A British Shorthair lookalike, the Chartreux is unofficially the national cat of France, with subtle differences from the former. The gorgeous blue kitty has a natural smile on its round face. The playful felines are family friendly cats, who are easily adaptable and enjoy the company of cat-friendly pets and children.
Physical Characteristics of Chartreux Cats
This breed has a beautiful, short, thick, wooly and water-repellent blue-gray coat. And the tips of the fur look like they are silver.
A rounded head tapering near the mouth is a key characteristic of the Chartreux, giving him a natural smiling expression. Other defining features of the French cat breed include high and erect medium-sized ears, large, round, gold and copper eyes with curved outer corners, and large muscular body with a deep chest, short fine-boned legs, and broad shoulders. Their straight nose has a distinguishing slight stop at the eye level.
Young kitties have a warm blue-grey colored coat that looks lightly feathered with silver highlights. With age, the faint tabby marks gradually disappear, and the coat evens out to a uniform shade. A dense undercoat acts as a protective barrier from weather elements while creating a feeling of sheep’s wool.
Their thick wooly blue coat is easy to groom. Come spring, and the Chartreux coat needs regular brushing when he sheds his winter coat.
Chartreux kittens may have ghost barring or faint tabby markings, and even tail rings. These oddities somehow go away by the time they mature.
Personality and Temperament of Chartreux Cats
A highly affectionate cat breed, the Chartreux loves to remain seated in his owner’s lap every time he gets an opportunity. They are your ultimate television watching pals and would jump into your lap every time you sit down before the idiot box. They tend to be fascinated by all that’s happening on screen and would keep you entertained with their chirping attitude.
When the lap isn’t available, the“smiling” politekitty will follow his people from room to room, wanting to spend time with their favorite person in the family. With a sweet, personable, and amenable nature, they get along well with other cat-friendly pets and are the best companions for homes with children.
Their idea of a perfect day is all about short playtimes with naps and meals. Though not demanding, the Chartruex appreciates all the attention they get and enjoy gentle hand maneuvers between his ears and beneath the chin.
Their quiet temperament should not be mistaken, as their intelligent brain is always working in the background, thinking of new tricks to sneak into cabinets or go out on exploration drives from a louvered window. Clever with their paws, these cats skillful enough at opening latched windows or doors.
Unlike most other cat breeds, the Chartreux is willing to comply with the house “rules” to prove his gentle and pleasant temperament. He is content to devotedly follow you around the home, snuggle with you, and sleep in your bed.
A highly acrobatic cat, the Chartreux is playful and loves to climb. When given the opportunity, this cat breed has a reputation of being excellent mousers.
Health and Care of Chartreux Cats
Although the Chartreux are a generally healthy cat breed, they may suffer from patellar luxation, which if ignored, may cause lameness. It is a hereditary displacement of the kneecap, and severe cases require surgery.
Though they are not picky eaters, yet any changes in food or diet may cause problems, as the cat breed is sensitive to diet changes.
However, little dietary changes are normal. You should provide light food to seniors Chartreuxs to prevent them from becoming overweight while you may want to switch your young kitty to rich adult food.
Their short thick coat repels water and takes time to get completely wet, though it does not require much maintenance. However, it is a good idea to brush out dead hair during shedding season.
Some Chartreux cats may develop gingivitis if their teeth are not properlytaken care of. Periodic tooth checkups are a must.
History and Background of Chartreux Cats
The legends of “blue cats of France” began in the sixteenth century. The name Chartreux was first used during the 17th century. An early reference to a French gray cat dates back to 1558, when French poet Joachim Du Bellay wrote a poem for his cat Belaud. The name Chartreux – as a cat breed name – is found in the Universal Dictionary of Commerce, Natural History and the Arts and Trade of Savvary of Brusion. It was published and printed in 1723. The Chartreux was dubbed the “cat of France” by none other than French naturalist George-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon. He even gave the breed its Latin name Felis catus coeruleus, which means blue cat.
They were first introducedat a cat show in Europe in 1931. However, it was only in 1970 that the first Chartreux stepped into the United States. The CFA recognized the breed in 1987. Since then the Chartreux has become one of the most popular cat breeds in the country. Today, the Chartreux has risen to prominence in the United States to become the mascot of the Montreux Jazz Festival.
Earlier the bluegrey cat breed was not much valued until World War I, except for their skin and aptitude for pest control. It was only after World War I that the French breeders showed interest in the breeding of the Chartreux to preserve their breed from extinction.
Because of the Chartreux’s gray fur that resembled monk’s robes, the breed has been associated with France’s Carthusian order. The color of their fur plus their silent nature, it would have been understandable if the Chartreux indeed became companions of monks. Unfortunately, it’s still a pretty legend up to now and there is no real proof that this breed was kept by the Carthusians.