KYC: “Know Your Cat”
Chartreux are fond of going into your lap every time you sit down. The smiling Chartreux are always showy with their fondness and highly affectionate, usually following his masters around the house. With his charming, likeable nature, he gets along well with other pets and is suited to homes with children who will pet him tenderly. The Chartreux is quiet, only doing minimal vocalization, and some rarely making a sound, but don’t let him fool you. He is very witty and is capable of figuring out how to get into cabinets or out of louvered windows to go adventuring.
Like most cats, the Chartreux loves to climb, especially on bookshelves, refrigerators and pretty much any spot high enough for him to climb to so it is advisable to have a cat condo or a cat tree for him, where he can perch up and take a nap. Chartreux has also been known to perform acrobatic stunts as he pursue a fishing pole toy or a cat mice toy. And if you have mice issues on your house? Well, they’ll be packing their bags if a Chartreux moves in. These cats have a reputation as excellent mousers with master-level hunting skills when given the opportunity.
The Chartreux is well suited to any home with people who will love him and give his gorgeous coat a weekly combing and regular stroking. Keep him indoors to protect him from outdoor hazards like cars, diseases spread by other cats and attacks from other animals.
With his cloak of gray fur, solemn and dark as a monk’s robes, it’s no wonder that the Chartreux was associated with the Carthusian order in France (also called the Order of Saint Bruno, is a Catholic religious order of enclosed monastics). The quiet kitty would have been perfect companions for members of the restrained, solitary order. It’s a pretty legend, but there is no real evidence that the cats were kept by the Carthusians, although perhaps they were simply not considered important enough to mention.
A more likely scenario is that the cats, a natural breed, were commonly found in France at least as far back as the 18th century, performing routine rat patrol 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 “la pile des Chartreux” may have taken its name from the soft, woolly coated cats. visit Cat Breed to know more about your precious feline.
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 "mort à tous les rats" (death to all rats), which is certainly an aspect of the breed, then and now.
The first citation 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 footnoted the cats’ association with the fur trade. French naturalist George-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (Count of Buffon), portray them as the cat of France and gave them the Latin name Felis catus coeruleus, meaning blue cat. Free-living groups of the cats lived in Paris and other areas of France until the early 1900s.
They were not much valued, except for their skins and their competence for vermin control. It wasn’t until after World War I that French cat lovers took steps to maintain and continue the breed. They gathered as many cats as they could and wrote a breed standard. Using only the cats that met the standard and bred kittens that met it, they were able to begin exhibiting the cats in European shows in either 1928 or 1931, depending on the source.
One of the breed’s early devotee was the novelist Colette, whose Chartreux Saha took glory of place in her book La Chatte (The Cat). General Charles de Gaulle was also known to love the breed, owning one named Gris Gris. It was a good thing that fanciers had begun to breed the Chartreux when they did, because after World War II, none of the free-roaming cats could be found. Chartreux, which are still rare, were first imported into the United States in 1970 and were recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association in 1987.
Today the cats are recognized by all major American cat associations. The Chartreux is even the official mascot of the Montreux Jazz Festival. They are less known in Europe, even in their homeland of France. Unlike many cat breeds, they have changed little over the years.
The Chartreux might well be compared to a mime, quiet but expressive and sometimes silly. Short playtimes interspersed with naps and meals would be right down his alley. When he is not displaying his splendid timing and pouncing ability, “killing” toys with abandon, or performing acrobatic flips as he chases a lure toy such as cat mice toy, he is an vigilant and pleasant companion who likes to stay near his people and paying attention their doings.
He appreciates any attention he receives, especially if it involves scratching him beneath the chin or between the ears, but he’s not demanding, satisfied to follow you around faithfully, sleep on your bed and cuddle with you if you’re not feeling well.
He rarely uses his voice in favor of directing your actions with a glance from his gold or copper--colored eyes. If need be, however, he may communicate with a small meow or chirp. Make a habit of watching him carefully and being acquainted with his actions since it is very rare that he will vocalize any discomfort or make any sound to let you know of his location.
This is an adaptable cat with a middle-of-the-road personality. He’s not a social butterfly, but he’s not a sheepish wallflower, either. Expect him to watch and wait before deciding whether to greet a guest or otherwise involve himself in a situation. His calm nature makes him suited to staying home alone while you are out working hard for his treats and toys, but he won’t complain to keeping company with another pet, such as a cat or dog.
That same good nature makes him a good travel companion for an RV enthusiast or long-distance truck driver. As long as you keep his routine similar each day, he will be a happy camper. The Chartreux has a cheery, friendly disposition that makes him a pleasure to live with. This is one cat who does his best to obey the rules (as opposed to the Turkish Angora). Always treat him kindly and patiently, and you will be rewarded with a friend for life. You may also like to visit Cat Care to know more about proper caring of your cat.
Both pedigreed cats and mixed-breed cats have varying incidences of health problems that may be genetic in nature. Chartreux are generally healthy, but the following problems have been seen in the breed. Patellar luxation is a hereditary dislocation of the kneecap that can range from mild to severe. Mild patellar luxation rarely causes problems. Severe cases cause lameness, but can be alleviated with surgery.
The stifle, or knee joint, is a remarkable structure that allows a cat to perform amazing feats of agility like crouching, jumping, and pouncing.
One of the main components of the stifle is the patella, or kneecap, and the medical term luxation means “being out of place”. Thus, a luxating patella is a kneecap that slips off to the side of the leg because of an improperly developed stifle. A cat with a luxating patella may not show signs of pain or abnormality until the condition is well advanced; signs of this condition appear gradually and can progress to lameness as the cat grows older.
Also, commonly seen in dogs, hip dysplasia may also occur in cats, especially in Chartreux. Dysplasia is an inheritable condition that causes malformation of the hip joints and subsequent arthritis. Usually a cat shows very few clinical symptoms as an adolescent, but begins slowing down and acting like an older cat prematurely within the first few years. Severely affected cats, however, may show lameness by six months of age.
Cats with heart disease may develop blood clots in their arteries known as FATE (feline aortic thromboembolisms). Blood clots most commonly become lodged just past the aorta, the large blood vessel that supplies blood from the heart to the body, blocking normal blood flow to the hind legs. When this happens, one or both hind legs may become paralyzed, cold, or painful. FATE is a life-threatening disease, and requires quick action and prolonged medical care.
Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) describes a variety of conditions that affect the bladder and urethra of cats. Cats with FLUTD most often show signs of difficulty and pain when urinating, increased frequency of urination, and blood in the urine. Cats with FLUTD also tend to lick themselves excessively and may urinate outside the litter box, often on cool, smooth surfaces like a tile floor or a bathtub.
If you suspect that your cat might have one of these health issues, it is ideal to seek medical attention right away. Your vet can help you alleviate their pain by providing appropriate medications or in such cases, do a surgery for advanced or severe conditions .
The Chartreux’s short, thick coat is easy to care for with weekly brushing and should not be vigorously brushed. On a daily basis, owners should simply run their fingers through the cat’s coat, something the cat enjoys enormously and will actively seeks out, using a brush only once a week. The coat sheds in the spring and may require extra brushing during that time.
A bath is rarely necessary. If your Chartreux does require a bath, remember that it can take time to get the water-repellent coat wet enough for bathing. Brush the teeth to prevent periodontal disease (preferably using pet toothpaste approved by your vet). Daily dental hygiene is best, but weekly brushing is better than nothing. Trim the nails every couple of weeks. Wipe the corners of the eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection. Check the ears weekly. If they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear.
Keep the Chartreux’s litter box always clean and change the litter daily. Cats are very particular about bathroom hygiene. It’s a good idea to keep a Chartreux as an indoor-only cat to protect him from diseases spread by other cats, attacks by dogs or other feral cats, and the other dangers that face cats who go outdoors, such as being accidentaly hit by a car. Chartreux who go outdoors also run the risk of being stolen by someone who would like to have such a beautiful cat without paying for it (well, you can't blame them, they are very irresistable indeed).
When one first acquires a Chartreux, you could easily be duped into thinking that they are perhaps a little slow intellectually. Nothing could be further from the truth and owners soon discover that their Chartreux are always thinking. They are in fact, extremely cerebral and will easily apply their abilities to get what they want most. Most neutered Chartreux tend to be foodies!
So, it still depends on you if you want a Chartreux as your next feline companion. Keep in mind first that your cat's personality and traits should match yours and your lifestyle. Keeping such a rare treasure indoors, neutering or spaying and providing acceptable surfaces (e.g. scratching posts activefelinesolutions.com.au) for the natural behavior of scratching and a regular visit to the vet are essential elements for maintaining a healthy, long and joyful life for your cat.