Cat Breeds 101: Chartreux

Cat Breeds 101 - Chartreux - WP
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The Chartreux (pronounced as sh’r-TRUE) is a rare breed of domestic cat from France and is recognized by a number of registries around the world. The breed was said to be developed at Le Grand Chartreux monastery in the French Alps. The monastery was founded in 1084 by St. Bruno but the cats didn’t arrive there until the end of the Crusades in the thirteenth century when Crusading knights came home from their fights with the Turks and retired to monastic life. They brought with them plundered goods including blue cats picked up along the African coast. The monks bred the blue cats to have quiet voices so they would not disturb the monks’ meditation. [1] But in 1972, the monastery denied that their archives held any records of the monks’ use of any cat breed resembling the Chartreux. [2] The origin of the breed, therefore, is still not verified to this day but fanciers love to relate them with the monastery.

The cats lived freely in the streets of Paris and other areas of France and were not much valued except for their aptitude of vermin control and their skin (they were sadly hunted for their thick and woolly coat). It wasn’t until after the World War I that French cat lovers took steps to preserve the breed. They gathered as many cats as they could and wrote a breed standard. Chartreux cats were first imported in the United States in 1970 and were recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1987. [3] Today, the breed is recognized by all major American cat associations. However, they are less known in Europe even in their homeland France.

Chartreux cats are known for their quiet and gentle nature. The quickly become attached to their family and frequently follow them from room to room. They can be taught to fetch a ball and most will respond to their names. They are also the ultimate TV-watching pal! These cats love sitting near a sunny window watching the birds and other outdoor wildlife. [4]

Their coat is one of their best features. It is a short, double coat that has a slightly woolly texture but this varies depending on the cat’s age, gender and the climate in which he lives. The coat can be any shade of blue-gray and the tips look as if they have lightly brushed with silver. Kittens have faint tabby markings or tail rings which will eventually disappear when they mature. [3]

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