Chartreux: Everybody’s favourite friendly feline


Philippe de Guerny
Though originated from the east, Chartreux has been living in France since the 16th century, and it is the maritime exchanges that favoured the breed’s arrival in the country. Here’s lineage tracing of this easy-going, solid, musculargrey-blue colour cat, who is everybody’s favourite friendly feline.
Chartreux is typically a French cat who was originally selected around the 1930s by two sisters in Belle-Ile-en-Mer island located off the coast of Brittany, where a colony of cats with grey-blue colour and yellow eyes were naturally lived.
Historical flashback
Popularity of Chartreux had been thriving until the end of the World War-II in France. But in the post war period, the lineage of the breed was threatened and there were just a few survivors left. Then some breeders crossed the last Chartreux with British Blue, which is now popularly known as British Shorthair, to recuperate the breed from extinction. In the cross-breeding process, Chartreux was endangered because the breed risked being completely assimilated to British Shorthair. However, in the 1970s, a group of dedicated breeders decided to resume the selection of Chartreux on rigorous bases and their efforts helped them find the original Chartreux. Since then, crossing of Chartreux with other breeds has neither been done nor allowed.
Return of Chartreux
Following the steep decline in population of original Chartreux, a breeder cum feline specialist named Simonnet had come up as guarantor of the original breed. After that, Chartreux gained her popularity in France.
Adjustable to all
Chartreux is an easy-going, sociable cat who is easily adaptable to lifestyle of any pet parent. This breed is affectionate and very present, and always watches over the slightest movement of her pet parent. Her gaze is devoted and full of tenderness—this is how Chartreux expresses, because she is not talkative. Chartreux, although very present, is not a sticky, possessive or exclusive breed. Pet parents must respect her moments of independence.
Unique features
Chartreux is a solid, muscular cat with a grey-blue colour. The head has the shape of an inverted trapezoid. The jowls are full and well developed, especially in adult male, but it’s less apparent in female. The ears are placed high on the skull giving the cat an alert look. The eyes are wide open from a colour that varies from sustained yellow to intense copper.
Healthy breed
Being a short-haired breed, Chartreux requires little maintenance. Most of the time, grooming is a privileged moment, more than a real necessity, between the cat and her pet parent.
Celeb pet parents
Chartreux had the honour to be the favourite among several famous French peoples. General de Gaulle was one among them as the French general, who spearheaded the ‘Free France’ movement during the World War-II, once adopted a cat named Ringo de Balmalon. French writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette was an admirer of Chartreux who participated in recognition of the breed. She paid homage to the ‘breed’ in her novel La Chatte published in 1933.
(Philippe de Guerny Ventura, who lives in Lyon (France), has been breeding Chartreux over the last 16 years. He is also an international judge at FIFe (FÊdÊration Internationale FÊline), a cat federation protecting and preserving a line of feline
breeds worldwide).