The Chartreux is a natural French breed of great antiquity. It is known for its gray-blue color, wooly double coat, powerful build, and mild temperament. Although it is a massive cat, it has a sweet, smiling expression and a tiny voice. It is always gray-blue in color, with gold to copper eyes. Authors through the centuries have praised the Chartreux as a gentle cat, a quiet cat, an excellent hunter, devoted to its master, easy to keep and a good traveler. These characteristics were prized in a working breed, and are still true of the Chartreux today.
Chartreux are less talkative than other breeds. Many Chartreux are completely mute: they purr, but cannot meow. Others have a quiet, high pitched meow or chirp which they use infrequently. This quietness can be a plus, but remember that a silent cat cannot let you know when it is lost or in trouble.
Neither gregarious nor shy, Chartreux are calmly attentive to the world, and will tend to hang back and observe, rather than rushing in. They are tolerant and gentle with strangers, small children, and other animals. They tend to withdraw from conflict rather than becoming fearful or aggressive. They accommodate themselves to most situations without complaint, travel well, and do not mind being left alone for long periods.
They are natural hunters, more interested in chasing and "killing" a toy than in romping around or wrestling in play. Even in play they are efficient, watching until the perfect moment and then letting loose with a fast and accurate pounce. They play in short spurts, sleeping and relaxing the rest of the time. They are creatures of habit and enjoy the same games and rituals day after day.
Towards those they love, Chartreux display a passionate devotion that strangers would never guess at. They prefer to be nearby, preferably getting their jowls scratched and giving loving head-bumps to their owners! They will follow you everywhere, comfort you when you are sad or ill, and prefer to sleep with you or on top of you. Their supportive, cheerful presence can be wonderful for elderly people and people living alone.
Yet this devotion is never obtrusive. They do not demand attention, and are content to sit quietly when you are busy. They have a strong sense of proper behavior and strive to be "good citizens." They likewise appreciate courtesy from others, and remember how they have been treated. Chartreux are highly sensitive to scolding and praise, although they can sometimes be slow learners. Be patient and forgiving with this gentle breed.
The short thick coat does not require much maintenance. During shedding season you will want to spend some time brushing out dead hairs so that they do not cover your clothes and furniture. If you ever need to bathe your Chartreux, be forewarned that it will take time to get it wet down to the skin. The coat repels water due to its thickness and texture.
Chartreux are not picky eaters, but can sometimes be sensitive to changes in diet or very rich food. Some Chartreux breeders switch to adult food around age 4 or 5 months because the premium kitten foods are so rich. Older Chartreux may need to be switched to a "light" cat food so that they do not become overweight.
Some Chartreux have small and close-set incisors which can get pushed out of line when the adult teeth come in, and might need to be pulled. Also, some Chartreux tend to get gingivitis if their teeth are not well cared for. It's a good idea to bring your Chartreux to the vet for periodic tooth check-ups and cleaning.
Patellar luxation (displacement of the kneecap) is sometimes seen in Chartreux. This condition, when mild, does not usually cause any symptoms in the cat, but if it is severe, it can cause lameness. Because this condition is hereditary, most reputable breeders screen their breeding animals for it and do not use questionable animals for breeding. You may want to ask questions about patellar luxation when you talk to breeders.