LaPerm Cat: Breed Info, Pictures, Care, Traits & Facts
|Height:||6 – 10 inches|
|Weight:||Males 7 – 12 pounds, females 6 – 9 pounds|
|Lifespan:||12 – 15 years (some live to 20)|
|Colors:||Any genetically possible color or combination of colors|
|Suitable for:||Families with children and/or other pets, seniors, those seeking a cat with a low maintenance coat|
|Temperament:||Active, affectionate, gentle, curious, friendly|
Meet the LaPerm, a unique cat breed with naturally curly hair—no beauty salon appointment for a permanent necessary!
The LaPerm’s distinctive coat began with a natural genetic mutation in one kitten in a litter of Oregon barn cats born in 1982. This kitten was born bald but soon began to grow a curly coat.
The group of barn cats was allowed to breed freely, and several more curly-coated kittens were born. Eventually, the owner began to do a little genetic research, isolate the cats indoors, and bring these unique cats to cat shows.
Soon, the cats gained popularity and recognition and the LaPerm breed became official. Today’s LaPerm can have a coat that ranges from short to long, and from wavy to tightly curled.
Charmed by the LaPerm’s cute looks and endearing personality? Let’s look at the LaPerm in more detail.
To ensure that your LaPerm kitten is as healthy as possible, be sure to only buy one from a reputable LaPerm breeder. Cat breed organizations such as the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) or The International Cat Association (TICA) are good places to start looking.
Like puppies, popular breeds of kittens offered for sale in online ads or retail pet stores can come from large “mill” breeding operations. Choose a reputable LaPerm breeder who is committed to breeding quality, healthy cats.
3 Little-Known Facts About the LaPerm
1. The first LaPerm was a female named Curly.
2. You can enhance your LaPerm’s curls by spritzing them with water.
3. Some LaPerm kittens are born bald, but all will grow the curly coat.
Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock
Temperament & Intelligence of the LaPerm
Will a LaPerm cat be a good fit for your family and lifestyle? Let’s look at the LaPerm’s characteristics and how they might fit into your household.
Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪
LaPerms make good pets for all kinds of people, including families with children. They also can be loving companions for single adults and seniors.
The LaPerm breed is active, affectionate, and smart. They are known for being perfectly happy to do what their owners like at any given moment.
If you’re sitting quietly, expect a LaPerm to cuddle up on your lap and purr. If you’re busy around the house or want to play, your LaPerm will be right there with you, ready for action.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
The LaPerm is a lively and curious breed. They tend to be very focused on their humans, but their natural friendliness makes them a good choice for families with other pets.
Proper introductions to other pets are always important when bringing new pets into the home, but a typical LaPerm kitten will enjoy interacting with other pets.
You can also ask your breeder what kind of socialization the kitten got before coming to you. Often, breeders will introduce their kittens to other pets in the house, including dogs.
Things to Know When Owning a LaPerm:
What’s it like to care for a LaPerm? Here’s a rundown on what you can expect when you welcome a LaPerm cat into your family.
Food & Diet Requirements 🐡
The LaPerm is a medium-sized cat breed, with males tending to be larger than females. They are active and don’t have a reputation for becoming overweight. But any cat can gain weight without proper diet and exercise.
Feed your LaPerm a high-quality diet that is appropriate for its life stage. With new kittens, it’s a good idea to gradually transition them from the breeder’s food to your own choice of food.
LaPerms are naturally active cats, so encouraging them to exercise is seldom a problem. They love to follow their people around the house and are always ready to play with their owners.
They enjoy swatting cat toys around the room, as well as climbing onto high places, so a tall cat tree will be a welcome addition to your home.
The LaPerm is an inquisitive and intelligent breed and tends to be more focused on pleasing its people than the average cat. This makes the LaPerm very trainable.
Like dogs, cats always do best with positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors. Because LaPerms tend to be more interested in your attention than in food, a play or cuddle might be a more effective reward for good behavior than a treat.
Does that unique curly coat require a lot of grooming?
LaPerms have a wide variety of coat lengths and textures, from short to long and wavy to tightly curled. But even the longest-haired LaPerm will require minimal grooming.
In general, any LaPerm’s coat is light and airy, low-shedding, and not prone to mats because there is not much undercoat. Their fur is more well suited to combing than brushing. Choose a quality wide-toothed steel comb.
A long-haired LaPerm will have areas of longer fur, like on the chest and tail. The coat may vary in thickness seasonally. A short-haired LaPerm will look more consistent year-round.
Besides occasional combing, your LaPerm will also need nail trimming and tooth brushing to stay well-groomed and healthy.
Health and Conditions 🏥
The LaPerm is a relatively new cat breed that came from robust barn cat ancestry. However, because the curly coat was the result of a mutation in a small group of cats, outcrossing with other breeds was necessary to expand the gene pool and keep the LaPerm from becoming inbred.
The LaPerm has been crossed with several other cat breeds, as well as non-pedigreed domestic shorthairs. Any cat can potentially introduce a health condition into a genetic line, but LaPerms are generally healthy cats.
There are a few genetic health problems seen in the LaPerm that came from other cat breeds used in outcrossing. Here’s a quick rundown.
Gangliosidosis (also known as lysosomal storage disease): An inherited metabolic disease seen in some breeds crossed with the LaPerm. It primarily affects the nervous system.
Erythrocyte Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PK Deficiency): An often-fatal genetic condition seen in some cat breeds crossed with the LaPerm that causes serious blood problems.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): An inherited degenerative eye disorder seen in some breeds crossed with the LaPerm. It can eventually lead to loss of vision.
White cat deafness: As with other white cats, a dominant white gene can cause deafness in white LaPerms. Blue eyes can further increase this risk in white cats.
Incorrect bites (also known as malocclusions): Some LaPerms can have jaw problems which lead to irregular bites. The jaw could be offset, undershot, or overshot.
- White cat deafness
- Incorrect bites
- Erythrocyte Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Male vs Female
The main difference between male and female LaPerms is size. Males tend to be noticeably larger than females, and females mature faster than males.
An adult male LaPerm should weigh between 7 and 12 pounds, while a more delicate adult female is in the 6-to-9-pound range.
When it comes to temperament, both male and female LaPerms are equally gentle, affectionate, and playful.
Undesirable behaviors like urine spraying, restlessness, or aggression can be seen in any cat that is not spayed or neutered.
Spay/neuter solves many behavior issues in cats. Many breeders will also require that you send them proof of spay/neuter when you acquire a kitten.
Appealing looks and an endearing personality distinguish the LaPerm cat breed. This unique cat has a naturally curly coat and sweet disposition, making it a good choice for anyone seeking a loving feline companion.
Remember to get your LaPerm from a reputable breeder, so your curly little friend will be healthy and long-lived.
Featured Image Credit: Philippe Sonderegger, Shutterstock