Cat breeds: Carthusian

Cat breeds: Carthusian

FIFe classification and history

Dorigo country: France.

There are many hypotheses on the origin of the Carthusian. Certain is the presence of gray-blue haired cats both in Rome and in France since the 16th century. Many books written in the eighteenth century bear the name Carthusian referring to Parisian cats with this coloring.
The phonetic of the name refers to an isolated and mountainous region of France, the Grande Chartreuse. In the 11th century the Carthusian monks had a monastery in that region, and they are said to have always bred these cats with the typical gray-blue coat. This hypothesis is plausible, but there is no certain proof. According to other scholars, the name could come from the fact that these cats were particularly numerous in the vicinity of a Charterhouse, such as that of the Luxembourg gardens in Paris.
According to another hypothesis, the name derives from a type of fine wool imported from Spain in the eighteenth century: it was called Pile de Chartreux or better Carthusian wool. At the time, many leather goods dealers traded cat skin especially those of the cats that ended up called Carthusians.
It is therefore possible that the fur of these cats, used for the same characteristics of wool, such as softness and its fluffiness, took the name Chartreux, and that the name of the cats derived from the latter (for further information www.certosinoclub. it).
Today this breed is very popular especially in France and Belgium. The Carthusians arrived in Italy thanks to the interest of Mr. Tonelli from Bologna, owner of the Dei Rosacroce kennel and founder of the Carthusian Cat Club Italy.

General aspect

Robust, short-haired gray-blue cat. The breed is sometimes confused with the blue European, from which it differs for some physical and character characteristics: its hair, very fine and dense, for the thickness of the undercoat is slightly raised, giving it a slightly woolly appearance that cats never have Europeans; the ears placed higher on the head and a little higher at the base than those of the European and not very hairy; intense yellow eyes with an intense leather color, while the European cat presents a whole range of different eye colors; the sexual dimorphism is more marked than that of the Europeans, the Carthusian males are much more robust than the females, they have more evident cheeks than the females especially when they become adults around the age of two or three. In the past these two races were occasionally crossed, while today this practice is no longer allowed. Most of the Carthusians have slight traces of tigration on the coat at birth, which disappear as they grow.

Carthusian cat (photo Sara Dioguardi


The Carthusian is a sweet and meowing little cat; sociable, good-natured and with a balanced and peaceful temperament, it is particularly suitable as a companion animal for lonely or elderly people. It coexists well with other cats and dogs. Suitable for families with children, because, if disturbed, it does not scratch but prefers to hide in a quiet place. Despite being a cat that adapts well to loneliness, it is better not to leave it alone all day. He loves to play even if he is not as active as other shorthaired breeds. It is rare to hear his subdued and discreet meow.
It adapts well to home life, but must have enough space available. Excellent mouse hunter.


It requires little care: simply brush it with a horsehair brush and a pass with a chamois leather once a week; it is recommended to gently use a brush or glove with rubber teeth to remove the dead hair during the moult. If the hair is dirty, an odorless dry shampoo should be used.
The ears must be cleaned only if necessary with a specific product. The nails can be blunted with special scissors.

Carthusian cat (photo

Variety of color

The standard admits all shades of gray, from allardian ash, but the most common is ash gray. It must be as uniform as possible and must not have streaks, patterns or white hair. The hair tends to be more silvery on the nose, around the vibrissae, in the back of the ears and on the tip of the legs. The color of the eyes ranges from golden bronze to amber.


Category: Short Hair.
Build: medium to large; with a muscular and robust appearance, especially in males.
Head: wide at the base, well-developed skull, not rounded, with a narrow and flat space between the ears; wide and straight nose not snub; adult males have important jaws.
Ears: medium, slightly open at the base and with slightly rounded tips.
Eyes: large and open, not too rounded; external corner slightly facing upwards.
Limbs: rather long, with wide legs.
Tail: medium length, wide at the base, tapered and with a rounded tip.
Coat: it has a thick, shiny fur with woolly undercoat. The double hair makes the hair stand up straight and soft to the touch.
Defects: presence of streaks, drawings and white piles on the coat; traces of green in the color of the eyes; snub nose.

The Carthusian Cat

Mariolina Cappelletti - De Vecchi Edizioni - June 2008

It is one of the most beautiful cats: muscular and strong, it has the soft and fluffy coat of a splendid gray, and golden eyes that contribute to making it irresistible. Pacific, tolerant and affectionate, it has a calm and balanced nature that makes it an ideal companion cat.
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