cut Medium to large size
weight 3 to 7.5 kg
hair Short and dense
head Wide, inverted trapeze
eyes Large, deep yellow to intense copper
ear Set high on the skull, straight, rounded at the tip
tail Average length
federation LOOF, CFA, ACF, ACFA, TICA, FIFe, WCF
The Chartreux, also called the Chartreux cat, is a breed of cat originating in France. This cat is characterized by copper or orange-colored eyes and a short, full blue coat. Its chubby-cheeked head gives it a "smiling" face. The development of Chartreux is slow: it takes more than a year to reach maturity. He would be from Turkey and Iran and would have been brought back to France at the time of the Crusades. In the 1930s, the Léger sisters developed and improved the breed mainly thanks to subjects from Belle-Île-en-Mer. The breed was recognized in 1939. The Carthusian was on the verge of extinction after the Second World War and unhappy marriages with the British Shorthair, but the development of very precise selection criteria in the 1980s allowed the reconstitution of the breed. initial. Well known in France, the Carthusian is described very early in a poem by Joachim du Bellay. Subsequently, many personalities will own Carthusians, including Colette, who dedicated writings to him, or Charles de Gaulle. Statistics Since 2003, France has had 732 Chartreux breeders, although less than half of them were active in 2008 and 2009. Most of these breeders see the birth of a single litter per year. Very rarely, more than ten annual litters are declared and this concerns less than ten breeders throughout France. . They are however only 66 to contribute to more than half of the kittens. These males are generally active between one and four years old, even five years old with an extreme going up to thirteen years for the oldest. The females are more numerous and the LOOF listed 790 in 2008 and 2009, that is to say about 2.2 females per active male. In fact, they are however only 206 to give birth to more than half of the kittens born in France in 2009. These females mainly have litters between their first and their third year with an extreme going up to eleven years for the older. Litters consist of an average of four kittens, with a maximum of twelve. Litters of three or five kittens are also quite common. The LOOF therefore issues approximately 2,000 pedigrees each year with a small proportion of cats intended for breeding. Growth Pups are often born with tabby markings, which gradually fade over the next six to twelve months. The Carthusian is born with blue-gray eyes: the orange color only sets in after three months. The intensity of eye color fades naturally in the Carthusian. The development of this race is slow: the completion of the musculature, the cheeks and the woolly coat arrives around two to three years. When mature, the Carthusian has a more woolly fur, reminiscent of the "breaks" of those of sheep. Maintenance Its thick coat requires weekly grooming. Its moult is important especially in the spring when it loses its winter fur. The equipment recommended for the maintenance of its coat is a double metal comb (with two spacings of teeth) and a softer brush in natural bristle (boar or pig). Sunlight can cause brown highlights to appear on her coat. In addition, outdoor life, particularly in winter, accentuates the woolly appearance of the coat. The Carthusian in art and history The Carthusian appeared for the first time in 1558 in a poem by Joachim du Bellay entitled Vers Français sur la mort d'un petit chat. However, Belaud seems crossbred with a gutter because "white underneath like an ermine". We then find a representation of a Carthusian in 1747 in a painting by Jean-Baptiste Perronneau representing Magdaleine Pinceloup de la Grange: the cat appears in the foreground, that is to say as a pet, which is quite rare at this time. At the beginning of the 20th century, people began to take an interest in this cat for breeding as a pet. The writer Colette also owned several and made one of her Carthusian cats, Saha, the heroine of her book La Chatte, where she devoted several descriptions to her, and also in Les Vrilles de la vigne. General de Gaulle owned a Carthusian at the end of his life, Ringo de Balmalon, bought by Yvonne de Gaulle during her husband's second term. Living in La Boisserie, he was renamed Gris-Gris and, according to legend, followed the general everywhere. Subsequently, many Carthusian owners declared that their cats were descendants of Gris-Gris.
First "blue cats" and first Carthusians The Carthusian is one of the oldest so-called natural breeds of cats in the world. It is believed to have originated from the far reaches of Turkey and Iran, where its characteristic woolly coat gave it an advantage in these harsh climates. At the time of the Crusades, the Carthusian would have been brought back by trading ships between the East and the West. According to legend, the breed is called "Carthusian" because it lived in monasteries with the Carthusian monks and was used to hunt rats in those times when the bubonic plague was ravaging Europe. The feline would then have taken a vow of silence, a trait that still persists today since the Carthusian meows very little. Another more plausible explanation would be that this cat, during the 18th century, was named after the dense Spanish wool "pile of the Carthusians". The fur of an adult Chartreux is very dense, woolly, waterproof and voluptuously soft. The Dutch would have traded Carthusian pelts due to the quality of its fur, color and density. According to Jean Simonnet, this explanation is the most probable. We thus find traces of blue cats in the West from 1558 in the poem by Joachim du Bellay praising the merits of his cat Belaud. The first use of the term "Chartreux" appeared in 1723, in the Universal Dictionary of Commerce, Natural History and Arts and Crafts by Jacques Savary des Bruslons. There is a reference to the Carthusians in the Systema naturae of 1735 by Linnaeus, the initiator of the scientific classification of species. He describes the Carthusian race as Catus coeruleus (blue cat), and therefore considers it a distinct species. Buffon also refers to the Carthusian but while noting the proximity with the race of the other cats of the region. Development of the breed At the start of the 20th century, the Chartreux was common in Île-de-France, Normandy and around the island of Belle-Île-en-Mer, near the coast of Brittany. In the early 1930s, the Léger sisters found a strong colony of Carthusians on their island and took them in to ensure their survival. Most Carthusians today have their origins in the cattery of the Léger sisters. It was also at this time that the first breed standard was established, in 1939 precisely. Their efforts culminated in 1933 during an exhibition of the Cat Club of Paris, where their cat "Mignonne de Guerveur" became international champion and was consecrated "the most aesthetic cat of the exhibition". The Second World War greatly affected the Carthusian population. At the end of the 1960s, the Carthusian breed also fell victim to authorized crossbreeding with the British Shorthair, two totally distinct breeds. The crosses are such that the FIFe merged the two standards in 1970 and did not consider its two breeds as one. The breed was saved in 1977 by the promulgation of a new standard which emphasized the specific characteristics of the Carthusian. In 1987, the breed was recognized by the CFA and the TICA. The other main feline associations followed suit shortly after. Such crosses between different races are now prohibited and Carthusians can only breed between them. The breed is now present in many countries and well represented in exhibitions, where it is considered typically French. A first pair of Carthusians was exported to the United States in 1972 by Helen Gamon of California. These early American Carthusians are the ancestors of most Carthusian cats born in the United States. In Quebec, the French and American contribution of the Carthusian allows a great diversity in the lines. Popularity In its country of origin, the Carthusian was very well known and was part of the top three of the favorite breeds of the French. However, in 2006, it was overtaken by the Maine Coon and is now in fourth place with 5,740 Carthusians registered in the LOOF until 2008. In England and the United States it is much more discreet. According to the CFA, in 2007, it was only placed in 26th place, behind much rarer breeds in France such as the Japanese bobtail.
Although character traits are individual and a function of the individual's history, the Carthusian is generally playful and very sociable, while maintaining a certain independence. His faithful temperament earned him the qualifier of "cat-dog". He loves to follow his master from room to room. He excels at bringing back the ball or the thrown toy. While enjoying caresses, the Carthusian does not like to be physically constrained. Moreover, some of them can have violent reactions when they are maintained by the assessors in competition. Little mewling, the Carthusian loves tranquility. Robust and rustic, it is a cat perfectly adapted to cold and bad weather, and considered a good hunter.