Renowned as the Fashion Capital of the World, there is no doubt that French people love fashion, being an integral part of their culture and social life. But, did you know that they love cats? The country ranks second among European countries with the highest cat population. Serving as a home to 14.2 million cats in 2019, France is only behind Germany by half a million. Some of these felines even trace their roots from France, and two of them now renowned across the world. In this article, discover the Chartreux, Birman, and the Serrade Petit, the cats of French origin.
A rare breed from France, the Chartreux is a large, muscular, sturdy cat but relatively short, with fine-boned limbs, earning him the feline the moniker “potato on toothpicks.” These cats are famous for their water-resistant, blue-gray coat and orange-gold or orange-copper eyes, giving them an exotic, Halloween look.
There are two stories behind the breed’s origin. Some say that the Chartreux cats hail from Syrian feral mountain cats that crusaders brought to France during the 13th century. The other legend shows that these felines came from the cats of the Carthusian monk of the Grande Chartreuse Monastery, nestled at the Carthusian Mountains. Chartreux were said to be prized companions but were also adored for their incredible mousing abilities.
The breed has always been infrequent, and their population significantly decreased during World War I and suffered more during World War II. Thanks to the efforts of European breeders, the Chartreux cats were saved from extinction.
Today, Chartreux cats are well-loved for the sweet-tempered and gentle demeanor, making them fantastic family companions. Contracting their stout builts, these cats are relatively quiet, sometimes often meowing their mouths without producing any sound. Instead, they purr, chirp, trill, or stare to communicate with their family.
In terms of activity level, Chartreux cats are energetic and playful, usually in spurts. What they are mainly known for is their incredible mousing and hunting skills. No surprise that they prefer toys that move, especially those controlled by human power. Otherwise, these cats can be seen roaming around looking for something to play with or chase.
In general, Chartreux cats are highly-adaptable felines with a balanced personality. They are a constant companion that loves, entertains, and cheers their families with their loyalty and devotion.
Another cat tracing from France is the Birman cat, whose name came from the word “Birmanie, the French form of Burma. They are believed to have descended from the ancient feline named Sinh, who loyally accompanied his priest master when worshipping. The master was killed in an unfortunate incident, but the goddess blessed the cat and provided the feline with her marks, specifically her golden body and deep blue eyes. Sinh is said to have escorted the soul of his master to paradise. From then on, felines from their home temple don the goddess’ characteristics.
Like most wildlife caught amidst World War II, the Birmans were almost diminished in World War II. Postwar France saw the breed being crossed with different long-hair breeds, such as the Siamese and the Persians, reviving the Birmans. Since then, new colors were added after the initial seal point, giving new varieties like blue, red, and chocolate-point Birmans.
Today, the Birmans are known for their calm and loving personality. As former companions in temples, they relish being with people, often following their owners around the house. People adore their soft-voice, which these cats often only use to remind of their meals or to ask for some cuddle time. While they are docile, they are blessed with smarts and inquisitiveness and can be seen surveying their surroundings. At the end of the day, these cats will be happy to relax in their families’ arms or curl in their laps, showing their paramount affection.
Serrade Petit is a cat breed recently discovered in France and is yet to be accepted by any cat breed organization. Little information is known on their origins, but details available are of more of their physical characteristics. As their name suggests, these cars are relatively small, only weighing from six to nine pounds. Their coat is short that may appear coarse but are soft and comes in orange, white, or tan color. These felines have a delicate body structure, though their large eyes and big ears are conspicuous in their smallish head. Meanwhile, their legs are of medium-length, ended by little and compact paws. In general, Serrade Petits have a laid-back and calm personality, never demanding, but requires love and attention to thrive better.
Those are the cats that hail from France! Some other cat breeds you can see in the country include the Maine Coons, Bengals, Ragdolls, Persians, and the Siberian, proving that France’s big heart for cats.