Get to know the Chartreux Cat Breed

The Chartreux is a robust and shorthaired breed desired in French antiquity for its hunting intrepidity and dense, water-repellent fur. This breed’s muscular, strong type is sometimes termed primitive, as opposed to cobby or classic. Though adequately built, Chartreux are incredibly agile and supple, refined cats and never considered coarse nor clumsy.



Myths and legends

France’s addition to the cat world is the Chartreux (pronounced shär-TRUE), a blue cat with an amiable personality. The Chartreux has been around for numerous centuries, and it’s difficult to state with certainty from where and when it first developed. Like most breeds with rich histories, the Chartreux story is the stuff of myths. A famous tale tells that monks bred the Chartreux at the Grande Chartreuse Monastery, the principal monastery of the Carthusian order, situated north of Grenoble in southeastern France. The story goes that the Carthusian ordered the monks at the monastery. In their extra time, they bred Chartreux cats between praying, liqueur-making, and weapon-forging, and with the same skill and dedication, they created their renowned yellow and green Chartreuse liqueurs. Supposedly, they selectively bred the cats to have quiet voices not to disturb the monks’ meditations. Unfortunately, the story is a myth since the monastery’s records do not mention cats.


Nevertheless, a notice of the Chartreux breed is observed in the 1749 36-volume Histoire Naturelle (Natural History) by French biologist Comte de Buffon, which listed four cat breeds popular in Europe that time: Angora, Chartreux, Domestic, and Spanish. But the Chartreux probably came from the Near East, according to Jean Simonnet’s 1980 book The Chartreux Cat. The likely ancestor was described as the Cat of Syria by the Italian naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522–1605).

An illustration of the Cat of Syria reveals a muscular cat with solid blue coloring and rich, somewhat almond-shaped copper-colored eyes.
The Chartreux was established as a French breed to Europe from the Near East countries in exporter ships. Their survival is evidence of the breed’s endurance and adaptability since, for several centuries, people did not treat members of the breed with the mercy and respect they’ve earned today.Essentially street cats were valued for their rat-catching courage and, for a time, for their luxurious coat.

The current history of the breed originated in the 1920s when two sisters, Suzanne and Christine Leger, found a group of plush, shorthaired blue cats in the town of Le Palais on Belle Ile Island right off the shore of Brittany in the northwest of France. The free-roaming cats lived near the hospital and resembled the description of the Chartreux. The locals called them “hospital cats,.” The Leger sisters were overwhelmed with their thick blue coats and beauty. They were the first to manage the breed seriously, and they exhibited the cats in Paris in 1931.

Popularity and recognition

The breed soon became popular, but with World War II intervening, it decimated them and the country. The few remaining Chartreux were bred with blue British Shorthairs, Persians, and Russian Blues to keep the bloodlines going. The Chartreux began its journey to America in 1970, when the late Helen Gamon of La Jolla, California, carried the first Chartreux from France. In 1987, the breed achieved CFA championship status. And today, all North American associations recognize the Chartreux as a distinguished breed.

Personality & Temperament

Today Chartreux cats are famous because they make great companions. They are friendly, faithful, loving, and versatile. You’ll notice that when you sit down near your Chartreux, you always end up with a lapful of cherishing blue feline. Chartreux are the typical quiet types of the cat world; they’ll keep their remarks to themselves, even if waiting beside an empty food bowl. Chartreux will open their mouths as if to meow, but you’ll see that no sound comes out. If ever they vocalize, it’s generally with tiny trills or chirps. It’s fascinating to hear little chirps come out of those big, sturdy bodies and powerful jaws. They do, however, purr with much enthusiasm, essentially when you’re preparing their favorite snack. In addition, spending quality time with their preferred family member always makes them the happiest cats in the world.

The Chartreux, a dynamic and playful cat

Surprisingly, Chartreux cats also have a reserved but well-developed sense of humor and enjoy a good time, especially at your expense. They are known for their hunting intrepidity and powerful hunting instinct; they adore toys that move, ideally by human hands. Some of the favorites are feathered toys that whirl through the air. They soon discover playing fetch and enjoying playing with other cats and sometimes with an agreeable dog. They are intelligent cats who quickly learn their names, and you can even teach them to come when you call them. This cat is the perfect pet friend. As simple as a bowl of food, a clean litter box, and a soft bed, you’ll get a constant friend who entertains, loves, and cheers you up with its lovely smile and loving affection.



The Chartreux has a medium-sized cat with a muscular physique, wide shoulders, and a deep chest. They have firm boning, and their muscle mass is solid.
They have a rounded head with a strong jaw, a softly contoured forehead, and a straight nose of medium length. The muzzle is relatively small and narrow but big enough for a sweet, smiling expression.
The eye color ranges are copper to gold; a clear, vivid orange is the standard.
The Chartreux coat is medium-short and lightly woolly in texture. They also have a resilient undercoat and a longer protective topcoat. ‘Woolliness’ depends on age, habitat, and gender. For example, mature males exhibit heavier coats, and silkier, thinner coats are noticeable on females under two years. Their color is a shade of blue-gray from ash to slate with tips lightly brushed with silver.


Caring for your Chartreux

The Chartreux has a dense, wooly coat that needs regular grooming to avoid knots, especially when seasons change since they shed their undercoat a couple of times a year.
To help maintain your healthy cat, keep the nails trimmed, ears cleaned, and teeth brushed regularly with vet-approved pet toothpaste. Also, provide a nice tall scratching pole to ease their natural scratching instinct.

Chartreux cats don’t have any special nutritional needs other than quality dry kibble. It is essential to give them fresh, pure water every day when it comes to hydration. Freshwater is best, so they don’t hesitate to drink. A tip from cat behaviorists to help your cat drink sufficient water is to put a water bowl at least three feet away from food. Since cats’ noses are sensitive, an overwhelming food smell may cause them to drink less. Filtered drinking water fountains can also be a great alternative instead of a water bowl.

While the Chartreux is considered an overall healthy, robust breed, keep their vaccinations and parasite treatments updated. Make sure to keep your cat healthy by being proactive with vet checks and taking preventive care.

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