Legend has it that the Chartreux's ancestors were feral mountain cats from what is now Syria, brought back to France by returning Crusaders in the 13th century, many of whom entered the Carthusian monastic order. The first documented mention of the breed was by the French naturalist Buffon in the 18th century. The breed was greatly diminished during the first World War and wild populations were not seen after World War II. A concerted effort by European breeders kept the breed from extinction. The first Chartreux were brought to the U.S. in 1971 by Helen and John Gamon of La Jolla, California. In 1987, the Cat Fancier's Association (CFA) advanced the Chartreux breed to championship status.
Chartreux cats tend to be quiet, rarely making noises such as mewing or crying, and some are mute. They are quite observant and intelligent, with some Chartreux learning to operate radio on/off buttons and to open screen door latches. They take about two years to reach adulthood. Chartreux cats are playful cats well into their adult years; some can be taught to fetch small objects in the same manner as a dog. Chartreux are good with children and other animals. They are non-aggressive, affectionate, good travelers and generally very healthy. Chartreux tend to bond with one person in their household, preferring to be in their general vicinity (often following their favoured person from room to room), though they are still loving and affectionate to the other members of the household.
Chartreux come in only one color, blue. The shade may very from a light almost silvery ash to a deep slate gray. An adult Chartreux will have a uniform shade of solid blue overall. Cats under the age of two may have faint tabby markings that disappear gradually as they approach adulthood.