Published on July 12, 2011
Don’t get a Chartreux if you don’t want a cat on your lap every time you sit down. The smiling Chartreux is highly affectionate and will follow his people from room to room. With his sweet, personable nature, he gets along well with other pets and is suited to homes with children who will pet him gently. The Chartreux is quiet, some rarely making a sound, but don’t let him fool you. He has a quick brain and is capable of figuring out how to get into cabinets or out of louvered windows to go exploring.
Like most cats, the Chartreux loves to climb, and he has also been known to perform acrobatic feats as he chases a fishing pole toy. And if you have mice? Well, they’ll be packing their bags if a Chartreux moves in. These cats have a reputation as excellent mousers when given the opportunity.
The Chartreux coat is easy to groom with twice weekly brushing. You’ll need to brush him more often in the spring when he sheds his winter coat. Trim the nails as needed.
The Chartreux is well suited to any home with people who will love him and give his gorgeous coat a weekly combing. Keep him indoors to protect him from cars, diseases spread by other cats and attacks from other animals.
The History of the Chartreux
The Chartreux is a French breed and is said to date to the 18th century and perhaps earlier. One of the tales of his origin is that the cats were bred by Carthusian monks. No doubt they helped to keep the monasteries free of mice and rats. Unfortunately for them, people also liked them for their pelts.
Chartreux made their debut into cat society in 1931 at a cat show in Europe. In 1970, the first Chartreux were imported to the United States. The Cat Fanciers Association gave the breed full recognition in 1987.
Chartreux Temperament and Personality
The Chartreux is sweet and quiet with a gentle, amenable nature. He enjoys being a lap cat and is the ultimate television-watching pal. When a lap isn’t available he follows his people wherever they go. Throw a ball for him to chase, or be amazed by his acrobatics when you dangle a fishing-pole toy for his entertainment. The Chartreux chirps when he wants your attention but is otherwise quiet.
Gentle he may be, but the Chartreux is also playful and intelligent. Challenge his brain and keep him interested in life by teaching him tricks and providing him with puzzle toys that will reward him with kibble or treats when he learns how to manipulate them.
Always choose a kitten from a breeder who raises litters in the home and handles them from an early age. Meet at least one and ideally both of the parents to ensure that they have friendly temperaments.
What You Need to Know about Chartreux Health
All cats have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit diseases. 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 generally healthy, but he’s prone to polycystic kidney disease and struvite stones in the urinary tract. Do not buy from a breeder who does not provide a written health guarantee.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new kitten into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Chartreux at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to protect his overall health. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier cat for life.
Caring for Your Cat With Proper Grooming
Known for his woolly blue coat, the Chartreux requires combing, not brushing, to keep it beautiful. He sheds his undercoat a couple of times a year, and you’ll probably want to comb him daily during that time to keep the flying fur under control.
The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every week or so. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath, and schedule regular veterinary dental cleanings.
Finding a Chartreux Breeder
You want your Chartreux to be happy and healthy, so do your homework before you bring him home. For more information on the history, personality and looks of the Aby, as well as breeder listings, contact a Chartreux breed club or visit the websites of the Cat Fanciers Association, Cats Center Stage, the Fanciers Breeder Referral List, and The International Cat Association.
A reputable breeder will abide by a code of ethics that prohibits sales to pet stores and wholesalers and outlines the breeder’s responsibilities to their cats and to buyers. Choose a breeder who has performed the health certifications necessary to screen out genetic health problems to the extent that is possible, as well as one who raises kittens in the home. Kittens who are isolated can become fearful and skittish and may be difficult to socialize later in life.
Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include kittens always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any kitten, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your feline friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and unhealthy catteries can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick kitten, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy kittens.
Put at least as much effort into researching your kitten as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
Be patient. Depending on what you are looking for, you may have to wait six months or more for the right kitten to be available. Many breeders won't release kittens to new homes until they are between 12 and 16 weeks of age. Before you buy a kitten, consider whether an adult Chartreux might be a better choice for your lifestyle. Kittens are loads of fun, but they’re also a lot of work and can be destructive until they reach a more sedate adulthood. With an adult you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health. If you are interested in acquiring an adult cat instead of a kitten, ask breeders about purchasing a retired show or breeding cat or if they know of an adult cat who needs a new home.
Adopting a Cat from Chartreux Rescue or a Shelter
A breeder is not your only option for acquiring an Chartreux. Although Chartreux kittens are almost never found in shelters and rescue, adult Chartreuxs, both pedigreed and mixed, are not always so fortunate. You may find the perfect Chartreux through a rescue group, or by checking your local shelters or the listings on the Fanciers Breeder Referral List or Petfinder.
Here are some tips to help you find and adopt the right cat from a rescue group or shelter:
1. Use the Web
Sites like Petfinder.com and Adopt-a-Pet.com can have you searching for a Chartreux in your area in no time flat. The site allows you to be very specific in your requests (housetraining status, for example) or very general (all the Chartreuxs available across the country). AnimalShelter can help you find animal rescue groups in your area. Also some local newspapers have “pets looking for homes” sections you can review. Social media is another great way to find a cat. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for a specific breed so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.
2. Reach Out to Local Experts
Start talking with all the pet pros in your area about your desire for a Chartreux. That includes vets, cat sitters, and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a cat, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.
3. Talk to Breed Rescue
Networking can help you find a cat that may be the perfect companion for your family. You can also search online for other Chartreux rescues in your area. Most people who love Chartreuxs love all Chartreuxs. That’s why breed clubs have rescue organizations devoted to taking care of homeless cats. A Chartreux rescue network can help you find a cat that may be the perfect companion for your family. You can also search online for Chartreux rescues in your area.
4. Key Questions to Ask
You now know the things to discuss with a breeder, but there are also questions you should discuss with shelter or rescue group staff or volunteers before you bring home a cat. These include:
- What is his energy level?
- How is he around other animals?
- How does he respond to shelter workers, visitors and children?
- What is his personality like?
- What is his age?
- Is he litter box-trained?
- Has he ever bitten or scratched anyone that they know of?
- Are there any known health issues?
Wherever you acquire your Chartreux, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter, or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with “pet lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the cat from both understand your rights and recourses.
Kitten or adult, take your Chartreux to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.