Origins and modern history
The Carthusian cat is one of the oldest feline breeds. From the sixteenth century there is mention of blue-gray cats that lived in France, in 1558 the poet Joachim du Bellay wrote the poem “Vers Français sur la mort d’un petit chat” quoting his own gray cat, but only in 1723 the name “Chartreux / Certosino” appears when Jacques Savary des Brûlons mentioned the “Chartreux cat” in the “Dictionnaire universel de commerce”.Another reference to the Carthusian cat is found in Linnaeus’ Systema Naturae of 1735, the initiator of the modern classification of living species. He describes the Carthusian breed with the name of Catus Coeruleus (blue cat) thus considering it as a distinct breed.
The Carthusian was imported to France from the East presumably by the Crusaders returning from the Holy Land, being native to the mountainous regions of Turkey and Iran.
The Carthusian was bred, in modern times, starting from the thirties by Christine and Suzanne Léger who began to breed blue cats that were numerous in Belle-Île-en-Mer, a French island in the Atlantic. A few years later their cat Nora was declared “the most beautiful Carthusian cat in the world” at the Paris exhibition. In the same period, a breeding of blue cats developed in the area of the central French massif, with some different physical characteristics. The latter were in fact decidedly more robust than those of Atlantic origin.
At the end of the Second World War the number of Carthusian cats was extremely small, in the same way as that of British Shorthair blue cats . Numerous crosses were thus made between the two breeds until the FIFe created a single shared standard for Chartreux and British. In the 70s of the twentieth century, thanks to the work of Jean Simonnet and other French breeders, the FIFe returned to consider the two breeds as distinct, prohibiting any further crossing.
In Italy the first Carthusian cats were introduced by Giorgio Tonelli, who after long searches in France brought Cervin and Electron de Labelrousse to Italy; from the union of Cervin with Caterina di Gioel, in 1988 the first Italian litter of Certosini was born.
The Carthusian is very affectionate, extremely attached to his family and with a strong personality. He is a very loyal cat and his maturity is shown from an early age: in fact he is balanced, he is attached to the family and not to the house, so he willingly accepts travel. He does not tend to be territorial, so he easily relates to other pets. He is active and outgoing, he easily indulges in games, but he chooses who to be pampered by. However independent by nature, he accepts cuddles, but does not like being picked up or being “scrambled”; he will let you know when he is in an affectionate mood or not. He tends to bond more with one family member in particular, so much so that he willingly walks his master around and follows him around the house, paying close attention to everything he does.