They may look like miniature lambs with their “curly” wools, but LaPerms are cats in everything but the look and feel of their fur. The breed’s name roughly translates to being rippled or wavy, which describes this unusual cat’s coat. The long-haired variety exhibits a full fluff, aka “gypsy shag” with soft textures and corkscrew curls.
But enough about the appearance of the LaPerm. Inside that coat is a friendly feline that’s bursting with energy and love. Owners can’t help but pick up these intelligent cats whenever they see them slinking about the house!
History of LaPerm Cats
The very first LaPerm was discovered in a cherry farm in 1982. Robert and Linda Koehl found a completely hairless kitten in a litter and decided to keep it. Little did they know that an even greater surprise awaited them when Curly the LaPerm grew curls! The couple from Dalles, Oregon decided not to neuter the cat and allowed the gene to grow and multiply through the years.
When Linda decided to show permed cats in the next competition, both judges and enthusiasts were intrigued. A breeding programme soon took place, and the breed became official members of the feline society.
Size of the LaPerm
LaPerms are medium sized, athletic cats that weigh between 8 to 12 lbs. with the males being bigger than their female counterparts.
Personality of the LaPerm
LaPerms are great companions not only for their fluffy appearance, but because they love to be around people. In fact, these cats may sometimes become rowdy or get physical in catching your attention, sometimes meowing, batting your face or initiating a staredown until you give in to their demands!
Their athletic nature is complemented by their penchance for physical activities. What’s more, they’re curious and often follow their owners around the house for hours at a time. When their energy is spent, these cats are more than happy to settle in their owner’s lap.
LaPerms are smart and can learn a trick or two, like fetching an object or speaking when spoken to.
The one true characteristic of the LaPerm breed is that they are born completely bald. After about six weeks, these kitties start growing straight or curled fur, then it falls out and gets replaced with the wool-like coating they’re famous for.
Healthy kittens exhibit youthful exuberance and energy, often bouncing off each other and always playing tricks. The ear set should be acceptable, as well as the coat, the muzzle and the head type.
LaPerms are few and far in-between. Expect a long wait time before you can get one with a reputable breeder.
You’ll have a higher chance of getting this type of breed in Australia and Europe. If you’re lucky enough to find one near you, make it a point to visit the home in order to get a firsthand view of the parent and siblings’ living conditions. Ask for a written health guarantee and vaccination papers.
These cats are generally healthy and can be expected to live for up to 15 years. What’s more, the breed isn’t predisposed to a particular genetic disease or specific health conditions. As a responsible owner, you should make sure your cat gets all its vaccinations, vet checkups and de-wormings.
Care of the LaPerm
LaPerms will need a good diet and adequate exercise so they can live a full life. Because they are barn cats, you will need to give them plenty of room. You can take them for daily walks or have your pet play in an enclosed backyard space or recreational area.
Don’t let your cat out of your sight outdoors, as they can meet other animals or be subject to the many threats in the outside environment.
Litter Box Training
LaPerms are quite particular about their personal habits, and this extends to the litter box. Clean out the litter regularly. Use a scooper to take out feces and clumps and add fresh litter every day.
Sometimes your cat suddenly won’t take to the litter box and do their business somewhere else. If this happens it’s best to schedule a visit to a professional vet to rule out medical concerns.
Your cat deserves the very best. Get the highest quality cat food you can afford. These type of foods usually have high animal proteins which will vary according to your cat’s age and dietary needs. If possible, alternative between dry and wet food so your cat will be hydrated without needing to drink water every now and then. Also, make sure that their water bowl is clean and full of fresh water at all times.
LaPerms come in all kinds of coat and color patterns. The breed has it all, and each one is recognized by major cat registries. The most common pattern in the breed is the tabby coat variety.
The wool-like coat may seem to require heavy grooming, but in reality you’ll just have to brush their luxurious coat once a week, and more if your cat belongs to the long-haired variety. A comb with revolving teeth is the best to ensure dead hairs are eliminated while the oils are evenly distributed. Wipe the ears of wax and trim the nails once a week as well.
Use a damp cloth to wipe any eye discharge. Do this slowly and gently to lessen the chances of irritation. Brush your cat’s teeth each day to prevent periodontal diseases.
Children and Other Pets
LaPerms are very rewarding to have as pets. It’s a mutual benefit- these cats love to be around humans and show plenty of affection, but they aren’t averse to their owners sharing their love with other house pets. They work well with children and other animals, including dogs and even birds, thanks to their calm demeanor and likable personality.
Moreover, LaPerms shine when paired with other cats, especially with Rexes, Asians and even another LaPerm. The bond they develop with other cats will be as strong as with their owners.