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Among the sadder stories including the Van Cat are tales of how the Turks would use the animals as a means of torture of Armenians before and during the genocide.

One tale relates how Turks would capture Armenians, strip them, and stuff them into cloth bags with Van Cats, beating the bag.

The Van cat is considered a rare breed, one of the most beautiful and certainly the most unusual breeds of a cat ever known.

Vans have a long history dating back to the earliest records of Van and ancestral Armenia.

But as with much of what was originally Armenian, the Van cat has been mistakenly mislabeled as Turkish, which is a cause of controversy.