Chartreux cats history
Legend has it that the Chartreux cats derive from cats brought to France by Carthusian monks to live in the order's head monastery, the Grande Chartreuse, located in the Chartreuse Mountains north of the city of Grenoble. Nonetheless in 1972, the Prior of the Grande Chartreuse denied that the monastery's archives held any records of the monks' use of any breed of cat resembling the Chartreux.
Legend also has it that the Chartreux cats descend from the "Cat of Syria," described in the 16th century as a stocky cat with a woolly ash-gray coat and copper eyes, which was first brought to Europe during the Crusades.
People probably began to use the name "Chartreux" for these cats during the 17th century. By the beginning of the 18th century, trade dictionaries and encyclopedias listed "Chartreux" as the common name of a type of blue cat whose pelt was prized by furriers.
Right after World War I, French cat breeders became interested in preserving this ancient breed for posterity. They put together a breed standard based on the 18th century naturalists' descriptions and were careful to utilize only those cats that bred true to the standard. Chartreux cats from these breeding programs were exhibited in European shows beginning in 1928.
Nowadays the Chartreux cats are ranked 26th in popularity among the breeds listed by the Cat Fanciers Association.
Chartreux cats naming
By tradition, all chartreux kittens born in a given year are named beginning with a specific letter of the alphabet for that particular year. Breeders use only 20 letters, omitting K, Q, W, X, Y and Z.
Chartreux cats personality
Chartreux cats tend to be quiet, rarely making noises such as mewing or crying, in fact some do not meow at all. Nonetheless, they do purr with great enthusiasm.
Neither gregarious nor shy, Chartreux cats are calm and tend to hang back and observe, rather than rushing in. They are tolerant and gentle with strangers, children and other animals. They are very affectionate and tend to bond with one person in their household. They will follow him everywhere and comfort him when he is sad or ill. Their supportive, cheerful presence can be wonderful for elderly people and people living alone.
Yet this devotion is never obtrusive. Chartreux cats do not demand attention, and are content to sit quietly when you are busy. They have a strong sense of proper behavior and likewise appreciate courtesy from others.
Chartreux cats tend to withdraw from conflict rather than becoming fearful or aggressive. They accommodate themselves to most situations without complaint. They even tolerate traveling without forgetting their good manners. Chartreux neither mind being left alone for long periods. Finally being creatures of habit, they enjoy the same games and rituals day after day.
Chartreux cat breed standards
According to the Fédération Internationale Féline, the Chartreux cat has a trapezium shaped head, meaning wide at the base and narrow at the top, with a narrow flat space between the ears.
The nose of the chartreux cat is broad and straight, with the the extremity of the muzzle jutting out from the jowls in some cases. Note that a snubbed nose is considered a fault.
The Chartreux cat ears are medium sized and slightly flaring. They are set high on the head giving the cat an alert look.
The Chartreux cat has large and open eyes. Their shape is not too rounded, with the outer corner being slightly turned upwards. Their color has to be pure and vivid, varying from deep yellow to deep copper. Any traces of green or watery (i.e. faded color tones) are considered a fault.
The body of the Chartreux cat is solid, firm and muscular, with a broad, well developed chest. The legs are of medium length, with strong muscles, ending to large paws.
The Chartreux cat tail is of medium length, sometimes tapering, however the tip must be rounded and of the same color as the body. The nose leather, as well as the paws can only be of blue-gray color.
The Chartreux coat, finally, should be glossy and dense, slightly woolly at the base, with a luxurious growth. Its double coat makes the hair stand out. All shades of blue are permissible, ranging from pale blue-gray to a deeper blue-gray. However, pale blue-gray is by far preferred.