The LaPerm a rare breed that’s characterized by a curly or shaggy fur coat and wide-set ears.
These cats are curious, affectionate, and playful. They are often referred to as dog-like cats!
LaPerms are a lovely option for owners that enjoy lots of interaction with their feline friends.
Let’s take a closer look at the breed.
What’s In This Guide
Our readers’ most popular and frequently asked questions about the LaPerm.
LaPerm Breed Review: Contents
- Where do LaPerms come from?
- LaPerm personality
- LaPerm temperament
- Can LaPerms go outside?
- How big are LaPerms
- LaPerm colors
- Grooming your cat
- LaPerm shedding
- Are LaPerms hypoallergenic?
- LaPerm health problems
- LaPerm lifespan
- Caring for your cat
- Feeding your LaPerm
- Are LaPerms good pets?
- LaPerm breeders
- Raising a kitten
- Rescuing a LaPerm
What Is A LaPerm
The LaPerm is a distinctive looking cat breed. They have tightly curled fur and a lean but strong physique.
Contrary to its rather regal-sounding name, the LaPerm actually traces its origins to a cherry orchard in Oregon, circa 1982.
A litter of kittens was born to one of Linda Koehl’s barn cats.
However, one of the kittens looked rather odd – instead of being covered in the fuzzy baby fur that most kittens are born with, this one was born hairless.
It had a tattoo-like tabby pattern of pigment on its skin.
This kitten also had a longer, thinner build than its siblings and with ears that set further apart.
After six weeks, the oddball kitten started growing a thin but curly coat that thickened into a full wavy coat as she got older.
Later on, when “Curly” had kittens of her own, more bald or thinly furred babies with odd tabby “tattoos” were born.
Once the word got out about these curly babies, Linda implemented a controlled breeding program.
This is a breed that is not only loved for its beautiful and soft curls, but also for its rather amusing, almost dog-like personality.
They are curious cats that enjoy interacting with their environment as well as their owners.
If you don’t want a cat who will be literally underneath your feet, watching your every move and wanting to be a part of your day, then this breed is not right for you!
However, if you’re looking for a kitty who enjoys playing with you and who is genuinely interested in what you’re doing, then you will love this breed!
They have been known to use their paws to get your attention if, Heaven forbid, you’re not giving him enough attention.
Some LaPerms may be a nice mix of active and lap cat, but some have a lot more energy than others.
You won’t find one that prefers sleeping over playing for most of his day, though.
As we mentioned in the previous section, LaPerms are very in-your-face cats…quite literally.
These cats very much want to be in the company of humans and are known to stick themselves in your face and bat their paw and/or meow at you if they’re starved for attention.
Sort of like my barn cat, a large Maine Coon nicknamed “Fluffbottom,” who will jump up onto the tallest object she can find so that she can meow in my face and touch her paw to my neck or face (usually when she wants something!).
Consequently, a LaPerm will be happiest in a home that lavishes it with attention, but also plays with it in order to keep the “zoomies” at bay.
Due to his high energy levels and excellent hunting instincts, a LaPerm will thrive in an indoor-outdoor environment that lets him put his skills to the test.
But if he’s confined to an apartment, he’ll likely be happy too, as this means he’ll have lots of one-on-one time with you. As long as you are around most of the day and keep him busy.
If you have the time to, you could probably teach your cat to do tricks or fetch, like a dog.
Their intelligence makes them very easy to train, and their love of a good game plus spending time with humans means that trick training could be very enjoyable for everyone involved.
Contrary to some other people-loving cats, LaPerms get along with any other cats, dogs, or other animals in the house…
Can LaPerm Go Outside?
Whether cats should be let outside is a hotly debated subject between owners. There’s a lot to consider here, check out this article for some help making your decision.
This breed is no less suited to the outdoors than any other.
LaPerms fall in the middle of the cat size spectrum.
Males generally mature to between 8 and 10 pounds, while females typically mature to between 6 and 8 pounds.
They have longer legs and may have a slightly longer body than other cat breeds, but they aren’t what you’d call “lanky”.
LaPerm Colors And Coats
This cat can have virtually any coat color and pattern – they’ll still be recognized by a registry.
However, the tabby coat pattern is extremely common.
Grooming Your LaPerm
As we’ve established throughout this article, these cats have a very unique coat.
You’ll find mostly corkscrew curls or ringlets under the cat’s belly, on the underside of their neck, and just beneath their ears.
Longhaired LaPerms have fluffy fur that can be more waved than curled, and also tend to have a full and curly tail.
Shorthairs also have a luxuriously soft coat, but tend toward wiry, medium-length fur and an equally wiry tail.
They can always benefit from some grooming, though.
Similarly to humans with permed or curly hair, running a pick with metal prongs through a LaPerm’s coat will help keep their curls healthy.
If you must bathe, don’t blow-dry your kitty, or else (also similarly to us curly-headed humans) their beautiful curls will turn to not-so-pretty frizz!
Simply towel your cat dry, then use a squirt bottle to sprits a bit of water onto their curls to keep them high and tight.
Regardless of whether or not you have a longhair or shorthair, your LaPerm will shed.
But not a whole lot, thanks to their curls holding loose hairs closer to their body instead of the ground.
Are LaPerms Hypoallergenic?
So they’re a low-shedding breed, so they must be hypoallergenic, right?
The answer is a somber “no”.
Although “hypoallergenic” is a term that is used quite a bit within the dog and cat community, the sad truth is that there is no truly hypoallergenic cat breed, according to an article posted by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
This is so because all cats, be they longhaired or shorthaired or even bald, produce allergens.
These allergens are found on their skin, in their fur, and even in their saliva (so no letting your cat lick you if you are allergic!).
Furthermore, the amount of dust and pollen in a cat’s fur may also impact a person’s allergic reaction to the cat.
So, a longhaired LaPerm may harbor more allergens than a shorthaired cat of the same breed.
If you’re looking specifically for a hypoallergenic cat, click here.
LaPerm Health Problems
If there’s one thing that you don’t need to worry about with a LaPerm, it’s inherited health problems.
That’s right – to date, there are no known health problems specific to this breed. (And hopefully it stays that way!)
This may come as a surprise, considering the fact that LaPerms are purebreds, and many purebreds are genetically predisposed to certain illnesses and physical ailments.
It is possible that this is because they are not as popular and prevalent therefore no studies have been carried out on them, but at present, there are no health tests we can specifically recommend for this breed over and above any standard kitten flea and worm treatment and vaccination.
No academic studies have been conducted on the lifespan of LaPerms. But we can look at what owners say about their pets.
Owners report that LaPerms generally live to be 12-15 years old. This is fairly good as cat breeds go.
Caring For Your LaPerm
Aside from the grooming we’ve already mentioned, these cats don’t seem to need any unique or specialized care.
Of course any cat requires a certain level of attention being paid to it’s wellbeing. Cats are social animals that need and love lots of social interaction.
You should interact with your cat every day. Whether you’re giving your LaPerm a cuddle or playing with his favorite toys!
Regular exercise and an appropriate environment are also essential to your cat’s wellbeing and happiness. Make sure your LaPerm is in a safe environment and has plenty of opportunities to run around and exercise.
LaPerms don’t have any specific dietary requirements. With that being said, diet is incredibly important for any cat.
There’s some debate about wet and dry food, and you can read more about this here.
Are LaPerms Good Pets?
If you’re looking for a kitty that will love being a part of an active family, then the LaPerm is a great candidate!
They are highly active, curious kitties that enjoy being around their humans and involved with whatever activity is going on around them.
Since they enjoy playing and are very trainable, they make wonderful pets for children.
Not only do LaPerms love to be around their humans, but they also don’t mind to share “their” humans with other cats and animals.
They are typically easy-going when it comes to a multi-animal household.
Another thing to love about LaPerms is their signature curly coat!
It only requires some light grooming, and a small amount of shedding means that you won’t have too much of a shedding issue if you want to have more than one cat.
Due to their careful breeding and development, LaPerms also enjoy a generally healthy life, without being genetically predisposed to breed-specific health conditions.
However, if you do not keep your cat active and on a healthy diet, then he, like any cat, can still become ill due to being overweight and sedentary.
LaPerm breeders seem to be a bit few and far between in the United States, but seem to be a bit more prevalent in Europe and even Australia!
If you’re lucky enough to live close by a LaPerm breeder, be sure that they practice responsible breeding and maintain their stock in a healthy and controlled environment.
Only use breeders who put the well-being of their cats first!
Price varies according to whether or not you’re purchasing a registered cat from a breeder as well as a few other criteria.
If you choose to go the registered route, then the cost of a LaPerm will also be determined by the value that the breeder places on their stock and whether or not you’re looking to purchase a kitten or an adult cat.
The kittens price may be significantly higher if the kitten is championship-quality, too.
Registered adult LaPerms run at about $300, and senior (most likely retired show) cats cost around $200.
Since LaPerm cats are known for their luxuriously curly coats, it may seem ironic that they are commonly born bald!
The kitties that are born without hair start to grow either thin curls or straight fur after about six weeks of age.
For kitties that are born with fur, it all falls out after approximately two months, to be replaced by the breed’s signature curls on.
Rescuing A LaPerm
If you’d rather adopt a LaPerm instead of buying from a breeder, you can check out these rescue organizations.
Pros And Cons Of Getting A LaPerm
- This breed is not right for families with cat allergies
- As a rare breed, we currently lack information about possible inherited health problems
- These are relatively healthy cats
- They don’t require any specialized care apart from a small amount of grooming
- They may shed less fur than other breeds due to their tight curls
Should I Get A LaPerm?
Overall, the LaPerm is an excellent choice for a family pet – they’ve certainly got the personality for it, not to mention some good looks!
References And Resources
- Gough A, Thomas A, O’Neill D. 2018 Breed Predispositions to Disease In Dogs and Cats. Wiley Blackwell
- Hawes et al. Factors Informing Outcomes for Older Cats and Dogs in Animal Shelters
- O’Neill et al. Longevity and mortality of cats attending primary care veterinary practices in England
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