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The Chartreux may be a cat breed you’ve never heard of before and probably never seen. These felines originated in France, where their history goes as far back as 1747 where they first appeared in paintings. Unfortunately, they almost became extinct during the first World War, and today, they remain a largely unknown and exclusive breed.
They are known to be very quiet cats and are playful, affectionate and intelligent. In terms of appearance, the Chartreux looks like a Russian Blue and British Shorthair, sporting the same silver-blue coat.
Meet the Chartreux cat
The Chartreux is a reasonably large cat that weighs between 7 and 16 pounds and stands 9 to 11 inches tall. They have a sturdy, robust build with solid bones and dense muscles. Their shoulders are broad, and their chest is deep-set, showing their heritage as a working cat keeping away vermin in shops and homes throughout France.
Like Russian Blues, Chartreux cats come in one colour only, solid blue-grey. However, as kittens, they may have light tabby markings that will slowly vanish as they grow. Their double coats are short, silky, and water-repellent. As they age, their fur thickens and gains a woolly texture. However, males tend to have heavier coats than females, and the thickness can also depend on the climate of their environment.
Their round heads feature a powerful jaw and full cheeks with a straight nose and softly contoured forehead. Their ears are set high on their heads, and they have round, open eyes that give an alert expression.
Although a Chartreux may look like a Russian Blue or British Shorthair at first glance, there are various ways to tell them apart. The Russian blue’s fur has more of a silver tone than the Chartreux. What’s more, a Chartreux has vibrant orange eyes, a stark contrast to the Russian’s blue’s green eyes. British shorthairs have broader heads and are usually bigger than the Chartreux.
The temperament of a Chartreux
The Chartreux cat is loving, loyal and intelligent. One of their most distinctive personality traits is their quietness. They generally do not meow much at all, and some are, in fact, mute. Sometimes they may open their mouth to meow, but no sound comes out. So, instead of vocalising when they are hungry, they will simply stand next to their food bowl. However, one sound you will often hear from a Chartreux is their calming deep purr.
The Chartreux is intelligent and observant. They will watch how you open cupboards and operate things and try to copy. You’ll also be surprised at how quickly they learn their names or how they pick up tricks and games after one or two times.
They are super playful and will chase anything that moves, including your feet. They have a strong hunting instinct, and their favourite game to play with their human is chasing feather wands or ribbons. They will also run after a tennis ball and may even bring it back to you like a dog. However, their energy levels are not super high, so they have a good balance between activeness and relaxation.
They are affectionate towards their owner, and if you sit close to them, they will come over to you for some petting and may even curl up onto your lap. However, they do not crave constant human attention. They will follow you around in a loving way rather than a needy or demanding way.
10 reasons to add a Chartreux to your home
- They are elegantly beautiful - Cat lovers seek out this rare breed for their stunning aesthetics, such as their silky silver-blue coat, sweet expression and vibrant orange eyes.
- They are quiet - You’ll never wake up in the middle of the night to a hungry Chartreux crying for your attention. You’ll hardly hear anything from them, which can be a little strange at first, but you will soon come to appreciate their peaceful nature.
- They are big purrers - A Chartreux is not completely quiet, though, and they will remind you of this every time you pet them. Their purrs are deep and soothing and are the perfect antidote to a stressful day.
- They are loving but undemanding - The Chartreux is an easygoing breed that loves attention from its owner but doesn’t need constant petting. They are pretty content to stay close to you but will also leave you alone when you’re busy.
- They are fine to stay home alone - This is an ideal cat for those who work out of the house throughout the week.
- They learn quickly - The gentle nature of a Chartreux means they naturally want to please their owner, and their intelligence makes learning the rules super easy.
- They are tolerant of children - The Chartreux is undoubtedly a lover, not a fighter, and they display incredibly calm and patient behaviour around small children. If a child hurt them accidentally, they would be more likely to walk away than lash out.
- They have a fantastic sense of humour - You’ll always have a laugh watching your Chartreux play, and they will happily put on a show for you. They don’t mind acting in a silly way to make you laugh, either.
- They were companions of monks - There is an adorable tale that these cats served as companions to monks living in monasteries. They would not disturb the monks during meditation, and their peaceful nature created a calm environment.
- They are exclusive - You won’t come across many people who have a Chartreux cat, so if you want to stand out from the crowd, this is the breed for you!
Best homes for a Chartreux cat
The Chartreux cat likes routine, so they do best in a home that does not have constant change. They will thrive in a predictable environment where they know what to expect. They will also do fine left alone during the day, providing they get some quality time with you on the weekends.
Furthermore, their tolerant and gentle nature means Chartreux cats are accepting of young children and pets. However, proper socialisation is essential to ensure they do not get off on the wrong foot.