The LaPerm looks as if he stuck his paw in a light socket and got a shock, but his curly coat is the result of a natural genetic mutation, not at all unusual in the world of cats. The LaPerm may be born bald or shorthaired, with his wavy or ringleted coat coming in at maturity. The coat comes in any color or pattern but is most often seen in tortoiseshell, tabby, or red. It may be short or long and covers the entire body, right down to the curly tail. Not all of the cats develop a curly coat, however. Some are born with a straight coat and keep it throughout their lives. If you want to be sure your LaPerm has curls, you may want to seek out one whose mature coat has already come in.
This is a medium-size cat who weighs 5 to 10 pounds and reaches maturity at two to three years of age.
The LaPerm is a typical cat with an inquisitive nature, love of heights, and desire to be involved in everything his people are doing. He is fond of riding on shoulders or will climb to the top of his cat tree so he can supervise whatever is going on. Don’t be surprised if you see him using his paws to open things or simply to pat your face to get your attention. He is highly active, but if he sees an opportunity to sit in your lap and be petted, he will take it.
If the LaPerm is well socialized as a kitten, he will be happy to meet and interact with your guests. He is a good choice for families with older children who will treat him respectfully, but toddlers should be supervised so they don’t pull his curls. He is also perfectly capable of getting along with cat-friendly dogs.
The coat is easy to groom. He usually doesn’t shed much, but occasionally the LaPerm may go through a heavy shed, after which his coat comes in thicker than before. The only other grooming he needs is regular nail trimming and ear cleaning.
You may hear that the LaPerm coat is hypoallergenic because it is curly, but that is not correct. Allergies are caused not by a particular coat type but by dander, the dead skin cells that are shed by all cats (and people, for that matter). There is no scientific evidence that any breed or crossbreed is more or less allergenic than any other cat. Some people with allergies react less severely to particular cats, but no reputable breeder will guarantee that her cats are hypoallergenic.
The LaPerm is well suited to any home with people who will love him and give his unusual coat a weekly combing. Keep him indoors to protect him from cars, diseases spread by other cats, and attacks from other animals.
Other Quick Facts
- Some LaPerms have a wavy coat, some have tight ringlets, and still others have long corkscrew curls. Longhaired LaPerms usually have a full, curly ruff and a curly plumed tail. The tail of the shorthaired LaPerm resembles a bottle brush.
- The LaPerm breed originated from an Oregon farm cat in the 1980s.