These distinct-looking felines are relatively new to the cat world. They first appeared in the US thanks to an unusual spontaneous mutation. In 1982, Linda and Richard Koehl from The Dalles in Oregon noticed that a normal tabby cat had given birth to six kittens in their Cherry Orchard. One of the kittens seemed smaller than the rest and sported a distinct curly coat. The kitten, named Curly, was then bred to create the LaPerm breed we know today. Since then, these cats have soared in popularity for their loving natures and gentle demeanors.
The LaPerm is a medium-sized cat breed with a muscular physique, elongated wedge-shaped head, and slender legs with well-rounded paws. These cats also have tufts of fur on their medium-sized ears and their whiskers are often curly just like their coats. Their tails are full and almost ‘bottle-brush’ like. Their almond-shaped eyes are incredibly expressive and slant downwards towards the nose which adds to their exotic appearance. As adults, LaPerm cats usually weigh 6-8lbs with males being slightly larger than females.
This breed comes in both short-haired and long-haired varieties. Yet, both types boast the loose and bouncy coat which gives these cats their characteristic shaggy look. The coat can either be wavy or form tight ringlets but the latter is usually preferred as a breed standard and the fur is very soft to the touch. The hairs are usually longer around the neck (especially in long-haired LaPerm’s) which gives both males and females a prominent ruff when they reach maturity. Their eyebrows are often curly too. The LaPerm coat is accepted in pretty much any color from black to tortoiseshell.
The almond-shaped eyes of this breed are known to become fully rounded when the cat is alert or excited. Eye color can range from gold or copper to green, blue, or aqua. They can even have mismatched eyes. Eye color has no correlation to coat color in this breed.
LaPerm’s are very affectionate and forms strong bonds with their owners. They retain their kitten-like playfulness well into adulthood and love to be involved in everything that is going on in the home! So, ensure you provide these cats with plenty of interactive toys and games to keep them entertained.
These gorgeous cats are people-orientated without being overly demanding. They are also highly intelligent and agile cats that enjoy a good game of chase! It is a good idea to provide LaPerm’s with plenty of high-quality toys and perches as they can become destructive when bored. They also use their paws frequently so don’t be surprised if you find your LaPerm trying to pull open the kitchen cupboards to get to the treats inside! Despite being an energetic breed, these cats love a good snuggle and will happily curl up on their owners’ laps after an active day of mischief!
LaPerm & Children/Other pets
Cats of the LaPerm breed will eagerly make friends with pretty much anyone which makes them well suited to families with children of all ages. They are also known to get along well with cat-friendly dogs and even other cats. LaPerm cats are very social and have been known to follow their owners around the house looking for a bit of fuss. However, they are not overly vocal. They are more likely to tap you with their paw when they want something rather than make a noise.
We have good news on the grooming front! The unusual coat of this breed is fairly easy to maintain. A brush once or twice a week with a slicker brush or comb is all that is needed. However, you may want to brush long-haired LaPerm’s more frequently to prevent tangles.
Like most cat breeds, LaPerm’s will shed more in the spring and summer months, so it’s good practice to brush more often during these periods.
Pros and cons
A LaPerm makes the perfect addition to any family due to its laidback attitude and love of games. They are also low maintenance on the grooming front and are known to be low-shedders which makes them good options for allergy sufferers. They are very intelligent cats so will respond well to clicker training and learning commands.
These cats are highly social so they do not do well when left alone for long periods. For this reason, they are best suited to families where someone is home for most of the day. They also require plenty of mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom. These cats can become a bit naughty if left to their own devices for too long!
If you are looking for a cuddly lap cat with a vivacious streak, then the LaPerm could be the breed for you! These cats are bound to entertain you with their silly antics and kitten-like energy. They are also huge huggers and will revel in any attention they are given.
Diseases & Special considerations
The LaPerm is generally considered to be a healthy breed that is not known to carry any hereditary diseases.
The main condition these cats are predisposed to is kidney disease, which can develop any time from birth. However, it is more common in elderly cats.
They are also at risk of developing Pyruvate Kinase which causes a deficiency in enzymes that damage the red blood cells. This can lead to anemia and other blood disorders.
- LaPerm: Cat Breed Information, Characteristics and Facts | Pet Side
- Kidney Disease in Cats | Symptoms & Treatment | Animal Trust
- LaPerm Cat Breed | Facts, Highlights & Buying Advice | Pets4Homes