However, carvings and inscriptions found in Assyrian and Urartian records showing the cat as a favored animal or deity predate the Turkish existence in the area by 2000 to 3000 years, causing no end of consternation to present day Turkish historians.
Archaeological finds in Van province of relics possibly from an ancient battle during the occupation of Armenia by the Romans (AD 75-387), including battle standards and armor bearing images of a large pale self colored cat showing distinctive rings on the cat's tail.
Even more recently, during the excavation by the British Archaeological Institute in Ankara of a late Neolithic (7000 years ago) site near Hacilar, 22 small terracotta statues said to be women playing with cats were found on one level.
Its skin is shell-pink, and its ears have long, delicately curved inner tufts, sometimes with 'feathers' on the tips.
Van cats can easily be trained, if treated sensibly, and apparently love to be with human beings.
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.