Chartreux can be described as a rare breed of domestic cat originated from France and is recognized by a number of records office around the world.
There is a legend that the Chartreux are descended 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.
But 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’s ancestors were feral mountain cats from what is now Syria, brought back to France by returning Crusaders in the 13th century, many of whom entered the Carthusian monastic order.
As with so many breeds, however, it’s not really known how the cats came by their name or how or where they were developed. One of the earliest references to a French gray cat dates to 1558, an epitaph for Belaud, who belonged to poet Joachin de Bellay. Bellay describes Belaud “death to rats,” which is certainly an attribute of the breed, then and now.
Chartreux kittyThe first reference to the name Chartreux for the blue cats is found in the Universal Dictionary of Commerce, Natural History and the Arts and Trade of Savvary of Brusion, published in 1723, which also mentions the cats’ association with the fur trade.
French naturalist George-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, described them as the cat of France and gave them the Latin name Felis catus coeruleus, meaning blue cat. This is a supple, agile cat who typically weighs 7 to 16 pounds at maturity.
Pick him up and you may be surprised by his heft. Chartreux grow slowly and males especially may not reach their full size until they are 4 or 5 years old.
It is known to be very quiet. Therefore, owners shouldn’t be concerned of excessive and undesirable crying or meowing, especially at night. He is more likely to walk away than to scratch if he doesn’t like the way he is being handled.
Parents with young children should always supervise interactions to make sure the cat isn’t mistreated. He is happy to live with cat-friendly dogs, too, thanks to his amiable disposition.