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In the 1970s, the quest to have the Chartreux recognized as an official breed set off a debate among cat fanciers. The crux of the argument stemmed from the breed's origins - whether it was an old natural breed from France, as its devotees insisted, or a hybrid of French street cats crossed with British Blues. The decision would affect whether the Chartreux would be accepted as a separate breed or whether it would be put into a class of 'exotics' or classified as a variant of British Blues. Research eventually proved that the Chartreux is a truly French breed, as blue-colored cats were referenced as far back as the 1700s by French naturalists. The Chartreux was first imported into the United States in 1970 and was recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) in 1987.
Legend has it that the name Chartreux came from an order of Carthusian monks who named the cat after their mother house, Le Grand Chartreux.