LaPerms have a luxurious curly coat, whiskers and eyebrows. They may look slight, but they don’t feel like it. Pick up a LaPerm, and you’ll feel their heft.
LaPerm heads are modified wedges with rounded contours. They have medium-long necks. The ears slightly flare and are medium to large in size. They are rounded at the tips and feature lynx tipping. Their eyes are medium-large. They appear almond-shaped when the LaPerm is relaxed and are rounder when the cat is alert. The legs are medium-long to match their body and the hind legs are slightly longer than the forelegs. The tail tapers and the long-haired LaPerm tail is curly and plumed. The short-haired LaPerm’s tail resembles a bottle brush. Adult males weigh 7 to 10 pounds. Females are 5 to 8 pounds. Males mature between two and three years, females mature slightly sooner.
The LaPerm coat is soft, springy, free of matting and stands away from its body in waves or ringlet curls. (The curls are obviously preferred.) Long-haired LaPerms have an almost unkempt appearance. The short-haired LaPerm’s tail is not plumed, but may be wavy.
In the summer of 1982, on an Oregon cherry orchard, Speedy, a gray tabby barn cat gave birth to six kittens. One of these kittens was completely bald. She weighed less than her littermates and had a longer body and larger ears. Her female owner thought she was the ugliest kitten in the world and didn’t hold out much hope for her survival.
However, the kitten thrived and at 8 weeks of age, soft, curly hair sprouted and the kitten was dubbed Curly. As Curly grew, her personality began to emerge and her female owner became quite enamored with her. When Curly’s first litter was born, her five male kittens were all bald and soon grew curly hair. (The LaPerm’s coat gene is dominant meaning only one parent needs to possess the appropriate gene.) Soon, these five males began to procreate and their owner acquired the subsequent kittens and a breed was born. The owner contributed nothing to the effort, she simply let nature take its course.
In 1992, she took her LaPerms to a CFA show in Portland, Oregon. Receiving an enthusiastic response, she set up a cattery and began a breeding program.
By nature, LaPerms are gentle and affectionate. As long as a LaPerm is in a consistent, loving human relationship, a LaPerm will blossom; they love nothing more than cuddling. They will want to be involved in whatever their humans are doing. Curious, inquisitive, they even do well in apartments — as long as they receive enough love and pampering. They are not above hitching a ride on your shoulder.
LaPerms are usually quiet, but will speak up when they have something to say. Occasionally, you may be able to have a quiet chat with him, as long as you do most of the talking.
Grooming is limited to once a week for long-haired LaPerms or every other week for the short-haired.