Chartreux Cat Breed Profile

by catfood

Features, background, care suggestions, and other helpful details for pet owners

The French cat known as the Chartreux cat, which has unclear origins but a kind nature, is the unofficial cat of France and a beloved pet worldwide. Some characteristics that make this breed unique are bright copper or orange eyes, a solid blue-gray coat with a slight fuzzy texture, and a quiet yet gentle disposition.


The Chartreux has well-developed, powerful legs that look little and fine-boned in relation to its large torso. Frequently, its body length is longer than its height. The cat is a formidable mouser despite its odd appearance, and according to history, French Carthusian monks utilized these cats to control rodents in their monasteries.

Although the breed of cat known as the Chartreux is now rare in the United States, it is perfect for families looking for a mellow, social cat companion. People who are familiar with the species commend them for their excellent communication skills and unique personalities, despite the fact that they rarely make vocal requests. When the Chartreux has something to say, he could chirp to get people’s attention. The round face and sharp muzzle of the Chartreux cat make it easy for owners to assume the cat is grinning.

Breed Overview

  • WEIGHT: 12 to 16 pounds
  • LENGTH: 9 to 11 inches long
  • COAT: Short
  • COAT COLOR: Solid blue-gray, ranging from light ash to slate gray tones
  • EYE COLOR: Copper or orange
  • LIFE EXPECTANCY: 11 to 15 years

Characteristics of the Chartreux Cat

Affection LevelHigh
Exercise NeedsMedium
Energy LevelMedium
Tendency to VocalizeLow
Amount of SheddingMedium

An overview of Chartreux’s past

Although the breed’s early history is difficult to pin down, it is known that it dates at least to the 15th or 16th century. Due to their characteristic woolly coats, which have Syrian roots, it is widely believed that the early ancestors of the Chartreux were brought to France by Crusaders returning from Syria.

Once they arrived in France, cats made a name for themselves as a very efficient technique for controlling rodent populations. Numerous historical accounts claim that French Carthusian monks kept these cats as a deterrent against vermin and mice. There are no Carthusian sources that prove this claim, but it is a commonly held misconception that is also thought to explain the cats’ reserved behavior.

With time, the narrative of the Chartreux cat becomes easier to understand. In the 1920s, sisters Christine and Suzanne Leger discovered a colony of blue-gray cats living on a tiny island off the coast of France. The Leger sisters first domesticated and bred the cats because of their eye-catching looks and unusual woolly coat. When the cats were on display at a cat show in Paris in 1931, the modern Chartreux cat first gained widespread recognition.

The Chartreux breed was in danger during the Second World War, just like many others. But this ancient cat was saved from extinction through careful interbreeding with Persian, Russian Blue, and British Shorthair cats.

The breed attracted more attention in France. Although the modern Chartreux was once regarded for its hunting prowess, people have come to adore it for its gorgeous woolly coat, intelligence, and calm, agreeable demeanor. Cat breeders from all over the world naturally showed interest. In 1970, John and Helen Gamon brought the first Chartreux cats to the nation. This led to the breed being properly acknowledged by the Cat Fancier’s Association in 1987.

However, the Chartreux is now thought of as a sort of French national treasure. This breed is adored in France, but finding it outside of Europe may be difficult. It is difficult to find a purebred kitten in the US because many breeding programs here have sent their stock back to France.


Chartreux Care

The Chartreux is a straightforward keeper who like to be independent but is happy to take part in games. These cats are terrific friends and adore being around children and other animals, but they don’t require ongoing care. They do, however, appreciate it and are often referred to as lap cats.

Teach your Chartreux tricks or solve puzzles for incentives to test his intelligence. Keep cat treats hidden, and if the issue continues, consider putting kid locks on cupboard doors. Even a few mischievous Chartreux cats have been known to open cabinets.

You’ll enjoy the soft, fluffy feel of the Chartreux’s fur. To keep it looking wonderful, be sure to comb your cat’s coat once every week. Many experts suggest avoiding brushing the fur because of its unique texture, which is more suited to the action of a comb than a bristle brush. Even though the Chartreux performs an excellent job of grooming itself, the extra care will stop mats from developing and provide an enjoyable activity for you and your cat to undertake together. Several times a year, the Chartreux will shed his undercoating. During this time, you should comb him every day to keep the flying fur under control.

Your cat shouldn’t need to be bathed frequently. If you do need to give your Chartreux a soapy scrub, keep in mind that the water-resistant second layer may take some effort to penetrate.

The peaceful demeanor of the Chartreux cat breed makes it a favorite among households. Just be sure to teach children or other animals how to treat the cat with respect. These cats are renowned for their versatility and enjoy going on vacation with their owners.

Common Health Problems

Strong and vigorous, the Chartreux breed has comparatively few health problems. However, there are a few potential health problems to be aware of:

  • Polycystic kidney disease is a condition where one or both kidneys cannot function normally due to cysts filled with fluid.
  • Struvite crystals: Tiny stones that form in the cat’s bladder due to insufficient hydration or an excessively alkaline diet. The stones may result in kidney failure, urethral obstruction, and bladder discomfort.
  • The patella luxates: Sometimes the kneecaps of this kind of cat slip.

Nutrition and Diet

The Chartruex should have a balanced diet, although care should be taken to avoid overfeeding. It’s crucial to feed cats foods that aren’t extremely alkaline (many plant-based foods result in high levels of alkalinity) and to always give them easy access to clean water because cats have a tendency to create struvite crystals.

If your cat doesn’t drink enough water, the concentrated pee may lead to the formation of struvite crystals. Consider introducing wet food to the diet if your cat has this condition to boost hydration.


  • Kind but independent good with kids and animals very calm and not too demanding


  • Inadequate breeding or rescue risk of kidney problems

Locations to Buy or Adopt a Chartreux

Finding a Chthertreux cat is presumably the most challenging part of having one. The number of American owners of the Chartreux cat breed is exceedingly small. However, a good location to start your search is the CFA’s breed council.

Check out these resources to get you started:

  • CFA Breeder Directory
  • TICA’s Breeder Directory

Since these cats are such a treasure, it’s unusual to find them in a shelter or a rescue group that specializes in a certain breed. Owners do, however, occasionally leave their dogs behind for a variety of reasons. It’s a terrific idea to start your search with local rescues in your area before considering a breeder and see if you can take in a Chartreux that needs a home.

Investigation into new cat breeds

Do you fit the bill to be the Chartreux’s cat? Research is the most effective way to discover more about this breed. Consider speaking with any seasoned breeders or local animal rescue groups if you can.

If you are unable to locate a Chartreux to call your own, there are a number of alternative friendly, calm cat breeds to consider.

Check out these beautiful and unusual cats:

  • The Most Intelligent Russian Blue British Shorthair Cat Breeds

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