To the untrained eye, the Chartreux cat and the Russian Blue cat look like the same cat, as they both come in a similar shade of blue. It does not help that they are also quite similar in proportions, making it that much more difficult to tell them apart.
However, if you study both felines carefully, you will notice that they have significant differences in both looks and behavior.
If you are on the fence on which kitty to choose, you have come to the right place, as this article takes an in-depth look into both breeds.
At a Glance
Chartreux Cat Overview:
Considered France’s official cat, the Chartreux is a feline with a pleasant demeanor and a perpetual smile thanks to their round faces and pointed muzzles. Other notable traits about this breed include a blue-gray coat with a woolly texture, bright orange or copper eyes, and quiet nature.
The Chartreux is also a revered mouser, renowned for its extraordinary hunting skills even by feline standards. It is believed that it is those skills that made French Carthusian monks keep them as companions, as they rid their monasteries of rodents.
Despite being around for centuries, the Chartreux is one of the rarer cat breeds, especially in the United States. They are ideal pets for people or families looking for a quiet, non-clingy, but friendly cat.
The Chartreux’s origins are unknown. However, their earliest documented history dates back to the 15th century. Some believe that its unique woolly coat points to Syrian origins, as crusaders from France visited the region at some point during the Middle Ages.
These cats quickly built a reputation for themselves in France for their exceptional rodent control ability.
Fast-forward a couple of centuries to the 1920s when two sisters, Suzanne and Christine Leger, came across a colony of cats with blue-gray coats on a tiny island off the coast of France. The cats had such an impression on the sisters that they embarked on domesticating and breeding them. The cats made their official debut in 1931 at a cat show in Paris where they came to be recognized as the modern Chartreux cat.
Unfortunately, like many other pets, the Chartreux cat was almost driven to extinction by World War II. Thanks to selective cross breeding efforts, however, this cat was able to survive.
John and Helen Gamon are credited as being the first people to bring Chartreux cats to the United States in 1970, where they quickly became a hit thanks to their beautiful coats, high intelligence, and quiet, friendly demeanor, their ability as mousers notwithstanding. The Cat Fanciers’ Association recognized the Chartreux officially in 1987.
The Chartreux comes with a short blue-gray coat, round face, and bright copper eyes. Their bodies are muscular, and their legs short. As kittens, they have light tabby spots. Additionally, they have a water-repellent coat, which develops a woolly texture as they age.
These cats are often compared to Russian Blues and British Shorthairs, as they look remarkably alike. British Shorthairs, however, are significantly larger while Russian Blues have denser, plusher coats.
The Chartreux is one cool cat. They are friendly and loving, yet somewhat independent and aloof. While they do love you, they are content being by themselves. Nonetheless, they will show you affection occasionally by following you around and lying next to you. However, unlike some cat breeds, this kitty will not demand your affection, despite appreciating your attention.
One of the most notable traits of this breed is its quietness and observant nature. Barely making a peep, they will watch from the sidelines quietly, like a true assassin, which is what perhaps makes them such adept hunters.
When a Chartreux decides to communicate, it is usually more of a chirp than a meow. Owners note that this breed uses body language more to communicate than sounds. Therefore, you should always be looking for changes in their behavior, as they are more than likely to suffer in silence.
Nonetheless, despite its cool and relaxed demeanor, the Chartreux can be incredibly charming and goofy once it trusts you. Additionally, it has no problem meeting strangers since it is a confident laid back pet. Surprisingly, it is quite accommodating of play from children. Moreover, its stocky build allows it to handle rougher handling. However, make sure that you teach children how to handle the cat properly.
The Chartreux’s laid back attitude is also reflected in their eating habits; these cats do not seem to care much about what you give them. Therefore, it is up to you to make sure that their meals are tasty and nutritious.
Pay attention to their weight. Reduce the portion sizes if you notice that the cat is gaining weight. However, it would be best to seek professional advice from a vet.
When it comes to treats, consider giving them something tasty but healthy, such as lean chicken or raw fish.
Despite their nonchalant attitude, Chartreux cats still require play and exercise to keep them in shape. However, you must provide them with the right toys to get them moving. As mentioned, these cats are exceptional hunters, meaning that chasing toys are great at keeping them mentally and physically stimulated.
The Chartreux cat is one of the easiest cats to groom. It does not have a dense coat, meaning that light brushing should suffice. Consider doing that every day. Brush their teeth at least twice a week while making sure that their ears are clean. Trimming their claws at least once a month should be enough to keep the cat happy and healthy.
The Chartreux is a healthy breed and is not predisposed to many conditions. However, the health of your cat will depend on the breeder. Therefore, make sure that a breeder has a good reputation before buying an animal from them. Reputable breeders will provide you with the kitty’s health certificates as proof of health.
Nonetheless, like any other animal, the Chartreux cat is still susceptible to some conditions, including medial patellar luxation and polycystic kidney disease. Fortunately, you should be able to keep these days with regular vet checkups.
The Chartreux cat is a good fit for people looking for a quiet but friendly cat.
Russian Blue Cat Overview:
Renowned for their bright green eyes and thick, stunning blue-gray coats, Russian Blues are affectionate cats with a thing for structure and routine.
Their sweet temperament, low grooming requirements, and independent streak make the Russian Blue a good fit for most people. Nonetheless, you will need to be patient with this kitty, as it can be quite shy.
Not much is known about the Russian Blue’s actual origins. Legend has it that these cats came with British sailors who found them in the White Sea port town of Archangel in Northern Russia. This could be true, as the Russian Blue cat’s thick coat seems to be an adaptation for surviving in colder climates.
Official breeding of the Russian Blue, however, began in Britain and Scandinavia in the late 19th century. This cat made its official debut on the world stage in a cat exhibit show in 1875 that was held at the Crystal Palace in London. At the show, it was referred to as the archangel cat since they believed that it came from the Russian island of Archangel.
Russian Blues were introduced in the United States at the start of the 20th century. They have since become one of the most sought-after breeds for people looking for cat companions.
Christened the “Doberman Pinschers of cats” thanks to their muscular yet elegant frame, Russian Blues are the embodiment of graceful proportions. They are long, slender, and muscular. Their most notable features, however, are their luxurious blue coats with a hint of silver and bright green eyes.
Thanks to the Russian Blue’s plush, silky double coat, it appears to be much larger than it really is. The eyes of a Russian Blue are yellow at birth, changing to the characteristic bright green as they mature.
Like the Chartreux cat, the Russian Blue also has a slightly upturned mouth, which gives the impression that the cat is smiling.
The Russian Blue is a gentle, affectionate, but reserved cat. Therefore, you will have to earn their trust first so that they can be comfortable around you. Once you gain their trust, this cat is incredibly sweet and playful. While capable of showing affection, the Russian Blue is not clingy. It will show affection by sleeping beside you, being around you as you go about your chores, or sitting on your lap as you watch TV.
This cat, however, tends to develop a deep attachment towards one person in the family. However, this does not mean that it cannot be friendly towards the others; it is only that it will want to spend more time with their favorite person. This animal also gets along with children. However, it does better with older kids who can respect boundaries. They also get along with other pets, provided you socialize them early.
Due to their shy disposition, however, Russian Blue cats are not overly social, especially when it comes to people they do not know. When a guest comes to the house, this cat is likely to retreat and observe the situation from a distance, only interacting with them after the cat has deemed them acceptable company. Russian Blues rarely enter any situation without first analyzing it critically.
Nonetheless, despite how aloof Russian Blues might seem, most members of this breed are sensitive. They do not like being ignored. They become anxious when the affection they are giving is not reciprocated.
Though soft-spoken, Russian Blues can be quite vocal, talking to you in quiet meows when they want attention, food, or water.
One thing you must know about this breed is that they hate change. They do not like it when you disrupt the normal order of things. Therefore, try to follow a schedule when it comes to mealtimes and playtimes.
When it comes to Russian Blues, it is best that you talk to your vet about the best diet plan for them. This is because these kitties love eating, making them susceptible to obesity and the health conditions associated with it. For this reason, avoid letting them free feed and keep them on a regular eating schedule.
This cat needs loads of physical stimulation to stay in shape, as it gains weight easily. Therefore, ensure that they have various types of toys to keep them engaged. Also, thanks to their high intelligence, you will need to provide them with mental stimulation too. Look for puzzle games such as food mazes to help you in that regard.
The Russian Blue is low maintenance. Despite having a thick coat, it is incredibly easy to care for, requiring occasional brushing to keep it soft and silky. However, make sure to trim their nails regularly, while checking the inside of their ears for debris and cleaning it with a cotton ball dipped in pet ear cleaner.
The Russian Blue cat is a genetically sound breed, with no predisposition to any specific diseases. This explains why they have such long lifespans. However, as mentioned, these cats love eating. Given the chance, they will eat beyond what they need. This makes them highly susceptible to obesity. Therefore, set rules for feeding the cat that everyone in your house should follow.
The Russian Blue is ideal for people who want a sweet, sensitive, and shy feline companion.
The Chartreux cat and the Russian Blue cat are similar in many ways; they look alike, both have a laid back attitude, and both take time to trust. These cats, therefore, are meant for people looking for a feline companion that is capable of a deep emotional connection.