With their heterochromia – different colored eyes – and their usually snow-white fur, Van cats, a distinctive landrace of the domestic cat found in the Lake Van area of eastern Turkey, have for ages enchanted all who laid eyes upon them. So, it is only expected that there is a contest in Van to find the most beautiful among them, with “Mia,” a Van cat with blue and green eyes and pure white fur, taking home the first-place medal this year.
Mia posed for the visitors with the medal around her neck after getting full points from the members of the jury and coming first in the “Van Cat Beauty Contest” held as part of the “Shopping Fest,” organized for its sixth annual iteration in Van .
The contest is part of an ongoing effort in the promotional activities for Van cats, which are registered as a national breed in Turkey and whose reputation has spread beyond the borders of Turkey.
The Van cats are one of the most striking features of the historical city, famous for their friendliness, their white, silky fur, their lion-like walk, their long, fluffy fox-like tail, different eye colors and fondness for water .
The contest was organized as part of the “Shopping Fest” events under the leadership of Van Metropolitan Municipality. The Van Yüzüncü Yıl University (YYÜ) Van Cat Research Center participated in the competition with two cats out of the 32 Van cats who exhibited their skills in the contest. Mia was one of those two cats and took home the gold medal.
Professor Abdullah Kaya, director of YYÜ Van Cat Research Center, stated that their center focuses on the breeding of original Van cats and carries out research on them. Kaya stated that it was important for them to protect the Van cat from extinction.
“All the activities organized to promote the Van cat are very valuable to us. In this respect, cat beauty contests are also important for us. Therefore, as the center, we participated in the cat beauty contest organized by Van Metropolitan Municipality for the sixth time, this year, with two cats,” Kaya said.
“We did not participate in the competition with our cat, which had won an international cat beauty contest before. We did this in order not to affect the result of the competition. However, our cats that participated in the contest came first and second. “
Expressing that there were very valuable competitions in terms of bringing the Van cat to the forefront and raising awareness of its characteristics, Kaya said that the interest in the Van cat has increased thanks to such competitions. Kaya noted that Mia, the champion cat in the contest, is pregnant.