A brief background first
The Carthusian is another name for the Chartreux. It is a cat breed that originated in France. The cat has a connection with Carthusian monks hence its other name. They are supposed to have bred this cat many hundreds of years ago in France. This is one of the old established cat breeds.
This cat is characterized by eyes of a gold copper colour and a short coat that is entirely blue (blue means grey in cat fancy language). They are famous for a tendency to have a permanent smile due to the anatomy of their face. Carthusians are slowish to grow-up, taking more than a year to mature.
The formal history states that the Chartreux was originally from Turkey and Iran and was brought back to France during the Crusades. The breed was recognized in 1939. The Chartreux was on the brink of extinction after the Second World War and there was an “unhappy marriage” (cross breeding) with the British Shorthair, but the development of the breed using very specific selection criteria during further breeding in the 1980s led to the reconstitution of the original breed.
The breed is well known in France and was described in a poem by Joachim du Bellay (1558). Subsequently, many well known celebrities were Carthusian guardians (caretakers), among them the famous Colette who dedicated her writings to her cats and Charles de Gaulle also kept Chartreux.
Chartreux are named in a specific way depending on the year of birth.
Although personality traits vary from individual to individual and are partly based on the history of the individual cat (early year socialisation), the Carthusian is usually playful and very sociable, while maintaining some independence.
His faithful temperament has earned him the epithet “dog-cat”. He loves to follow his master from room to room. He excels in returning the ball or toy when playing fetch. While enjoying petting, the Carthusians do not like to be physically forced (be gentle but this applies to all cats). In addition, some Chartreux may protest when being held by judges at cat shows but the cat in the picture is not! My experience of seeing show cats is that they are usually very comfortable when handled by strangers.
The Chartreux loves peace and is a robust and rustic cat ideally suited to cold climates, and is considered a good hunter.
Patti a Chartreux owner says:
….their feelings can be hurt by a cross word spoken to them….They are very loyal and will sometimes follow you from room to room to be near you but not on you…..They do not have a mean bone in their bodies.
Gloria Stephens, a cat expert writes:
..some are mute…they are quiet, calm and reserved.
Gloria also confirms that they are independent, intelligent and come when called (dog-like) and they like to play fetch. They have a dog-like devotion to their human. They are “tolerant and gentle with small children”.
Dr Fogle writes that this cat is tolerant and “less talkative than most other cats. He summarises the personality as “calmly attentive”.
Important: Please remember, though, that when writing about a cat breed’s personality, many authors confidently use specific, clear cut descriptions. This is incorrect. There will be wide variations from individual to individual. Personality is really about an individual’s personality. In my opinion, it is not sensible to write about the personality of a breed of cat. Although, I have done so on this page (because visitors like these certainties), this caveat is important.