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Cats have a vivid history, stretching back thousands of years. While some cultures view cats as mystical and wise creatures, others prefer cats as companions for hunting or even as indoor domesticated pets. One of the most notable cat breeds includes the Chartreux. With stunning blue eyes and soft fur, Chartreux cats stand out amongst the rest. When it comes to the Chartreux cat, there is evidence that this breed has existed for hundreds of years, originating in France.
Read on to learn more about the Chartreux breed, its history, physical characteristics, and care considerations.
- History & Origin of Chartreux Cats
- Physical Attributes of Chartreux Cats
- Behavioral Characteristics of Chartreux Cats
- Chartreux Cat Health Risks
- Caring For a Chartreux Cat
- Final Notes
History & Origin of Chartreux Cats
The first historical findings of the Chartreux breed of cat can be traced back to French poet Joachim du Bellay in 1558. While living in Rome, Bellay befriended a gray cat with beautiful blue eyes, which he wrote about directly in a poem, including the lines:
First of all, Belaud
was not entirely gray
unlike those that are born in France …1
Later, in 1637, an Italian scholar, Ulisse Aldrovandi, published a text regarding the discovery of the Cat of Syria. The Cat of Syria describes a cat that includes a diversity of pale and dark ash gray colors which is originally from Syria for which it is named". Not only is the breed considered beautiful and exotic, but it is noted as an ideal breed for hunting with a steady temperament. Much of the description of The Cat of Syria mirrors the breed profile of the Chartreux cat today.1
While the discovery of the Chartreux breed can be traced back to the 1500s, the actual naming of the breed arrived much later, in 1723. Jacques Savary des Brûlons, who was designated as the Inspector General for the French king, was responsible for collecting and compiling useful data from commonly used terms and items that were discovered in commerce at the time.1
Unfortunately, Savary would not live to see his work published. However, his brother, Louis-Philemon, published his works in 1723. The final published copy of Savary's findings is titled Dictionnaire Universel. It is important to note that when Chartreux cats were first described by both Savary and Bellay, the cat was referred to as "blue", rather than a traditional gray. Many Chartreux cats are known to have a range of gray and blue tints to their fur, most likely attributing this description.1
The expansion and pedigree breeding of Chartreux cats did not begin until the 1920s. Once the Chartreux breed had been established as healthy, intelligent, mild-mannered, and agile, it became much more appealing to professional breeders. After World War II, however, many domesticated breeds came close to extinction. This led to a common tactic of cross-breeding. In many instances today, Chartreux cats are bred with the blue British Shorthair.2
Physical Attributes of Chartreux Cats
Chartreux cats are known for their blue-gray coats of fur that are extremely soft and luxurious in nature. Most Chartreux cats have water-repellent coats, providing them with enhanced agility and an improved ability to swim.
The Chartreux's fur is extremely soft and similar to wool in nature, making it extra appealing and comforting. When looking at a Chartreux, you will likely notice its medium to large body frame and small, thin legs. Chartreux cats are known for their thin legs and wide, robust frames.
Typically, a Chartreux cat will weigh anywhere between 7 and 17 pounds when fully grown, and will typically measure between 9 and 11 inches in height. Chartreux cats live between 11 and 15 years, depending on genetic, lifestyle, and environmental influences.3 4
To summarize, the physical characteristics associated with the Chartreux cat breed include:
- Blue-gray fur coat
- Soft, wool-like fur
- Water-repellent fur
- Bright blue, green, hazel, or brown eyes (typically blue with a purebred Chartreux cat)
- Large, round-eye shape
- Robust frame with small, thin, dainty legs
- May appear to be smiling at all times
Behavioral Characteristics of Chartreux Cats
Chartreux cats are typically known to be calm, mild-mannered, yet also excellent hunters. This makes for an extremely interesting and fun breed. Whether you are looking for a cat to play with or you enjoy showing your cat love and affection, most Chartreux cats make the perfect companions.2
The Chartreux cat is known for being extremely gentle, mild-mannered, and loving. You may also notice that your Chartreux cat is intelligent, attentive, and understanding when you speak. Teaching your Chartreux cat new words and phrases may be easier than with alternative breeds that are not as attentive.2
You will likely quickly realize how easygoing a Chartreux cat is once it is comfortable with you and in your home. The Chartreux cat breed is not only calm and mellow, but it is also extremely quiet. You will rarely hear a Chartreux cat meowing incessantly, as this behavior is simply not in their nature.
Other notable Chartreux cat characteristics that stand out from other domesticated cat breeds include the distinct smiles that they often appear to have. Anytime you look at a Chartreux cat, you may notice that its lips are facing upward, giving it the appearance of smiling. For cat lovers who are seeking a cute and adorable breed, the Chartreux does not fail to deliver.
Along with its stunning soft blue-gray coat of fur and smiling face, the Chartreux is also one cat that stands out due to its gorgeous eyes. Many Chartreux cats have bright blue eyes, although it is not entirely uncommon for a Chartreux to have green, yellow, or brown/orange eyes, depending on its lineage.
The most common behavioral attributes associated with the Chartreux breed include:
- Agile hunters
- Calm and easygoing
If you are in the market for a new kitten, consider the type of pet you are interested in before settling on a breed that is right for you.
Chartreux Cat Health Risks
Before adopting any cat breed, including a Chartreux cat, it's important to understand the potential health risks within the breed. When it comes to the Chartreux cat, maintaining proper tooth health is essential to minimize the risks of developing serious or severe issues, such as periodontal disease.5 You can care for your Chartreux cat's oral health by incorporating the following tips into your regular pet routine:
- You should brush your cat's teeth with the use of cat-friendly toothpaste and a proper feline toothbrush.
- Visit the veterinarian regularly for dental checkups and cleanings.
- Invest in chewy snacks that are designed for dental care.
- Use oral wipes designed for cats.
It is also important to consider the type of tick, heartworm, and flea prevention treatments you will be using for your Chartreux cat. Even if your Chartreux cat is an indoor cat, it's important to protect them with the proper solutions and treatments year-round. Work together with your local veterinarian to determine which heartworm medications and flea/tick ointments or treatments are right for you.5
Caring For a Chartreux Cat
Caring for a Chartreux cat requires an understanding of its basic nutritional needs to prevent health issues such as heart trouble and even obesity. Because the Chartreux cat breed is known for being calm and easy-going, this can lead to inactivity if they do not regularly play.
Research trusted sources for valid nutritional advice that can help you to choose a diet that is optimal for your Chartreux. If your Chartreux is prone to allergies or has sensitive skin, you may need to choose a specialized diet, depending on the advice and recommendations of your veterinarian.
Invest in cat toys and climbing towers to keep your cat busy, occupied, and active at all times, especially when you are out of home or at work. Although the Chartreux breed is known for being independent and does not need constant attention, providing them with towers and toys can encourage them to remain healthy and fit.
Are Chartreux cats expensive?
Yes. If you are someone who is seeking a purebred Chartreux from a professional breeder, expect to pay anywhere between $500 and $2,500 each, with an average cost of $750.6 Oftentimes, this fee includes the cost of any veterinary bills and vaccinations that were originally required for the kitten.
Do Chartreux cats meow a lot?
Surprisingly, Chartreux cats are one of the few popular domesticated breeds that are known not to meow. Most Chartreux cats are extremely quiet, so it is important for pet owners of a Chartreux to become familiar with the body language and chirping sounds that their cat is more likely to show off. While Chartreux cats do not typically meow, they will chirp and create trill sounds in an attempt to communicate their wants and needs to surrounding owners.
Are Chartreux cats good pets?
Yes! Chartreux cats make wonderful gentle companions for those who live alone as well as those with children in the household. The Chartreux breed is not only docile and friendly, but extremely intelligent, attentive, and loyal.
Chartreux cats may be the perfect pet choice for those who are looking for a loyal, loving, long-term companion by their side. Whether you want to adopt a pet who loves to play, cuddle, or simply receive attention from you, it is no surprise that the Chartreux cat is a popular choice today.To learn more about the Chartreux cat breed and to discover if a Chartreux cat is right for you and your household, click here to read more blogs on Dutch.
CFA Chartreux Breed Council, www.chartreuxbc.org/breed/early-history/. Accessed 27 July 2023.
“About the Chartreux.” The Cat Fanciers Association Inc, www.cfa.org/chartreux/. Accessed 27 July 2023.
“Chartreux.” PetMD, www.petmd.com/cat/breeds/c_ct_chartreux. Accessed 27 July 2023.
“Chartreux Cat Facts.” ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, 6 Dec. 2021, www.aspcapetinsurance.com/resources/chartreux/.
“Chartreux Cats: What to Know.” WebMD, www.webmd.com/pets/cats/what-to-know-about-chartreux-cats. Accessed 27 July 2023.
Cats.com. “Chartreux.” Cats.Com, 5 Apr. 2022, www.cats.com/cat-breeds/chartreux.