The Chartreux is an old breed that is a balance of contrasts. With its sturdy, robust body and fine-boned legs, the Chartreux is often described as a "potato on toothpicks". It is one of the few breeds to come in blue only and its medium length coat has a woolly texture to it. It has a hard top-coat which is water-repellent and a soft, dense undercoat to keep it warm. The rounded head tapers towards the muzzle creating a smile and the medium-sized ears are set high on the head. But the eyes are one of the first features to leap out at you—the large orange eyes light up the whole face.
Reputed to be great mousers, references to Chartreux cats are found in French literature as early as the 16th century. There are 2 possible ways the Chartreux may have received its name. The first, as a companion to the Carthusian monks protecting the grain stores for the monastery and perhaps the ingredients for the famous Charteuse liqueur. The second, as a cat with a coat similar to a well-known Spanish wool from the 18th century. There are no records in the monastery that refer to the cats however the term Chartreux for these cats was being used as early as the 17th century which predates the Spanish wool and appears to be more connected with the monastery. French literature has references to the Charteux cat though the 1880s and it is known considered the national cat of France. As with many other breeds, the Chartreux suffered through WWII and after the war other breeds were introduced to help preserve a solid genetic base. In the case of the Charteux, blue British Shorthairs and Persians were used but breeders stayed focused on preserving the overall look of the cat.
These are cats that want their feet firmly on the ground. While playful and intelligent, these engaging cats are not one for hi-jinks flying through the air. They have quiet voices and sometimes seem to chirp to each other and to their owners. While they are somewhat reserved, these are calm placid cats that are devoted to their owners. They like to climb and have a reputation of being great hunters—these aspects of their personality may be directly connected to their earlier role of hunters.
These cats have a solid robust body often referred to as "primitive". They are a study of contrasts: heavy body supported by medium-fine legs; medium erect ears over very large orange eyes lighting up the face; a rounded top-head narrowing to a tapered muzzle with the corners pulled upward to give the cat a smiling expression; a thick, dense coat with a hard, water-repellent outer layer and a soft, warm undercoat. They are solid, muscular cats and mature adults weigh from 12-16 pounds.
Health Issues Common to Chartreux
All pedigreed cats have some sort of health problem, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Any breeder who claims that her breed has no health or genetic problems is either lying or is not knowledgeable about the breed. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
The Chartreux is prone to patellar luxation, a hereditary problem in which the kneecap occasionally pops out of place, causing the cat to limp, or bunny-hop. Usually it pops back into place on its own, but in severe cases it can dislocate frequently or even permanently and may require surgical correction. Ask the breeder to show evidence that a kitten’s parents have been screened for patellar luxation. Do not buy from a breeder who does not provide a written health guarantee.
Pet Insurance for the Chartreux
Pet insurance for purebred cats costs more than for mixed breed cats. This is because a purebred cat is more likely than a mixed breed cat to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.
Embrace pet insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which purebred cats are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your cat is when he’s a healthy kitten. You can’t predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can’t get when you need it the most.
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