A show cat judge, John Jennings, of around 1900 in England describes "The French". He writes that at the time this was a breed of "long-haired cats perpetuated for some centuries..bred by the Chartreuse monks". The coat he describes as "exceedingly long and wonderfully silky". He compares the coat to that of the Persian and Angora.
Apparently at the time the Chartreuse monks were known to have carried out experiments in breeding and crossing of domestic animals. Perhaps the monks were some of the first cat breeders involved in selective breeding.
What is interesting is that the Chartreux is a fairly well known short haired purebred cat that looks similar to the blue British Shorthair. The "French" was "coloured chiefly blue". In modern English the cats were mainly blue in color and blue means grey to people outside the cat fancy.
Conclusion: We have an established cat show judge of the turn of the 20th century century writing a book that is published in 1901 in which he describes a grey long haired cat breed that was bred for centuries by monks in Chartreuse. Sounds like the Chartreux to me only the length of the fur is at the opposite ends of the spectrum to the Chartreux we have today (2012).
Has anyone heard of this before? It seems to contradict the usual story of the history of this breed. It is particular interesting because we are told that French breeders have been at pains to maintain the true appearance of this cat over the centuries.
Notes: (1) The book referred to is DOMESTIC AND FANCY CATS A PRACTICAL TREATISE ON THEIR VARIETIES, BREEDING, MANAGEMENT AND DISEASE (1901) ISBN 9781164623557 - page 14.
(2) Chartreuse is in the south east of France, near Lyon as far as I am aware.
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