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Last updated January 11, 2019

LaPerm Cat

LaPerm Cat

The first appearance of a LaPerm cat occurred in summer 1982, in a Cheery orchard in the Dalles, Oregon. It was born to a grey tabby barn cat in a litter of six kittens, and had an unlikely appearance with its beautiful surroundings and a contrasting form to its other siblings. Its owners, Linda and Richard Koehl noted that this unusual cat was completely bald; it weighed less than its siblings but had larger ears and a longer body.

It was thought to be the ugliest kitten in the world until about eight weeks later when soft, curly hair began sprouting from its body. The unusual coat had also inspired Linda to name it Curly. Curly soon produced her first litter of five male tabby kittens that were all bald at birth, but like their mother, all soon grew coats of curly hair some time later. This indicated that the curly coat is governed by a dominant gene. Thus, only one parent needs to possess the gene in order to pass on the trait to its offspring. The descendents of Curly started to increase once her kittens had all matured. One of the male kittens mated with a neighbor’s black shorthaired female, from which five more curly kittens were produced and were all obtained by Linda. Adding to the diversity was a litter of curly, Siamese-patterned kittens presented to Koehl by another neighbor. The Koehls continued to allow nature to take its course as Curly and her offspring thrived. This has opened the way for the growth of a large and diverse colony of curlies, which consists of longhair and shorthair varieties in a myriad of colors and patterns.

The uniqueness of this breed were realized not just for its coat, but also in its charming personality. With curls likened to women with perms, Linda decided to name the breed LaPerm; giving it an elegant French twist. She took the opportunity in 1992 to introduce four LaPerms to a Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) show in Portland, Oregon. The appearance of the breed in the show soon fascinated the crowd and captivated the hearts of many cat fanciers. The enthusiastic responses had motivated Linda to attend shows regularly. With the help of other breeders and geneticists, Linda wrote the breed standards for LaPerm and also began the long process of gaining recognition for this breed through the establishment of a breeding program.

Finally, in 2002, The International Cat Association (TICA) accepted the breed for Championship. America Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA) and CFA followed in 2008 and 2011 respectively. Crossing boundaries, the LaPerm has also gained a championship status in many associations of other countries. These include associations from Australia, France, New Zealand, South Africa and United Kingdom.

Physical appearance and attributes
The LaPerm is a breed of moderate size, weighing more than it appears at an average of 8 – 12 pounds. It is of a medium to fine boning with a well-muscled body. The legs are medium length and in proportion to its body. Its hind legs may be slightly longer than the forelegs. It has a well-balanced tail that tapers in shape and complements its appearance. The longhair variety has a tail that is generally curly and tapers into a dense, beautiful plume. The Shorthair’s tail would appear wavy and more like a soft bottle brush.

LaPerm has a head that is a modified wedge with gentle contours. High cheeks, full whisker pads, moderately long nose, broad muzzle and strong, firm chin mark its facial features. It has a pair of slightly flared and cupped ears that are of a medium to large size. The tips are rounded and they are furnished with ear tufts.

LaPerm has medium to large eyes that are moderately far apart. They slant slightly upwards towards the ears and are rounded when alert and almond –shaped when relaxed. With the plethora of accepted coat colors and patterns comes also an array of accepted eye colors. There is no correlation of the eye color to the coat color.

LaPerm cat wears a coat of soft hairs. Though they are curly, the hair is unlike that of the Cornish Rex; they are not wiry. Standing away from the body, the hair is light and airy enough to be parted by a blow from the mouth. The longhair variety has a medium to long coat, which it carries in a stylish manner known as the Gypsy Shag look. It may be adorned with a full neck ruff at maturity. The Shorthair variety has a coat of short to medium length and may appear harder in texture. Ruff and ringlets might not necessarily appear. All LaPerms spots a curly or wavy coat and their range is endless from tight ringlets to long, coarse loose curls. Both varieties can come in a multiplicity of colors and patterns, which include the pointed pattern.

Personality and temperament
What would outshine the LaPerm’s distinctive features of curls and whiskers is its personality. Its endearing nature will blossom with consistent and loving human interactions. Packed with affections, LaPerm would show its love by giving loving kisses on your face and by having a good time to snuggle and cuddle. It enjoys being involved in the family activities and thrives on attention. LaPerm would hitch a ride on the shoulders or climb the height of high perches to be at eye level with its favorite human as well as to have a good observation of the actions on the ground and around.

Naturally quiet and gentle, LaPerm enjoys quiet interactions and is a great listener. It speaks up only when necessary. However, that does not make it any less of a mischief. It is capable of using its paws to open doors and drawers; handling buttons and switches; as well as tapping on your shoulders for attention. LaPerm will also have no issue meeting and interacting with strangers if is well-socialized at an early stage.

Care and health issues
The LaPerm is a hardy breed with no known genetic diseases. This hardy breed can live up to an average of 10 – 15 years. Grooming for LaPerm would require more effort as compared to other cats, but it is still fairly easy. A weekly combing using a metal comb with rolling teeth would help to prevent matting and remove dead hairs, keeping the coat healthy with its natural gloss.

There would be occasions where the LaPerm would go through a heavy shed, thus, requiring more frequent brushing. The new coat would usually be thicker than before. In other instances, the LaPerm might ‘molt’ and end up having a sparser coat that might not grow back.

For a hearty growth, trim the nails weekly. Check for accumulated dirt or odor in the ears, which would then call for cleaning. Frequent teeth-brushing is also needed for good oral hygiene. Vet-approved products and gentle cleanser should be used for these grooming.

The ideal home
The easy-going and playful LaPerm can be a suitable pet for families with children and cat-friendly dogs. An adventure zone indoor or outdoor with climbing poles and interactive toys will be necessary to keep the cat active and hearty.

This loving and cheeky breed is sure to supply the home with much entertainment. This cat would also come with much devotion and affection which it is readily given to those few ones who would shower him with the right attention and love.


Image Credit
Photo By BebopscrxCC BY-SA 2.5

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Last updated January 11, 2019

One Comment on “LaPerm Cat

LPL-lover
November 11, 2008 at 8:38 am

You have written a good description of the breed La perm exept the fact that they could be a very cuddly house cat, known for their bonding to humans. In my experience they are intelligent, social and intrepid but not overactive or restless even if they are playful. Low shedding is a big plus, occasional brushing is all that is needed. They are a smaller breed of cat, 5-6 lbs. for females and 7-8 lbs. for males, at least here i North Europe.

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