Chartreux cats

Besides devoting their time to prayers, these fascinating monks made inroads into other not-so-holy

 activities like liqueur-making, weapon-forging, and breeding cats.

Though the monastery was founded in 1084 by Saint Bruno, the cats

 staged their appearance only in the 13th century.

Among the wealth they brought home were blue cats that they had found on the coast of Africa.

These cats were trained to have quiet voices so as not to rudely interrupt meditation.

The Histoire Naturelle, written in the 1700s by biologist Comte de Buffon, talks about four cat breeds that were common to Europe at that time: domestic, Angora, Spanish, and Chartreux.

In the 1920s, a colony of cats was discovered by two sisters by the name of Leger on the tiny Brittany Island Belle-Ile, off the coast of France.

The Leger sisters, who were also cat lovers, worked on this breed and in 1931 exhibited the first Chartreux in France.

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