Brief history of "Le Chat Des Chartreux"

16th century       Mention of blue cats living in France.

1558                  First text about the French blue cats. "French verses on the death of a small kitten",
                         Joachim du Bellay.
                         "Here lies Belaud, my little gray cat,
                         Belaud, that was the most handsome perhaps
                         That nature ever made in cat's clothing.
                         This was Belaud, death to rats.
                         Belaud, to be sure his beauty was such
                         That he deserves to be immortal."

                         Read the poem in French

18th century       "Chat des Chartreux" is used to refer to these blue cats for the first time.

The Chartreux are Carthusian monks and were long thought to have raised the "Chats des Chartreux", therefore given their names to the blue cats. It is now believed that they were called "Chat des Chartreux" because of the wooly texture of their coat responsible for its similarity to a spanish wool called "la pile des Chartreux". However, the exact origin of the name remains an enigma.

1723                  "Chat des Chartreux" mentioned in the "Universal Dictionary of Commerce, Natural
                         History and the Arts and Trade of Savvary of Brusion" refering to blue cats.
                         "Finally we find several cats which tend toward bleu, these latter are commonly called
                         Chartreux. This name was used to distinguish the blue cats. Incidentally, the furriers
                         trade in the skin of the cats, especially those cats which were called Chartreux."

1727                  In "The Cats" by François-Augustin-Paradis de Montcrif (1687-1770), slate-colored
                         cats are reported in North Africa from Malta and coming from Malta.

1747                  Portrait by Jean-Baptiste Perroneau: Magdaleine Pinceloup de la Grange holding a
                         gray cat which appears to be a Chartreux (very large body, yellow eyes, and head
                         shape of the breed). The painting is at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA.

1748                  Denis Diderot, French philosopher and poet, writes: "...without my three beasts my
                         Canary, my Chartreuse (female Chartreux) and Callirhoe, I am nothing."

1753                  Brande Aldobrande, Italian scholar, describes a cat of ash gray color originating in
                         Syria and writes: "Of all the variety and number of cats, the best is that which is
                         streaked with a diversity of pale dark ash colors; it comes from Syria, the place from
                         whence comes the name (?). Its blood is very mild, it lets itself be domesticated and is
                         a smart hunter. Moreover, its snout (?) is round, its chest muscular, it has strong legs,
                         it is always vigilant and makes a habit of watching over the household. It is content
                         with little food and supports its hunger; it feeds at times on its own capture and never
                         fills its insatiable tummy to the detriment of its owners."

1753                  Article called "Chartreux", in "Grande Encyclopédie": "Chartreux: a sort of cat whose
                         fur is gray ash and tends toward bleu. It's one of the skins in which the furriers trade
                         and employ in the manufacture of furs."

1756                  Description of the Chartreux cat as different from the European and Angora cat by
                         Buffon, French naturalist. The plate illustrating the book shows the Chartreux cat
                         compared to a domestic cat with: a shorter size, a straight and no-stop nose, a little
                         longer fur of a woolly texture, and a tail set straight up and tapering at the end.

1760                  Beside the use of the Chartreux Cat fur, Carl Von Linné mentioned another sad
                         destiny : "One can still meet daily some people who eat big well fed cats called
                         Chartreux cats..."

1778                  Josephus Flavius Martinet, from Holland, writes: "We in Holland have also some blue
                         cats mostly at Overijasel where they are brought to Holland to be bought and sold;
                         their fur is gray ash, blackish brown at the base, the coat is very dense of the sort
                         which, when one sees the gray of the tips and the brown underlaying, the mixed
                         colors make the appearance of the cat to be blue."

1780                  "Reasoned and Universal Dictionary of Natural History", published in Switzerland,
                          mentions the Chartreux: "In Persian one sees these (cats) whose color is that of our

1817                  Dictionary of Natural Science reads: "The Chartreux cat, whose fur is very fine and
                         generally a beautiful uniform gray, the lips and the bottom of the feet are black."

1832                  Edition of Buffon's « Natural History » with the plates colored : the Chartreux cat is
                         deep slate blue gray with yellow eyes.

1867                  Charles Ross writes in "The Book of the Cat":"Blue is not a common color, these
                         species are styled Chartreux cats and are esteemed rarities. Merit of being extremely
                         gentle, pure blue cats were very rare and greatly prized."

1877                  Heath's "French-English Dictionary" defines the Chartreux cat as a "cat with bluish-
                         gray color."

1880                  Cassell's "New French-English Dictionary" lists the "Chartreux cat of bluish gray color."

1896                  Chartreux are used by furriers. Dr. Beauregard, "Our Beasts": "after death the coat is
                         used in different ways. That of the Chartreux is cut and dyed and sold as Otter fur."

1920                  Léger sisters (Christine et Suzanne) after Versailles Horticulture School move to Belle-
                         Isle-en-Mer (Guerveur) and start the selection of the breed from a wild population on
                         the island.

1928                  The Federation Feline Francaise (FFF) is founded in Paris, France, and the Chartreux is
                         listed and a standard written; registration began then and continues to the present.

Prior to and after World War II there was considerable breeding between the Chartreux, European cats (in other words, Feral cats), British Shorthair (blue, blue-cream, and cream), Russian blue, and Persian (blue.)

1933                  Colette writes "La Chatte" (The Cat), where the heroin is Saha a female Chartreux is
                         inspired by her own cat.

1935                 Publication in the magazine "Life in the Country" dated from April 15, 1935 of an article
                        in which the Leger sisters from Guerveur Cattery tell their beginning of Chartreux
                        breeding: read the article.
1967                  The FFF, Fife, and GCCF Judges change the standard of the British Shorthair and the
                         Chartreux, without consulting the breeders, and put both breeds under the same new

The Chartreux by 1970 were reduced to cats with one or more of the above breeds in their pedigrees, so that the cats from the de Guerveur Cattery (Leger sisters), de Saint Pierre cattery (Mme. S. Bastide), and the Cat Club of Paris stock all had, at some point, one or the other of the above breeds behind them.

1972                  FFF outlaws all cross breeds.

1977                  Fife, after discussion with the breeders of Chartreux, rules that all cats of mixed
                         lineage will be registered with the letters RIEX attached to indicate an experimental

1978                  The 1972 ruling outlawing all cross breeds is strictly enforced at FFF show in Paris.