This grayish cat has a blue tint which is why it is often confused with the British Shorthair. This breed is rarely seen even in France — the country it originates from. Being family-friendly, tolerant towards children, yet fairly independent is what makes them a real gem in the feline world. They are thought to have lived with monks in the past, silently helping them to deal with disease-spreading rats.

Because Chartreuse cats are far from widely accessible, learning more about them is really worth it. There is always the possibility that a local breeder will have them for sale, and you could get a hold of this mesmerizing creature in an instant. Due to its beauty, amiable disposition and intelligence, you won’t think twice about it, even if the price is on the high end.

Chartreux – breed information

Chartreux – breed information

The Chartreux cat is athletic and muscular, with unproportionately fine-boned, strong limbs. The cat’s stout, broad shoulders are accompanied by a deep chest. These features make experts describe it as “primitive-looking”. Its face has the shape of an inverted triangle, which makes it less round and therefore distinct from the British cat. Additionally, Chartreux cats are born hunters, with great strength and great reflexes. 

Their average lifespan is between 11 and 15 years. As usual in nature, males are bigger than females. The length of this cat’s body can vary between 15 and 18 inches. Unfortunately, they have a tendency to put on weight, so the scales can display up to 17 pounds. Although cat owners who are considerate about their pet’s diet shouldn’t have a problem with this issue. 

Chartreux – appearance and coat color

Chartreux – appearance and coat color

This French cat’s coat is medium-length, thick and shiny with occasional creases. It is double layered and almost completely water-resistant. The fur’s color can be described as grayish-blue. The hair tips have a tint of silver. Therefore, Chartreux belong to a gray cat breed that makes us think of expensive silver and its decorative properties. Females typically have a softer and silkier coat than males.

Chartreux — eyes and smile

Another detail of this stunning animal’s appearance which really shines through is its eyes. The iris has a deep orange or copper color, contrasting with its bluish-gray coat. Chartreux have round, expressive eyes with their outer corners slightly narrowing upwards. To top it all off, we can’t forget about that irresistible “smile” which Chartreux owe to the unique structure of their head and cone-shaped muzzle. They have full cheeks and strong jaws. The latter quality made them excellent mousers in the past.

Chartreux — ears

This cat’s ears are medium size. They sit high on the head and are upright. Their tips are somewhat rounded.

Chartreux – resemblance to the British Shorthair

It’s worth noting that Chartreux cats are often mistaken for British Shorthairs. They were even once considered to be the same bloodline, but French breeders strongly protested against it. In what way are they different? Without getting into details, there is one particular feature that can be seen with the naked eye — the shape of their heads. That of a Chartreux is not as round and chubby as that of a British Shorthair cat. 

Chartreux – personality

Chartreux – personality

Most people dream about a cuddly and affectionate lap cat is Chartreux one of them? The short answer is yes. Their tolerance of children proves the point. They can be picked up easily and don’t mind being touched. If the situation is getting uncomfortable, they prefer to walk away rather than scratch. They are easy-going and gentle pets. 

By the same token, they are loyal and develop attachment to their owner, to the point that they can follow you everywhere you go. If you are looking for a cat that is constantly waiting for you to sit down on the couch, so they can accompany you — the Chartreux is a perfect choice.

Chartreux – playful and independent

We can’t describe the Chartreux cat’s personality without mentioning its physical and mental attributes. Due to the fact that this feline was an avid hunter in the past, with an adequate build, they enjoy all sorts of play. They are fast and dexterous, so balls, interactive toys, tracks and feather wands will definitely make them happy. Don’t worry if you are a bit busy, though. Chartreux cats are okay with playing on their own and occasional moments of loneliness. Not only are they sweet, but also quite undemanding.

Chartreux – intelligent and silent

Legend has it that Chartreux cats’ origins are connected with Carthusian monks who once brought them to a French monastery. Maybe that’s why they are so silent? The monks might have burdened them with their vows of silence. There must be a grain of truth to this story, as these gray felines are indeed very quiet — some may even be completely mute. If you are triggered by the meowing and crying of other „regular” cats, then the Chartreux is the breed for you. 

They also distinguish themselves from other breeds with their great intelligence. They can figure out how to press a button or turn on the tap by themselves. Providing them with stimulating games and riddles is  a good idea. You can incorporate clicker training into your daily cat routine to teach them tricks such as fetching. As they also enjoy travelling and discovering the world, you can take them out on walks on a leash. 

Chartreux – health

Chartreux – health

These exceptional cats are usually relatively healthy and can live up to 15 years. Thankfully, they don’t suffer from any heavy genetic defects. There are three main health problems with which both the cats and their owners sometimes have to deal with: 

  • polycystic kidney disease;
  • struvite stones in the urinary tract;
  • patellar luxation (dislocation of a kneecap).

You can minimize the occurrence of these conditions (or your cat’s discomfort if it is suffering from any of the above illnesses) with the right care, nutritional feeding and regular veterinary visits.

Chartreux – care

Chartreux – care

The grooming routine of this breed is strictly connected with its thick coat. Its harsh structure requires regular detangling to prevent knots. According to The Cat Fanciers’ Association, brushing your Chartreux is not recommended. Instead, you can just run your fingers through its fur daily. This way, you will kill two birds with one stone: your cat’s grooming and social needs will be met. Supply yourself with a good vacuum cleaner in the periods of fur thickening and thinning. 

Other activities worth incorporating into a regular cat care routine include: 

  • brushing the cat’s teeth; 
  • trimming its nails;
  • wiping the corners of its eyes;
  • checking the ears and cleaning them with a cotton ball if needed;
  • keeping the litter box perfectly clean; 
  • keeping your cat indoors.

Chartreux – diet

Providing your cat with nutritious food is definitely one of the keys to their health and longevity. The Chartreux is not a picky eater, which can lead to weight problems — they will eat everything in big quantities if they get the opportunity. Maybe the famous saying “to eat like a horse” should be changed into “to eat like a Chartreux”? The cat’s diet should obviously be high in good-quality protein. Apart from commercial products made especially for our fellow felines, you can also feed them raw fish and meat. 

Chartreux – how to find a reputable breeder

Although the Chartreux is not a popular breed, you can find many different breeders on the market. The question is how to find a responsible and reputable one. Always check if the seller is ethical enough not to sell Chartreux kittens to pet stores and wholesalers. Remember to ask them about medical tests. If a breeder performs all the necessary health check-ups, you can be almost certain that your cat won’t be dealing with any serious illnesses. 

To an extent, it is also possible to rule out some genetic conditions. Make sure that your Chartreux kitten hasn’t been separated from its mother too early. Otherwise, it can be fearful and develop some other behavioral issues. Finally, make sure you meet your cat before you purchase it. This way, you can ask the breeder all the necessary questions and check the documents for yourself. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Chartreux – price

The Chartreux cat price may vary depending on a few different factors. However, on average, it ranges between $600 and $2500 USD. What influences the cost are the following: 

  • the cat’s age — elderly cats are cheaper than kittens; 
  • quality level: pet, show or breeding;
  • health reports and the number of diseases the cat has been screened for;
  • pedigree.

Getting an older or a rescue cat may be a good idea if you want to tighten the purse strings. Elderly cats are equally sweet and loving creatures which you can spend movie nights with.

Chartreux – history

Although the truth about the breed is veiled in mystery, according to legend, Chartreux cats have their origins in the territories of modern Syria. Their ancestors could have been feral mountain cats. Crusaders imported them to France, where the animals took up residence in Carthusian monasteries. One extraordinary Chartreux was mentioned in a poem by Joachim du Bellay, as early as 1558. A mourning owner expresses their sadness about their companion’s death, but also praises its qualities:

Belaud, lethal foe of rats;

Belaud, with such charms as nigh

To earn immortality.

First of all, then, let me say,

Belaud was not wholly grey

As cats which in France are born,

But like those which Rome adorn.

Silvery grey, and softer far

Than or silk or satin are.

The French cat was also depicted in a beautiful painting by Jean-Baptiste Perronneau. Quite a  few prominent historical figures were in fact Chartreux owners, including the French poet Charles Baudelaire and the president Charles de Gaulle.

Chartreux and their first trip to the USA 

Helen and John Gamon from California were responsible for bringing the first Chartreux cat to the United States in 1971. How did this happen? It definitely wasn’t an easy task at the time. Helen got interested in the breed after reading about it in a book about felines. When she and her husband were visiting an old friend in France, they decided to search for a Chartreux for themselves. It took them three months to do so, but they finally succeeded. Even today the cats imported by them to America are considered the Adam and Eve of modern american Chartreux.

Chartreux – who are they perfect for?

The Chartreux seems like the perfect cat for everyone. It’s independent enough for single people and patient enough for families with children. It’s an affectionate lap cat which is also not particularly intrusive — homebodies will definitely enjoy its company. Chartreux cats also enjoy travelling. They really embody the whole package of all the best feline qualities.

Chartreux and other animals

Chartreux are generally gentle towards other animals, such as cat-friendly dogs. They are also known for their dog-like behavior, as they can learn to fetch small objects or respond when called by their names. 

Chartreux and training

Chartreux are highly intelligent animals and as such require regular mental stimulation. Although there is no particular type of recommended training, teaching your cat new tricks can be an engaging activity and  an opportunity to strengthen your bond. Clicker training has recently gained much popularity — and it’s a good starting point. Training can also play an important role in this French cat’s weight control. 

Don’t be mistaken by their slightly chubby look. Chartreux are extremely agile and can surprise you with their hunting skills when given the opportunity.

Chartreux – fun facts

  • In 2007 there were only two dozen breeders of these cats in the whole of North America;
  • The French president Charles de Gaulle called his Chartreux Gris-Gris, referring to the cat’s color and an African lucky charm;
  • They are also known as “potatoes on toothpicks” because of their peculiar physique;
  • The breed has advanced to the championship status in 1987;
  • When these cats find something interesting, they chirp rather than meow;
  • In the past, they were appreciated by farmers for keeping their barns free of pests;
  • Chartreux were on the brink of extinction during World War II;
  • In the 18th century their fur was traded for pelts;
  • The Chartreux, Korat, and Russian Blue are the only breeds that can officially be described as blue;
  • The Chartreux is the official mascot of the largest jazz festival in Montreal, Canada.

Chartreux are prized for their vitality, intelligence, affection, coat color and texture. If you get a hold of this rare feline, you won’t ever need any other lucky charms in your life.