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Getting to know the Chartreux

If you are looking for an unusual cat with an exotic appearance, sweet disposition, and excellent mousing skills, you may want to consider the Chartreux. Let’s explore this amazing breed!

History of the Chartreux

As the name suggests, the Chartreux originated in France, with literary references dating back to the 1550s. However, the origins of the breed are a matter of some dispute. One story, now widely debunked, suggested that the Chartreux descended from cats brought to France by Carthusian monks. A more likely theory is that the Chartreux is descended from feral cats from what is now Syria, brought to France by returning Crusaders.

The breed had always been rare, and after WW2 was nearly extinct, with no feral examples known to exist. Through the efforts of breeders, however, the Chartreux was saved, though it remains an exotic breed today. The first Chartreux arrived in the US in 1971.

Chartreux’s Physical Characteristics

The Chartreux is immediately recognizable by its thick blue-gray coat and bright orange-gold eyes. Described as a “potato on toothpicks,” the Chartreux is a stout and muscular cat with short legs. Males typically weigh between 10 and 14 pounds, with females being smaller at 6 to 9 pounds.

The breed compensates for its odd stature with lightning fast reflexes and is known as an excellent mouser. The Chartreux’s coat is layered and resistant to water, sometimes giving the appearance of napped wool. Because of its facial bone structure, the Chartreux often appears to be “smiling.”

Chartreux’s Personality

The Chartreux is known for its sweet and gentle personality. They bond well with people and usually choose one person as their favorite. Though the Chartreux is vocal for a cat, most tend to “chirp” more than they “meow.”

Despite their stout build, the Chartruex loves to play and can be quite acrobatic. An intelligent breed, the Chartreux enjoys problem-solving games too. The breed is also known to be very affectionate and enjoys a warm lap. They are known to get along well both with children and with other pets in the household.

Health Problems in the Chartreux

The Chartreux is a generally healthy breed, though it has shown vulnerability to kidney and urinary tract diseases such as polycystic kidney disease and kidney stones. The breed has also shown a tendency toward obesity, which can exacerbate other problems such as arthritis in older animals, so diet and portions should be carefully monitored.

Care & Grooming the Chartreux

The Chartreux is fairly low-maintenance when it comes to care. Its dense, short coat is resistant to shedding and requires combing (rather than brushing) to stay healthy. The cat’s undercoat sheds twice a year but is easily controlled with regular combing.

As with any cat, standard care should include regular nail trimming and annual dental cleaning.


Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.

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