What Does a LaPerm Look Like?
The first thing you’ll notice about the LaPerm is, of course, their dense and curly coat. This is a rare trait among cats, but it’s also seen in other breeds such as the Selkirk Rex or Cornish Rex. Unlike them, the LaPerm’s hair can fall anywhere between short and long. Their curls aren’t all the same, either – they can be gentle waves, tight ringlets, or long corkscrew curls.
Longhaired LaPerms will have a ruff and a plumed tail, making them look gorgeous. On the other hand, the shorthaired variety will have more texture – similar to mohair – to their coat, with a bottle-brush type tail.
These cats come in all recognized colors and patterns, including but not limited to:
- solid white;
- tortoiseshell or calico;
- silver patched tabby;
- seal lynx point.
Their eye colors can also vary, with white cats typically having blue or copper eyes, or one of each. What’s interesting is that newborn kittens are often born bald or with short straight hair, which then falls out before they grow their distinctive curly coat.
Of course, LaPerms aren’t just fur. They’re small to medium-sized cats, typically weighing 5 to 8 pounds. Their body is muscular and well-proportioned, with longish legs and neck. They have a rounded, slightly wide head with a broad nose, flared ears, and almond-shaped eyes.
What Is the Temperament of a LaPerm Like?
LaPerm cats are known for their affectionate dispositions and easy-going natures. They typically enjoy being around people and other animals, and they often become very attached to their owners, though they aren’t described as clingy.
LaPerms are also known for their playful personalities, and they love to play with toy balls, catnip mice, and anything else that catches their eye. In addition, they’re quite intelligent, and they can be easily trained to do simple tricks.
When it comes to activity levels, these cats fall somewhere in the middle. They are not as energetic as some breeds, but they don’t like to lounge around all day, either. Instead, they tend to be moderately active, enjoying a good game of chase or sitting on your lap and observing the world around them.
Why Are They Said to Be Mischievous?
If they’re not hyperactive, how do LaPerms get into trouble? For starters, they love using their paws. They can easily learn to open doors and cabinets, making it difficult to keep things out of their reach. They’ll also knock things off surfaces, jump on your shoulders to grab your attention, or tap your face with their paws.
Besides, these cats are very inquisitive. When something is going on, they want to be part of it – or at least, watch it from a distance. It’s not uncommon to find them walking over your keyboard and writing their own two cents into your Word document, or fetching a toy you’ve thrown to keep them busy.
Are There Any Health Issues Common in LaPerms?
This breed isn’t known to carry any genetic defects, since it descends from a group of non-pedigreed barn cats and has a healthy gene pool thanks to controlled outcrossing. Your LaPerm’s health will largely depend on whether they’re well-bred and whether they’re eating a healthy diet.
To make sure your cat stays healthy, feed them cat food consisting predominantly of meat and encourage them to drink water – for example, by setting up a water fountain. Dehydration is common in house cats that only eat dry kibble, as most felines have an underdeveloped sense of thirst.
What Are the LaPerm’s Grooming Needs?
Although their wavy or curly coats can be dense and a bit coarse to the touch, LaPerms don’t require a lot of grooming. You won’t see mats or tangles on them, as long as you comb their coat gently one to three times a week. A comb with revolving teeth will go through the fur without straightening it out.
In addition, the LaPerm’s ears should be checked weekly for dirt and debris, and their nails should be trimmed monthly. By following these simple grooming tips, you’ll keep your cat looking and feeling great.
Where Can You Get a LaPerm?
LaPerms are some of the more sought-after pets due to their unique appearance and loving personality. While they can be difficult to find, there are a few avenues one can explore in order to get their hands on a LaPerm kitten or adult.
The first option is to contact a breeder. There are several reputable breeders across the country who specialize in LaPerms. Be prepared to pay $500 or more for a kitten, but fortunately, they’re not as expensive as some other breeds. You can find a source by looking through the Cat Fanciers’ Association’s online listing of breeders.
Another option is to reach out to a breed-specific rescue organization, or a general shelter that lists their pets online, so you can easily check if a LaPerm is available. Adopting from a rescue is cheaper than buying from a breeder, and it also helps to save a kitten or an older cat in need of a home.
What’s the History of the LaPerm Breed?
The breed originated in the United States in the 1980s, when a brown tabby barn cat named Speedy produced a litter of kittens that included a bald kitten with tabby markings on her skin. Soon, she surprised her owner, Linda Koehl, by growing a curly coat – which she was named for.
Curly went on to mate with different males – including a Manx and a Siamese – to produce her own litters of kittens, all of which shared their mother’s curly coat. As it turned out, the trait is a result of a dominant mutation. Koehl entered a show with her cats and called the new breed LaPerm, which means wavy or rippled.
Today, it’s recognized by a number of cat registries, including the International Cat Association (TICA) and the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA).
Is the LaPerm the Right Cat Breed for You?
If you’re looking for a friendly and outgoing cat that will amuse you with their antics, the LaPerm is a perfect candidate. They’ll entertain anyone who spends a lot of time at home, and they’ll take the boredom out of your everyday life. These cats make great family pets and will happily play with children, as long as they’re gentle with the cat.
However, the LaPerm breed is too active and affectionate to be left at home for long hours. If there’s no one to keep them company for most of the day, they won’t be happy – and an unhappy, bored cat is a recipe for trouble.
They’re not the best choice if you’re looking for a hypoallergenic or low-maintenance cat. Even though their curly hair doesn’t require much brushing, they shed quite a lot.
Fun Facts about LaPerms
What else is interesting about these bald-to-curly kittens? Here are a few more facts you can share with anyone who asks you about your pet.
- The two major organizations that recognize the breed have had different outcrossing policies. The International Cat Association (TICA) has allowed LaPerms to be bred to non-pedigreed domestic shorthairs and longhairs. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) is currently working towards no outcrossing being permitted, but had allowed LaPerms to have an Ocicat parent in the past.
- Outside the United States, LaPerms can be found in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Japan, and various European countries. You can say their curls have traveled the world!
Prepared to Bring a LaPerm Cat Home?
If you’ve read this far and decided to get a LaPerm kitten, congratulations! They’ll bring loads of fun and affection to your household. Make sure to research the breeders well, or interview the rescue organization about the cat’s background.
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