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Chartreux Cat

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Chartreux Cat

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Chartreux Cat Breed

The Chartreux cat stands out in the crowd with it’s gray fur, and it’s no wonder that the Chartreux was associated with the Carthusian order and their gray robes in France. These great mousers would have been perfect companions for members of that silent, solitary order. It’s a nice legend, but there is no evidence at all that the cats were kept by the Carthusians, or maybe they were simply not considered important enough to mention.

Chartreux cat information

What probably happened is that the cats, a natural breed, were common to France at least as far back as the 18th century, working to keep rat population down in stables, shops and homes. Unfortunately for the beautifully furred felines, they were also prized by furriers for their thick blue pelts. A type of luxurious wool called “pile de Chartreux” may have taken its name from the soft, woolly coated cats.

As with so many breeds, however, it’s not really known how the cats came by their name or how or where they were developed. One of the earliest references to a French gray cat dates to 1558, an epitaph for Belaud, who belonged to poet Joachin de Bellay. Bellay describes Belaud “death to rats,” which is certainly an attribute of the breed, then and now.

The first reference to the name Chartreux for the blue cats is found in the Universal Dictionary of Commerce, Natural History and the Arts and Trade of Savvary of Brusion, published in 1723, which also mentions the cats’ association with the fur trade. French naturalist George-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, described them as the Cat of France and gave them the Latin name Felis catus coeruleus, meaning blue cat.

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