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In 2019, 20% of French households reported owning a dog, compared to the 31% that owned a cat. In France, people regard cats as more independent, cleaner, and quieter than dogs, and like the fact that cats don’t need to be taken for walks. Average vet bills for cats are also significantly lower than for dogs.
Cats are popular in France and have overtaken dogs in popularity in recent years. In 2020, according to a French animal welfare organization, Société Protectrice des Animaux (SPA), 58% of adoption applications were for cats. Estimates are that there are 10.7 million cats in France compared to only 7.8 million dogs.
Many French people are passionate animal lovers, and two cat breeds originate from France. But there is also a darker side to cat ownership, with large numbers of pets being abandoned by their owners, especially in the summer holidays.
Pro-Tip: If you are thinking of buying a cat or are a cat owner already, then you should be aware that taking care of the litter box can be a real chore. In this age of smart products, an automatic litter box has been created that actually makes life easier with taking care of the litter box. If you want to make your life much easier with a litter box that means you’ll never have to scoop litter again, check out the best automatic litter box on the market (in my opinion) on Amazon.
Cat Breeds from France
The Chartreux is an old and rare cat breed that, according to legend, descends from cats brought by Carthusian monks to live in their mountain monastery, Grande Chartreuse. While not very vocal, Chartreux are intelligent and observant and take around two years to reach adulthood.
Another legend holds that they were feral mountain cats originating in Syria and were brought to France by soldiers returning from the crusades in the 13th century. Many of these crusaders entered the Carthusian monastic order.
Chartreux Cat Appearance
Chartreux are copper-eyed cats and short-haired with thick, blue, double coats that are water repellant. The shape of the head and muzzle makes it look like they are smiling. It is a medium-sized, muscular breed, popular with farmers because of its hardiness and hunting prowess.
Breeders emphasize clarity and uniformity of color and consider all shades of greyish blue acceptable. The Chartreux is regarded as the national cat of France.
Chartreux Cat Personality
Chartreux are agile and energetic and make loyal, playful companions. They can be taught to catch and retrieve a ball and are generally loving and affectionate with a tendency to choose one member of the household as their particular person.
Are Chartreux Cats Rare?
Yes, Chartreux cats are rare. Chartreux cats had their numbers reduced significantly after world wars and they are not known to be seen in the wild any longer. Chartreux cats are raised by breeders but the average person will not likely come across one in daily life.
How Much Does A Chartreux Cat Cost?
You can buy a quality Chartreux cat from a breeder for $1500. Chartreux kittens are rare and highly desirable leading to their high price tag. Some Chartreux breeders have wait lists and others take deposits for kittens.
Are Chartreux Cats Friendly?
Chartreux cats are known to be friendly, gentle, and social. Chartreux cats enjoy the company of people and can form strong bonds with their caregiver. Chartreux cats love to play with their owner and have wonderful personalities.
We talk more about the Chartreux in our article about cats that shed a lot: Click Here.
The Serrade Petit is a much newer breed that has not yet been recognized by major cat breeding registries. It is a small cat with a short, soft coat that comes in orange, tan, or white. A Serrade Petit can be bi-colored, tri-colored, or striped.
The Serrade Petit weighs between six and nine pounds, good musculature, and large, tall ears. The Serrade Petit is an attention-seeking cat with a lifespan ranging from twelve to sixteen years. They are quite active, enjoy playing with their owners, and vocalize frequently.
Popular Cat Breeds In France
Popular cat breeds in France according to Meyou Paris are:
- Maine Coon
- Sacred Birman
- British Shorthair
- Norwegian Forest Cat
Maine Coon Cat
Maine Coon Cats have a lion-like ruff, and their coats come in a wide variety of colors. Their fur is thicker in winter than in summer and is soft and silky. They are sweet-tempered and friendly with everyone, and their life expectancy is around 12.5 years.
Until the Savannah’s introduction in the 1980s, the Maine Coon was considered the largest domestic cat breed. It has higher than average intelligence with a gentle, playful personality. They don’t usually reach maturity until they are four years old.
Maine Coon Cat Price
Maine Coon cats range from $1500 to $2500 per kitten. Maine Coon kittens are highly desirable due to their large size, intelligence, and spectacular personalities. Potential Maine Coon kitten buyers should expect to use wait lists, place deposits, and to spend more if they need the cat delivered to them.
Maine Coon Cat Size
A healthy male Maine Coon cat will weigh up to 18 pounds and a healthy female Maine Coon cat will weigh up to 15 pounds; however, these cats can grow larger. Maine Coons are known to be the largest domestic cat species.
Maine Coon Cat Lifespan
Maine Coon cats have an average lifespan of 13 years. If these cats are maintained with excellent nutrition and exercise they may live longer. Maine Coons are generally a healthy cat breed with few health issues affecting them during their lifetimes.
Birman cats are easy cats to handle, enjoy being around people are available in a variety of colors. They thrive on affection and are loyal and loving, and like to be held by their owners. The breed was first recognized and shown in France in the 1920s.
Birman Cat Appearance
A Birman cat is a fluffy, semi-longhaired pointed cat known for its white feet and beautiful blue eyes. Birman cats appear strong and stocky while having a luxurious fur coat. Birman cats come in many colors including seal, blue, tabby, and more.
They are curious and outgoing cats with a laidback personality. Birmans shed their winter coats in spring.
Birman Cat Shedding
Birman cats shed less than most other cat breeds and are known to fur that does not mat. Birman cat owners will still want to brush their cat weekly to proactively capture any stray cat hair. Birman cats are not hypoallergenic, so even though they shed less they will still cause cat allergies.
Birman Cat Origin
The Birman cat origin is quite mysterious. There are no known records of the Birman cat origin. There are legends that the Birman cat originates from monasteries in Burma and how a pair of Birman cats ended up in France due to a reward.
We talk more about the Birman cat breed in our article about 7 of the dumbest cat breeds: Click Here.
The distinctive pattern on a Bengal’s coat is reminiscent of a jaguar’s or leopard’s. They are playful, attentive, loving, and curious. These cats are very active and like, playing, chasing, and climbing up high.
Bengal Cat Origin
The Bengal was initially developed in the United States by crossing domestic cats with the Asian Leopard Cat, but now Bengals are a breed in their own right and are only bred to other Bengals. The Bengal is known to have significant Egyptian Mau genetic heritage also.
Bengal Cat Demeanor
Bengal cats do not like to be held often and are playful and rowdy. Bengal cats are also loving friends that will spend time with their caregivers; however, they are athletic cats that have a lot of energy for running around.
To read more about the Bengal cat, check out our article on cat breeds that don’t shed a lot: Click Here.
The British Shorthair has a round, “chubby” face and is described as calm, cuddly, and independent by The International Cat Association (TICA). They are typically associated with blue (grey) fur but come in a variety of colors. Personality-wise they can be a little reserved but are affectionate to those, they know.
British Shorthair Personality
British Shorthair males and females are calm cats that are affectionate. Female British Shorthairs are rumored to have stronger personalities than males. British Shorthair cats make loyal companions and love to snuggle next to their people.
British Shorthair Cat Price
British Shorthair cats are priced between $1000 to $3500 depending on the cat breeder, quality, and demand. Potential British Shorthair owners should expect to leave a deposit on a kitten and use wait lists. British Shorthair cats are less likely to be found for adoption compared to a Domestic Shorthair, and this rarity contributes to the price tag.
British Shorthair Behavior
British Shorthair cats are calm and while they love their owners, they will normally do fine when you leave them at home alone. British Shorthairs will play but are relatively low energy cats. These cats will cuddle with you but they are only moderately social cats.
The Ragdoll Cat
The Ragdoll is a sturdy cat with blues eyes and is one of the larger breeds out there. They are semi-longhaired with points in a range of colors, including blue, lilac, red, chocolate, and cinnamon. Some of them have white paws, a white chin, and a white belly stripe.
Ragdoll Cat Personality
Ragdoll cats have wonderful personalities and are incredibly social with humans. These cats go limp like rag dolls when humans hold them. Ragdoll cats are lovable, cuddly, and somewhat playful. These cats are good with children and have a moderate energy level.
Ragdoll Cat Purpose
Ragdoll cats have the specific purpose of being big beautiful and lovable. Ragdolls were bred with beauty in mind and they have taken the United States by storm. Ragdoll cats are one of the largest cat breeds and they serve the purpose of being beloved members of many families.
Persian cats prefer relaxed, calm environments that require gentle treatment. With their flat faces and large round eyes, these cats are easygoing, sweet, and quiet. They have long fur that makes them look much bigger than they are.
Persian Cat Appearance
The Persian cat is a medium-sized cat exhibiting different colors and patterns, including tabby, smoke tortoiseshell bi-color, and tricolor. Persian cats are known to be fluffy and loving lap cats. You should expect to see a beautiful cat with low energy when you see a Persian cat.
Persian Cat Lifespan
Persian cat life expectancy is between eight and eleven years. Persian cats have many health issues that can affect their lifespan, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and polycystic kidney disease. Persian cat owners should take their cat to frequent veterinary checkups to ensure they are healthy.
Find out more about Persian cats and if they scratch furniture: Click Here.
Siberians are natural problem solvers who only reach maturity at around five years old. Their winter coat is long, thick, and full, but they shed it in summer when their fur is shorter and thinner. These cats originate from Russia and are described by TICA as medium to large-sized.
Siberian Cat Temperament
Temperamentally, Siberians are playful, lively, and affectionate but not demanding due to their lower energy level. Siberian cats enjoy being around humans and being held by them. These are cuddly cats are friendly and consider themselves part of the family.
Siberian Cat Lifespan
Siberian cat life expectancy is between eleven and eighteen years. Siberian cats do have a number of health issues that can negatively affect their lifespan such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, polycystic kidney disease, and stomatitis.
Siberian Cat Price
Siberian cats are normally priced between $1700 to $3000 depending on the breeder, quality, and demand. Siberian cat breeders spend quite a bit of money on veterinary visits and vaccinations and these costs are one of the reasons Siberian cats are expensive.
Find out more about the Siberian cat and if they can go outside: Click Here.
The Norwegian Forest Cat
The Norwegian Forest cat evolved in Scandinavia and has a thick coat and sturdy body. It is a creature of Viking myth and legend, keeping their ships and village free of rats and mice. They are the official cat of Norway and are intelligent, calm, sweet, and loving.
Norwegian Forest Cat Characteristics
Norwegian Forest cats require minimal grooming and take five years to reach adulthood. Colors vary between black, red, blue, silver, and amber, and many cats have a combination of colors. Their average life-expectancy is thirteen years.
Find out if it is safe for Norwegian Forest cats to go outside: Click Here.
Here are some of my favorite cat products
In addition to checking out some other More Meows articles, I hope you’ll check out some of my favorite cat products as well. These are affiliate links, so if you end up using them, I’ll get a commission at no extra cost to you. These are the products I really do find most helpful.
Litter Box: I started out with normal, traditional litter boxes for my cat. Then, I tried this automatic litter box on Amazon (affiliate link), which helped reduce the litter upkeep. Finally, I am now a believer in the Litter-Robot 3 Connect on Amazon (affiliate link). This robotic litter box is not for everyone based on the price tag, but for me the benefits (very little upkeep, works efficiently, clean, mobile app) far outweighed the cost.
Cat Tree: I have purchased a couple of this Amazon Basics Cat Tree on Amazon (affiliate link). My cat spends a lot of time on and around this cat tree, which I position near my sofa. She uses the scratching posts on this cat tree multiple times a day, which means she is not scratching the sofa instead.
Cat Water Fountain: I love this cat water fountain on Amazon (affiliate link). There are three main benefits to having a water fountain like this for your cat. The first benefit is that it keeps water running so that your cat doesn’t need to drink still water. The second benefit is that it filters the water. The third benefit is that it will keep your cat hydrated!
Are There Stray Cats in France?
Yes, there are stray cats in France. Sadly, the French are notorious for dumping their pets, including cats, for superficial reasons. Between 100,000 and 200,000 pets are abandoned in France every year. This practice is at its highest in the summer.
National animal rights campaigns are launched annually to dissuade the French from forsaking their pets when they go on their summer holidays. Despite this, a June 2020 parliamentary report showed a growing increase in the number of pets being abandoned. The reasons typically cited for dumping pets are going on holiday, having a baby, moving to a new house, or having a new partner with allergies.
Animal shelters say people acquire cats for all the wrong reasons, for example, that a particular breed is in fashion at the time. When another breed becomes more fashionable, the cat is dumped. Often they are purchased as gifts for their children, and when the child loses interest, the cat is abandoned. Many pets are impulse buys in France.
What Do You Do With A Stray Cat In France?
If you are in close proximity to a stray cat in France you should try to safely catch the stray cat and take it to a veterinarian or animal hospital so it can be spayed or neutered and then returned to its environment.
A French veterinarian says that the French are not used to paying for healthcare because of their social security system, so they balk at the idea of paying for medicines and veterinary services for their pets. This attitude means that they are also less likely to sterilize their cats, which leads to growing feral populations.
Cats are abandoned when they become old, ill, or injured and require medical care. The problem is so bad that one French MP has introduced a Bill in parliament to make it harder to acquire a pet, making tagging compulsory and raising the minimum age limit of pet buyers.
Some shelters have questioned whether this will make a difference, saying that there are already laws in place against animal cruelty, but the French police are not interested in enforcing them.
French laws generally prohibit putting food out in public places to attract stray animals, including cats. In 2014, a French woman was fined five hundred euros for putting food out for the stray cats in her neighborhood.
In 2015, a law was passed to prevent municipalities from implementing catch and kill programs for un-owned cats. In terms of this law, cats without owners living in groups in public places can only be captured at the mayor’s request. The cats may only be taken to shelters if it is impossible to implement a sterilization and identification program.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation for stray cats and kittens in France, with numbers soaring after lockdown brought an end to sterilization programs. Animal shelters are running out of space, even though abandoning an animal is punishable as a crime with a fine of 30,000 euros and up to two years in prison.
It seems that while France may be a nation of cat lovers, some owners don’t commit to their pets for life. The French can apparently be fickle about pet ownership, susceptible to fads and fashions when it comes to cat breeds.
Those that do understand the responsibilities of having and loving a cat take them seriously.
Cat cafes are popular in France and provide cat lovers with an opportunity to interact with cats while grabbing a quick bite and a cup of coffee.
If you enjoyed reading about the popularity of cats in France, check out these articles about the popularity of cats in other world regions: