Quiet but very smart,
Chartreux Cats the
working cats of France
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The Monastic Chartreux
The Chartreux is an internationally recognized breed of
domestic cat that is from France. They are the native
working cat of France, in the same way that the Domestic
Shorthair is in North America.
The Chartreux has a large, muscular body and fine-bone limbs
that end in big paws. They are characterized by a bluish
gray, water-resistant short, plush double coat. It is said
that all the grooming the waterproof coat of the Chartreux
needs is a gentle petting with your hand.
Chartreux cats are known also for the smile that is formed
by the long tapered muzzles and the shape of their heads.
The eyes are rounded but the outer corners slant upward
slightly, and according to the standard must be gold to
copper colored. Their ears are medium sized and set high on
Legend tells that the Chartreux are descended from cats that
were brought to France by the Carthusian monks to live in
the order's head monastery called the Grand Chartreuse. The
Grand Chartreuse is located in the mountains north of the
city of Grenoble.
Another legend states that the Chartreux are descendents of
feral cats that lived in the mountains of what was Syria and
that they were brought to France by Crusaders in the
thirteenth century, many of whom entered the Carthusian
monastic order after their return.
Still another idea for the origin of the name Chartreux is
that they were named after popular Spanish wool of the early
1700's because of the thick, wooly nature of their coats.
What is known for certain is that the breed goes back to
sixteenth century France and has changed little over the
The breed faced extinction after World War II and European
breeders kept the breed from going extinct. In 1987, the CFA
fully accepted the Chartreux breed for its shows. Chartreux
cats are still moderately rare, especially in the New World.
The Chartreux cats have the first letter of their official
name encoded by the year of their birth, so all Chartreux
cats born within that year have official names beginning
with the same letter. The code letter rotates through the
alphabet every year, excepting letters K, Q, W, X, Y and Z.
As an example, the letter for 2002 was T, and all Chartreux
cats born in that year had an official name starting with
the letter T (Teddy, Theodore, Tom, and etcetera).
The Chartreux are a very quiet breed of cat and don't make
any unnecessary noise. Some are even mute. They are
intelligent and quite observant and have been known to
figure out how to turn on radios and open screen door
latches. According to French literature they have long been
highly prized by farmers due to their exceptional hunting
skills and lightning fast reflexes.
The Chartreux has a thick, strong body and relatively short,
fine-boned legs. They mature slowly and it takes two years
for them to reach their full growth. In general they are
healthy, non-aggressive, affectionate, good travelers and
are great with other animals and children. They tend to bond
closely with one family member but are affectionate with the
rest of the family. This is another cat breed that is
considered "dog like" in its companionable nature and
Picture Chartreux Cat
Extra precautions and advice for the Chartreux Cat
By: Jane Bicks, D.V.M.
A large gentle powerhouse of a cat, the Chartreux
is a smiler, a jumper, a hunter and great for
It's think bluish coat is plush and should glisten.
Though capable of numerous cat-tivities, it has
a tendency to be lazy and often enjoys entire
afternoons just sunbathing.
His coat should be shiny, no at all dull. If
your cat isn't fed an alternative cat food, give him
a well rounded balanced supplement daily.
Choice for a Savory, Dining Cuisine for
a Chartreux Cat
Do not overfeed cat food to your Chartreux.
Once a month, gently pinch your pet's side to be
sure you can still feel his ribs. A Chartreux can
easily become very chubby. Exercise is a must.
Feed low magnesium cat foods. The incidence of FLUTD
is frequent. Add 1 - 2 tablespoons of tomato juice
to moist food three to five times weekly and
supplement the diet with 200 mg of ester powdered
vitamin C daily.
also info on FLUTD
Always keep fresh water available.
Hairball Management for Chartreux Cats