My interest in Van cats goes back to 1965 when I read an article on “The Swimming Cats of Van” by Laura Lushington in Animals magazine. From childhood I grew up with cats at home but my particular interest in this breed was their connection with Van. Although Van is now in Turkey it was part of the historic heartland of the Armenians and during the 10th & 11th centuries was an independent principality of Vaspurakan under the Artsruni dynasty, with its capital on the island of Aghtamar. The Armenian presence was significant here until the Genocide of 1915. My particular interest was that I am an Orthodox Christian and the Armenians were not only the first Christian nation but had valiantly maintained the Orthodox faith throughout the centuries despite having lost their nationhood.