Turkish Angora History history
Like all domestic cats, Turkish Angoras descended from the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). The mountainous regions of Eastern Turkey isolated cats brought by traders from Egypt, and through inbreeding and natural selection they developed into longhaired breeds like the Turkish Van and the Turkish Angora.
Longhaired cats were imported to Britain and France from Asia Minor, Persia and Russia as early as the late 1500s, though there are indications that they appeared in Europe as early as 1300s due to the Crusades. The Turkish Angora was recognized as a distinct breed in Europe by the early 1600s.
In 1917, The Government of Turkey in conjunction with the Ankara Zoo began a meticulous breeding program to protect and preserve what they considered a national treasure, pure white Turkish Angoras with blue and amber eyes. The program continues today. The zoo particularly prized odd-eyed Angoras (ie. Turkish Angoras with one blue eye and one amber eye). The Zoo has its own cat facility which houses both the Turkish Van as well as the Turkish Angora.
Turkish Angora, which was most recently brought to the United States in 1963, was accepted as a championship pedigreed breed in 1973 by the Cat Fanciers' Association. However, until 1978 only white Angoras were recognized. Today, all North American registries accept the Turkish Angora in many colors and patterns. While numbers are still relatively small, the gene pool and base of fanciers are growing.
A Turkish Angora was regularly held by Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice.