Chartreux/ Chartreuse/ Chartreus
There is a Scandinavian saying that goes something like this. 'A beloved child has many names'. That is particularly true when the original name is in French.
The Chartreux, pronounced Chartreuse, has been given a rare status because there are few left. There are strict rules regarding what is an acceptable standard for this breed. Only one colour is allowed. The dark silver-grey, known by cat fanciers as blue. This colour is typical for other cat breeds such as the British Long- and Shorthair, the Persian and Russian Blue.
With many cat breeds, you can achieve a particular breed by mixing other similar ones. However, the Chartreuse can only be bred through the use of other cats of its kind.
In moments of disparity, there have been attempts to cross-breed the Chartreux with other breeds. Such as the British Shorthair, because they look very much the same except just a few apparent differences.
The result will be much the same. However, the litter produced by this ordeal will have a personality unlike the Chartreuse. As well as a few minor physical changes. And therefore, it would not be accepted as a pure breed.
Because the Chartreuse is considered a rare breed, it is essential to be cautious when researching breeders. Many of them do their job with an economic incentive. Others have an interest in producing healthy pure breeds.
Most Chartreuse breeders are now found either in France or in the USA.
Chartreux behaviour and looks
There are specific traits to look for in a Chartreuse. The most obvious is the colour of its coat. It is one-layered in the colour blue, with short hair. The next is the intense stare from the usually dark bronze-orange, round and open eyes. From across the room, they can practically penetrate your soul.
The ears are triangular, placed far apart and pointing upwards. The body is bulky with short legs with a long and robust tail.
These traits all look similar to the one of the British Shorthair. But if you are ever in doubt, take a look at the cat's mouth. Chartreuse has a Mona Lisa-like smile, which looks quite different to the rounder mouth of the British Shorthair.
Though a smile can be deceiving. The Chartreuse isn’t known to be either particularly eccentric or grumpy either. The breed enjoys calm environments but got impressive patience and rarely gets mad.
It is an intelligent breed. With the right bond between the cat and owner, the Chartreuse can be trained to do simple tasks. These include fetching, walking on a leash, pushing buttons, etc.
In general, cats are notorious for their fast reflexes. However, the Chartreuse is fast even for a cat. They are highly acknowledged as ratters and mousers.
Another trait of the Chartreuse is its quiet voice. The breed is known to be a silent feline that never miaows. They might purr. But if the Chartreuse is distressed or needs something, they might not be able to notify their owners. Which can be a challenge in certain situations.
The legend of the Chartreuse's explains the reason behind its quick reflexes and mute voice.
When this particular feline got introduced to France around 1600's. The breed hunted mice and lived together in packs. Eventually, the Chartreux monks took them in and started breeding them to become ratters in the monastery.
The legend of the Chartreux cat
The reason this breed is mute is that they used to live with Chartreux monks. The monks were under a 'vow of silence', and they would only let the silent cats breed, leading to silent kittens too, as they adapted the behaviour of the silent cats and monks.
No one can prove that is why. However, it is also worth mentioning the Chartreuse monks are famous for distilling liqueurs. So, exactly how silent they were is ponderable.
Aside from the monastery, at first, the Chartreuse breed gained little attention from the French. Aside from its role as pest control and being a hunting target for its pelt and meat around the 1800s.
As the cat population grew, it eventually became a familiar for the regular French person. Who eventually found a new appreciation for the Chartreuse.
Time went by, and as world war one ended, the Chartreux gained the attention of French breeders. The population grew further before World War 2 began, then the breed became almost extinct as a result of the war.
After the great war, breeders tried to cross-breed Chartreuse cats with other breeds to save the population. That's when pure-breed Chartreuse became less common, which is why it is considered rare today.