A cat with French origins
The Chartreux is a fairly rare French breed, known for its blue color and its coppery yellow eyes. The first blue cats were apparently descendants of the wildcats of the Syrian mountains, and were brought back to the West by the Crusaders in the Middle Ages. Its name began appearing in the 18th century and referred to its characteristic color.
In the early 1930s, a major group of Chartreux developed in Belle-Ile-en-Mer. The Léger sisters discovered the group and supported it to ensure its survival. Most modern Chartreux come from the Léger sisters’ original cattery and the breed standard was established at that time (in 1939 to be precise).
When the Chartreux began to arouse the interest of people in the early 20th century, it had already practically disappeared. It was through the efforts of a small group of European breeders that the breed was rescued from the danger of extinction after World War II.
In the late ‘60s, the Chartreux became a victim of authorized crossbreeding with the British Shorthair, which was nonetheless a completely distinct breed. Fortunately, since then, these two famous cats have become seen as two fully distinct breeds.
The Chartreux in Art and History
The Chartreux was mentioned for the first time in 1558 in a poem by Joachim du Bellay, entitled: Vers Français sur la mort d’un petit chat.
A second representation of the Chartreux was made in 1747 in a painting by Jean-Baptiste Perronneau, named Magdaleine Pinceloup de la Grange, and in which the cat was represented as a pet, which was fairly rare for the time.
In the early 20th century, the writer Colette, who owned several Chartreux, made her cat Saha into the hero of his book La Chatte and devoted descriptions to it in Les Vrilles de la vigne.
The General Charles de Gaulle had a Chartreux named Gris-Gris which, according to legend, followed him wherever he went. Following this, many Chartreux owners began to claim that their Chartreux were descendants of Gris-Gris.
Their head with their chubby cheeks and narrow muzzle gives them a smiling face
The Chartreux’s qualities
Very observant and intelligent, it is a playful cat who gets along very well with children and other animals. It is often even called a kind of “dog-cat.”
The Chartreux is quiet, not being a big talker. It rarely meows and some cats are even mute.
Non-agressive, affectionate, a good traveler and generally in very good health, this is a family cat.
The Chartreux’s shortcomings
It tends to create strong links with the person in the family whom it considers to be its favorite human. It will follow that person wherever he/she goes and prefers to be in his/her presence, although it will continue to feel affection for other members of the household.
Little anecdote: If it is educated properly, the Chartreux has the ability to play fetch, like a dog. Some of them have even learned how to switch radio sets on and off, as well as how to open door latches!
The Chartreux is a strong, flexible and agile cat, with a strong frame and a powerful musculature. Females are considerably lighter, though maintaining their strong appearance.
General Aspects of the Chartreux
- Skull: wide with rounded contours around the face.
- Cheeks: full and well-developed, especially in males older than 2 years.
- Profile: slightly concave at eye level with a high forehead and flat between the ears
- Stop: none.
- Nose: straight, wide and moderately long.
- Muzzle: fairly narrow compared to the whole head, with developed whisker pads.
- Eyes: large, expressive, well-rounded and open. They are moderately spaced and their color varies from yellow to orange.
- Ears: narrow at the base, slightly rounded and medium-sized, the ears are set high on the head.
Its neck is thick, strong and well-proportioned in relation to its head and its body.
- Neckline: strong, thick and short, the neckline is well-muscled.
- Shoulders: wide.
- Chest: deep.
- Legs: of medium length, the legs have strong bones and particularly well-developed muscles in males.
- Feet: slightly oval
- Tail: soft, of medium length, it is thick at the base and becomes gradually narrower.
- Snub or Roman nose
- Long or heavy muzzle
- Almond-shaped eyes
- Green eyes, or green circle in the eye color
- White spots
Brown reflections appear on their coat in the sunlight. In addition, going outdoors often accentuates the wooly aspect of their fur.Maya
Coat of the Chartreux
Moderately short, the Chartreux’s fur is dense and raised, seeming almost impermeable. Its abundant and slightly wooly undercoat gives its fur a certain thickness.
Small individuals may have tabby markings on their fur which gradually disappear within 6 to 12 months after their birth.
Color of the Chartreux
All shades of gray-blue, from light gray-blue to dark gray-blue are accepted, provided they are uniform from the tip to the root of the hairs. The nose should be slate gray, and the lips and feet pads should be blue.
Care for the Chartreux
The Chartreux moults heavily, especially in the spring when it loses its winter coat. Weekly brushing is recommended, using a double metal comb and a brush of softer natural silk, for example.
The Chartreux is known to be a good mouser, which it proves by bringing prey to its master.
The Chartreux is healthy without any particular identified problem.
The Chartreux is independent but enjoys the attention that humans give it. It is nonetheless sociable and does not see any problems with other animals encroaching on its territory.