats with deformities should be banned for the sake of cat's well-being: "the basic design of the domestic cat is fundamentally sound. Why mess with it? (129)"

Problematic fur
"these cats have long coats that generally require more work to keep in good condition than most owners can expend, so they tend to get knots and mats"(129). Cat is unable to groom itself like normal cats do, therefore a regular bathing and daily brushing necessary. Since not many owners have time for this, they simply get their Persians shaved.

Behavior problems 
The effect of breed on cat's behavior is rarely studied and breed behaviors are usually based on cat breeders and private owners anecdotes.
Hart (2013) has attempted to make more scientific questionnaire using statistical methods (103). The Persian cat not surprisingly turned out the least active breed, not playful and lethargic. Persian cats were not friendly (not a lap cat as claimed), very fearful (unable to adapt to changes?) and moderately aggressive. However it had little interest to hunt (predation) and scratching furniture was almost non-existent.
Persian scored the worst in litter-box use and was prone to urine marking. Persian cats are susceptible to Separation anxiety syndrome (131) which could exacerbate urine marking even more.

So far unconfirmed "Persian syndrome" (likely genetic) could possibly influence formation of cats brain, leading to mild retardation. This could explain why Persians and Persian mixes have such a distinctive (inactive, docile, slow etc.), but fairly homogeneous behavior. A research on cat’s intelligence in relation to its breed might be necessary.


7. The Angora cat in Turkey

7.1. How Turkish people see the Angora cats 

Turkey could be said to be a "cat country". Cats outnumber dogs by ratio 3:1 according to current estimations (134). Most of cats in Turkey are unowned and keeping them as pets is a fairly new practice.

Istanbul is not only the largest city; it has huge number cats, more than any other place in Turkey.
"Most of these strays have developed friendly relationships with people. They have personalities and in many neighborhoods, they are almost part of the community" (135).
Western ideas about the animal rights, sterilization and animal ownership have been gaining acceptance in Turkey in recent years. The internet is a main source where Turkish people could learn about the cat breeds.
The Angora cat is left in the shadow of Van Kedisi, the latter receives a far greater interest from the Turkish media.
The Turkish people associate the Angora cat only with Ankara city. The Ankara and long-haired cats connection is older than a few centuries and came from the analogy with a goat. Some researchers even attempted to explain why long-haired animals occurred in Ankara, and if it had something to do with
Ankara’s environment (136) (it does not). The Ankara province and long-haired cats share the same name, but the guess that these cats came from Ankara is not based on any kind of evidence.
Figure 14. False analogy (Ankara, cats and goats) created a distorted image of the Angora cats.
Nevertheless one municipality in Ankara, Pursaklar, became interested in Angora cats and regards them as a symbol of Ankara. The beauty contest is held annually in Ankara, aiming "to promote Angora cats in Turkey and abroad" (137).
Pursaklar got inspiration from the Van cat contest, in response to disagreement with Eastern province Van over odd-eyed breed (138). The Angora and Van cats are metaphors of the political polarization, West and East. 


Figure 15 a/b. Pursaklar beauty contest
a) The white, short-haired cats and Persians compete for ‘the most beautiful’ Angora title (2013). 
b) Similar situation in 2014: cats are forced to walk on podium (a winner pictured); people continue to attend contest with their short-haired cats and Persians. It is obvious, the Turkish people do not really know what the Angora cat is.


The most problematic aspect of this contest is that it does nothing to educate the people. Turkish people do not know what the Angora cat is. It’s evident from the cats brought there (Figure 15a/b): majority of participants are white, short-haired cats and even the Persian cats – and media is not selective of which cats appear on their news (139). The organizers of the contest do not care if cats represent the Angoras either, and hung photographs of participants from previous contests in one of Ankara’s metro station, including short-haired and Persians (141). 
No questions were asked, when the black Angora cats won 3rd place in first and a second year - a revolutionary achievement in a country where Angora cat is perceived as a white cat only. Dr. Tarkan Özçetin was invited to be a judge in both of contests. 

In Pursaklar contest, cats are expected to walk on podium just like dogs (Figure 15b). This causes them a lot of stress and frustration; some cats become quite aggressive and unpredictable. It further feeds the stereotype that Angora cats are ill-tempered. Misbehavior is met with amusement. Not surprisingly, the jury, consisting mainly of veterinarians and government officials (140), awarded a really aggressive and completely deaf cat (139) as the most beautiful Angora of 2014.

Since many white cats are deaf, and the national breeds are accepted in white only, deafness is regarded as a minor concern. In contrary, some claim that deafness could be a sign of "purity" in the Angora cats (142), further distracting from a serious welfare problem and justifying the harm, which should be prevented.

In most cases, the Angora cats have a reputation of white, deaf and aggressive cat.
Colored cats, on the other hand, are seen as mixed, "impure" (melez, kırma), although not all of them. The current trend allows to calling colored cats with Western breed names. This view appears in pet re-homing sites and even TV programs. For example, TV show about dogs and cats named "Neşeli Patiler". It misleads the viewers into believing that the cat breed can be recognized solely from the color of cat's fur. Since the Angora or Van cat is identified from the white fur, hence similar logic is applied for other cats. If a cat is black, then it is a Bombay (!)(143), if its grey- Russian blue. If a long-haired tabby resembles images of breeds seen on internet, it could be the Norwegian or Maine Coon. 


The realization that any cat without a pedigree cannot claim breed’s name, never shows up. There are several reasons why natural Anatolian cat is named as the Western breed. It could be a strategy for re-homing (breed names attract attention), genuine belief (a person uncritically accepts false claims from others) or a desire to make ones cat appear valuable, to escape the label of a "street cat". 
The attitude towards natural cats has to be changed; when natural cats are given breed names, this act clearly devalues them, maintaining the illusion that breed cats are in some way superior to natural ones.

Since the white cats are the same  natural cats, which differ from colored ones only by one gene (34) and even occasionally may have colored kittens (144), spotting the differences between two made up breeds Van and Angora is difficult. This is where the views of Western cat fanciers are helpful even when those descriptions do not match the Turkish cats! (145)

The first documentary made about the Angora cats (1995) featured a black Angora kitten born to white parents (146). The acceptance of colors could be due to exposure to Western cat fancier's views. The possibility of other colors besides solid white, in Van kedisi "breed" was however completely out of question.

In 2012 IZ TV documentary (147) combined two conflicting perspectives: Dr. Özçetin, who talked about a necessity to challenge a white breed dogma, and Prof. Atasoy, who supported popular and wrong beliefs and the white as the only acceptable color for the Angora cat.

In 2013 TRT Okul channel and a program "Bir evde" (148) were looking for differences between the Angora and Van Kedisi. Its guest, a veterinarian Bariş Boyar simply repeated unresearched and incomplete information.
Many Turkish people believe that veterinarians are capable to recognize cat breeds or that they are the authority to anything related about the cat breeds. The sources of information veterinarians use for judging the cat breeds are the same like general public relies on, such as internet, books influenced by cat registries ideas and so on. A veterinarian receives no special education or training regarding to cat breeds, therefore he or she is vulnerable to all kinds of falsehoods just like anybody else.

To summarize the points above, the Turkish people lack knowledge about the Angora cats.
The views are very mixed. Firstly, the Angora cats are defined in similar way like like Van kedisi – a white cat, short-haired and long-haired, and then it is attempted to create imaginary differences by associating it with Western breed (The Turkish Angora) - a thin-boned, fragile looking cat.

The massive effort is required to educate the people and challenge popular misconceptions and nonsense that surrounds Anatolian cats. The Angora Cat Association needs support and cooperation with other influential organizations. Unfortunately we are aware that it will be difficult, perhaps even impossible to change the public opinion, since falsehoods are deep-rooted and routinely reinforced: the white Angora/Van "breeds" definitions are built on them, the Turkish government supports the breeding of white cats and the Turkish media assures that Turkish people receive only one-sided and distorted image of Anatolian cats.

7.2. The government standard

The standart (151) for the Angora cats was introduced in 2008 by Domestic Animal Registration Committee (149).

Prof. Fatih Atasoy contributed there as a consultant (149). He is a self-proclaimed expert of the Angora cats, although he has never published a single work on the subject (150).

Fatih Atasoy has warned that "the Angoras under the threat of extinction (…) only the Ankara Zoo still protects the purity of Angora cats"(142). The Angora cats "are being smuggled to foreign countries" (152) 
F. Atasoy suffers from fear of losing white cats ("real cats"), therefore it is not a surprise that standard is about white Angora cats only.
"I wish everywhere in the future, real cats would walk next to markets on Ankara's streets, and we could tell for tourists ‘look, these are our cultural treasure". I expect that after our cooperation with university and government, our precious cats will not stay in books only, that generations later we will not say:  "you may not know about it, but once we had lovely white cats, but we did not protect them, so they disappeared, just in Europe some of them are left" (153).

The sources that were used to create this standard are unknown (151).  The morphological data which takes more than half of space in the standard is from Dr. S. T Özçetin thesis (7). Unfortunately his work was used without his knowledge. 



The Angora (Ankara Kedisi) standard (151)

Species: Cat (Felis domesticus). 
It is an outdated name.  Widely accepted taxonomic name is Felis Silvestris Catus. Domesticus implies that a cat is domesticated, that is another debatable issue. 

Breed: Angora cat 
False. A natural Anatolian cat.   

Origin: Ankara 
Uknown. It is difficult to find where and when the long fur and colors like white, came from, but probably these mutations happened in wildcats, perhaps in the beginning of its taming. Ankara area does not offer any clues about the Angora cat's origins.

Found in: Ankara province and surrounding area. 
False.Whole Anatolia, including Van area. 


Colours: White only. 
False.The Angora is a natural cat and cannot have such a limited colour range. A white cat may appear white (like a mask), but still carry genes for colours.

Vague, confusing, uninformative descriptions and claims: 

Ø Behavior characteristics that generalize cat behavior are unnecessary and should be excluded. (see: . davraniş özellikler, Irkın özel yetenekleri). Too much emphasis on tail position: "Kuyruk, bazı durumlarda sırta paralel pozisyondadır" – "the tail in some situations is kept paralel to the body"; "Yürürken kuyruğunu vücutlarının üstünde yatay olarak tutarlar, hatta başlarına bile değdirebilir"- "When walking tail is kept horizontally above the body, that sometimes it touches cats head".

The cats tail is very expressive, it’s a body language, can not a  trait of the cat breed! 
Ø "Bones are thin", head is small" – female Angora cats may match this observation, but males do not. 
Ø "Sıcağı sever, sudan hoşlanmaz"- Loves heat, hates water. This sentence added to mark contrast between Van kedisi, which supposedly likes water, based on anecdotes only. 
Ø "Özel bakım ve besleme ihtiyacı vardır" - Special care and feeding is needed.
How it is different from other cats?


Ø "Yaygın inanışın aksine sağırlık yaygın değildir, iki gözü mavi renkte olanlar ile farklı göz rengine sahip kedilerde mavi renkli gözün yanındaki kulağın sağır olma ihtimali yüksektir" - Contrary to popular belief, deafness is not very common, if two or one eyes are blue, a cat has a high possibility of being deaf.
Contradictory, but partially correct, statement: It says deafness is not common, but blue and odd-eyed cats are at risk. Amber-eyed can also be deaf. After all, this claim has some basis.
Other governmental publications state that "Deafness is more prevalent compared to other cat breeds"(149). Wrong. Inherited deafness is prevalent in all white cats. A dominant white gene, not a breed is a causative factor of inherited deafness.


Conclusion: the standard is poorly written, contains too many subjective observations and anecdotes without any sources to back them up. It is unscientific and contains inaccurate statements.


7.3. The Ankara Zoo
Figure 16. "In the Ankara Zoo the odd-eyed whites are caged, unfortunately both long and short-haired varieties together and they mate indiscriminately as I witnessed personally. If any controlled breeding of them exists, I never saw it or heard of it in my three years here"(154). The Ankara and Istanbul Zoos at the end of 1960’s.

The Ankara Zoo was a place where white cats were bred since 1939 (7), first caged then in 1994 a house was built by Doğa ve Hayvanserverler Derneği. The Zoo in Istanbul had a similar breeding program of white cats (see Figure 16).
The Ankara Zoo is considered as a part of the Turkish Angora breed’s history and appears everywhere where this breed gets mentioned. This is why the Ankara Zoo, an unremarkable place, became so well known outside Turkey. This Zoo was idealized to the point, that some foreigners are willing to travel to Ankara just to see those Zoo cats.

The breeders in West claim that most of imported cats they breed were descended from the Ankara Zoo (156). The cat breeding in Ankara Zoo served as a evidence that Angora is not just about any street cat but a rare, "pure" and precious one, and for this reason protected at the Turkish Zoo. The Ankara Zoo story, at least theoretically, created a fertile ground for Western breed. This is why the Ankara Zoo had a good reputation for a long time. Claims, that the Angora cats would have gone extinct (54,157,158,159,160), if not the Ankara Zoo’s efforts to save them, are taken for granted even today.

Did the Ankara Zoo deserve to be praised for saving Angora cats? Did it really play such a big part in "breed’s" preservation?
The answer is, NO. The Angora cat occurs naturally, so it is not a breed. It roams freely all over the Turkey and beyond that. Since the Angora cats are so numerous in their homeland, does keeping dozens of white cats in miserable conditions at one Zoo, make any difference?
Finally, did a breeding of white cats do any good for the Angora cats?
Undoubtedly, not very much. Even worse, it severely damaged the image of the Angora cat, by showing it as white, deaf cat with behavioral problems (mainly due to lack of human contact and inherited deafness (164)).

The cat fanciers in USA created an exaggerated and very inaccurate picture of the Ankara Zoo. It is doubtful that those people which took cats from the Turkish Zoos were completely unaware of how flawed that breeding program was, yet breeders knew that the Ankara zoo story was essential to make TA breed sound ("pure") and justified. When TA breed became fully established, the Ankara Zoo has lost its appeal among cat fanciers. Cat fanciers started to criticize Turkish Zoo’s  policy for excluding colored cats (156), the high rate of deafness (162), inbreeding and behavioral problems (163) seen in Zoo imports. Later some breeders accused cats from Zoo for carrying Siamese colors (161). This speculation explanation aimed to explain why these exotic colors occur in TA breed, distracting away from a real cause - mistakes of breeders. Western cat breeders and their relation to the Ankara Zoo will be explained in detail later.

The Ankara Zoo was only concerned about the loss of white and odd-eyed cats. The rationale of this breeding program was nothing, but a belief that white cats were "pure" and had to be saved from "mixed" colored cats. The other institution, Van university follows the footsteps of Ankara Zoo.

The American who lived in Ankara and visited Zoo at 1960’s recalls short haired and long-haired cats were bred together "indiscriminately" (Figure 16) (158). The inbreeding level of Zoo cats is unknown. Cats do not have names, hence Turkish Zoos cannot provide the pedigrees of them.
Selective breeding, other than white fur and eye color, was not practiced. No importance was given for cat's health - many Zoo cats were deaf (164). The colored kittens are sometimes born to the white cats (7), but they were not kept at the Zoo, since it is believed that any color but white, is a sign of "impurity".
When no effort was made to select cats for health, temperament or any other trait, and when the Angora cat is defined only by its fur or eye color, such a breeding should be definitely suspect. It is entirely possible that the hybridization with white Persian cats could happen in the Ankara Zoo. This would explain why some Zoo cats have a woolly coat, unusually short nose and a round body (Figure 13).

The Ankara Zoo was just another shameful example of breeding which should be seen as it is, a mistake, not idealized conservation project, as portrayed by the Western cat fancy. Fortunately, the breeding program was discontinued and the Ankara Zoo was officially closed in 2013 (155). Ankara Zoo cats were re-homed and a small number of them moved to the Keçiören Zoo.

8. The Western Angora

8.1. A vague history of the Western breed

Note: Instead of name "The Turkish Angora", the shortened form TA is often used. 

We have been made to believe that Turkish Zoos saved the Angora cats from extinction (160). We have been told to value the work of Western cat registries and breeders, which tried so hard to keep the Angora breed alive (165).

In the way the irrational decisions of Turkish government and various experts are questioned, the Western cat fancy has to come under scrutiny as well.

1. They say the Angora cats are rare; the cats they breed should be favored over Turkish "street" cats for having pedigree and a "right type".
Cat fanciers clearly engage in wishful thinking, a fallacy which sounds like that: I want A to be true. Therefore, A is true. Wishful thinking alone is unconvincing of why pedigreed Angora is better or why certain looks have to be preferred over others; by wishing the Angora to be a rare cat does not make it rare in the real world.
2. Cat fancier's standard is a final word of what everybody should regard as the Angora. Cat breeders believe they have an authority on how the Angoras image should be constructed. Who gave them this authority?
3. The cat fancy is strongly based on tradition ("this is right because we have always done it this way"). The longer the pedigree and history of cat breed, the more people got involved into breeding, additionally to continuous support from cat registries – all these things, they believe, make a breed immune to a serious criticism. Appeal to emotion ("lots of breeders worked hard on it"(165)) further distracts from the question, if all breeders did, was worth the effort at all.

Figure 17. Many so called  imports have full pedigrees; this arouses suspicion, since a cat brought from the Turkish Zoo cannot have a pedigree (see imports by Leinbach, Torio, Porter, Brown – Zoo keeps no records) ; The pedigrees offer very little information about the origins of cats, while others full of contradictions, see: Taspinar, Kenlyn and Grant; parents of so called Zoo cats registered with CFA or CCFF and some have family ties with Taspinar (USA) or Dr. Reimann (Türkiye Ithal –Germany). The table was based on A. Hendrickson book (marked as H) (156), and pedigrees from sites catpedigrees.com and vangoran.se.


The pedigrees of TA breed are thought to be evidence that a breed was descended from imported Turkish cats.
The accuracy of the pedigree depends on breeder's honesty. Not all of breeders can be expected to be honest, especially those who had something to hide.

The interpretations from cat pedigrees are possible only if we assume that those pedigrees are accurate. Unfortunately they cannot be verified. More than 50 year old TA breeding is poorly documented, photographs of first cats are rarely found; all the history of this breed is written by TA breeders and these people are the cat fancy. No independent source about TA breed exists. Therefore the TA breed history will always stay incomplete.

Figure 18. 
1) Giselas Stoscheck cats became a foundation of the Turkish Angora breed.
2) This kitten looks like a Persian mix - Cats magazine cover, 1982.
3) Liesa Fallon Grant’s cats said to be from the Ankara Zoo although they appear to be related to Taspinar cattery and German breeders (see table).
4) A cat said to be imported from the Istanbul Zoo (Sugamixi of Kenlyn), but her parents, residents of Istanbul Zoo, were registered with the Cat Fanciers' Federation (CFF) and Crown Cat Fanciers' Federation (CCFF).


Zoo imports with pedigrees?

In the Turkish Angora history, one breeder, Liesa Fallon Grant and her husband Walter are celebrities. It is said that they discovered Ankara Zoo and went there twice to bring unrelated pairs of the Angoras cats to USA (159). Soon after Liesa Grant displayed her cats first time in CFA show (156,166), she wrote a standard for this breed (159) and got it accepted by CFA (156). Liesa Grant, originally from Germany (159), a breeder of Korats and Burmese (158), sold some of her cats to Gisela Stonscheck (159and until 1967 all kittens were registered as Persians (163). Some of her cats ended up in pet shops (156).

Most of cats brought from Ankara Zoo by others had no parents known. But somehow L. Grant’s cats were supplied with pedigrees. Interestingly mothers of Yıldız and Yıldizcek are registered in Turkey (how?) and fathers with the the Cat fanciers Association (Figure 17). Furthermore a father of Yildizcek, named Pamuk belongs to Taspinar cattery and he has a pedigree too. It is doubtful that there were any cat breeders in Turkey at that time. It appears that cats of Mrs. Grant came from other cattery. The word "import" obviously has a different meaning in a cat fancy.
One more interesting relation comes out: Türkiye Ithal Yildizcek (1962) is probably the same Grant’s Yildizcek (Figure 18/3) because the pedigree and the years match well (Figure 17).  Knowing that Liesa was German and visited her country sometimes, maybe those pedigreed cats came from a breeder in Germany rather than Ankara Zoo? A cat belonged to Dr. Reimann, who used prefix Türkiye Ithal. He owned a private Zoo in Germany. However in his personal correspondence Dr. Reimann denied sending any cats to USA.
Pierce imported cats from Istanbul Zoo (helped by Nettie Tuzcu (156)). But how a father of those two imports, which seems was not taken from Turkey, got registered with Crown Cat Fanciers' Federation (CCFF)?


Tai-phoon legacy

The origin of Taspinar/Tai-phoon cats is even more interesting. Kenan Taspinar was a Turkish person who imported cats to USA (1962 and 1968)  "from private Turkish breeders in the city of Ankara (Figure 17). These breeders had established the Turkish Angora breeding program" (156,163)
Among "imported" cats there were two colored ones, whose came from the same source: breeders in Ankara (156,163). In 1960’s! We still cannot find any reputable breeders of Angora cats in Turkey in the year of 2015… Colored cats from breeding program where only white ones were valued? This simply makes no sense, if Taspinar aimed to make his cats legitimate, why he did not get them straight from the Zoo, like other breeders did?
Taspinar was probably not a breeder, but his name was enough for Gisela Stonscheck, who had a cattery named Tai-phoon of Siamese cats and probably some Persians. Taspinar officially left all his cats to Gisela in 1970 (156).

Gisela was a very successful breeder and many catteries used her cats as a foundation for new breeding lines. She was a founder of the Turkish Angora cat association (CFA club) (163). Around the same time her reputation was damaged, when other breeders discovered that Gisela experimented with her Turkish Angora cats, breeding them with Persians and Siamese (156). Gisela Stonscheck’s name was literally erased from most of publications about TA breed, although in reality, almost all Turkish Angora lines today are based on Gisela’s cats indiscriminately.
Although A. Hendrickson claims that CFA did not register mixed cats from Tai-phoon breeding (156), the cats from suspect breeding dominated in almost all pedigrees. Of course, it is natural to expect, that A. Hendrickson (a breeder of TA), had to defend her registry and her breed.
Gisela’s hybrids did get registered by ACFA (163) and probably other registries too. It begs a questions, if a breeder is dishonest about its breeding, attempts to re-create the Angora from hybrids of various breeds, shouldn't we have doubts about her so called imports too? Maybe they were not from Turkey and "breeders from Ankara" was just a nice story to cover up lies?

If pedigrees are studied carefully, we found out some cats used in breeding TA, were not documented as Zoo imports, yet without pedigrees. This includes cats of Thornton, Kenlyn, German cattery Makhua.
Mrs. Thornton, another breeder of the Turkish Angora cats, was faithful for the Ankara Zoo breeding principles and only bred (and inbred) with Zoo imports. The sudden rise of colored Angoras in many catteries caused doubts to Mrs. Thornton. He accused other breeders for mixing the Angora cats with other breeds in her club newsletter (167).
Due to strict breeding philosophy, Mrs. Thornton’s cats contributed very little to TA breed.

Ivan J. Leinbach, another known name in TA history, did not eventhink he took the Angora cats to USA. In fact for him, these cats were Van cats: "I asked permission from the zookeeper to buy a pair of his rare Van cats. Selling the zoo's cats to anyone, was unheard" (168).
It is not important how many cats were imported from Turkey, it’s about how often they were used for breeding. Almost all TA lines in USA and Europe are descended from Azima cattery cats. This cattery was owned by Barbara Azan, who was a very active breeder promoting "elegant", nearly oriental appearance of TA breed. Her breeding was based primary on Tai-phoon/Taspinar cats (Figure 18/1).

Exotic colors in Turkish Angora breed


Figure 19. A message of Barbara Azan in the Turkish Angora fanciers Yahoo group (2002): "there is no way to avoid the lines that have it, as we all have it!"
The examples of pointed Turkish Angora cats.  Note: no claims of outcrossing are made for the catteries used as examples, which are brave enough to show those cats while others kept them hidden. The color points probably originated from founding cats in the beginning of breed creation, possibly due to Taspinar-Tai-phoon and related lines.

It has been long denied that colors like pointed occurred in TA breed (Figure 19). This is understandable, since no breeder wanted to be accused of outcrossing. Moreover the cat registries do not officially accept exotic colors to TA breed (169)
Is there anything wrong with pointed (Siamese) color in first place? The color itself is not a problem, but it says something about the breed’s past. Points, chocolate and lilac colors are considered as ancestral mutations of Asian cats. Points are tyrosinase mutation (temperature sensitive) (171) is a type of albinism (170). These colors are widely found in Siamese, Oriental and some Persian breeds.
  
Where the Turkish Angora breed got its points from?

Various speculations have been proposed. The Ankara Zoo was blamed for keeping Siamese cats together with Angora cats (161). However breeders who purchased cats from the Zoo never mentioned anything like this, and a Siamese breeder (154who visited the Ankara Zoo independently, around the same time, would have reported such an incidence, if that was a case. There is no evidence that Siamese cats were kept in the Ankara Zoo (Figure 16). Also consider this: the Ankara Zoo viewed colored cats as mixed and only white cats as "pure-bred" it would make no sense to mix their precious whites with Siamese - a colored cat!
What if pointed colors exist in natural population of Turkish cats and by chance these cats were imported to USA?  Very unlikely. It seems the pointed gene is not naturally present in natural cat populations in Turkey (172) and Cyprus (173).  Generally pointed cats are considered non-native, "exotic characteristic in many parts of Mediterranean" (174). 
The Turkish Angora breed was developed by USA cat fanciers who had a limited number of Angora cats they could work with. Zoo imports were plagued by inbreeding, bad temper and deafness. To import cats from Turkey was difficult, time consuming and expensive. Breeding with non-Turkish cats could solve most of these issues.
Many of TA breeders kept other breed cats in their houses: Tai-phoon cattery originally bred Siamese cats, Liesa Grant owned Korats and Burmese (158) etc. What if Angora imports had accidentally mated with these breeds? What if foundation cats were not Angoras at all?


Not long pedigrees, but choices matter

It appears that the actual Zoo cats played a small role in breed's development. Surely there were more cats without pedigrees used in breeding too, assuming they were imported from Turkey, however nothing but the Turkish name is known about them. If cat fanciers insist to prove Turkish Zoo ancestry of their cats, why they keep such incomplete records?

Suppose, that all cats on which TA breed was based, came from Ankara and İstanbul Zoos. Should we unquestionably trust Zoo official's choices? Did they do their very best to choose best specimens of the Angora cats? According to which criterion? The Turkish Zoo’s cared only for white cats, regardless other traits, appearance or behavior. These subjective choices were made by anonymous individuals.

Choosing Zoo cats as a foundation of the breed is not wise: natural Angora cats are in all ways superior examples compared to inbred, often deaf, unsocialized Zoo cat, which could be at risk for Persian hybridization, again due to uneducated decisions by Zoo officials.

In conclusion, a cat with pedigree based on Zoo cats is not better than Angora without a pedigree. What about the cats with a questionable ancestry? Hybrids of other breeds? This is a far worse situation. While a cat from Zoo imports still can claim Angoras name, the same cannot be said about the cat mixed with other breeds. As no one should accept hybrids of Persians from Turkey, as good examples of Angora cats, why exception should be made for cat fanciers breed? The population of Angora cats is large and diverse and not going extinct anytime soon. Mixing with other breeds is irresponsible and completely unnecessary.

Since TA breed came largely from Gisela Stonscheck’s cats, what makes her cats better than anybody’s else? Returning to the point, for cat fancy, a tradition alone secures the value for their cat breeds. The foundation cats were not carefully selected - the choices should be described as opportunistic (discovered Ankara Zoo - imported cats from there). Then the breed was developed by various individuals, who invented the image of ideal Angora (so called standard). The decisions about the cats selected for breeding, were based on subjective taste and imaginary ideal of the breeder. Breeders wanted to see their Angora cat as "elegant", in their terms, a slender cat with a narrow face and large ears, hence the breeding went towards that direction.
Does the image of Western breed matches the average Angora cat from Turkey? Not really, because it's very exaggerated, therefore the look of the Turkish Angora breed does not represent the average Angora cat from Turkey (Figure 20). 


Figure 20. The Turkish Angora breed has a slender body, almost Oriental in appearance - thin-boned with long limbs. This look appears quite extreme in kittens and young adults (2) The svelte body can be hidden under long fur in mature cats. Ears are large and close to each other, head is narrow (1, 3). The profile is straight and nose is long (4).

Do preferences and opinions of breeders, regarding Angora cats, are somewhat superior to anybody else's? Should we all see the Angora cat from the perspective of the cat breeder? Why?
The breed cat fancy offers their Angora interpretation and attempts to convince that the image of the cat they created is the only "true" Angora cat. The invention of the breed which supposely "comes from the street cats" but does "not look like them", is never in interest of Angora cats from Turkey. The Western Angora breed is shown as the "ideal Angora" and it is even expected the Angora from Turkey will be measured up to it.  

Sometimes, the Angora cats from Turkey are out-crossed to the Western breed; But according to cat fanciers, not every long-haired cat can claim Angora's name, only the cats, a breeder selected, can be called as such. The double standard becomes apparent: breeder segregates the cats from Turkey into two groups, a breeding material - only chosen few, and all the rest to "mixed street cats".

However the decisions made by breeders are not better or more scientific just because the cat breeders think themselves as authority on Angora cats, or that they wish the Angora would have their preferred look. 


8.2. Some clues about the Turkish Angora’s genetic history

The questionable sources of foundation cats, exotic colors and dramatically changed appearance all have lead to speculations that the Angora breed in West was not founded from the Turkish cats; perhaps the natural cats from Turkey had only minimal influence for TA breeds development. After all to recreate the diversity of such a large and rich population of natural cats to one breed is nearly impossible, especially when a breed is founded from a few inbred cats, and unrelated individuals get rarely included into the breeding.

Figure 21. Founder effect. 
Colored circles illustrate the genotypes found in the population – red and green most common and other colors are rarer variants.
Most of cat breeds start from small number of individuals (founders). These individuals represent only a fraction of the total genetic variation of the original population. When they mate together, some alleles will get fixated (even deleterious recessive ones), some will be eliminated, new mutations may also occur. As time goes, the new population (cat breed) may become very different genetically and phenotypically from its parental population (natural cats).
The genetic studies investigating the origins of modern cat breeds, do not give straightforward answers, neither attempt to judge nor confirm breed histories. However they still provide a valuable evidence about the Western Angoras ancestry.

All cat breeds existing today, were descended from the natural "street cats" and altered by selective breeding. The natural cats are not mixed breeds as believed by many for a long time, but they are the ancestors of man-made breeds - not in any way around. 

The overwhelming majority of cat breeds are European descent, such us Persian and Maine Coon, while Oriental breeds like Siamese, Birman and Korat trace back to the cats from Far East (4).

There is a very good reason, why cat breeders would want that their breeds, especially those accepted as "natural breeds", to be related to "street cats" of particular area, they believe a breed possibly originated. Being similar to particular group of natural cats genetically, stands out as evidence that a history of that breed proves to be true.

"The interpretation of (cat breed) history may be flawed, and in many cases, it appears a lack of accurate historical documentation exists. This means that for some breed origins, we will never likely know the “real” story. New genetic tools are also changing the way we look at breed origins, and as new information accrues, it is likely some of the stories will give way to the new evidence" (Veterinary Medical Guide to Dog and Cat Breeds, 2012) (130).


This "new evidence" exists but has no impact on breed histories; A few breeds already failed to verify their genetic histories: Egyptian Mau, Persian and Japanese Bobtail are not Egyptian, Iranian or Japanese, but Western European (3,4).  Breeders ignore the findings completely: the breed histories will stay the same.

What about the Turkish Angora breed? 
If the Turkish Angora cat came from Turkey, it should confirm its ancestral roots by sharing a genetic similarity with natural cats from Turkey. If it turns out similar to another and different natural cat population, then there is something wrong going on.  Perhaps this cat did not come from Turkey at all.

The Turkish Angora breed - is it really Turkish?
A review of genetic studies 

  • Analyses indicate that TA breed is not homogenous: it consists of different groups of cats which could pass as separate breeds. The genetic study claims that "Turkish- versus USA-originating Turkish Angoras" could be detected (3). The cats representing the Turkish Angora breed confused algorithm leading to type I (assigned to different breed) and type II (other breeds fall into TA breed category) errors (4). Similar errors were observed in Persians and Ragdolls. These errors occurred likely due to population stratification and genetic admixture. 
  • According to SNP assignment (3,4), Turkish Angora breed is European. "The Turkish Angora breed was reconstituted from the Persian (European) pedigree post-World Wars" (3,4). It can be said that the TA breed started from cats which had nothing to do with Turkey, maybe not Persians, but from unidentified European or American cats. 
  • But STR shows (3,4) it could be related to Eastern Mediterranean/Anatolian, because breed cats in the study have recently been out-crossed to cats from Turkey(3,4). TA breed was bred to Turkish cats, hence they get linked to them. On the other hand, the software (Geneclass) (181) may not be efficient in detection of admixed individuals (183). Geneclass is used to match a whole breed population to natural cats, based on highest likelihood ratios, regardless of the assignment of individuals cats in sample. If the individual cat belongs to the different natural population (let’s say European), it still may be assigned to population sample (Anatolian/Eastern Mediterranean) no matter how small the likelihood is (182).
  • The Siamese remnants in Turkish Angora breed got revealed in relation to the Russian blue breed. In one study, the Turkish Angora and Russian Blue had an identical genetic marker. The Russian blue has been deliberately bred from Siamese cats (177) and is a mixture of European (178) and South Asian (3) cats. It could explain the exotic colors in TA breed as a result of breeding with Siamese cats or their hybrids. The pointed and chocolate color is still present by 13 % frequency in tested Turkish Angora cats (4). 
  • When Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA mitotypes) of TA was compared to natural cats of Eastern Mediterranean (Lebanon), the Turkish Angora breed was not similar to these cats (179). 
  • Although the Turkish Angora breed is classified as Mediterranean breed in some publications (104), the term "Mediterranean" has a vague meaning and needs to be clarified. Just about any cat with European ancestry, having an admixture from Anatolian cats can be called as "Mediterranean" (104). The older studies failed to detect the accurate structure of natural populations (a cluster without statistical support, limited number of populations etc.). Fortunately researchers made a correction about the "Mediterranean" term and renamed it to "Western (II)" (106which means European, in peer reviewed publications (106), but not in those addressed to cat fanciers (184,185,186) or general public (29,175). 
  • About 2.3 % of studied Turkish Angora cats had a longhair mutation (c.474delT), unique to the North American cat breeds like Ragdolls (34.1%), Maine Coons, and American Curls, suggesting that breeding with those or similar breeds has occurred (10). 
  • The Turkish Angora breed is genetically distinct from the Turkish Van breed (104,176,184,185). This is expected, knowing that these two breeds underwent very different selection pressures and have different founders. The Genetic drift, Founder effect make cat breeds distinct from each other even if those breeds originated from the same parental population (Figure 21). Furthermore most of cat breeds lack genetic uniformity and many are quite mixed (29) so the attempts to differentiate them are not always successful (3176)
  • Although the Turkish Van breed has been created from a few Turkish cats (from most of part),it has been inbred a lot and became a different population, no longer comparable to natural cats from Turkey (184).

Conclusion: According to available genetic analyses, the Turkish Angora breed appears quite mixed and is not a good representative of Anatolian cats. 



8.3 The new ambition: Cyprus breed

The idea of creating breeds from natural "street’s cats" is not new in cat fancier's world. The Turkish Angora and the Turkish Van breed names are associated with Anatolia, although they hardly represent natural cats from this area, this is especially true for the Turkish Angora breed.
Van kedisi, a white natural cat is also believed to be a breed by many Turkish people and Turkish government alike, so in total there are three fictional breeds claiming their origins to Anatolia.

The Cyprus Giants or Aphrodite is a new ambition under development by British citizens, living in Cyprus. Teresa Litherland and her husband have established Cyprus Cats National Breed Association (CyCNBA) for this particular aim, and since 2012 their association cooperates with World Cat Federation (WCF). Andreas Möbius is a judge and one of authorities of WCF, also a good friend of Litherlands. He is one of creators of the breed: he wrote a standard for Aphrodite breed, sought its recognition and continuously promotes it in cat shows.

Both long-haired and short-haired are accepted. Cats are chosen for their size and weight to match their name "Aphrodite Giants".

The motives that led to the creation of Cyprus pseudo-breed (187): 

1. T. Litherland (former breeder of Turkish Vans) believed that Cyprus cats had a very distinctive appearance, compared to other known cat breeds.
Perhaps cat fanciers got so detached from normal looking natural cats, that in result these cats started to appear very unusual? 
2. An archaeological finding of 9500 year-old wildcat’s and man grave in Shillourokambos (22) is cited as a part of Cyprus breed history, to create impression of breeds ancient past. The archeologists do not think that the cats in Cyprus today are in any way related to this wildcat (188). 
3. The legend of St Helen (8328.A.D) who supposedly took cats from Egypt and brought them to Cyprus for snake control; Litherland believes that Cyprus cats are descended from those cats brought by St Helen. Litherland claims that, 12 centuries of isolated breeding, was enough to make them to the breed.
It is common in cat fancy to "recycle" various unrelated legends for promotion of  cat breeds, as it happened with the Turkish Van and Noah’s Ark (189).
4. The third motive is prof. Leslie A Lyons report (186), where Lyons supplies breeders with "evidence", that Cyprus cats are different from Turkish cats and recommends to create a breed from them. 

Cyprus is a politically divided island, where Northern part of it belongs to Turkish republic. Drita Sjekloca from The Cypriot Feline Society attracted attention from international media by spreading a propaganda that Turkish Cypriots steal Aphrodite cats and register them as their national cats. The same Cypriot Feline Society put pressure on L. A.Lyons to provide DNA evidence what would fit to their agenda: "The eventual solution to the identity crisis may lie in the analysis of genetic specimens of the cats that have been hastily dispatched to the University of California, Davis, where the DNA of cats from around the world is being mapped. At the Cyprus Feline Society, the outcome of the tests is being awaited anxiously" (190)

The desire to create a barrier between Cyprus and Turkey and make these two lands appear unrelated in matters related to cats and politics is very strong. Andreas Möbius, a pioneer of the Aphrodite breed, also expressed his political views, saying that Cyprus is not Turkey, either geographically or politically:"There were some Turkish troops in the north of Cyprus but the territory remained Cyprus" (191). 

Cyprus breed is built on foundation of Litherland and Möbius subjective opinions, misinterpretations of legend and an archaeological discovery. Additionally to this, the so called "genetic evidence" used to legitimize the "breed".
Furthermore the Cyprus breed is advertised as the first example in cat fancy world, which had its "purity" verified by DNA testing.
Figure 22. Cyprus Cats National Breeds Association shows off the "purity" of their cats, by misinterpreting the data and using opinion of Prof. Lyons. Any pseudoscience is shown as a real science and a groundbreaking evidence, as long it agrees with breeder's conclusions!
The Aphrodite breed became a personal ambition of WCF General Secretary, Andreas Möbius who actively promotes the breed.


The emotional forces like biases, personal and political agendas ("I need a proof that Cyprus cats are different from Turkish cats") were reasons of this genetic testing – not a scientific curiosity ("let's find out more about Turkish and Cyprus cats"). The results of DNA testing were predetermined before they actually came out, in short, they were biased. Breeds identity depended on these results, so risks were not allowed to be taken.
 In real science the ideas and hypothesis become true only after rigorous testing, which must be replicated by other scientists with similar outcomes. A single report which was not published in any peer-reviewed journal does not become scientific evidence, even if it is written by the respected authority. This is why, if you ever take a look at scientific publications, scientists will stay away from unpublished material if they want a strong support for their arguments.

Prof. Lyons attempted to live up expectations of cat breeders despite of that her own (high quality) data cannot support the assumptions expressed in her own report.
L. A Lyons helped her student J. Kurushima to prepare her Ph.D dissertation (180), on which the patent (filed on May 19, 2011) (4) and a couple years later a study were based on (3). So she has been aware of her own findings, where Turkish and Cypriot cats were one population and a revelation of the Turkish Angora’s mixed origins.
The 2012 report (185,186) called "Genetics of Turkish cats populations and breeds" not only gave a support for "Aphrodite" breed, but also fulfilled the Turkish Van and Angora breeders wishes. The project was funded by Winn foundation (CFA) and samples were sent by breeders. 

The unpublished report (186) contained the Excel document that illustrated the opinions below:  
  • The Turkish Van was shown unrelated to Turkish cats, however some cats formed a group with Cyprus cats, including imports from Turkey (9575- (Ankara Zoo), 9628, 9702 (Marmaris), 9629 (Antalya). Two Cyprus cats had a note attached By Lyons herself "identical to TA as found in Ankara Zoo". 
  • The Turkish Angora breed and natural cats from Turkey marked in blue, were shown nearly identical. It was said, that "The Turkish Angora breed contains the most representative cats of Turkey". However no peer reviewed study ever demonstrated such a thing. This is why prof. Lyons should provide a really solid evidence: 
To begin with, how can we be sure, that samples from Istanbul cats actually represent the Turkish cats well? (194). It is clear, that Turkish sample contains pet cats from veterinary clinics (194208)- this is why the Siamese and Persians were in the sample. 
What were the methods (Bayesian algorithm)? If Turkish breeds were in analyses together with natural cats from Turkey and Cyprus, but why they were not compared to other breeds and natural cats from other countries? 
What makes SNP and STR cluster K=3 statistically significant? Why conclusions are made with such an absolute certainty? 
Are there are any biases affecting the outcome of this report? 
Prof. Lyons concluded that "Turkish Angoras should continue current breeding practices". Although the Turkish Angora has never been openly questioned, there are many clues that give away the details about its mixed ancestry and a lack of relation to Turkish cats. Since the data of unpublished report and conclusions are dubious quality, there is not much can be said about its validity.
  • Almost all cats from Cyprus, including Aphrodite's, were shown as a separate group from Turkish cats. Conclusion of Prof. Lyons: "Cyprus cats are a distinct population within the Mediterranean" and advice: "a breed from Cyprus could be developed". These conclusions are not consistent with published studies by Prof. Lyons and her students. However Aphrodite breeders, who appear to have a little interest in science, are happy to use Prof. Lyons opinions for their advantage.  

What does it mean "distinct within the Mediterranean"?
  
The Mediterranean term comes from an older study (104), where cats with European and Anatolian ancestry were called "Mediterranean" based on one particular cluster (Bayesian Structure; K=3). However later, the admixed cats were assigned to either Europe/Western or Eastern Mediterranean (4) depending on the population they related most. For example, Italian cats were considered Mediterranean in older study (104), but in careful and extended analysis became European (4). So "Mediterranean" does not really mean much anymore. When science progresses, the better studies are designed hence more accurate conclusions are made. Science is not static but self-correcting.


Are Turkish and Cyprus cats different?

Genetic markers, such as STR (short tandem repeats or microsatellites) and/or SNP’s (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) combined with statistical methods were used to identify the populations of cats.
Statistical genetics can be messy; this is especially true with Bayesian methods, where number of clusters have to be determined. Finding the real clusters can be a daunting task, involving some trial and error. If wrongly chosen, the result may be a complete nonsense. The number of genetic clusters does not necessarily correspond to the number of biologically meaningful populations (192).

According to published genetic analyses (4) (Lyons is one of its authors) Cyprus and Turkish cats are one populationEastern Mediterranean (Figure 3 and 25). The clusters, from which this conclusion was delivered, had a statistical support (193).
Malcolm Sanctuary cats (Figure 23) appeared in official studies, representing the cats of Cyprus. These cats were nearly identical to "Aphrodites" based on unpublished data (186). Even if that data is unreliable, Aphrodites will be related to natural cats in Cyprus, because they originated from those cats. This also means that a street cat from Cyprus can rightfully claim "Aphrodite’s" name. Sure, this would be unacceptable thought for any breeder: only cats chosen by them become a breed, while others remain simply "street cats" or "mixed cats".

Figure 23. Cats from Malcolm Cat Sanctuary represented Cyprus cats in genetic studies.




Figure 24. Turkish and Cyprus cats are the same population called Eastern Mediterranean (illustrated by SNP and STR,  K=5 and K=8). Notice how percentage of "purity" of each cat varies when at different "K" clusters. These are estimates, not to be taken at face value. Each type of marker provides a hypothesis how populations relate to each other.  Cyprus cats are represented by Malcolm Sanctuary (Figure 23), identical to "Aphrodites" (the latter never appeared in any official study).
Unfortunately, Turkish samples are from Istanbul only, and include Siamese (4-5, in red) and Persians (at least 2) due to sampling error (194). Tables were made according to patent data (4).



The Aphrodite breeders use the data from unpublished report for their advantage to prove "purity" of their cats (Figure 22).
"CyCNBA has said that its cats are at least 90.2 per cent Cypriot, demonstrating "the purity of the breed brought about by 9,500 years or 18,000 generations of development". Llelayne Cassidy tips the scale at ninety six per cent Cyprus (195)".
This is simply ridiculous. They are unable to understand the statistics: percentage of "purity" they use to promote their breed, will vary depending on which "K" cluster is chosen (Figure 24).

In reality, natural cat populations are dispersed throughout the regions, borders and country names make no difference. Cats living in islands do not become different from their parental populations in just a few centuries;. The evolution is a slow process and Cyprus is not an isolated island, the gene flow from neighboring countries is not restricted. Moreover geographically related countries will have similar cats (Figure 3). This is why the Anatolian and Cypriot cats have the same roots. No amount of wishful thinking from breed enthusiasts is going to change this.



8.4 A word about Aegean cat

The Aegean cat (γάτα του Αιγαίου). Have not heard this one lately? Do not feel bad for not knowing. It has not been known since the channel Animal Planet broadcasted a short documentary about this cat breed, with the support of rescue organization (Paros Animal Protection Society-PAWS) (198), which wanted to maximize their cats chances of adoption.

A father of the Aegean breed is a man, called Theodore Fragkogios (Θεοδωροσ Φραγκογιοσ). He is a breeder, who came up with Aegean idea about 14 years ago.  To his disappointment, the Aegean cat is not known by majority of people in Greece (197). 

Fragkogios took a part in Aegean Cat Club and now appears with his cats in WCF shows, sometimes meeting (196) with "Aphrodites" as well. However Fragkogios says, that it is difficult to get this cat registered as an official breed, because Aegean cats are everywhere, "in every corner of Greece" (197).

The Aegean cat is just another example how easily cat breeds can be constructed - out of thin air.

Cats from Greece are essentially natural. They look ordinary compared to exaggerated show breeds. So the appearance of these cats cannot be a reason why these cats are suddenly transformed into a fictional breed. Although it is a positive thing to appreciate the beauty of natural cats, it does not mean that these cats should be regarded as a national or personal pride, and forced to attend to the cat shows, just because Theodore and other breeders think that these cats worth is directly proportional to the number of cups, ribbons and titles won (Figure 25).

Figure 25. The cat breeds should be seen in context of their creators. Theodore Fragkogios is responsible for Aegean cat's idea and seeks its recognition in cat fancy (pictured with Andreas Möbius). The Animal Planet channel and their documentary about Aegean cats helped a lot to popularize this so called "breed". The representation of breed’s characteristics in this TV show could actually fit to almost any natural cat.


Theodore believes that the Aegean cat breed originated in Cycladic Islands. He explains, with arrival of Greek migrants from Asia Minor to  Cyclades, cats were brought to islands. Those cats by breeding with each other in islands, developed unique to them characteristics, becoming a breed (197).

It seems the Aegean breed follows the same path as Cyprus Giants. Breeders assume, if cats happen to live on the island for some period of time, they miraculously become "breeds", that is false. First of all, any cats whose breeding is not controlled by humans should be seen as natural populations, not breeds.
Second, Aegean islands are no way isolated from influences coming from Anatolia and elsewhere, as it is seen in Cyprus case. Cyprus is an island, yet its cats are not different from its neighboring countries. Although there were no cats from Greece in genetic analyses, it appears plausible to consider that these cats are descendants of Anatolian family too.

Final question: What is the Aegean cat really? A natural cat from Greece, just named differently. Most of these long-haired cats brought to cat shows as "Aegean" breed could be easily confused with Angoras or its close siblings "Aphrodites".


9. The future of Angora cats



The future of Anatolian cats is in hands of Turkish people. The welfare of Anatolian cats should be given a special place. Generally, the cat welfare should be based on evidence, scientific principles, along with compassion and empathy. The detailed research about welfare and its solutions is going to be our future project.

If you live in Turkey and nearby areas, you will see Anatolian cats just about everywhere. These cats are part of Anatolian landscape and since they prefer to live in human communities, they are inseparable from of our culture as well. Some of them became our companions; we share our houses and lives with these felines. Perhaps this could be an important reason, why we should learn more about them.


We realize the power of education as the only effective tool to fight misinformation. We hope that this research will be eye-opening and will contribute to the better understanding of Anatolian cats. Furthermore it may help our readers to become better critical thinkers, who demand evidence, not naively believe in just about anything. The willingness to understand the Anatolian cats from the scientific perspective, may cultivate an interest in learning more about science, especially genetics and evolution. 


The Angora Cat Association wishes to believe that the future of Anatolian cats will be bright. However it largely depends on the public understanding and government policies. At this time, the Turkish government shows little regard for natural cats prefers the city streets free of cats and is interested only to "preserve" white (deaf) cats. 


The current interests of animal activists and other organizations is to neuter and re-home Anatolian cats only, reinforcing the belief that natural cats do not belong outside, by indirectly helping to replace them with those supplied by cat breeders. The tendency to label the Anatolian cats with exotic breed names, further increases interest of man-made breeds in this country. 


So far there is no organization except for the Angora cat association, which defends natural cats. The future of Anatolian cats may be uncertain.


We would like to see these changes in the future:


* Colored cats will no longer be seen inferior to white ones.
Turkish people will prefer to adopt a cat from the street instead of buying one from a breeder. They will realize that pedigreed breeds are not in any way superior to natural cats 

* Instead of disrespectful "sokak kedisi/street cat" name, cats will be called as they really are - Anatolian cats/Anadolu kedisi.
The priority will be given to cats which are already here, living on the streets, instead of breeding them on purpose.
* Deafness will be prevented, by not breeding white and deaf cats. The breeding of white cats at Turkish Zoos and in Van University will be discontinued.
* The Anatolian cats are a part of Anatolian landscape; this is why neutering should not be overused blindly. However the population control in cities still needs to be monitored.
* We do not see a need for a breeding program, since the population of Anatolian cats is quite large, but that may change in the future. If controlled breeding of the Angora cats will ever take place, it will need to follow the scientific principles. Cat's health will be a priority. Main rule is not to do harm, aiming for healthy, fit, friendly cats. Then the appearance, attractive to humans features, such as large eyes and beautiful fur, will be considered in a selective breeding etc.
* No cats will be kept in miserable shelter conditions. Shelters should serve needs of animals which need a special care and otherwise would die if left on their own. Collecting healthy, capable to live outside cats is not a way shelters should operate. TRN - trap neuter release works in this case better. The adoption and care should be considered for cats which need it most: injured, ill, blind and deaf cats.
* Cats will have responsible and caring owners who will make educated decisions and will do their best to meet cat's needs.
* Streets in Turkey will be cleaner, where cats will not able to access the garbage (potential poisoning, spread of disease); solutions for careless driving will be proposed, reducing deaths of both humans and cats alike.
* Animal lover's organizations will work to provide the accurate information on cat related matters to Turkish people instead of spreading misinformation, manipulating with emotions.
* Communities will be willing to live in harmony and peace with their cats.


Sources, references (with notes)
1. The domestic cat was named "Felis catus" by Linnaeus in 1758, in Systema Naturae (10th edition). It is the accepted taxonomic name by scientific community.
2. Driscoll, C. A., Menotti-Raymond, M., Roca, A. L., Hupe, K., Johnson, W. E., Geffen, E., Macdonald, D. W. (2007). The Near Eastern origin of cat domestication. Science, 317(5837), 519-523.
3. Kurushima et al., Variation of Cats under Domestication: Genetic Assignment of Domestic Cats to Breeds and Worldwide Random Bred Populations, 2013, Animal Genetics, June ; 44(3): 311–324. 
For subpopulations of the Turkish Angora breed, see Figure 1. Bayesian clustering of cat breeds and supplements Figure S3 a and b- alternate plots of STR and SNP.
"The dissimilarity in breeding practices will create very different lines within the same breed"
"The most likely value of K, the number of structured groupings, could not be decisively determined"
(SNP K=17)  both Egyptian Mau and the Turkish Angora, and Cyprus cat (9584), 56 % Korats form one group- 13th (N=17) and 4 Angoras grouped in 10th together with the majority Turkish Vans (N=15).  The Ankara Zoo cat is 7th (with Hawana Brown)and Cyprus "Vans" 8th respectively (table 19 patent (4),p. 141-143) 
(STR K=21) The Turkish Angora is divided into two populations: 13th (including Turkish Van 9543) and 14th. The  majority Turkish Vans (N=16) were in 15th along with T. Angora 9542 and Sokoke. The Ankara Zoo cat and Cyprus Vans were in 10th together with Siberian breed (table 18, patent (4), p. 124-125) 
The natural cats from Cyprus and cat from Ankara Zoo are other breeds, but not Angoras or Vans, confusing algorithm and providing no meaningful explanations. This suggests that the Angora cats from Turkey may not be identified as the Angora or Van breeds if tested by ancestry test, because they will not match USA based cat breeds. 
TA relation with Turkish cats: 
Table S3. (a) SNP assignment of cat breeds to random bred cat populations
Table S3. (b) STR assignment of cat breeds to random bred cat populations. 
4. Froenicke, L.,  Gandolfi, B., Kurushima, J.,  Lipinski, M.,  Lyons, L. (2012) Genetic identification of domestic cat breeds and populations, USA Patent WO 2012158772 A1 
"Together , the various SNP and STR data of this study indicate that cats were first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent and Levant regions, potentially near Lebanon and Iraq" (southern Turkey and Syria?). 
Comparison of accuracy of breed assignments: see table 16a (page 116) where 125 individuals get assigned to Turkish Angora breed by SNP and table 16b (page 110) where Frequentist method shows it superiority although The turkish Angora still prone to errors like Persian breeds. 
For Siamese points and other colors: table 14- phenotypic SNP frequencies, page 114. 
Estimating real K cluster: see Figure 2; 2/12.
Delta K plots plots of random bred cat population structuring. Graphs of mean Ln(K) and AK calculations (Evanno et al. 2005) (192) based on the results of Bayesian clustering. The highest peak is observed at K=5, a secondary peak is at K=7 in the STRs and K=8 in SNPs. K=3 doesn't have a statistical support. 
5. Fred W. Allendorf, Conservation and the genetics of populations (2012), Wiley.
"As deleterious mutations accumulate, population size may decrease further and thereby accelerate the rate of accumulation of deleterious mutations" (p. 290).
"We must first maintain healthy habitats and large wild populations, because only in large populations can natural selection proceed efficiently" (p. 320) 
6. Leslie A. Lyons, 2008, Unraveling the Genetic Mysteries of the Cat: New Discoveries in Feline-Inherited Diseases and Traits, Genomics of Disease, Stadler Genetics Symposia Series 2008, pp 41-56¸doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-76723-9_4
"The seven ancient mutations of the cat: wild type, melanism, dilution, long fur, white spotting, classic tabby, orange, and dominant white".

7. S. T. Özçetin, 2007, Ankara kedilerinde diş yapi, tüy, büyüme, gelişme ve üreme özellikleri üzerine araştirmalar, Ph.D thesis, Ankara University, Graduate School of Natural and Applied Sciences Department of Animal Science 
8. Peter Simon Pallas Pallas, 1784. Felis manvl, nova species asiatica; descripta. - Acta Academiae Scientiarum Imperialis Petropolitanae 1781 (1): 278-291, Tab. VII [= 7]. Petropoli. 
Pallas populiarizes the idea that the Angora cats could descended from Otocolobus manul species. 
9. Johnson WE, O'Brien SJ. Phylogenetic reconstruction of the Felidae using 16S rRNA and NADH-5 mitochondrial genes. J Mol Evol. 1997; 44 Suppl 1:S98-116. 
10. Leslie Helene Bach, 2010, Analysis of FGF5 and Construction of a High-Resolution Radiation Hybrid Panel for the Domestic Cat, PhD Thesis, University of California Davis. 
90 % of all longhaired pedigreed breeds and many natural cats had this particular mutation- c.475A>C (found in 22 out of 24 populations).
This is not a single long hair mutation; Other mutations are breed specific: "c.365insT, which is present in Ragdolls, Siberians, and the Don Sphynx; c.474delT, which has been identified in Ragdolls, American Curls, Japanese Bobtails, Turkish Angoras, and Munchkins; and c.406C>T, the least frequent causative mutation, found primarily in the Norwegian Forest Cat".
11. Driscoll C, Yamaguchi N, O’Brien SJ, Macdonald DW, 2011, A suite of genetic markers useful in assessing wildcat (Felis silvestris ssp.) - domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) admixture. Journal of Heredity 102: S87-S90.
F. s. catus and lybica share the same marker in admixture analysis for detection of  "pure" Felis silvestris (European wildcat). 
12. Agnarsson et. al, Dogs, cats, and kin: A molecular species-level phylogeny of Carnivora, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Volume 54, Issue 3, March 2010, Pages 726-745
"Our Bayesian results agree with the findings of Driscoll et al. (2007), in closely grouping the two subspecies F. s. lybica and F. s. ornata with the domestic cat. However, our results weakly place the domestic cat as sister to the Asiatic wildcat (F. silvestris ornata), and the likelihood result placed such clade as sister to the remaining Felis. Based both on Driscoll et al. and our study there seems to remain a possibility that the domestic cat was bred from both F. s. lybica and F. s. ornata, or perhaps only from the latter".
13. Kehler et al., 2007, Four Independent Mutations in the Feline Fibroblast Growth Factor 5 Gene Determine the Long-Haired Phenotype in Domestic Cats, Journal of Heredity 2007:98(6):555–566 
14. Linderholm A, Larson G., 2013, The role of humans in facilitating and sustaining coat colour variation in domestic animals, Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology, Jun-Jul;24(6-7):587-93. 
"The overall impression is that the coat colour variability encouraged and maintained by humans in domestic plants and animals is the result of a selection pressure that is diametrically opposed to the one nature imparts on wild progenitors". The author obviously did not mean that color and fur variations of present cat populations would vanish if humans suddenly disappeared. These mutations are very widespread today and most of them are harmless, so there is no reason why cats which are not wild-type tabbies, would be disadvantaged. This is why the sentence is corrected to the past tense.
15. Armitage, P.L. & Clutton-Brock, J. (1981). A radiological and histological investigation into the mummification of cats from ancient Egypt. Journal of Archaeological Science, 8, 185–196.
"It may be surmised that the cats were specially bred and reared until they were nearly full-grown. They were then killed, perhaps by strangling, and were made into mummies to be sold to the populace as votive offerings that were placed in sacred repositories". 
16. Baldwin J. A.,1975, Notes and Speculations on the Domestication of the Cat in Egypt, Anthropos, Bd. 70, H. 3./4., pp. 428-448
"The date for earliest cat domestication in Egypt may thus be placed at approximately 2000 B. C".
"Cats were domesticated in ancient Egypt because: one, they had been prepared for domestication by a long period of loose association with man ; and two, they had become the manifestations of two of the major deities of the land. This unique combination (it seems to have occurred with no other animal in Egypt) ultimately resulted in the successful domestication of the cat, the only animal to be brought into permanent domestication during the three thousand year history of Dynastic Egypt". 
17. Neer., et al, More evidence for cat taming at Hierakonpolis, 2014, Journal of Archaeological Science (May); 45:103–111. doi: 10.1016/j.jas.2014.02.014 
18. Kurushima, Ikram, Cats of the Pharaohs: Genetic Comparison of Egyptian Cat Mummies to their Feline Contemporaries. J Archaeol Sci. 2012 Oct;39(10):3217-3223.
"The mitotypes of the cat mummies still exist in the present day populations, allowing modern cats to trace their genealogy to the time of the Pharaohs. Although the first steps in cat domestication might have occurred in Cyprus and the Near East". 
19. Yaowu Hu., et al, 2013, Earliest evidence for commensal processes of cat domestication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, December 16, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1311439110 
20. Bar-Oz, Weissbrod, Tsahar, 2014, Cats in recent Chinese study on cat domestication are commensal, not domesticated. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA Mar 21;111(10), doi: 10.1073/pnas.1324177111 
21. James A. Serpell, Domestication and history of the cat, 2013, The Domestic Cat The Biology of its Behaviour edited by Turner D.C. and Bateson P., 3rd edition, Chapter 4, Cats and People, page 87; Cambridge University Press. 
22. Vigne., et al, Early taming of the cat in Cyprus (2004), Science. 2004 Apr 9;304(5668):259.
"We have found a cat buried in association with a human from the site of Shillourokambos, demonstrating that a closerelation had developed by ~9500 years ago". 
23. Vigne., et al, 2011, The Early Process of Mammal Domestication in the Near East: New Evidence from the Pre- Neolithic and Pre-Pottery Neolithic in Cyprus, Current Anthropology, Vol. 52, No. S4, The Origins of Agriculture: New Data, New Ideas (October 2011), pp. S255-S271 
24. Vigne., et al, 2012, First wave of cultivators spread to Cyprus at least 10,600 y ago; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences May; 109(22):84459,doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201693109 
25. Russell, N. & Martin, L. (2005) The Çatalhöyük mammal remains. In hodder, I. (Ed.) Inhabiting Çatalhöyük: Reports from the 1995-1999 Seasons. Cambridge, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. 
26. J. Peters & K. Schmidt: "Animals in the symbolic world of Pre-Pottery Neolithic Göbekli Tepe, south-eastern Turkey: a preliminary assessment." Anthropozoologica 39.1 (2004), 179–218 
27. Stephen J. O’Brien and Warren E. Johnson, The Evolution of Cats, Scientific American (July 2007), 297, 68-75 doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0707-68 
"Cat fossils are so similar that even experts struggle to tell a lion’s skull from a tiger’s". 
28. Schmidt Klaus, 2012, Anatolia, A Companion to the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, edited by D.T. Potts, chapter:8, page: 145. Blackwell Publishing. 
29. Leslie A. Lyons and Jennifer Dawn Kurushima, 2012, A Short Natural History of the Cat and Its Relationship with Humans, Chapter 42, page 1254-1262. Susan Little, (ed), The Cat: Clinical Medicine and Management. 
"During the world wars cat breeding was not a priority, and many breeds became nearly nonexistent in Europe. To reconstitute the breeds in the early 1950s, many European breeds have been re-established with substantial crossbreeding and outcrossing using a concoction of breeds and feral populations as stock".
30. Erat. S.,  Arikan, S., 2010, Body Mass Index and Different Body Measurements of Turkish Angora and Van Cats in Two Different Locations, Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances 01/2010; 9(1):118-122. doi: 10.3923/javaa.2010.118.122 
31. Kienzle E, Moik K., 2011, A pilot study of the body weight of pure-bred client-owned adult cats, Br J Nutr. 2011 Oct;106 Suppl 1:S113-5. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511001802.
The weights of Angora cats from Dr. Özçetin’s study correspond to medium and large sized cat breeds scale.
"In all breeds, there was a marked sexual dimorphism with heavier males than females. Even though this was more marked in some breeds than others, the difference is too big to allow a calculation of the mean of a group of cats regardless of their sex". 
32. Dorn CR, Taylor DO and Schneider R. Sunlight exposure and risk of developing cutaneous and oral squamous cell carcinomas in white cats. J Natl Cancer Inst 1971; 46: 1073–1078. 
33. Bergsma, Brown - White Fur, Blue Eyes, and Deafness in the Domestic Cat, J Hered. 1971 May-Jun;62(3):171-85 
34. David VA et al., 2014, Endogenous Retrovirus Insertion in the KIT Oncogene Determines White and White spotting in Domestic Cats. G3 (Bethesda). Aug 1;4(10):1881-91. doi: 10.1534/g3.114.013425.
"There appears to be an influence of homozygosity at W relative to hearing capacity. In Pedigree 1, all W/W homozygotes (n = 22) demonstrated some degree of hearing impairment: 73% were deaf and 27% demonstrated partial hearing (Table S8, Table 3). In contrast, individuals that were heterozygous (W/w+) (n= 24) were much more likely to display some hearing capacity: 58% demonstrated normal hearing, 16.7% had partial hearing, and 20.8% were deaf (Table S8). All wild-type individuals demonstrated normal hearing. (…) White cats with blue eyes represent the classic model of feline deafness".
"The KIT insertion event is likely of relatively recent origin, as demonstrated by the fact that the LTR element exhibits complete sequence identity between the White and white spotting alleles". 
35 (a). Linder D., Mueller M., 2014, Pet Obesity Management: Beyond Nutrition, Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice – July, Vol. 44, Issue 4, Pages 789-806, doi: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2014.03.004 
35 (b). Montague et al., 2014, Comparative analysis of the domestic cat genome reveals genetic signatures underlying feline biology and domestication, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 
36. H. O. Heyne et al., 2014, Genetic Influences on Brain Gene Expression in Rats Selected for Tameness and Aggression, Genetics 04/2014; DOI: 10.1534/genetics.114.168948 
37. Seitz, P.F.D. (1959). Infantile experience and adult behavior in animal subjects. II. Age of separation from the mother and adult behavior in the cat. Psychosomatic Medicine, 21, 353–378. 
38. Lowe, S.E. & Bradshaw, J.W.S. (2001). Ontogeny of individuality in the domestic cat in the home environment. Animal Behaviour, 61, 231–237. 
39. Reisner, I.R., Houpt, K.A., Erb, H.N., et al. (1994). Friendliness to humans and defensive aggression in cats: the influence of handling and paternity. Physiology and Behavior, 55, 1119–1124. 
40. Feuerstein, N. & Terkel, J. (2008). Interrelationships of dogs (Canis familiaris) and cats (Felis catus L.) living under the same roof. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 113, 150–165. 
41. Kuo, Z.Y. (1930). The genesis of the cat’s response to the rat. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 11, 1–35. 
42. Caro, T.M. (1980b). Effects of the mother, object play and adult experience on predation in cats. Behavioral and Neural Biology, 29, 29–51. 
43. Caro, T.M. (1980a). The effects of experience on the predatory patterns of cats. Behavioral and Neural Biology, 29, 29–51. 
44. Wyrwicka, W. (1978). Imitation of mother’s inappropriate food preference in weanling kittens. Pavlovian Journal of Biological Science, 13, 55–72. 
45. McCune, S. (1995). The impact of paternity and early socialisation on the development of cats’ behavior to people and novel objects. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 45, 109–124. 
46. Turner, D.C., Feaver, J., Mendl, M., et al. (1986). Variation in domestic cat behaviour towards humans: a paternal effect. Animal Behaviour, 34(6), 1890–1892. 
47. Harshberger, J. W, 1899, transmitted characteristics in a white Angora cat, Science 14 (april), Vol. 9 no. 224 p. 554, doi: 10.1126/science.9.224.554 
48. Pitton de Tournefort, Relation d'un voyage du Levant , 1718 
49. Adventures of Baron Wenceslas Wratislaw of Mitrowitz. What he saw in the Turkish Metropolis … experienced in his captivity, and, after his happy return to his country, committed to writing in 1599; translated by Václav Vratislav, published in 1862 (the author demonstrates negative attitude towards Turks and uses irony in his descriptions) 
50. William Fordyce Mavor, 1801, Historical account of the most celebrated voyages, travels, and discoveries, from the time of Columbus to the present period, volume 23 , page 194, London.
"The Turks are extremely fond to cats". 
51. Jean-Pierre Digar, Cat II- Persian cat, 2005, Encyclopaedia iranica, vol. XVII, New York, The Encyclopædia Iranica Foundation 
52. Samuel Aysoy, 1954, Değişik milletler tarihlerinde kedi, Ankara Üniversitesi, Cilt: 1, Sayı: 3.4, sayfa: 40-66, doi: 10.1501/Vetfak_0000002366 
His source:O. R. Denizcioğlu : Türklerde kedi hakkında görüş ve inanışlar, Türklerde kedi hürafeleri.
Halk Bilgisi Haberleri. Istanbul,  Eminönü Halk Evi, Dil, Edebiyat ve tarih şubesi tarafından çıkarılan aylık meemua. June, 1939, no:92. 
53. Pietro Della Valle, Les Fameux Voyages 4 vols. (Paris: Gervais Clouzier, 1664), 3: 148-49. letter from Isfahan, on 20 June, 1620.
Translation from Italian: "I have seen a most beautiful race of cats, which originate from the province of Khorasan, but of another appearance and of another quality than those from Syria, which we appreciate so much, but who are nothing when compared with those from Khorasan, and, therefore, I wish to take that race to Rome.
As far as I am concerned, I have collected four couples of males and females to take them to Rome and make a good breed. I will take them with me in cages in the same manner that the Portuguese have done in taking some to India". 
54. Desmond Morris, Cat Breeds of the World, A Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1999,  (page 45)
"It was at that time that the Italian traveler Pedro Della Valle first encountered it and was so impressed by its beauty that he brought breeding stock back to Europe with him".
Ankara Zoo (page 88): "Happily, although the original breed had long ago vanished from the show rings, it was not entirely extinct. A few pure lines remained in the Ankara region of Turkey and thanks, to the intervention of the Ankara Zoo, the true Angora was eventually rescued from oblivion. The Zoo collected together a number of the surviving Turkish specimens and began a serious breeding programme with them, keeping only white cats with blue, amber or odd-eyes". 
55. J. A. Helgren, Baron’s encyclopedia of cat breeds, 1997, Barron's Educational Series.
"An Italian traveler by the name of Pietro della Valle (1586–1652) is credited with bringing Persian cats to the European world in the 1600s".
"Longhaired cats, including the ancestors of the modern Persian and Angora breeds, were first seen in Europe in the mid-to-late 1500s, introduced by Roman and Phoenician caravans from Persia (now Iran) and Turkey, according to documents of the era". 
56. Jean-Pierre Digard, Chah des Chats, Chat de Chah? Sur les traces du chat persan, 2000, in Daniel Balland, ed., Hommes et Terres d' Islam. Melanges offerts a Xavier de Planhol, Tehran, page: 328. Page 324-326,  Digard claims that Peiresc got his cats from Ankara and Damascus as cited by William Floor. This publication of Digard and a letter of Peiresc, containing this particular information, were not available. Furthermore many Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc letters are still unpublished. 
57. See a map of Wilfrid Blunt, 1953, Pietro's Pilgrimage A Journey to India and Back at the Beginning of the Seventeenth Century (Pedro Della Valle’s visited places 1614-1626 do not include Khorasan). 
58. Lettres inédites de M. de Peiresc (à Borelly)  publiées par le président Fauris de Saint-Vincens, 1631, January 31, page 8-9. 
59. Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, 1767, Histoire Naturelle Vol 4 (The Natural history of The Cat).
"On voit par cette description, que ces chats de Perse ressemblent par la couleur à ceux que nous appelons chats chartreux, et qu’à la couleur près ils ressemblent parfaitement à ceux que nous appelons chats d’Angora. Il est donc vraisemblable que les chats du Chorazan en Perse, le chat d’Angora en Syrie et le chat chartreux ne font qu’une même race". 
60. Lady Mary Anne Cust, 1856Cats, Its History and Diseases, Drane's universal manuals
"Hiertro dello Valli evidently means the Angora kind when he says 'There is in Persia a cat (particularly in the province of Choragan) of the figure and form of our ordinary ones, but infinitely more beautiful in the lustre and colour of its skin". 
61. Jean Bungartz, Illustriertes Katzenbuch: Die Hauskatze, ihre Rassen und Varietäten , 1896,
‘’The Khorassan or Persian cat seems to be a modification of the Angora cat’’ 
62. Charles James Wills, In the land of the lion and sun (1866- 1881), page 305, London 1891
"Something in an account of Persian life must be said of Persian cats. The fact is, that long-haired cats are very seldom seen; the usual cat is similar to the regular London cat of the leanest variety, and the village cat resembles most the half-starved beasts found in empty houses. Long-haired  cats are generally only seen in the houses of the rich, and they are eagerly purchased for ten to fifteen shillings, when good specimens and white, by the horse-dealers, who take them to India in cages ; they there find a ready market for them.
The best cats are Van cats, which are not really Persian; these, if well bred, are deaf, and also have eyes of different  colours a pink and a yellow eye, or a blue on one side and  yellow on the other.
A few long-haired cats are ash-coloured these are rare. The fact is, if you want a Persian cat of the finest kind, you can best get one in Paris, at any of the numerous bird-shops on the quays". 
63. Frederick Millingen, Wild Life Among The Koords, 1870, page 166. London.
"In Koordistan the cat is remarkable for its beauty, possessing a rich and fine fur, a splendid tail, and two pretty tufts of hair on the top of his ears. This kind of cat is known all through the East under the denomination of Van cats. In Europe these animals are the pets of ladies; but the denomination of Angora cats which is given to them is erroneous. On account of the great exportation which is carried on, these little animals have become scarce even in Van, where it is difficult now to find good specimens of this breed". 
64. Memoirs of the Baroness d'Oberkirch, countess de Montbrison, 1852, vol. 3, page 152, London.
"This lady lives in a splendidly furnished house at Auteuil, where her chief occupation is attending to the wants of several beautiful Angora cats, which she has collected". 
65. Evliya Çelebi, Seyahatnâme written in 17th century. 
In english: Narrative of travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa, in the seventeenth century (1834), vol. 2, translated by Joseph von Hammer (1774-1856), page 147. 
66. W. B. Hams, From Batum to Baghdad via Tiflis, Tabriz and Persian Kurdistan, 1896, page 93, Edinburgh
"It never struck me, though once or twice I made inquiries, until I arrived in London and passed a bird-fancier's in the Brompton Road, where were Persian cats for sale, that they were the only specimens I had seen since starting on my travels. The truth is, Persian cats are bred in Ispahan and Shiraz, and are brought down to Bushire for shipment at the season of the exportation of horses. At other times it is very rare to see them out of the particular districts in which their breeding is made a matter of profit or pleasure". 
67. Mountstuart Elphinstone, An Account of the Kingdom of Caubul, 1839, Vol. 1, page 191, London, Richard Bentley.
"the cats must also be noticed, at least the long-haired species called boorauk, as they are exported in great number, and everywhere called Persian cats, though they are not numerous in the country from which they are named, and are seldom or never exported thence". 
68. Walker Graham Blackie, The imperial gazetteer; a general dictionary of geography, physical, political, statistical and descriptive, vol. 1, 1855, page 34. 
"Among the cat kind, is a long-haired species called boorauk, which is much esteemed, and exported in great numbers, under the name of Persian cats, though nearly all from Afghanistan". 
69. Edward Green Balfour, The cyclopaedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, commercial, industrial, and scientific, 1885, third edition, volume 1, Page 605,  London B. Quaritch. 
"The long silky-furred Angora cats are annually brought to India for sale from Afghanistan, with caravans of camels, even so far as Calcutta. These animals are currently known as "Persian cats". 
70. Adolfo Rivadeneyra, Viaje al interior de Persia, 1880, volume 3, page 185-186, Madrid
(Yezd) Otro producto de la provincia son los gatos, blancos como la nieve, y superiores á los de Angola; los envían á Bombay, si es que no utilizan las pieles en hacerse chaquetas. Desde el «año caro», dicho se está que la exportación de los gatos ha disminuido considerablemente, pues los comieron casi todos.
"white as snow, and superior to those of Angola [Angora]; they send them to Bombay, if they do not use them to turn their skins into coats. Since the "expensive year" it would seem that the export of cats has diminished considerably, because they ate almost all of them". 
71. T. M. Lycklama a Nijeholt, Voyage en Russie, au Caucase et en Perse, 1866, vol. 3, page 54, Paris- Amsterdam 1873.
In his caravan there were about 20 cats from Ispahan ready to be exported to Bombay. 
72. Robert, B. M. Binning, A journal of two years' travel in Persia, Ceylon, etc, 1857, page 133, London, W.H. Allen and co., 
"Among the other products of this city [Isfahan], I must not forget to mention the beautiful cats, which have become well known and prized in the civilized world. The bourrauk is larger than a common cat, and has long hair, and a bushy tail like a fox's brush. It is a handsome creature, and much more docile and tractable than the ordinary breed of pussies". 
73. Sir Frederic J. Goldsmid, Eastem Persia, An Account of the Journeys of the Persian Boundary Commission (1870-1872), vol 1, page 84, London, 1876
"Known in Europe as Persian, and in Persia as "burak", is confined to particular parts of the country, notably to Isfahan, whence a considerable number are annually exported to India by horse-dealers, the cats traveling down to the coast on the horses' backs. Most of those seen in Europe come from Angora, in Asia Minor. As far as my experience goes, the Persian cat has a better tail and ruff, the Angora cat longer body-hair. I think too that the former has a longer pencil of hair on the ears than any other domestic breed. I have several times taken cats from Isfahan to other  towns, and let them out of their cages at the daily halting-places, whether tent, post-house, or caravansary, without their showing any  signs of alarm at the strange place". 
74. Jane Dieulafoy, La Perse, la Chaldée et la Susiane, 1887, page 349-350, Paris.
"L'ennemi de notre musicien, le propriétaire des chats, est un habitant de Yezd en Kirmanie, qui transporte de Tauris à Bombay une vingtaine de beaux angoras. Depuis plusieurs années il voyage sans trêve ni répit entre la Perse et les Indes et tire profit,  paraît-il, de son étrange marchandise. Les chats expédiés aux Indes dans ces conditions sont des angoras blancs; arrivés à destination, ils vaudront de cinquante à soixante francs chacun". 
75. Arnold Henry Savage Landor, 1903, Across Coveted Lands, or a journey from Flushing (Holland) to Calcutta, overland, New York. 
"Isfahan is the city from which long-haired Persian cats, the burak are brought down to the Gulf, and from there to India, but the Kerman cats are said by the Persians themselves to be the  best. The white ones are the most appreciated by the Persians (6-7).  Henry Savage Landor actually traveled with his "Persian" cats from Iran to İndia . Although cats were looked after, sometimes allowed to wander free, they still struggled to survive. "My faithful cat Lawah died, suffocated by the intense moist heat in the carriage. The other two cats I just managed to keep alive by constant rubbing with ice" (442-443). 
76. M. E. Hume-Griffith, Behind the Veil in Persia and Turkish Arabia, 1909, page 22-23, Philadelphia.
"We must not forget that it [Iran] is also a land of cats. I was amused the other day to see how differently two people can see the same thing. In the course of a conversation with a friend who was for some years in Persia, I asked him if he did not admire the Persian cats very much. 'Never saw one,' was his answer, and he maintained that the whole time he was in Persia he never saw a long-haired cat. My experience was quite the reverse, for I hardly remember ever seeing an ordinary short-haired one during the three years we were in Persia. We had some beautiful white ones, but they were very delicate, and generally came to an untimely end. We tried to take one to Kerman, but it met with a sad death when only half way there. Cats are exported on quite a large scale to India and other places. They are taken to the coast by horse-dealers, who tether them in much the same way as they do their horses". 
77. Lieut. Irwin, Memoir on the Climate, Soil, Produce and Husbandry of Afghanistan and the Neighboring Countries, 1839, The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol.8,  page 1007.
"A variety of cat is bred in Cabul, and some parts of Toorkistan. By us it is very improperly called "Persian", for very few are found in Persia, and none are exported. The Cabulees call this cat bubuk or boorrak, and they encourage the growth of its long hair by washing it with soap and combing it." 
78. Frances Simpson, 1903, The book of the cat, London. 
79. Martini, Martino, 1655 - Novus Atlas Sinensis
Describes white, long-haired Chinese cats with floppy ears, the latter seems to be doubtful claim, but became popular and widely cited by naturalists like Buffon mentioning "pendulous ears". 
80. William Rupert Hay, Two years in Kurdistan : experiences of a political officer (1918-1920), page 60,  London, Sidgwick & Jackson, ltd. 1921. 
"Cats frequent the houses, but are always very wild ;  the only time I have ever met a friendly cat that sat  by the fire and purred was in an Arab's tent in the Mandali district". 
81. Richard Lydekker, 1893, The royal natural history, volume 1, page:  428-429, London, New York, F. Warne 
"The most celebrated of all the Asiatic breeds is the Persian, or Angora cat, its second title being derived from a town in Asia Minor. (…)The color is generally uniform, varying from pure white to a yellowish or grayish tint (…) The occurrence of individuals with one blue and one yellow eye in this breed has been  already mentioned (…). It was said some years ago that the breed of these cats in Angora had been greatly reduced in  numbers, owing to their skins having been in large demand as furs". 
82. Ela Constance Sykes, Persia and Its People, 1910, page, 248, New York, 1939.
"The long-haired cat called "Persian  in Europe is rarely seen in the country, though there are countless short-haired black, tabby, and carrot cats, usually with a half-starved appearance". 
83. Eugene Schuyler, Turkistan: Notes on a Journey in Russian Turkistan, Khokand, Bukhara, and Kuldja 1876, vol 1, page 130, New York.
"cats were petted and protected, and beautiful specimens are frequently seen, especially the graceful creatures of the Bukharan breed, with long silky hair and bushy tails". 
84. Franz Xaver von Schwarz, Turkestan, die wiege der indogermanischen völker, 1900,page 380, Freiburg im Breisgau Herder 
"In Bokhara, apart from ordinary cats, there also was a long-haired cat, with silken hair and red-yellow, white- and black-stripped tabby in color". 
85. Christina di Belgiojoso, 1858, Asie Mineure et Syrie: souvenirs de voyages, Paris, page 34-35.
"The Angora goats are the prettiest creatures imaginable. As to the cats, although less useful, they are not to be despised, at least by those who love the beautiful in all shapes and places. The Angora cat is enormous; its body is covered with thick down, similar to that of the swan, its head being very large, and its tail long and very bushy. But what charms you most in these unique animals is the grace of their movements, their agility, their swiftness, and the courage with which they attack the biggest dogs-who seldom retaliate. A few leagues away from Angora, the goats resume their ugliness, and the common cats reappear, with their vulgar shape and deceitful character.
At Konya only do the goats and cats approach the standard of those of Angora, but yet without attaining their incomparable beauty". 
86. James Hamilton Fennell, 1843, Natural History of British and Foreign Quadrupeds, page 262, London
"This beautiful variety is most abundant at Angora, in Asia  Minor. It is considerably larger than most of our common  cats, and is plentifully clothed with remarkably long and silky  hair of a silvery hue, growing most profusely about the neck,  where it forms a kind of ruff, and on the tail, which, when  elevated above the body, resembles a beautiful plume. The nose and the edges of the lips are of a fine rose colour ; the  eyes large and brilliant, and generally blue or yellow. When  Sonnini was in Egypt, he had an Angora cat with one eye of  a fine blue and the other of a light yellow". 
87. Lottin de Laval, Sur Le Chat D'Angora, 1856, april 11, Bulletin de la Société impériale zoologique d'acclimatation, page 181-182. 
88. Jules Charles Teule, Pensées Et Notes Critiques Extraites Du Journal De Mes Voyages Dans L'empire Du Sultan De Constantinople, Dans Les Provinces Russes, Géorgiennes Et ...vol2, 1842, page 422-423, Paris.
"Isfahan as a kind of cat that is becoming rare and bastardized; it has silky hair, as long as that of the Angora cat, with which it is often confused. Angora, which frequently exports cats to Constantinople, procures its cats from the town of Van, as I have heard it reported when I was there on the spot, and it is probably from this same cold area that Isfahan procures its own stock". 
89. P. Aucher-Eloy, Relations de voyages en Orient (1830-1838), vol. 1, page 68-69, Paris, 1843
"Les races d'animaux remarquables par la longueur du poil, tels que chèvres, chats, ne s'étendent pas dans un rayon de plus de 24 lieues autour d'Angora" 
90. Charles Darwin, The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, 1863, page 45. 
91. A. V. Williams Jackson, Persia Past and Present: a Book of Travel and Research, 1906, page 149-150, London
"At the mission house I made also my first acquaintance with the true Persian cat of higher breed. Persia is sometimes called the land of cats, but the best specimens come from the mountains of Kurdistan and are a great contrast to the ordinary village cat (…) the two Hamadan tabbies to which I refer were superb creatures, larger than the largest Angora cats. One of them was pure white, the other was partly black". 
92. John George Wood, The illustrated natural history, 1859, vol.1, page 203, London,  G. Routledge, New York.
"A fine Angola Cat is as handsome an animal as can be imagined, and seems quite conscious of its own magnificence. It is one of the largest of domestic Cats, and in its own superb manner will consume a considerable amount of food". 
93. Friedrich Rosen, Persien in Wort und Bild, 1926, page 32, Berlin.
"Famous for its beauty is the race of the Persian cat (buraq). It is long-haired like the Angora cat, but somewhat larger". 
94. Charles Frederick Partington, 1835, The British cyclopædia of natural history: combining a scientific classification of animals, plants, and minerals, volume 1, page 739.
"The Cat of Angora is a very beautiful variety, with silvery hair of fine silken texture, generally longest  on the neck, but also long on the tail. Some are yellowish, and others olive, approaching to the colour of the lions’. (Persian cats) fur very much produced and very silky, perhaps more so than the cat of Angora (..) fine uniform grey". 
95. Harrison Weir, 1889,  Our cats and all about them, page 22.
‘I have never seen imported strong-coloured tabbies of this breed, nor do I believe such are true Angoras’. 
96. Robert Kent James, 1898, The Angora Cat: How to Breed, Train and Keep It, James bros. 
Long haired cats in USA that didn't look like early examples of Persian breed, were said to be the Angora cats. This book is not about the Angora cats, but about the longhaired cats in general. 
97. George Gregory, 1816, A Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, volume 2,  I. Peirce and S. Etheridge, page 11 (the entry in this and similar dictionaries clearly states that Angora and Persian are names of longhaired cats with no emphasis on origin). 
98. Angora Mouse Joins Cats, Goats and Rabbits, 1965, The Science News-Letter, Vol. 88, No. 6 (August 7), p. 95, Society for Science & the Public.
"An Angora mouse has joined the long-haired cats, goats and rabbits named for the Turkish city now called Ankara". 
99. Faure E, Kitchener A.C., 2009, An archaeological and historical review of the relationships between felids and people, Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, 08/2009; 22(3):221-238. 
"As there was no tameable, small felid in Europe, other indigenous carnivorans, such as mustelids, viverrids, and herpestids, were tamed instead. They were slowly replaced as the domestic cat spread gradually throughout Europe, principally with the Romans". 
100. Jean-Pierre Digard, 2005, Persian cat, in : E. Yarshater (ed.), Encyclopaedia iranica, vol. XVII, New York, The Encyclopedia Iranica Foundation. http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/cat-ii-persian-cat
"There thus remains the obsessive question: why have the longhaired cats, whose presence is testified (not exclusively, but mainly) in Persia up to the late 19th century (to the point that the Westerners describe them as “Persians”) disappeared from this country without leaving any significant traces, either in written sources, or in popular culture? One might suppose that it disappeared in Persia suddenly, when the external demand discontinued". 
101. Willem Floor, 2003,  A Note on Persian Cats, Iranian Studies, Vol. 36, No. 1, page 27-42
"I would like to comment on one particular point raised by Digard, i.e. his question as to whether there were still any Persian, Van, or Bukharan cats in Iran in modem times, since they seemed to have disappeared altogether due to lack of demand. I have never seen long-haired cats in Iran either, but then again I have never looked for them". 
102. Bradshaw et al., 1999, Feral cats: their role in the population dynamics of Felis catus, Applied Animal Behaviour Science 65, 273–283.
‘Currently, the only populations of cats which can be unambiguously classified as domesticated are the various pedigree breeds, such as Persians and Siamese.’ 
103. Benjamin & Lynette Hart, 2013, Your İdeal Cat: insights into breed and gender differences in cat behavior.
"As the name implies the Persian originated in ancient Persia (now Iran)" (page 33).
Cites "The Ascent of Cat Breeds.." study in page 32, but ignores the part of study where claimed that Persian cat traces back their origin to Europe.
Persian behavioral profile: page 96-98 . The Exotic shorthaired which is the same like Persian, only shorthaired, was rated higher in activity and litter-box use, revealing the limitations of questionnaires. Authors conclude: "You can, however, probably count on the differences in breeds that rank at the lowest end of a scale to be quite different from the breeds that rank at the higher end". 
104. Lipinski et al, The Ascent of Cat Breeds: Genetic Evaluations of Breeds and Worldwide Random Bred Populations, 2008, Genomics, page 12–21. 
Fig. 1. Bayesian analysis of cat breeds and populations: 
The choice of particular clusters, aim to prove that "breed histories are accurate". When algorithm is run once again, this time including cat breeds (on the left side), at K=3 "Mediterranean" family grows that much large, that geographically distant cats from East Asia (China, Korea –they were Asians (green) at the same K value) also turns to Mediterraneans, so does Italy and Tunisia. Cat breeds like Japanese Bobtail (Europe), Egyptian Mau (Europe), Turkish Angora (Europe), Turkish Van (still E Med.) and even Sokoke (Arabian Sea region/Kenya) are now all Mediterranean cats.
K=4 is chosen to support distinctiveness of Kenya (verifying Sokoke breed?) but comparison between breeds and random bred cats is not shown, but why?
K=3 is chosen to match the breeds with random bred cats. However at K=3 all kind of (geographically) unrelated populations are shown as related. As a reminder, the in patent (4) the statistically significant clusters start from K=5. 
Figure 2:  Neighbor-joining tree of cat breeds and populations: Mediterranean group (in dark purple) is clearly a mixture of European and Eastern Mediterranean cats. The relations are weak, the number that indicates strength of grouping is only seen in Turkish and İsraeli branch. Turkish Angora vaguely forms a sister group with Tunisia and Egyptian Mau but not with random bred cats from Turkey.
Japanese Bobtail, being European (and Mediterranean as factorial correspondence analysis show, Fig 3.), is surprisingly is added to Asian cats family.
"Egyptian Maus also appear to be on the verge of losing their historical origins via genetic influences from Europe". "Tunisian cats (affiliate) to the European populations" and the Turkish Angora which is somewhere in between of those two, never gets even one sentence about its origins. 
105. Alhaddad et al., Extent of Linkage Disequilibrium in the Domestic Cat, Felis silvestris catus, and Its Breeds, 2013, PLoS ONE 8(1): e53537. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053537 
106. Filler et al., 2012, Selkirk Rex: Morphological and Genetic Characterization of a New Cat Breed, Journal of Heredity  Sep-Oct;103(5):727-33.
Figure 3. Population genetics assessment of the Selkirk Rex breed. (a) Bayesian clustering of 30 recognized cat breeds at K = 3. Is an extension of ‘The Ascent of Cat Breeds… (104) Instead of Mediterranean grouping there is Western II – European.
The Mediterranean name ensured legitimacy to some breeds which no longer matched the natural cats of their supposed homelands. 
107. L. Lyons, 2012, Genetic testing in domestic cats, Molecular and Cellular Probes xxx (2012) 1e7 
108. Gandolfi et al., 2013, A splice variant in KRT71 is associated with curly coat phenotype of Selkirk Rex cats, Sci Rep. 2013;3:2000. Nature publishing, doi: 10.1038/srep02000 
109. Biller et al., 1996, Inheritance of Polycystic Kidney Disease in Persian Cats, J Hered. Jan-Feb;87(1):1-5.
"The age at which renal failure develops in Persian cats with ADPKD also is variable. The average age of onset of renal failure in affected cats is 7 years, with a range of 3 to 10 years". 
110. Eaton et al.,  1997, Wellman Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease in Persian and Persian-cross Cats, Vet Pathol March 34: 117-126, doi:10.1177/030098589703400204 
111. Baars et al., 2001, Prevalence of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease in Persian cats and related-breeds in Sydney and Brisbane.
"The prevalence of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease in Sydney (45%) and Brisbane (42%)".
Similarly, prevalence of ADPKD in Persian cats screened in Sydney (54%)
"ADPKD should be relatively easy to eliminate from Persian cats and related breeds using ultrasound screening programs. It is now recommended that cats should be a minimum of 10 months-of-age to be considered negative for ADPKD using renal imaging". 
112. Beck, C., 2001, Feline polycystic kidney disease in Persian and other cats: a prospective study using ultrasonography, Aust Vet J. Mar;79(3):181-4.
Persians with PKD - 45%. ‘Exotic cats were found to have the slightly higher incidence of 50%’
"Only one of the cats in this study that was found to be positive for PKD was reported by the owner to be showing clinical signs at the time of examination. All other cats were in good body condition and the owners did not report clinical signs related to renal disease (due to low average age of positive cats (2.6 years).
The age at which renal failure develops in Persian cats with ADPKD is variable, with the average age-of-onset of renal failure being reported as 7 years, with a range of 3 to (max) 10 years 1. Owners must be made aware of the shorter life expectancy of cats with PKD.
Breeders should be encouraged to breed only from cats that have been shown to be unaffected by ADPKD on ultrasonographic examination". 
113. Barthez P., Rivier P.,  and Begon, D., 2003, Prevalence of polycystic kidney disease in Persian and Persian related cats in France, Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 5: 345.
"Prevalence of PKD was 41.8% in Persian cats and 39.1% in Exotic Shorthair.
Monitoring the prevalence of the disease during the selection programme, however, may be biased by including only cats from catteries involved in screening programmes and give a false impression of decreasing prevalence". 
114. Bonazzi M, Volta A, Gnudi G et al, 2007,  Prevalence of the polycystic kidney disease and renal and urinary bladder ultrasonographic abnormalities in Persian and Exotic Shorthair cats in Italy, J Feline Med Surg 9:387,.
"Overall, the resulting prevalence of feline PKD in this study is 41.0%" 
115. Lyons et al., 2004, Feline Polycystic Kidney Disease Mutation Identified in PKD1, J Am Soc Nephrol 15: 2548–2555. 
116. Bonazzi M. et al., 2009, Comparison between ultrasound and genetic testing for the early diagnosis of polycystic kidney disease in Persian and Exotic Shorthair cats. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 11, 430e434
"A paired use of ultrasound and genetic tests should be recommended in order to reach a complete medical condition of breeding cats as soon as possible, and to plan a screening programme for feline PKD" 
117. Hosseininejad et al., 2009, Polycystic kidney in an adult Persian cat: clinical, diagnostic imaging, pathologic, and clinical pathologic evaluations, Comp Clin Pathol 18:95–97, doi 10.1007/s00580-008-0744-0
"Occasionally, cysts may be found in the liver. There is no specific treatment for this disease.
Further investigation preferably with kidney ultrasonography of Persian cats is suggested for early diagnosis of this disease before progress to renal failure". 
118. Rah, H., Maggs, D., Lyons, L., 2006, Lack of genetic association among coat colors, progressive retinal atrophy and polycystic kidney disease in Persian cats, Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 8, 357e360
"Among Persian cat breeders, PRA is considered to be associated with only chocolate Persian or Himalayan cats ("pointed"). Persian cats of all coat colors are at risk for PRA". 
119. Bond, Curtis, Ferguson, Mason and Rest (2000), An idiopathic facial dermatitis of Persian cats. Veterinary Dermatology, 11: 35–41. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-3164.2000.00168.x 
120. Scott, D.W.,Paradis, M., 1990, A survey of canine and feline skin disorders seen in a university practice: Small Animal Clinic, University of Montreal, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec (1987-1988), Can Vet J 1990; 31: 830-835
"In cats, the most common dermatoses were abscesses, otodectic mange, cheyletiellosis, flea bite hypersensitivity, atopy, flea infestation, neoplasia, and food hypersensitivity. Himalayan and Persian cats accounted for 50% of the cases of cheyletiellosis and 75%o of the cases of dermatophytosis, respectively. Hereditary primary seborrhea oleosa was seen only in Persian cats". 
121. Cantaloube B, Raymond-Letron I, Regnier A: Multiple eyelid apocrine hidrocystomas in two Persian cats, Vet Ophthalmol 7:121, 2004. 
122. Giudice C, Muscolo MC, Rondena M et al, 2009.,  Eyelid multiple cysts of the apocrine gland of Moll in Persian cats, J Feline Med Surg 11:487
"Apocrine hidrocystomas may occur singly, or there may be multiple lesions on the same eyelid. Persian cats are predisposed". 
123. Rab, H., et al, 2005, Early-Onset, Autosomal Recessive, Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Persian Cats, Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, May , Vol. 46, No. 5 
124. Alhaddad et al., 2014, Genome-wide association and linkage analyses localize a progressive retinal atrophy locus in Persian cats, Mamm Genome.25(7-8): 354–362. 
"This feline disease is similar to the human disease, retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
Likely, with the low activity temperament of the Persian and the strong adaptive ability of blind cats, many owners may not realize that their cats may have vision loss". 
125. Vandevelde et al., 1982, Hereditary neurovisceral mannosidosis associated with alpha-mannosidase deficiency in a family of Persian cats. Acta Neuropathol. 58(1):64-8.
"Clinically the disorder was characterized by hepatomegaly, neurological signs and early death". 
126. Egenvall et al., 2009, Mortality of Life-Insured Swedish Cats during 1999 –2006: Age, Breed, Sex, and Diagnosis, J Vet Intern Med 23:1175–1183
"Urinary disease was the most common cause of death in total and in the Persians, British shorthair, and Ragdolls. The Persian group had a considerably higher ASMR for urinary disease than the domestics. Within this breed, polycystic kidney disease accounted for a proportional mortality within the diagnostic category urinary of 20% and the Persian group actually does have a somewhat higher proportion of upper compared with lower urinary disease compared with the other breeds". 
127. Kramer et al., 1977, The Chediak-Higashi syndrome of cats, Lab Invest May;36(5):554-62. 
128. Schlueter et al., 2009, Brachycephalic Feline Noses: CT and anatomical study of the relationship between head conformation and the nasolacrimal drainage system. J Feline Med Surg. 2009 Nov;11(11):891-900.
‘"Brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome and chronic epiphora are potentially of clinical significance (..) drainage system effected. Epiphora might also develop if masses obstruct the drainage, or hairs and entropion irritate the cornea (…) include the missing external nose (Fig 1) and discoloured hairs caused by an overflow of tears" (Fig 2). 
129. Malik, R.,  Sparkes A., and Bessant, C., 2009, Brachycephalia - a Bastardisation of what Makes Cats Special. J Feline Med Surg. Nov;11(11):889-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jfms.2009.09.009
"They have a nasolacrimal system that doesn't work properly, so tears stream down the front of their face causing staining and secondary dermatitis.
There is no need whatsoever to perpetuate the breeding of bizarre mutant cats that could not exist without veterinary interventions". 
130. Bell JS, Cavanagh KE, Tilley LP, Smith FWK. 2012; Veterinary Medical Guide to Dog and Cat Breeds. Teton NewMedia; Jackson, Wyoming, USA.
131. Schwartz, 2002, Separation anxiety syndrome in cat : 136 cases (1991-2000). J Am Vet Med Assoc. Apr 1;220(7):1028-33. 
"Persian cats are popularly characterized as reserved, compared with Siamese cats, and the predominance of Persian cats in the present study may lend additional support for an association between internalized or passive emotionality and overt signs of SAS".
"All Persian females urinated as a display of separation-triggered anxiety. Persian males were equally likely to urinate and defecate".
132 (a). McComb, K., Taylor, A.M., Wilson, C., et al., 2009. The cry embedded within the purr. Current Biology, 19(13), R507–R508. 
132 (b). Gogoleva, S.S., Volodina, I.A., Volodina, E.V., et al., 2011, Explosive vocal activity for attracting human attention is related to domestication in silver fox. Behavioural Processes, 86, 216–221. 
133. Cameron-Beaumont, C., Lowe, S. E., & Bradshaw, J. W. S., 2002, Evidence suggesting preadaptation to domestication throughout the small Felidae. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 75 (3), 361 - 366. 10.1046/j.1095-8312.2002.00028.x 
134. Roberto A. Ferdman, Christopher Ingraham, 2014 July 28, Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.—and all over the world, The Washington Post. A map from Euromonitor "Dog countries, cat countries" estimates 3.1 mililion cats versus 1.1 dogs living in Turkey. There are no reliable statistical data on exact number of cats in this country, these are only estimations. 
135. Christopher Torchia, AP (Associated Press), 2010, August 23, Cat culture thrives in Istanbul.
The claim is attributed to Nükhet Barlas, an environmental consultant and a photographer. 
136. Samuel Aysoy, 1955, Hava Iyonizasyonu, bronşiyal asthm, mağara tedavisi, Ankara Üniversitesi , Cilt: 2 Sayı: 1.2 Sayfa: 053-063, doi: 10.1501/Vetfak_0000002347
"Ankarada; Yetişen tiftik keçisi, kedi ve tayşanlarda tüylerinin bolluğu, uzunluğu ve nefaseti Ankara havas ında mevcut menfi iyonlarla izah edilebilir". 
137. Derya Yetim, Ihlas News Agency, 2012, October 13. Ankara kedileri podyumda
Selçuk Çetin: "Ankara kedilerini Avrupa’da Amerika’da görmeye gitmeyelim. Kaybolmaya yüz tutan bu güzel kedilerimizi Pursaklar’da Türkiye’ye ve dünyaya tanıtmaya devam edeceğiz". 
138. Şükrü Akyüz, Ihlas news Agency, Van kedileri podyumda, 2012, June 27. 
Van Valisi Münir Karaloğlu, "Tabii ki Türkiye’nin başkenti, Van kedisini alıp Ankara’nın logosu yapabilir. Bunda hakları var. Ama Van kedisini alıp da Ankara kedisi diye logoya koyarsanız bu bizi üzer, Vanlılar'ı da üzer, Van kedisini de üzer" 
139. Anadolu Ajansı, Ankara Pursaklar, 2014, November 16, filmed by Özcan Yıldırım.
Owner of of the cat, Gülbahar Tozlu said (transcript): ‘I got him when he was 4 months old. Because he is deaf, he does not respond to my commands, despite of this we still get along well’. (Onu 4 aylıkken aldım. Kulağı sağır olduğu için eğitiminde zorlanıyorum ama yine de çok iyi anlaşıyoruz) (3:48) The winner displayed aggressive behviour and during the speech bited its owners hands.
Among participants, a large number of shorthaired cats and Persian could be seen. All three winners were solid white cats. 
140. Ilker Turak, Ihlas News Ajency, 2014, November 16, Ankara'nın en güzel kedisi 'Romeo'
"Tarımsal Araştırmalar ve Politikalar Genel Müdürlüğü Evcil Hayvan Sorumlusu Nermin Aksümer, Ankara Büyükşehir Belediyesi Veteriner Hekimi Aydın Kayalı, Ankara Büyükşehir Belediyesi Veteriner Hekimi Sincan Evcil Hayvanlar Parkı Sorumlusu Nurgül Kayalı ve Pursaklar Belediyesi Veteriner Hekimi Emine Yurdakan’ın jüri iyesi olarak görev yaptığı yarışmada kedilerin tüyüne, kuyruk yapısına, davranış biçimlerine dikkat edildi". 
141. Hüseyin Özbali, Doğan News Agency (DHA), 2014, November 4, Metro'da Ankara Kedisi sergisi (Kızılay) 
142. Şenay Ünal, Anadolu Ajansı, 2011, August 29.
Prof. Dr. Atasoy, AA muhabirine yaptığı açıklamada, Ankara kedisinin saf ve doğal bir kedi türü olmasının yanı sıra Türkiye'nin ulusal hazinelerinden biri olduğunu belirterek, Ankara kedisinin uzun beyaz tüyleri, gözlerindeki farklılıklar ve kulaklarının sağır olması gibi özellikleriyle tanındığını ancak yeterince korunamadığı için orijinal özelliklerini kaybetme tehlikesiyle karşı karşıya kaldığını söyledi.
''Korkarım bir gün gelecek bizler o kedileri görmek ve sevmek için oralara gideceğiz. Daha da kötü olanı ise yurt dışına götürülen kediler saf Ankara kedisi ırkı olma özelliğini yitirmiş. Sadece bizim ülkemizde Ankara'daki hayvanat bahçesindekiler geçmişten günümüze saflığını yitirmeden korunabilenler. Ankara kedisi yok olmak üzere. Bir an önce önlem alınmazsa kedileri gelecek nesiller tanıyamayacak.'' 
143. Neşeli Patiler, Kanaltürk, 2012
The creators of program try to convince Turkish people that they can find almost all cat breeds in the streets of Turkey and this way, they believe, they encourage more people to adopt a cat from the street. However the outcome will be the opposite: they popularize foreigner cat breeds, creating a demand for them. A lie that black cats are Bombay breed (in reality: Burmese and European SH hybrid, pedigreed) will have a short life span just until people learn the truth. 
144. Roy Robinson, 1977, Genetics for cat breeder, second edition, Pergamon press.
145. Süreyye Somer, 2002, Van ve Ankara Kedileri
 One of the first sources propagate cat fanciers point of view and is responsible for misinformation. 
146. Semra Sander, 1995, TRT Ankara Kedisi and Van Kedisi 
147. Sinem Şenol, IZ tv, 2012, Ankaranın Yumağı.    
148. TRT Okul ‘Bir Evde’ with Pelin Bekiroğlu, 2013, January 2, Van kedisi ve Ankara kedisi.  
149. Turkey Domestic Animal Genetic Resources, 2011, December, Republic of Turkey
Ministry of Food Agriculture- Tarımsal Araştırmalar Genel Müdürlüğü  (TAGEM).
Consultant of poultry, cat and dog Prof. Dr. Fatih Atasoy (page 7), Angora cat (page: 108-109) 
150. Prof. Dr. Fatih Atasoy, Ankara University, Kişisel Akademik Bilgiler:  Expert in fields (Uzmanlik Alanlari): 4. Yerli Köpek Irkları, Ankara Kedisi (but: no research paper about the Angora cats). 
151. The Angora cat standart, Ek-36 Ankara Kedisi, Resmî Gazete no: 27075, 2008, December 5, Tarım ve Köyişleri Bakanlığı.  
152. Uçuş Noktası magazine, 2011 October, Ankara’nın yerlisi - A Native of Ankara, page: 80-83.
"Ankara University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Division of Animal Husbandry lecturer Prof. Dr. Fatih Atasoy, who conducts studies on Ankara cats and the preservation of this breed, emphasizes the importance of reproduction by preservation of this breed as it is an important natural gift and exposed to smuggling". 
153. Milliyet, Ankara kedisi yok olmak üzere, 2011, August 29.
F. Atasoy: "Keşke gelecekte Ankara'nın her yerinde, sokaklarımızda maketlerin yanında gerçek kediler dolaşsa da ziyaretçilere "bakın bu bizim kültürel değerimiz' diyebilsek. (…). Beklentimiz, bundan sonra yapılacaklarla ilgili üniversite ve devlet iş birliğini oluşturarak Ankara'mıza özgü kedilerimizin sadece kitaplarda kalmasını, bizden sonraki nesillere "siz bilmezsiniz, bir zamanlar bizim beyaz tüylü çok sevimli kedilerimiz vardı, koruyamadık yok oldular, Avrupa'da kaldı bir tek' denilmesini engellemeliyiz.'' 
154. Shirley Johnson, 1967, Cat fanciers Yearbook (CFA) , page 296-301. 
155. Metropolitan Municipality of Ankara, official website, 2011, March 29, Ankara Kedileri,Büyükşehir'in Koruması Altında  
156. Aletha Hendrickson, 1976, The Turkish Angora: Revival of an ancient breed, The National Turkish Angora Cat Club; 1st edition (page: 11)
Grants: "The Grants appeared before CFA in 1967 concerning acceptance of the breed, and in 1970, the Turkish Angora was recognized for Provisial Breed competition(…) Unfortunately some of the Grant breeding bred from the Ankara Zoo imports have been found in pet shops in the United States and in some backyard breeding programs (bred with mixed breed cats)".
Tai-phoon: "In 1970, Mr. Taspinar released all of his stock and records to Mrs. Gisela Stoscheck of New York. Unfortunately some of his stock was bred with Persian and Siamese, resulting into hybrids". 
157. Grace Pond, 1976, The complete cat encyclopedia, page 35, Crown Publishers. 
"The Ankara Zoo now protects its famous breed of cats by supervizing and maintaining a strict breeding programme". 
158. A. M. Dickie, The Angora or Ankara cat, 1967, Cat fanciers Yearbook, page 276.
‘Threatened with hybridism and/or extinction they were rescued by the Ankara Zoo  and a carefully stocked number of them have lived there and been carefully bred for at least eight years to the Grant’s knowledge. At first the cats were numbered but later were given names’. 
159. Liesa F. Grant, Welcome Back Angora, 1970, Cat fanciers Year Book, page 433-437.
"Through interbreeding with the Persian, they became extinct in the United States in the early 1900's and until recently could only be found in the Zoo in Ankara, Turkey, where they are highly prized and considered the purest of breeds. There, they are pure white in color, the odd-eyed ones being the most desirable. Even in Turkey, the purebred Ankara Cat is a rarity. On our visit to Ankara in August, 1966, we discovered that the Ankara Zoo had less than 30 Ankara Cats".
"Our two original Ankara Cats were purchased personally by us from the Zoo in Ankara, Turkey, in November 1962 and were shipped to the United States at that time. They are called Yildiz and Yildizcik (meaning Star and Starlett) and are documented with a Bill of Sale from the Ankara Zoo, a Certificate of Ancestry (dam and sire for each) from the Director of the Ankara Zoo and all the necessary "shot" records and export/import papers. In August, 1966, we personally traveled to Ankara, Turkey and purchased from the Zoo another unrelated male and female".
160. David Taylor, The Ultimate Cat Book, 1989, Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd, page  70.
"Happily, the Ankara zoo came to the rescue and the Angora became something of a protected species".
161. Ute Kunze, 2010, Der Pointfaktor in der Türkisch Angora, a personal website; http://www.commandine.de/rassekunde_point.htm
"Pointkatzen in der Türkei ist die Haltung von Siamkatzen, als einzige andere Katzenrasse neben der Türkisch Angora im Zoo von Ankara".
Ute Kunze claims, that colorpointed cats are kept in Ankara Zoo besides the Turkish Angora.
We have visited the Ankara Zoo in January, 2012 but did not see any Siamese cats there and were assured by Zoo authorities that colored cats were not kept at Zoo now or then... 
162. Virginia and Thomas Torio, 1983, The Ankara Cat, Original Turkish Angora, Fact Sheet, Cat Fanciers Yearbook. 
163. Aletha S. Hendrickson, 1975, Turkish Angoras: 1954-1974, Cat World magazine, Part 2,  page 30. 
164. Tike Şeyda, 2009, Yüksek Lisans Tezi, 47 sayfa, Ankara Kedilerine İşitme Testlerinin Uygulaması Ve İşitme Seviyelerinin Değerlendirilmesi, Sağlık Bilimleri Dergisi 18(3)I- LXVI
"Unilateral deafness was determined in 7 of 9 Angora cats (77.7%), and those cats were called as partial deaf’". 
165. Doroles Reiff, 2001, The Elegant Turkish Angora, Cat Fanciers' Almanac (November)
‘"The groundwork was laid by a very hard working group of breeders who loved and respected this most unique and interesting breed. The breeders and owners of today’s Angoras should thank and remember them for their efforts to keep the breed alive". 
166. Independent Press Telegram, 1968, December 1, page 153. Royal cat of Turkey
"In June, 1967, the  Grants appeared formally before officials and board members of Cat Fanciers Association to discuss the breed and to exhibit them. Great interest was expressed". 
167. Lee Thornton, 1976, original Turkish Angora Society Newsletter, March as cited by Aletha Hendrickson, 1976, The Turkish Angora: Revival of an ancient breed, The National Turkish Angora Cat Club. 
168. Tucson Daily Citizen (Tucson, Arizona), 1966, February 17, page 12.
"The Van cats have produced three litters of kittens but, because they have no papers on the animals, the Leinbachs have given the kittens away to friends and relatives". 
169. Barbara Azan, 2002, All About Turkish Angora Kittens, Turkish Angora breeder’s Union, Geocities, archived http://www.reocities.com/heartland/7231/kittens.html
"Although chocolate, lilac and pointed Turkish Angoras do appear very occasionally, in CFA, these cats are not able to be registered". 
170. Imes DL et al., 2006, Albinism in the domestic cat (Felis catus) is associated with a tyrosinase (TYR) mutation, Anim Genet. April; 37(2): 175–178 
171. Schmidt Küntzel A et al., 2005, Tyrosinase and tyrosinase related protein 1 alleles specify domestic cat coat color phenotypes of the albino and brown loci. J Hered. Jul-Aug;96(4):289-301. 
172. Todd, 1975, Mutant Alele Frequences in the domestic cats in Turkey & Greece, Genetica 46:183-192 
173. Roy Robbinson, 1972 Mutant Gene Frequencies in Cats of Cyprus, Theoretical and Applied Genetics 42, 293- 296. 
174. M. Ruiz-Garcia, 1994, Genetic profiles from coat genes of natural Balearic cat populations: an eastern Mediterranean and North-African origin, Genet Sel Evol.; 26(1): 39–64 
175. Leslie A. Lyons, 2014, Cat breeds and Evolution, 39th World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress, September 16-19, Proceedings book page: 789-790. 
Figure 1. Genetic Structuring of World Cat Populations. There is no explanation how clusters were made (Bayesian models?), and how it was decided if they were "statistically significant".
Previous groupings are reinforced and additional population sub-structuring was detected, like distinctness of cats in Spain and Portugal, again supporting that "Mediterranean" term is insufficient to define these highly dissimilar cat populations.  Italy and Tunisia (excluded from the patent analyses!) appear having unusually high influence from Anatolian grouping, contradicting findings of other studies, which show they are mostly North European populations; Pale blue color in Turkish cluster indicates that Siamese samples (SE Asian) were indeed included into analysis. 
176. Menotti-Raymond M. et al., 2008, Patterns of molecular genetic variation among cat breeds. Genomics. Jan; 91(1):1-11. 
Fig. 2 Histogram demonstrating the proportion of each individual’s genome that originated from each of 22 populations (STR K=29). The Turkish Angora and Russian Blue are strikingly similar, shown as one cluster (yellow). 
"The multibreed clusters were an entirely expected finding, given that within these clusters strong breed barriers have not been established. Either the breeds share very recent common ancestry (< 50 years) with other breeds within the population or breeding is currently allowed between the more recently “derived” breeds and the breeds that contributed to the founder breed pool".
"However, there is little evidence of which breeds are ancestral or were established first (Fig. 3). The concordance of these data sets likely reflects the recent ancestry of most of the breeds".
177. Ingeborg Urcia, 1984 The Russian Blue - Early History of the Breed, CFA Yearbook, p. 250-255. 
178. Alhaddad H, Khan R, Grahn RA, Gandolfi B, Mullikin JC, et al. (2013) Extent of Linkage Disequilibrium in the Domestic Cat, Felis silvestris catus, and Its Breeds. PLoS ONE 8(1): e53537. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053537 
Figure 2. Domestic cat population analysis. Blue is Western (Hamburg, Germany), red is Asian (feral cats from China) and green "other populations".
"Four breeds, Siberian, Manx, Turkish Angora and Japanese Bobtail, had LD and haplotype structure comparable to random bred domestic cat populations".
"(…) breeds such as Siberians, a new breed, and Turkish Angoras, tend to resemble the random bred street cats of their populations of origin, Russia and Turkey, respectively". Misleading claim, the Turkish Angora and Siberian clearly forms a sister group with German cats – Western grouping.
Turkish random bred cats are NOT in the study for comparison (besides Russian random bred cats were not available). Turkish cats do not share similarity with German cats, but the Turkish Angora breed does. Maybe we should talk about the European origin instead? 
179. Grahn AR. Et al., 2011, Feline non-repetitive mitochondrial DNA control region database for forensic evidence. Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2011 Jan;5(1):33-42. doi: 10.1016/j.fsigen.2010.01.013. 
180. Kurushima, 2011, Genetic Analysis of Domestication Patterns in the Cat (Felis catus): Worldwide Population Structure, and Human-mediated Breeding Patterns Both Modern and Ancient, Ph.D dissertation, UC Davis.
"Genetic studies of potential wildcat progenitors suggest the Eastern Mediterranean as the origin of the domestic cat, most likely from the African wildcat (Felis silvestris libyca) by a process of natural selection. The most diverse and perhaps the oldest populations were those found in the Fertile Crescent, in particular populations within Iraq, Lebanon, and Israel". 
181. Piry S. Alapetite A, Cornuet JM, Paetkau D, Baudouin L, Estoup A (2004),  GENECLASS2: A Software for Genetic Assignment and First-Generation Migrant Detection, J Hered (November/December); 95 (6): 536-539. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esh074 
182. Cournet et al., 1999, New Methods Employing Multilocus Genotypes to Select or Exclude Populations as Origins of Individuals, Genetics. Dec; 153(4): 1989–2000. 
183. Bergl RA, Vigilant L., 2007, Genetic analysis reveals population structure and recent migration within the highly fragmented range of the Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli), Mol Ecol. Feb;16(3):501-16.
"Geneclass is not specifically designed to identify admixed individuals. The low or similar probabilities could also be indicative of admixed ancestry".
184. Winn Feline foundation Symposium, 2012, transcript. Dr. Leslie Lyons: Next Generation of Genetics
"So genetically, even though they looked like a Turkish Van, it wasn't actually a Turkish Van from a genetic point of view" . The random bred cats from Cyprus and Ankara zoo cat were genetically different from majority of USA (N=20) and European Turkish Vans, and were classified as Turkish Van B (9581, 9585), C (9577-9580) and D (9575- the Ankara Zoo Angora, 9576), later dismissed as "Cyprus cats"; see Figure 2. Genetic analysis of Turkish Cats (185) 
185. Leslie A. Lyons, 2013, 6th Tufts BG Proceedings: Canine and Feline Breeding and Genetics conference (September 27-September 29, Boston), Genetics of Cat Populations and Breeds:
Implications for Breed Management for Health! A population case study: Turkish Cats, page 20-25. 
186. Leslie A. Lyons (unofficial), 2012, January 2, Genetics of Turkish cats populations and breeds – Round 3, to Turkish Cat Breeders via email. Attachment (excel): Turkish Cat Report_Round 3_01022012 (as we later found out: SNP & STR K=3. It was never stated in text) 
187. Teresa Litherland, 2014 March, Aphrodite Giant Cats, Cyprus’ national cat, ACF (Australian Cat Federation), Proposal for general meeting on 9 june 2014. In this meeting unofficial report (186) from Leslie A. Lyons was presented. 
188. Cyprus American Archaeological Research İnstitute, That Cat from Shillourokambos, CAARI News, no: 28, June, 2004, page 7.
"It is unlikely, however, that the Neolithic cat from Shillourokambos was a remote ancestor of the profusion of village cats found on Cyprus today". 
189. Dusty Rainbolt, 1996, Noah‘s cat – The Turkish Van; I Love Cats magazine, Sept/Oct.page 30-33. 
190. Helena Smith, Guardian (The Observer), 2009, December 6, Divided Cypriots fall out over new breed of cat. 
191. World Cat Congress,  Minutes of the Business Meeting; Miami, Florida (USA) 2014, 10th March,; page 10-11 (transcript of Andreas Möbius speech). 
192. Waples RS1, Gaggiotti O, 2006, What is a population? An empirical evaluation of some genetic methods for identifying the number of gene pools and their degree of connectivity. Mol Ecol. May;15(6):1419-39 
193. Evanno G, Regnaut S, Goudet J., 2005, Detecting the number of clusters of individuals using the software STRUCTURE: a simulation study. Mol Ecol. Jul;14(8):2611-20. 
194. Note on cat samples from Turkey, used (and re-used) in many genetic studies : 
The samples from Turkey were arranged by Haydar Özpinar, researcher in human nutrition, who partnered with L. A Lyons at UC Davis (2004-2008). Turkish cat samples were collected mainly by veterinary clinics in Istanbul (Yeşilköy, Istanbul, Doğuş), however when we contacted them, none of them remembered being a part of any genetic study. Although samples supposedly are the random bred cats, Turkish collaborators probably sampled pets not cats living on the street. If those vets have taken samples solely from Persian and Siamese hybrids instead of street cats, nobody would have noticed anyway and would have judged Turkish cats accordingly. This is a perfect example of convenience/accidental sampling. Main problem with this sampling method, which cats sampled may not represent the structure and variety of Turkish cats. It lacks much needed randomness. The researchers probably thought that they received cat samples from Van and Ankara, while these identifications were the breed names, not locations: Ankara mix (6738, 6737), Ankara (white cat; 6736, 6735), Van mix (6734), Van x Ankara (6733), Van (white cat; 6729-6732). Prejudiced towards random-bred cats in Turkey, regarding them as ‘mixed’ is common among Turkish people, not excluding vets or scientists, unless those cats happen to be white- then they are Vans or Angoras! Istanbul is just one city in the vast land of Turkey! We need a larger sample from various locations that would actually be representative for Turkish cats. 
"Migrants": 2 cats (6516, 6740 – the latter noted as "Persian type") were identified belonging to European population and even 4 were South Asia/ Siamese (6741, 6514, 6491, 6481).  All these cats are shown as "Angoras" in unpublished data (186) at SNP and STR K=3. Mixed cats were detected as first generation migrants by Geneclass 2 (table 7, page 58) (4), but not excluded from further analyses! 
It seems that other admixed individuals were still present in analyses and tended to confuse the algorithm (6746, 6760 are suspect). 
Turkish samples (N=44, migrants excluded) had the highest inbreeding, compared to other neighboring countries at SNP (Table 8 – cat population statistics based on sampling location, p. 79) (4). They significantly deviated from Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium (HWE). "The Turkey and Taiwan populations may deviate from HWE due to bias in collecting samples, unknown subpopulation structure in the samples taken, or human selection pressure in aiding individuals with a particular phenotype to thrive" (10).
About 46 % (N =42) were longhaired that would be hard to achieve such a high rate if random bred population gets sampled (shorthaired cats usually outnumber longhaired cats). For the reasons mentioned above, the interpretation of Anatolian cat's genetics should be made with caution. The researchers may get impression that random bred cats in Turkey are mixed with South Asian and European cats but it is due to sampling error. Fortunately, majority of sampled cats still had similarities to random bred population. This makes possible to conclude that cats from Turkey are part of Eastern Mediterranean and prove their similarity to Cyprus cats. 
195. Poly Pantelides, Llelayne Cassidy: the cat’s meow Meet Llelayne Cassidy, 96.3 per cent Cypriot, May 30, 2013, Cyprus Mail. 
196. Association of Felina, Greece, About: http://www.felinagreece.gr/index.php/felina-and-us 
‘Τελεί υπό την αιγίδα του Εθνικού Συλλόγου Εκτροφέων Γατών Κύπρου (CyCNBA), ως Patronatsmitglied, και συνεργάζεται μ' αυτόν’. (Theodore Fragkogios is part of Felina association) 
197. Ανδρεασ Αξιωτησ (Dimitris Gkolfomitsos), 2012, January 27; Η γάτα του Αιγαίου δεν φοβάται το νερό! (The Aegean cat is not afraid of water); espressonews.gr
Θεοδωροσ Φραγκογιοσ : «Η περίφημη γάτα του Αιγαίου εμφανίστηκε για πρώτη φορά στα νησιά των Κυκλάδων με τους Ελληνες μετανάστες της Μικρασίας. Εκείνες οι γάτες που έφεραν ζευγάρωσαν με ντόπιες και σταδιακά απέκτησαν κάποια ιδιαίτερα χαρακτηριστικά που τις κάνουν ξεχωριστές»
«Δυστυχώς, δεν έχουμε προχωρήσει σε επίσημη καταγραφή της φυλής, αλλά πρόκειται για μια γάτα που έχει διαδοθεί, που μπορεί να ζει σε κάθε γωνιά της Ελλάδας και υπάρχει στη χώρα μας για περισσότερα από εκατό χρόνια. Δεν είναι καθόλου απίθανο να υπάρχει και μία στη γειτονιά σας! » 
«Εχω πάρει μέρος σε όλες τις διεθνείς εκθέσεις που έχει διοργανώσει ο Ελληνικός Ομιλος Γάτας και έχω παρατηρήσει ότι ελάχιστοι είναι οι Ελληνες που γνωρίζουν για τη συγκεκριμένη δική μας φυλή. » 
198. Βαγγελησ Μακρησ (Vaggelis Makris lifo.gr), 2012, march 26, Η Γάτα του Αιγαίου στο Animal Planet. 
199. Cieslak M, Reissmann M, Hofreiter M, Ludwig A. (2011). Colours of domestication, Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc. Nov; 86(4):885-99. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2011.00177.x.
200. Manfred Heun, Ralf Schäfer-Pregl, Dieter Klawan, Renato Castagna, Monica Accerbi, Basilio Borghi, and Francesco Salamini, 1997, Site of Einkorn Wheat Domestication Identified by DNA Fingerprinting, Science 14 November: 278 (5341), 1312-1314. 
201. Salamini F, Ozkan H, Brandolini A, Schäfer-Pregl R, Martin W. 2002, Genetics and geography of wild cereal domestication in the Near East. Nature Reviews Genetics. Jun;3(6):429-41.
202. Jenkins, E. L., 2012. Mice, scats and burials: unusual concentrations of microfauna found in human burials at the Neolithic site of Catalhoyuk, Central Anatolia. Journal of Social Archaeology, 12 (3), 380 - 403.
203. Benjamin S. Arbuckle, 2012, A Companion to the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, part 11. Animals in the Ancient World p. 210, editor: D. T. Potts, Wiley-Blackwell.
204. Stephanie W. Jamison, H. Craig Melchert, and Brent Vine. 2009, Ancient Felines and the Great-Goddess in Anatolia: Kubaba and Cybele.In Proceedings of the 20th Annual UCLA Indo-European Conference. page: 53–67. Bremen: Hempen.
205. Lynn E. Roller, 1999, In Search of God the Mother - The Cult of Anatolian Cybele, University of California Press
206. Starkovich BM, Stiner MC. 2009. Hallan Çemi Tepesi: High-ranked game exploitation alongside intensive seed processing at the Epipaleolithic-Neolithic transition in Southeastern Turkey. Anthropozoologica 44(1): 41-61.
207. Driscoll, Carlos A., David W. Macdonald, and Stephen J. O'Brien, 2009, From wild animals to domestic pets, an evolutionary view of domestication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106. Supplement 1: 9971-9978.
208. Grahn, R. A., Alhaddad, H., Alves, P. C., Randi, E., Waly, N. E., & Lyons, L. A. (2015). Feline mitochondrial DNA sampling for forensic analysis: When enough is enough!. Forensic Science International: Genetics, 16, 52-57.
"Sampling was conducted at veterinary clinics as owners randomly brought their cats into the clinics for veterinary care. Admittedly, some of the sample sets may lack sufficient samples to be truly representative of a population".
"Geographic Mediterranean RB samples (n = 275) include representatives from Egypt (n = 131), Israel (n = 41) Turkey (n = 55),Tunisia (n = 14), and Kenya (n = 34).The 26 cat breeds (n = 332) presented in previous studies were grouped as one population and were also partitioned based upon genetic affinity (European, Asian and Mediterranean) and analyzed with and without the progenitor populations. Genetic Mediterranean RB (n = 263) includes Italy, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and Tunisia. Genetic Eastern Mediterranean RB (n = 132) includes Italy, Israel, Turkey, and Tunisia".
"Based on STRs and SNPs, genetic studies have defined approximately eight genetically distinct populations of cats, ‘‘cat races’’, including cats from Western European (including the Americas), Eastern Mediterranean, Egyptian, Middle Eastern, West Indian Ocean, Indian, Southeast Asian and East Asian races."
209. Yılmaz, O., Akbag H. I., Çoşkun F., Özçetin T., Ertugrul M. 2014, Çanakkale İlinde Yetiştirilen Kısa Tüylü Türk Kedisi’nin Tanimlanması (Determination of Short Hair Turkish Cat Raised in Province of Çanakkale). Turkish Journal of Agricultural and Natural Sciences (2): 1993-1997
The biggest issue with those studies is unwillingness to understand that natural cats are not breeds. 
210. Milius, Susan. "Life & evolution: Earliest farm cats found in China: Evidence points to grain as a force in feline domestication." Science News 185.2 (2014): 8-8.
211. Ervynck, Anton, and Marnix Pieters, 1992; De verspreidingsgeschiedenis van de huiskat: een bijdrage uit Vlaanderen. Archeologie in Vlaanderen 2:191-194.
212. Lentacker, A., & Cupere, B. D. (1994). Domestication of the cat and reflexions on the scarcity of finds in archaeological contexts. Colloques d'Histoire des Connaissances Zoologiques (Belgium).

2013. Johansson, C. (2012). Origin of the Egyptian Domestic Cat. Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), Uppsala University.
"The Egyptian cats of this study do not, at first sight, exhibit any phylogenetic positions that are distinguishing them from their world wide relatives as they do occupy three of the most common lineages defined by Driscoll et al. (2007). The origin of the contemporary Egyptian Domestic cat thus seems to be mixed and indicates that the Domestic cats spread thoroughly in ancient times."



Authors: Batu Aksoy
Last edited: March 14, 2015

1 comment:

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