With soulful eyes, a Mona Lisa smile and a blue-grey coat with silvery-coloured tips, the Chartreux is an attractive cat. Combine this with a gentle, loving and dog-like personality – and you have the ideal family pet.
Chartreux are friendly and loving but not as demanding of your attention as other breeds can be, they enjoy their personal space and will be happy to sit alongside you on the couch rather than on your lap. Their gentle, placid temperament makes them especially good with children and other pets. If they develop a close bond with a member of the family they will often show their affection through gentle head butts.
Agile and athletic, the Chartreux is a born hunter and a great mouser – their exceptional hunting ability is well documented in French literature. In the absence of prey they like to engage in games of fetch, chase and tag earning them a reputation for dog-like behaviour. Like dogs, they also form strong attachments to humans, and will generally respond when they hear their name being called.
They are not a vocal breed – some will seek to communicate with you in a soft voice or chirp quietly when something interests them, others will rarely talk at all and instead purr contentedly in your company.
Did You Know?
The Chartreux’s physical characteristics – a solid, muscular body, broad shoulders, deep chest with medium-short finely boned legs – have led to them being jokingly described as a ‘potato on toothpicks’.
The French Chartreux is one of the oldest cat breeds in the world and is said to have derived its name from a type of wool called ‘Pile de Chartreux’ which was imported from Spain in the 18th century. Another legend says that the Chartreux cats were bred by liquor-making monks in the French Alps.
Chartreux breeders use a traditional naming system, naming kittens born each year after a specific letter of the alphabet, with the letters K, Q, W, X, Y, and Z omitted. Kittens born in 2014 will have a name starting with “J”.
Unlike other cat breeds that mature around one year of age, Chartreux don’t reach full size or maturity until they are three or four years of age. They are known for their’ gawky adolescent’ phase.
Caring for Your Chartreux Cat
The Chartreux is generally a healthy and hardy cat although it is genetically prone to patellar luxation (dislocated kneecaps) and hip dysplasia.
You may also need to pay attention to their diet and measure their food intake as this breed does have a tendency to become obese fairly easily.
Their medium length blue-grey coat is thick and woolly similar to a sheep’s wool and relatively low maintenance. Running your fingers through their coat on a daily basis, and a weekly grooming session during their shedding season is usually all that is required to keep their coat in top condition.
If you have a Chartreux cat in your life, please share your experiences in the comments below.
Image: Stephane Martin via Flickr