Chartreux Cat: Breed Information, Characteristics, and Facts

Chartreux Cat: Breed Information, Characteristics, and Facts

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a cat with a smile to wake up to every morning? Well, the closest we can come to that dream is by getting a Chartreux cat. Sometimes known affectionately as the smiley Chartreux, the Chartreux has a face that seems like a perpetual smile. And when it comes to personality, some have compared this cat to a mime – quiet but communicative, and indeed, sometimes a little silly. If you are interested in acquiring a Chartreux cat, then this is the article for you as we will provide you with all the information you need to know about this special breed of cat.

Chartreux cat on balcony

History of The Chartreux Cat

Before we proceed, it is best to go back in time and take a look at the origin of the Chartreux cat. Unfortunately, the actual origin of this breed of cat is not yet known. However, the Chartreux cat has been associated with Carthusian in France (and this has nothing to do with the Chartreux cat’s gray coat of fur that looks like a monk’s cloak) all the way back in the 17th century. But its history goes further back, as some cat experts believe, to the 13th century in a place that is currently called Syria. Some cat historians believe that the Chartreux cat was brought to France by crusaders who later became Carthusian monks. Considering how quietly communicative and amusing these cats are, one could imagine that the Carthusian monks found them to be the perfect feline friends to have around. According to some French folklore, the Chartreux cat was named for the Chartreuse liquor, which was made by the Carthusian monk during that time.

However, the history of the Chartreux cat is not all positive. It has been reported that this breed of cat became popular for its thick blue pelts in the 18th century. For furriers, this was known as the “pile de Chartreux” – a sort of luxurious wool that came with a very high price.

But thankfully, the Chartreux cats survived their worst periods in French history as some of them made their way to the United States of America in 1971. John and Helen Gamon brought three of these cats from France to their La Jolla home in California. They went on to make this breed of cat popular throughout the United States. In 1987 the Cat Fanciers Association finally granted the Chartreux recognized status. Currently, this cat breed has been recognized by all the major cat associations in America. Presently, there are less than twenty Chartreux cat breeders across the United States and Canada.

Quick Facts About The Chartreux Cat

Now that we know a little bit about the history of this special breed of cat, it is time to learn some quick facts about the Chartreux cat.

  • Rare breed: Despite their increasing popularity, Chartreux cats are still very rare. As mentioned earlier, there are not more than twenty active breeders across the United States and Canada.
  • Fur color: This cat breed has a unique fur color. Unlike other breeds, Chartreux cats do not come in different colors or color combinations. Their unique coat color is usually gray and shades of blue. This unique coat color is one of the reasons why this cat breed is one of the most-wanted.
  • Size: Most cat breeds fall within the same size. However, Chartreux cats tend to grow larger and weigh heavier than the average cat. They usually have a weight range of 8 pounds to 16 pounds. However, this does not make them taller than the average cat. Despite their above-average size, the Chartreux cat actually tends to be more athletic than the average housecat.
  • Water-resistant hair: Ready for something truly special? Another unique thing about the Chartreux cat is the fact its hair coat is completely water-resistant. So, whether it accidentally falls in a body of water, or receives a bath, the Chartreux cat will come out completely dry after a quick shake.
  • Height: As mentioned previously, although the Chartreux cat is relatively larger than other cats, it actually has a short stature. It has an average height of about 8 inches to 11 inches at the shoulder level. What makes them larger is the extra muscle mass that they have.
  • The smile: Nicknamed the smiley Chartreux, this cat looks like it is wearing a perpetual smile. Spoiler alert, it is not actually smiling in reality. This adorable ‘smile’ is only as a result of a bone structure of the skull and the jaw. Even if your Chartreux cat is mad at you, you will still see a cat smiling at you. Wonderful, isn’t it?
  • Eye color: At first glance, you will notice that this cat has a unique eye color. The eye colors range from gold, orange, and copper.
  • Rough hair: Unlike most soft-haired cats, the Chartreux cat has very tough hair that feels rougher and stronger than the average cat.
  • Lifespan: A healthy Chartreux cat can live for up to 18 to 21 years when properly taken care of.

Chartreux cat sitting

Things You Should Know

The uniqueness of the Chartreux cat should be clear by now. But there is still more to know. If you are interested in getting a Chartreux cat, there are some important things you need to know.


The Chartreux cat is generally a very hardy and healthy cat breed. But do not fall for breeders who tell you that this unique does not have any health problems. Although you may not have much to worry about when it comes to its health, the Chartreux cat is still prone to some health concerns.

One health problem has to do with struvite urinary tract stones. Another potential health problem is hereditary – dislocation of the kneecap. This could range from mild to severe. You will not have much to worry about in mild cases. But severe cases will require immediate medical attention as it can easily lead to lameness. Chartreux cats are also prone to polycystic kidney complications.

To be on the safer side, it is best to also receive a written health guarantee from a breeder before making a purchase. As the pet owner, you have a huge role to play in ensuring that your cat stays healthy at all times. An important part of doing so is making it a point that you take regular trips to the vet for general examinations to be conducted. Doing so will also help to detect potential health problems before they become critical.


Your Chartreux cat, just like any other cat, is a carnivore. As such, its diet should reflect its need for protein. Plus, it needs to be fed quality food. Just like any other cat, the Chartreux cat needs a diet that is rich in high-quality protein from animal sources. Because this breed of cat has a very sensitive stomach, you must take care to avoid plant-based protein sources. You must also avoid feeding it very rich foods as this can easily make it sick. Before purchasing any cat food, take the time to read the label to be sure that it contains at least one source of meat-based protein. Meat-based protein is so important to your Chartreux cat that it must form at least 40 percent of their diet. Protein helps to ensure that it is well-fed without putting on unhealthy weight. It also helps to fuel your cat’s lean muscles while supporting its heart. It is recommended to rotate between dry kibble and canned wet food to ensure that your cat gets the moisture benefit that comes from wet food. However, ensure that your cat gets more wet canned food than dry kibble as the latter mostly comes with higher quality meat sources. Aside from protein, ensure that your cat food comes with a mix of essential nutrients and vitamins. For the best cat food, you can always speak with your vet for some recommendations. A Chartreux kitten should be fed with already-made kitten food until about six weeks old, at least.

Related Post: Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs

Chartreux cat lying


While you feed your cat healthy food, it is best to monitor its weight once every week to make sure that it is not putting on too much weight. If you notice that your cat is gaining too much weight, speak with your vet about the right weight loss plan to use. As mentioned earlier, you need to take your cat to see the vet regularly. This should be done at least once every year. Your vet will conduct general physical examinations that will reveal any potential health risks – if there are any – and provide remedies. As mentioned earlier in this article, Chartreux cats are generally very healthy cats, with the right care, they can live well into their teenage years. Aside from regular medical examinations, ensure that your cat is vaccinated from all common cat diseases. Again, this can be done by your local vet. After the first vaccine shot, your cat will need yearly boosters. Also, it is best to consider having your cat neutered as doing so will help to prevent certain behaviors such as marking territory with urine or urine spraying. Ensure that you spend enough time with your cat as playtime helps to stimulate its time. You can also purchase some cat toys to keep your cat busy when you are not around. It is best to invest in cat toys that also help to give your cat some physical exercise.


It is important to groom your cat regularly. As mentioned earlier, this cat breed comes with a unique haircoat, which requires special attention. Always ensure that you comb your cat’s hair at least once every week when combing, always follow the direction of the natural flow of hair. Comb in an upward and downward motion to help get rid of parasitic bugs and other or wanted particles that may be hiding in your cat’s hair coat. Your cat will shed a few times during the year. At such times always make sure to comb its hair on a daily basis as doing so will help keep the haircoat healthy. Another part of grooming your cat is trimming its nails regularly. But only do so when you notice that your cat’s nails are overgrown. Before trimming your cat’s nails, it is important to make sure that it’s secure and comfortable. To do so, wrap one hand around your cat’s upper body and use the other hand to trim its nails. Also, clean your cat’s ears as often as necessary. Check the inner sides of its ears and look out for the buildup of wax and dirt. If you notice any of such buildup Use a damp cotton ball to gently clean the inside of the ears. The best way to notice when there is a buildup is when there are dark spots in your cat’s ears. Brushing your cat’s teeth is also very important. Doing so will help prevent plaque and Order gum-related diseases. Always use a cat grade toothbrush and toothpaste. Another important part of caring for your cat is keeping it indoors. Doing so protects it from accidents and diseases. It also prevents it from getting lost or stolen.


Chartreux cat personality Can be summed up in three words – gentle, quiet, and sweet. Chartreux cats Love their owners and like to spend time with them. They are very good when it comes to bonding with their human owners. Unlike other cats, Chartreux cats prefer to spend a lot of time with their humans. But they do not mind being left alone once a while. Chartreux cats Well-known for their ability to live with other pets or animals. However, before adding your cat to another pet always ensure that the other pets or animal does not mind having a new playmate. Chartreux cats are also very good with kids. Only make sure to teach your kids the proper way to treat their feline friend. As mentioned earlier, Chartreux cat breeds are very quiet. They are not vocal; as a result, they’re ideal for people who prefer quiet pets.

Chartreux cat sitting in a chair

To Summarize

In summary, the Chartreux cat Can easily be every cat lover’s ideal cat. However, just like any good thing, this breed of cat is still relatively rare. As mentioned earlier, they are less than 20 active breeding centers across the United States. As a result, do not expect this breed of cat to come very cheap. But if you believe that the Chartreux cat is for you, then it should be worth every penny.


  1. Fun Facts on the Chartreux, PetMD
  2. Chartreux, VetStreet
  3. Chartreux, VCA Hospitals

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