Interest toward Van cats (Vana Katou in western Armenian), which are one of the most valued and iconic symbols of Van city in eastern Turkey, grows among tourists and residents annually.
Ermenihaber reports that the number of offspring has increased in March 2019 and exceeded the annual rate of baby cats born 3-4 years ago.
The numbers were reached to due to specialized care by the Cat Research and Application Center that was established in 1987 to protect Van cats and increase breeding rates.
The head at the centre has told the local media they had a target of giving one Van cat to every household and they will continue to work until they reach it.
To note, Van cats are a distinctive landrace of domestic cat, found in the Lake Van region. They are relatively large, have a chalky white coat, sometimes with ruddy coloration and
different eye colors. The cats have traditionally been a cultural icon among Armenians as prior the 1915 Genocide the area had a large Armenian population.
Van cats are featured in Armenian culture and literature In the early 1910s Armenian writer Vrtanes Papazian wrote a short novel in which the cat has been used as a symbol of the Armenian liberation movement. Armenian authors Raffi, Axel Bakunts, and Paruyr Sevak have featured Van cats in their works as well.