A unique breed of cat, the Chartreux cat is said to have lived centuries ago with the Carthusian monks in France. Though their history is relatively unknown, the breed's name is believed to originate from their fur qualities. Chartreux is a kind of wool made in Spain during the eighteenth century. A Chartreux cat's fur has been described as having a woolly texture. This cat breed has other unique qualities, too. Here's how to identify a Chartreux cat:
- Temperament - A Chartreux cat loves to play and is quite active. Not known as lap cats, they enjoy following you from room to room. These cats also like to watch television or computer screens. Many Chartreux owners describe short periods of energetic playfulness between naps.
- Fur color - This is one of the easiest ways to identify a Chartreux cat. A true Chartreux comes only in one color, a bluish grey. Coat colors, however, do range from lighter to darker. Still, if it's not a bluish gray in color, then it's not a Chartreux cat.
- Facial features - When you examine the face as a whole, you may notice that the cat appears to be smiling all of the time. This is due to their overall facial structure and the placement of the cat's facial features. The Chartreux breed has a rounded head and fairly narrow muzzle, with sharply pointed ears that sit high on the head.
- Eyes - The Chartreux cat's eyes are rounded, with corners that curve up very slightly. This adds to the "smiling" appearance of a Chartreux cat's face. Most cats of this breed have either gold or copper-colored eyes.
- Coat - The Chartreux cat's very thick double coat and long fur give it a fluffy appearance. Their fur requires frequent combing. You can also groom your Chartreux cat by running your fingers through his coat rather than by using a comb or brush. This coat has been described as "woolly," and feels different than the fur of any other cat breed. Besides the color, their fur texture is one of the easiest ways to identify a Chartreux cat.
- Body shape - Chartreux cats are known for having a large body and short, fairly thin legs. Sometimes their legs look too thin to support their body weight.
Believed to have originated in France, the Chartreux cat has been documented as far back as the sixteenth century. Still, little of the breed history is known, including the exact origin of the name, despite speculation. After World War II, there were very few Chartreux cats left, and in fact the breed was thought to be in danger of extinction. As a result, some breeders introduced Persian and British Shorthair cats into the line in an attempt to continue the Chartreux breed. Today, some Chartreux cats do have some Persian or British Shorthair ancestry, while others were bred from Chartreux cats that were later collected from the French countryside, and therefore have a pure Chartreux bloodline.