One of Disney’s claims to fame is having the most adorable, animated animals. One of the most popular to date is Marie, a luxurious white Turkish Angora from The Aristocats. She even earned her own day!
Learn more about Marie, the Turkish Angora, and how you can celebrate your love for this fluffy feline on her national holiday.
What Kind of Cat Is Marie?
Marie is a Turkish Angora, a fluffy white cat breed with a ballerina-like body and delicate appearance—just like the Disney character. Turkish Angoras are popular for not just their stunning looks but their affectionate and playful nature. They get along well with all members of the family—children and dogs included—and have a generally agreeable nature.
About the Turkish Angora
The Turkish Angora originated in Turkey in the 15th century. Unlike some of the breeds produced through selective breeding, Turkish Angoras are naturally occurring and are believed to have descended from the African wildcat. The long, silky coat could have come from a genetic mutation or an evolutionary adaptation to the snowy climate in Angora (present-day Ankara).
Early writings in Turkey, France, and Britain reference the Turkish Angora. It’s believed that they were first imported to the Americas in the 1700s. Turkish Angoras were shown in some of the earliest cat shows in the late 19th century, and Persian breeders began using them in breeding programs.
Oddly, deliberate breeding and crossbreeding of Turkish Angoras caused a population decline. With the breed’s storied history, the Turkish Angora became a “treasure” of Turkey, and the Ankara Zoo started a breeding program.
They were once solid white cats with blue or green eyes, but they’ve been bred to produce a range of colors and patterns, including Himalayan, Calico, Tortoiseshell, and Tabby. The Turkish Angora was first accepted by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in 1968, but the colored varieties weren’t official until 1978.
Does Marie Represent Turkish Angoras?
Like other popular pet characters, the affection for Marie led to people wanting a Turkish Angora. But how does the animated feline compare to the real cat?
Marie is a tiny cat with a big personality, but the actual Turkish Angora is a medium-sized cat. She is a kitten, however. She’s generally agreeable and highly curious, often embarking on misadventures. The actual Turkish Angora is also curious and should be kept indoors at all times.
Turkish Angoras also look like Marie with a fluffy white coat and blue eyes. However, her signature look, a pink ribbon around her neck, is best left to the cartoon characters. You can create a similar look with an embellished pink collar.
When Is Marie Day?
Marie Day is observed on February 22. It was first launched by Disney Japan and chosen to coincide with Cat Day in Japan.
Here are some fun facts about Marie:
- Marie was named after the Queen consort of France prior to the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette.
- Liz English voices Marie in the film.
- The Aristocats premiered in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve in 1970.
- Disney Press launched a book series based on the characters, The Aristokittens.
- Marie’s popularity led to a ton of licensed merchandise, including party supplies, plush toys, fleece blankets, and clothing, as well as high-end collector fare like figurines and wine glasses.
Whether you want a Turkish Angora or you’re a big fan of Marie, you can celebrate her holiday by:
- Adopting a cat from a local shelter or rescue
- Volunteering at a local shelter
- Encouraging cat adoption on social media
- Pampering your own cat with treats and toys
- Starting a donation drive for food, toys, and blankets for shelters
Marie, the Beloved Turkish Angora
It’s no wonder that Marie is one of Disney’s most beloved characters. Her real-life inspiration, the Turkish Angora, is just as popular among cat owners. If Marie is your favorite, you can find plenty of fun merchandise to celebrate. Or better yet, bring home your own Marie from the local shelter!
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Featured Image Credit: Aymara Herrera, Shutterstock