The Chartreux (pronounced shar-TRUE) is a lovely blue-grey kitty with striking copper eyes. Similar to the British Shorthair, the face is not as broad and there are no other color variations like there are with their British cousins. They have fast reflexes and are prized for their rodent hunting skills. An interesting trait of a pedigreed Chartreux is that their official names begin with the the same letter depending on the year. For example, cats born in 2013 all have names that start with the letter "I." 2014 names will start with the letter "J." The letters K, Q, W, X, Y and Z will be omitted.
The striking features of the Chartreux are their beautiful copper eyes and double-thick blue-grey coat with silver frost that sometimes appears to have breaks in it like sheepskin. The name may have, in fact, originated from a type of Spanish wool with the same name. Like wool, the short, dense coat is water resistant. The Chartreux appears to be smiling due to their head and muzzle structure. The body is large and muscular with somewhat shorter slender legs. The body is neither cobby nor slender. The breed is sometimes unflatteringly described as a potato on toothpicks, but don't let that fool you - this is a beautiful and very agile cat. The intriguing copper-colored eyes are rounded but slightly pointed in the upper outside corners.
According to legend, the Chartreux was brought to the monastery, Le Grand Chartreux, which was located in the French Alps near Paris after the crusades in the 13th Century. These blue cats were prized by monks for their mousing abilities and their quiet nature which did not disturb the monks' meditations. This natural cat has endured some tough times through history often with little care. At times, even their pelts were sought after. The World Wars nearly decimated their populations and hybridizations were allowed in Europe to reestablish the lines with British Shorthairs and Russian Blues. The American lines are actually much more pure and breeders are fairly hard to find.
The Chartreux will often follow a favored family member around the house from room to room but isn't an in-your-face type of cat. They are friendly and playful with a well-developed sense of humor but will not be demanding. The Chartreaux may chirp for vocalization rather than mew when it sees something exciting in the window. They are very smart and can often figure out how to open cabinets, turn on faucets and get what they need, including human affection. This cat can take up to three years to mature out of their gangly teen appearance.
Breed Club Links: The Cat Fanciers' Association
BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings: Bamboo Fishing Pole Cat Toy
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Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.