A popular breed of cat, learn more about this exquisite French feline: the Chartreux.

Origins of the Chartreux

Although not exactly known, many consider the Chartreux to be a classic French cat. Known as the "blue cat of France", some believe the breed was brought to Europe after the Crusades in 1110. First reference to these cats was made in writing during the 16th century, with the general belief the breed was descended from the mountain cats of Syria.

Legend has it that these cats were adopted by Carthusian monks to kill rats spreading the plague. To appease their owners (or protectors), the Chartreux also made a vow of silence, making it a silent cat.

The Chartreux cat became very popular in the West and was praised in the royal courts of Europe.

The breed was officially recognised in 1939 thanks to the tenacity of devoted followers. However, the Chartreux nearly disappeared after WWII, followed by heavy cross-breeding - a popular choice with the British shorthair. It was saved by the "Chartreux cat club", which issued a new standard outlining the main features of this breed.

Celebrities also continued the breed's popularity with famous novelist Colette making a Chartreux the heroine of her book The Cat. Former French president Charles De Gaulle was also fond of the breed and had one nicknamed "gris-gris".

Although it is now present on all continents and known as a French breed of cat, the true origins of the Chartreux remain unknown.

Characteristics of the Chartreux

The main feature of the Chartreux is its unique coat. It is grey with a hint of blue in the sun hence its "blue cat" reference. The coat will darken to become more uniform as the cat passes its kitten years. The other defining feature of the Chartreux is the eyes. These are yellow-orange and very big. Due to these features, the Chartreux is often confused with other similar-looking breeds such as the Russian Blue.

This beautifully plush breed is often considered an ideal cat for family life. Thanks to their placid nature, Chartreux cats get along well with children and rarely show their claws. Despite that, they are still quite independent and proud. They also appear more friendly than some cats due to the somewhat permanent "smile" exhibited by the shape of their muzzle.

A Chartreux cat is known to be very calm and affectionate cat with people it knows well. It is not unusual for the Chartreux to climb and sit on their owner's shoulders.

It is said that the female is often more reserved than the male. However, during pregnancy, females typically seek the presence of their owner, at least until the birth of the first kitten.

The Chartreux has a strong hunting instinct and will be happiest living in a house with a garden. However, it can adapt to apartment living with the right the right amount of stimulation.

What do you know about the Chartreux?

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