Chartreux cats – information about the breed
Chartreux (CHA) it is a very old French breed with a turbulent history. On the contrary
to the known legend, they were never bred by the monks. Undoubtedly, the first blue cats
were brought from West Syria by the participants of medieval crusades.
A cat from Syria described by Aldrovandi in the 16th century is stunningly to Chartreux cats: stocky body, filled chins, copper eyes and extraordinary rodent hunter.
The name Chartreux was introduced in the 16th century for the purpose of calling beautiful grey-blue fur mostly appreciated by the furriers. Recent researchers connect the emergence of the name Chartreux with the name of
Spanish wool “la pile des Chartreux.”
Although mentions about dusty-blue cats were possible to find before, it was only in the half of the 18th century
when the great zoologist, Georgeus Buffon had depiced the breed in details.
Fortunately, at the beginning of the 20th century Chartreux cats started to be considered as breeding animals
for the company.
The writer Colette was a big admirer of Chartreux cats and as a consequence she made her cat, Saha, a protagonist
of her novel "La Chatte".
At the beginning of the 20th century, when the interest about Chartreux as a different breed emerged, the breed nearly vanished. Two sisters Christine and Suzanne Leger commence the renewal of the breed – starting with rare colonies
on Belle Ile island. Thanks to Leger sisters efforts in 1939 a first model of the breed has been drawn. In 1931 in Paris
one of the first females bred by the Leger sisters – famous Mignone de Guerveur was announced the most beautiful
cat in the show !
Simultaneously to the blue cats’ cattery on Blue Ile island several different catteries started to develop; mainly close
to Paris. In order to intensify Chartreux eyes’ colour, Persian cats were used and in order to increase genetic pool several breeders started to interbreed Chartreux cats with British blue cats. In 1970 crosses were so big in amount that Fife decided to treat Chartreux and British as the same breed. This decision encountered a violent objection from the breeders, who still bred true Chartreux; under the pressure from breeders Fife decided to separate two breeds once again.
The Chartreux is large and muscular, with good developed chest. The fur is short and thick, it makes the impression of plush. This breed only appears in blue and it may have different tones – preferred is light grey-blue colour. However,
the most important is consistent tone of the fur. The Chartreux may have intensive yellow to copper coloured eyes.
The differences between male and female are very clear. A male is far bigger than female, it has wider chest and after getting maturity (2-3 years) his chins become very accented whereas female has slightly developed chins.
Despite the appearance taken from a particular fur, Chartreux do not have nothing in common with soft toy made of plush. It is a lively, strong and agile cat. This breed’s cats love to be caressed – they are very affectionate and never huff.
Despite maturity they do not loose will to play, they have uniquely gentle character and they easily attach to the owner.
It is a very quiet cat – it hardly ever mews and never forces anything from a human. It is also said that it is very intelligent animal. This may be its intelligence that allowed it to adapt so quickly to a modern type of life in flats and become
a perfect cat as a fried to the whole family.
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