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Chartreux – Cat Breed Guide

Adopt a Chartreux, Cat Breed Guide


The Chartreux is a domesticated cat breed that is considered to be one of the rarest domestic cats in the world today.

This is a large and muscular cat of European ancestry and famous for its blue shorthaired coat color and orange or copper eyes. The breed is also popular for having a smiling face, which is a bit odd as this cat breed is known to be exceptional hunters and often used by French farmers to control the rodent population in their area.

  • In Europe, Chartreux cats are classified under the same breed category as British Shorthairs.
  • In the United States, it is considered as a separate cat breed.
  • Internationally, the Chartreux cats that are bred in North America are considered purer stocks than their European cousins.

The Chartreux cat breed is famous for being the official mascot of the Montreal International Jazz Festival and depicted and played a role as an alley cat in the Hollywood film Stuart Little. It is said the French Charles De Gaulle owned Chartreux who he names Gris-Gris. Other famous owners of Chartreux cats are French poet Charles Baudelaire and French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette.

Official Name

Pronounced as Shar-True


The original Chartreux cat breed originates from France and legends says that it was originally bred and developed by monks belonging in the Carthusian Order. These monks supposedly created the breed in the French Alps at the monastery of Le Grand Chartreux.

The modern Chartreux can trace its roots to the islands off the coast of France which was first discovered in the 1920s and selectively bred by the Leger Sisters.

Quick FAQs

Size: Chartreux cats come in Medium to Large sizes.
Coat Type: The Chartreux cat breed has a coat that is medium in length.
Body Type: Chartreux cats have semi-cobby type bodies.
Grooming Requirement: The Chartreux cat breed may have medium length shorthair coats but this breed requires a bit of grooming attention when it comes to their thick undercoat. During regular seasons, these cats should be groomed once a week. During fall and spring, the time where they shed hair in heavy amounts, these cats should be groomed at least three times a week.
Vocal Tendency: The Chartreux is one of the quietest cat breeds known. They have a very low tendency to display “talkativeness”.
Energy Levels: The activity level on the Chartreux cat breed is considered average when compared to other cat breeds.
Time Alone: The French bred cats require 4 to 8 hours of personal time every day.
Care: The Chartreux cat breed is known to be easy to handle and only requires average attention.

Recognized By

The International Cat Association – Full recognition and accepted as a Champion Class Breed.
Fédération Internationale Féline – Full recognition and accepted as a Champion Class Breed.
Cat Fanciers’ Association – Full recognition and accepted as a Champion Class Breed.
Australian Cat Federation Inc. – Full recognition and accepted as a Champion Class Breed.
Canadian Cat Association – Full recognition and accepted as a Champion Class Breed.
American Association of Cat Enthusiasts – Full recognition and accepted as a Champion Class Breed.
American Cat Fanciers Association – Full recognition and accepted as a Champion Class Breed.
Cat Aficionado Association – Full recognition and accepted as a Champion Class Breed.
World Cat Federation – Full recognition and accepted as a Champion Class Breed.


The Chartreux cat breed’s history is not precise but as legends have it, the breed was first developed in the Alps region of France by the Carthusian order of monks. It is believed that these monks used these cats as hunters of vermin and rodents of all type in the Le Grand Chartreux monastery, hence their name. Historical accounts indicate that the cat breed has been in existence during the times of the Crusades in the 13th century. The legend says that these cats were brought by the crusading knights who retired to a life in monasteries. The monks then selectively bred and developed the imported cats to specifically be very quiet as not to disturb the very tranquil environment of the monastery as well as the daily meditation sessions. This origin is considered as somewhat romantic, but verifying it is a bit hard as there are not written documents to support this legend.

What can be verified is the Chartreux cat has been in existence since the 16th century, depicted in various literature that was created during that period. The most famous is the account of the Comte de Buffon, a biologist who wrote the Histoire Naturelle and give accounts that the Chartreux cat is one of four of the most common cats in Europe. The other three breeds are the generic domestic cat, the Spanish cat, and the Angora feline breed.

The modern Chartreux cat breed can trace their roots to the blue cats that originated from the islands off the coast of France. The Leger sisters discovered them as free-roaming cats with blue coats, roaming around the island as a cat colony, living in the hospital of Le Palais. The discovered blue-coated cats match the historical descriptions of the Chartreux. Coincidentally, the hospital was these free-roaming cats lived is run by a religious order, much like in the legends of the Carthusian monks.

The Leger sister began a serious selective program and by the year 1931, the first batches of the modern Chartreux cat breed were exhibited in France. Following the end of the Second World War, this breed saw near extinction and to save the breed, the few remaining Chartreux cats were crossed with various domesticated breeds including the Russian Blue, the British Shorthair as well as Persian cats.

By the 1970s, the Chartreux has reached the United States. Ms. Helen Gamon who is a resident of La Jolla, California first brought a Chartreux tomcat from France. Ms. Gamon’s tomcat is a pure Chartreux specimen, coming from the French cattery run and operated by Madame Bastide, a famous French breed who only breeds pure lines of the Chartreux breed. The sole tomcat is named as Grand Champion Taquin de St. Pierre of Gamonal, and eventually became as the foundation tomcat of all Chartreux cats that are bred in North America.


Before being a popular champion show cat breed, the Chartreux is famous for their hunting capabilities. These hunters were bred monks to go after all sorts of vermin in the French Alps. Today, they are considered to be ideal companion cats for their very loyal, amiable and very quiet nature. The Chartreux cat is a perfect lap warmer, sweetest as can be and rarely vocalize. These cats also have a comical side for having higher degree humor that most cats and will be naturally playful. Chartreux cats will enjoy activities such as fetching games, fun activities and a good romp with their family and friends. These are highly intelligent felines that are capable of learning their names if they are in the mood!

The Chartreux cat is a breed that has been called and described as cats that looks like potatoes on toothpicks for their very husky, robust and stocky bodies yet very slender legs.

Generally, this breed is a sturdy feline famous for their hunting abilities and very dense fur that is all-weather capable.
The body of this cat is somewhat semi-cobby as they are very robust. The body length is medium-long and with broad shoulders as well as a deep chest. The bone built is strong and the mass is muscular, solid and dense in appearance.
Head, Ears, and Eyes
They have rounded and broadheads that are not spherical in shape. These cats have very powerful jaws and cheeks that are full in appearance. The eyes are medium in size in both height and width. Ears are set high on the Chartreux and have a very erect posture. These cats have open and rounded eyes that display an alert expression. They are copper, gold, and orange in color.
Coat and Tail
Chartreux cats have tails that are moderate in length and heavy at the base. The tail is tapering towards an oval tip. These cats have medium-short coats that have a texture that is slightly wooly on the touch. The guard hair is longer and the undercoat is resilient to the touch.
They are famous for having a blue coat (bluish-gray) that may come in a variety of shades from blue, blue-gray and ash. Coat tips come with a lightly brushed of silver.
The Chartreux cat breed is considered to be generally healthy. This hardy domestic cat breed has lines that are known to have genes that cause medial patellar luxation. The genetic disorder is hereditary.