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CFA Pedigreed Breed: Chartreux

There exists a lovely old legend that the Chartreux lived with, and were named for, the Carthusian monks of France, and perhaps even shared a tipple or two of their famous Chartreuse liqueur. Recent research, however, indicates that because of the woolly character of their fur, they were given the same name as a well-known Spanish wool of the early 18th century.

The Chartreux is a study in contrasts. Often described as a "potato on toothpicks," the breed has a robust body, broad shoulders, and a deep chest, all complemented by medium-short, finely boned legs. Unlike any other cat, the Chartreux's blue fur is medium in length and woolly, with the proper coat breaking at the neck, chest, and flanks. A dense undercoat gives it resistance and a feeling of sheep's wool.

Chartreux quickly become attached to one family and frequently follow their masters from room to room. Known for their doglike behavior, these cats can be taught to fetch a ball, and most will respond to their names. The Chartreux is a quiet breed, chirping rather than meowing at things it finds interesting. This intelligent cat is fascinated by television and likes to participate in telephone conversations by chewing on the cord.

Chartreux kittens are precocious. Physical maturity can be three years in coming, with a scraggly stage between kitten and adulthood that puts one in mind of a gawky adolescent. Then, almost overnight, they put it all together, with stunning results. Environment and attention have everything to do with this breed's adult manners and behavior. Brushing the double coat is a no-no. Instead, running your fingers through the fur on a daily basis will suffice and will contribute to your cat's social demeanor at the same time.

Cat Fanciers' Association, Inc. (c) 2011