LaPerm Cat breed information Breed Profile

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Average Lifespan 15 to 20 years

Temperament LaPerm cats are friendly, affectionate, loyal, devoted, and good with children and other animals

Weight Males 3.2kg to 4.5kg; Females 2.3kg to 3.6kg

Availability Quite rare

Colours Can be bred in all possible colours and patterns. The most frequently seen are torties, tabbies and reds

Grooming An occasional comb through - they shed very little

LaPerm Cat breed information Breed Profile

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LaPerm cat breed information and advice. LaPerm cats feel as good as they look but are surprisingly low maintenance.

 

La Perm History

The LaPerm is another Rex (or curly coated) breed that made its first appearance on a farm, rather like the Cornish Rex breed here in the UK. This time, a bald kitten with tabby markings and large, widely spaced ears appeared in a litter of six kittens born to a barn cat — a brown tabby called Speedy — on the cherry farm owned by Linda and Richard Koehl in The Dalles, Oregon, in 1982.  

When the kitten’s coat began to grow, it was clear she was different to her siblings and by three months of age, she had a full coat of curls, and this inspired her name. Curly was not spayed and eventually produced kittens of her own, sired by local males including a Siamese and a Manx. 

Over the next decade, the Koehls saw more bald kittens that then went on to develop curly coats, appearing in the randomly bred litters that were born on their farm. So Linda Koehl decided to start to control the cats and their matings. 

It was obvious that the gene for the curly coat was dominant, and carried by both males and females. Genetic tests indicated that this mutation was distinct from other rex genes that had appeared previously. 

In due course, a breeding programme was introduced and formal breed status recognition was sought. 

The breed was given the name LaPerm and was granted recognition by The International Cat Association (TICA) in the USA in 2002; it was also recognised by CFA (Cat Fanciers’ Association). LaPerms were introduced into the UK in 2002, when Anthony Nichols imported Ch Uluru BC Omaste Po of Quincunx. LaPerms were granted preliminary recognition by GCCF in 2004, the same year that the LaPerm Cat Club was founded, and championship recognition was granted in 2012.

They have a distinctive look.

La Perm Appearance

The LaPerm is a medium-sized cat with a moderate foreign body type, and is medium boned. It should be well balanced and feel surprisingly heavy for its size. The head should be a modified wedge, with slightly rounded, gentle contours, medium in length and longer than it is wide. The ears are medium to large, slightly flared and cupped. 

The muzzle is broad and the whisker pads should appear full and rounded, and there should be a moderate to strong whisker break. The nose is broad and straight, of moderate length, with a gentle break in profile, and the chin should be strong and firm. The eyes of a LaPerm should be medium large and expressive. They are almond shaped at rest and appear rounder when the cat is alert. There are no points for coat colour or pattern or eye colour — all colours are acceptable, and the eye colour has no relation to the coat colour. 

The body should be well muscled and the neck carried erect. The legs are medium long to match the body, with rounded paws and the cat looks as though it is walking high on its toes. The tail should be in proportion to the body, thicker at the base and taper towards the tip.  

The LaPerm comes in two hair lengths, short and long-haired. 

Long-haired variety: The coat is medium-long, and both males and females may have a ruff around their neck at maturity. The tail is plumed with some curling. The whiskers should be very long and curly, and the ear furnishings and eyebrows may also curl. The texture should be curly or wavy, with curly being preferred. The feel to the touch is unique among Rex breeds; the coat has a springy, textured feel. The texture is created by the shape of the curls and the mingling of thicker guard hairs in the coat. The degree of softness may vary among individual cats. The coat should be loose and bouncy and stand away from the body with minimal undercoat. The coat is light and airy enough to part with a breath and it should be possible to run your fingers through to the skin. The coat may have an almost unkempt appearance but must be free of matting. The longest and tightest curls are on the neck, ruff, and base of the ear. The coat may vary in length and fullness according to the season and maturity of the cat, and the coat is at its best at full maturity of around three years of age.

Short-haired variety: The length is short to medium. The tail is not plumed like the longhair, but the hair may be wavy. The texture is curly or wavy. It should be neither silky nor excessively harsh, but have a crisper texture than the long-haired variety. The coat has a springy texture, standing away from the body with waves over most of the cat. There is no ruff or ringlets and the tail will be like a bottle-brush.

A cheeky and curious cat.

La Perm Personality

The cheeky LaPerm is clever, inquisitive, extrovert, easy going, and humorous, making it an ideal family pet for those with children and friendly dogs. Intelligent and enjoying playtimes, the LaPerm can learn tricks, how to retrieve, and how to gain your attention. They enjoy the companionship of their human family and are gentle and affectionate. To keep a LaPerm interested and to avoid boredom, they should be provided with a climbing frame (they are particularly fond of heights) and an assortment of toys.   

LaPerms enjoy being part of the family. 

La Perm Health

The LaPerm is an easy to care for breed.
The coat sheds only lightly but will benefit from regular grooming with a brush or wide-toothed comb. The long-haired variety requires more frequent grooming. If small mats develop, they can be teased out gently with a slicker brush.  

The GCCF registration policy for the LaPerm allows for outcrossing to other breeds, specifically Somali, Abyssinian, Ocicat, Aztec, Asian Shorthair, Tiffanie, Burmese, Tonkinese, and Domestic Shorthair and Longhair. This genetic diversity helps to ensure that there are no breed-specific health problems known in the breed. Any cats used for outcrossing should be healthy and undergo DNA testing for any appropriate genetic diseases. 

Remember! All breed profiles are general and every cat is an individual.