Let's talk LaPerms

It’s that hallmark coat and docile temperament that makes the LaPerm cat a much-cherished breed. A true American original, this cat’s curly covering is merely their genes at work; from there, expect a vibrant personality from the LaPerm cat and a high dose of easy affection. The breed is also blessed with great health, with a relatively problem-free track record. The LaPerm cat is lively as well as good-natured, a great mix of feline attributes all around.

Official name: LaPerm

Other names: LaPerm Longhair, LaPerm Shorthair

Origins: United States of America

Black and white portrait of a lying Laperm cat

 

Shedding level

High

Warm weather? Medium
Energy level * High Family pet? * High
Compatibility with other pets
High


* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behavior. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.
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Illustration of a Laperm cat
Mâle
15 - 25 cm Taille
3.5 - 4.5 kg Poids
Femelle
15 - 25 cm Taille
3 - 3.5 kg Poids

 

 Baby age  Birth to 4 months
 Kitten age  4 to 12 months
 Adult age  1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 12 years
 Senior age  From 12 years

Laperm sat on a wooden floor looking up to the camera

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Get to know the LaPerm

All you need to know about the breed

It would be easy to say that the signature trait of the LaPerm’s coat - composed of bouncy curls - is this cat’s biggest selling point but it’s also their very upbeat personality and vitality that make the LaPerm a pleasure to be around.

The coat, by the way, comes in both short- and long-haired varieties. It is soft to the touch and is fairly easy care, but more on that later.

The LaPerm cat is a rex breed, which signifies a genetic mutation that results in their soft ringlets. It is carried by both the males and females and covers their entire body, even the tail, giving the LaPerm cat a hugely profuse look. Despite the presence of other varieties of rex cats, like the Devon Rex and German Rex, the LaPerm bears no relation.

From their humble origins on an Oregon farm in the early 1980s, the cat has turned out to be a fan favourite. They show little signs of specific disease and the LaPerm has a healthy lifespan to boot. The breed takes to family quite fondly as well, including children, once they’re introduced and socialised. They’ll likely enjoy you as much as you enjoy them.

Black Laperm kitten in a mini hammock against a blue background

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2 facts about LaPerms

1. The name game

The jovial name of the LaPerm cat was given for the bouncy curls they were born with. It follows the local Chinook tribe’s tradition of using a French word and involving the definite article to make a new word, thus “La” and “Perm” for “the permanent”, after the styling technique that transforms straight hair into curly. The moniker is a no-brainer for the cat too, who wears it well.

2. Staying on top of things 

The birthplace of the LaPerm cat lies close to a sacred territory of the Wishram Indians, a Chinook tribe based in northern Oregon. Being born into this very cherished space is taken seriously by LaPerm breeders, who then bestow Native American names to their new kittens. It’s a tradition that’s intended to be respectful, and interesting to boot.

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History of the breed

In 1982, a new breed of cat entered the world at a simple cherry farm in The Dalles, Oregon. The owners, Linda and Dick Koehl, adopted some typical barn cats to control their ongoing rodent problem. One of these not-so-ordinary cats turned out to have a mutant gene that gave birth to a litter of six kittens, one of whom had a curly coat. The LaPerm was born.

After not thinking anything of it for the greater part of 10 years, the Koehls realised that a new cat was in their midst and sought a formal breeding program. They named the breed for it’s “permanent”-like coat.

The LaPerm was recognized in the U.S. in 1995, with the LaPerm Society of America formed in 1997. The International Cat Association gave the LaPerm championship status in 2003 followed by the Cat Fancier’s Association in 2008.

Black and white portrait of a Laperm cat

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of LaPerms

1. Ears

Slightly flared ears, cup-shaped, medium to large.

2. Body

Small body with medium-sized boning.

3. Coat

Signature light curly coat falling in natural ringlets, can be short- or long-haired, variety of colourations.

Ginger Laperm lying on draped royal blue velvet

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your LaPerm
Two Laperm cats snuggling in a beige cat bed

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Caring for your LaPerm

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Grooming the natural ringlets of the LaPerm is almost entertaining, and your cat may truly enjoy the process. Use a revolving toothed comb weekly, which will make the curls fluffy. They can also be kept tight by wetting the fingers and brushing them through the cat’s fur to make them spring back. Despite the curly composition, their coat does not (thankfully) mat easily. Bathe only as needed and never blow dry the LaPerm coat as it will end up a frizzy mess. The LaPerm cat’s claws grow quickly so trim regularly. If your cat is cooperative with tooth brushing, go for it: daily is ideal. Periodontal disease in cats is a concern and brushing their teeth is a necessary part of keeping them healthy. The sweet nature of the LaPerm doesn’t mean they lack liveliness; in fact, they have a penchant for playing so exercise will be easy for the breed. Throwing toys into the mix will make any session that much better. When it comes to training the LaPerm, owners can expect an uncomplicated process. This is an easygoing breed so teaching them to use the litter box from kittenhood won’t be hard.

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All about LaPerms

The LaPerm is known to be a snuggler, and a purring machine. They are noted for their affectionate nature, and their tendency to leap into your lap makes them a cuddle buddy, for sure.

Choosing the right cat is a personal decision but the LaPerm breed is consistently a great choice. With that doting look and alluring coat, they’re hard to resist. Very affectionate and not one to shed, the LaPerm is amenable to other pets and children in the home alike - although all animals should be supervised around little ones, and the reverse is also true.

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Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Cat Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book