The Chartreux is a very old breed originating in France. Images of this cat can be found in classic art work and continues to hold its ancient standard.
Originating in Syria the Chartreux was brought to France during the Crusades. It was documented in the 16th Century. They lived in isolate groups throughout France. They were prized for their pelts and meat and were excellent ratters. After WWI, French cat breeders wanted to preserve the breed for posterity. Breeding stock was found in several isolated areas one on the island of Belle Ile. It is rumored that the breeding began at Le Grand Chartreux monastery located in the French Alps they kept to the ancient standard only using the purest of the breed, however this cannot be verified. The breed was first shown in Europe in 1928. At the end of WWII the natural colonies had disappeared and only breeders had available cats. They came to the United States in the 1970’s and have been bred there to the purest of the breed.
A quiet cat, the Chartreux can be mute though they can purr. Their meow is soft and mellow. They are not shy but will watch from a safe distance. They are not an aggressive animal and will walk away from conflict or danger. They are gentle with strangers and young children and are devoted to their humans making them good pets. They travel well and can be left alone for long periods of time.
Their coats are thick with short hair and is easily maintained. Brushing during the shedding season is a must. It is difficult to bathe them because the coat repels water. Feeding requires little though they do need a less rich cat food and kittens should go on adult cat food when they are about four months old. Dental hygiene is important in this breed because they have a tendency for gingavitas.
The standard states that the cat should have a broad head with a tapered muzzle and an almost smile. Their ears are medium set high. The eyes are rounded and must be golden in color. The coat is dense and must be grey with a wooly texture. The legs are dainty compared to its body.
Milwaukee area residents who are interested in the Chartreux be aware that they can develop and knee disorder known as patellar luxation. Also know the difference between the Chartreux and the British Blue, they are entirely different breeds. They are expensive cats pet quality runs around $1,000. The breeders that can be found closest to Wisconsin are located in Ohio and New York.