Chartreux cat is a French feline with uncertain origins but a pleasant demeanor that has made it the unofficial cat of France and a beloved pet abroad. The breed is notable for its solid blue-gray coat with a slightly woolly texture, bright copper or orange eyes, and quiet but friendly nature.
The origin of the Chartreux is very well-established that the breed dates back to the 15th or 16th century. The breed has a religious background. The unique woolly coat of these cats points back to Syrian roots, and it was believed that Crusaders returning from Syria to France brought the ancestor of the breed along.
Once in France, the cats proved themselves to be an excellent means of controlling rodent populations. Many accounts of the Chartreux’s history point to French Carthusian monasteries keeping these cats as a defense against rats and mice.
In the 1920’s, a methodical Chartreux breeding program was started when sisters Christine and Suzanne Leger encountered a colony of blue-gray cats living on a small island off the coast of France. The cats were notable for their striking appearance and unique woolly coat and the Leger sisters began to domesticate and breed them. Thus, resulting a strong, healthy Shorthaired Blue cat with a lovely face and a powerful body. In 1931, the cats were on a display at a cat show in Paris and the modern Chartreux cat became recognizable.
The breed then imported to Britain, not only to be bred as its own breed, but also to enhance the body, coat type and coat color of the British Shorthair.
During World War II, the breed was almost lost but with the help of some dedicated breeders, it has been brought back. Selective crossbreeding with Russian Blue, British Shorthair, and Persian cats ensured that this centuries-old cat didn’t disappear.
After the WWII, the breed grew in popularity in France. While first prized for its hunting prowess, the modern Chartreux became appreciated for its beautiful woolly coat, intelligence, and calm, friendly demeanor. In 1970, John and Helen Gamon brought the first Chartreux cats to the United States. This paved the way for the breed’s full acceptance into the Cat Fancier’s Association (CFA) in 1987.
The Chartreux is a medium-sized cat. She is heavily muscled and has heavy boning. She has a thick, rounded appearance. Males are larger than females.
As a powerful cat, all components should be well developed. She has a broad chest, a muscular neck, strong jaws, and a well developed muzzle. The legs are relatively thin but strong. She looks like what it originally was, a cat to keep rodents out of the barn and the house.
The coat of the Chartreux is thick and dense. It becomes much longer and thicker during the winter. The texture of the coat is relatively hard as it is protection for the cat.
- Weight: 6 to 8 kg
- Coat length: Short
- Amount of shedding: Medium
- Color: Blue, light ash to slate gray tone
- Pattern: Solid
Chartreux is a pleasant cat to have as a companion and of course best friend. She is easy going and placid. The breed can be a fiercely loyal, loving cat and will attach herself to every member of her family.
While the Chartreux will play, she actually doesn’t need hourly attention. If she is in the mood to play, she will bring a toy to you or your family members. She also plays well by herself. She is a good companion for single people as she plays in spurts and is comfortable by herself or with her parent.
- Lifespan: 11 to 15 years
- Active: Medium
- Intelligence: High
- Vocalize: Low
Chartreux has relatively few health problems and is a robust breed. However, there are a few potential health concerns that you need to be on the lookout for:
- Polycystic kidney disease: A condition where fluid-filled cysts impair the normal function of one or both kidneys.
- Struvite crystals: Small stones that form in the cat’s bladder as a result of too little hydration or an excessively alkaline diet.
- Luxating patella: Slipped kneecaps are sometimes a problem that plagues this cat breed.
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