It was long believed that the Chartreux was created by the Carthusian monks, who were also called “Chartreux”, but this is not the case. This cat’s popularity in France earned the breed the nickname “cat of the French”. Their thick fur is the main characteristic of this breed - it was so revered that it used to be sold and passed off as mink fur. Their golden eyes are another distinctive feature of this breed, for which reason they are very often, paradoxically, confused with the British Shorthair, the “cat of the English”.
Key facts about the Chartreux
Life expectancy :
Type of coat :Naked Short Long
Origins and history
Although it is said that the Chartreux is the only native cat from France, they were in fact originally native from Turkey and Iran, and transported to France at the time of the Crusades. Although legend has it that the breed was created and raised by Carthusian monks, which was said to explain their wisdom, calm and strength, this is not the case. The term ‘Chartreux’ actually appeared towards the beginning of the 18th century, within natural history and trade literature. Here, it was used to refer to their fur, which was often compared to the mink fur that was common within fur trade at the time.
The breed almost disappeared at the beginning of the 20th century, but was saved by the Chartreux-lovers of France. Local communities, particularly in Belle-Île, helped to build the breed back up to its former strength. Cats of the breed were even adopted by several well-known figures of the mid-20th century, such as Charles de Gaulle, whose cat, ‘Gris-Gris’, helped restore the Chartreux’s status as cat of the French. Even today, there are owners who maintain that their Chartreux is a descendant of Gris-Gris. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that the breed was popularised and accepted by the American associations, before today reaching recognition by almost all the feline associations in the world.
Physical characteristics of the Chartreux
Female : Between 12 and 14 in
Male : Between 12 and 16 in
They reach their adult size at the age of around 1 year but can continue to grow up to the age of 2 or 3 years.
Female : Between 7 and 11 lb
Male : Between 7 and 15 lb
The only permitted colour is blue, in all its shades, from the lightest to the darkest.
Type of coat
The Chartreux has a bulky, muscular and powerful body which gives them the appearance of a teddy bear. Their large yellow eyes stand out on their rounded face, and their famous coat is thick, woolly and waterproof.
Good to know
The Chartreux has some very close physical similarities with other blue-haired breeds such as the Korat and the Russian Blue, but it’s the British Shorthair that they are confused with the most often, in large part because of their eye colour. It should be noted that several lines of Chartreux were crossed with British Shorthairs in order to enlarge the gene pool of the latter, just as several lines of British Shorthair used the Chartreux to do the same.
With this kind of fur, it is not surprising that this cat likes to be cuddled. In this area, they stay true to their teddy bear looks.
They need to play often in order to maintain their muscular body. Ideally they will have two or three play sessions a day, lasting around 10 to 15 minutes, as well as having interactive slow feeder bowls to occupy their inquisitive mind while you are away.
They are able to tone down their energy and can easily go from playful kitten to peaceful cat sitting nicely on your lap.
The intelligence of the Chartreux makes them curious, but not to the point of getting themselves into trouble. However, it is best to know how to keep these cats busy, or they could become very creative in their quest for fun, and this creativity may not be directed towards things that please you!
Fearful / wary of strangers
Their calm nature makes them much more curious than fearful. This is a kitten with a sociable character who loves to meet the people who come to visit.
Like all domestic cats, these moggies can get along by themselves quite happily while you’re at work, but will take full advantage of your presence when you’re around.
Behaviour of the Chartreux
They aren’t known for being the most talkative of house cats, they usually are talkative when there is no other ways to make themselves understood.
Need for exercise / Sporty
Their muscular bodies need daily exercise to stay in good condition.
Tendency to run away
Their curious nature can make them prone to playing explorers. Be careful.
Greedy / Gluttony
Their physiognomy is easily accentuated so it doesn’t take much for them to put on a little too much weight. Using an interactive feeder bowl is often advisable with these curious cats.
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Chartreux and cats
Like most cats, they get on better with cats of different breeds than their own, but are nonetheless perfectly capable of getting along with companions of their own breed when they are correctly introduced.
Chartreux and dogs
Their stature and calm nature command a certain level of respect that allows these cats to live happily with dogs, who quickly learn to recognise the quiet strength of the Chartreux.
Chartreux and children
As they have plenty of energy to use, they love the company of respectful children to play with. They are easy to train and will not resort to means of defense when bothered too much. Be careful though, as their teddy bear looks often lead children to handle them like one - which is where they may sometimes lose patience.
Chartreux and the elderly
While some individuals are very calm, this is an active animal who needs to be played with often, and it is important that the owner is able to satisfy the active needs of this breed. Don’t be fooled by their appearance - they might seem like a layabout, but they really do need their human to get moving with them.
The average purchase price of a Chartreux is aproximately £400. The price often varies according to lineage, breeding, age or even sex. For the monthly budget, it will take about £25 per month to meet the needs of this feline, offering a quality diet and ensuring it stays healthy.
Their fur requires brushing once a week because, although it is short, the density means it cannot fall off. It is nevertheless very easy to brush their fur. Beyond the usual care required by all cats, there are no specificities for the maintenance of this particular breed.
The spring moult can be impressive and is often described as "exasperating". During this period, they will require more frequent brushing, and you can probably count on vacuuming a bit more often.
Nutrition of the Chartreux
A high quality diet is important to maintain this cat’s muscle mass, but there are no other dietary specificities.
Health of the Chartreux
The Chartreux has the normal life expectancy for a cat, around 13 to 15 years.
Strong / robust
As you’d expect, their thick fur is a natural insulator, which is particularly resistant to cold and almost as effective at protecting them from heat. With such an impermeable coat, this is a cat that doesn’t think twice about the temperature outside when deciding whether to go for a wander.
Tendency to put on weight
It is important to maintain a good level of activity to ensure this breed doesn’t get overweight.
There are no diseases typically related to this breed of cat, but diseases related to the urinary system (cystitis) and leg joints (dislocation, ball joints, etc.) may be more common.
There are no unique features about this breed’s reproduction.
Good names for a Chartreux cat: Cassie, Hermes, Neptune, Uzee