The LaPerm is an amicable, smart and agile cat, which was developed in the United States in the 80s of XX century. This breed is most well-known for its wavy coat, which it acquired as the result of natural mutation. It was granted the status of a pedigreed cat in 1995 and since then it became a frequent and successful contestant of cat shows.
Photo: © cattery Quincunx (quincunxcats.co.uk)
An unpremeditated mutation in a kitten, which was produced by a barn non-pedigreed cat led to the creation of the LaPerm. In 1982 in Oregon Linda Koehl witnessed as her cat named Speedy gave birth to a litter of kittens. One of them was hairless with tabby colouring on its skin and enormous widely-set ears. Eventually the coat started to appear but it looked extremely unusual: it had curly texture. That’s why Linda called this kitten Curly.
When Curly grew up it mated with several neighbourly males, including a Manx and a Siamese. Over 90% of its kittens inherited the curly hair of their mother because this feature was caused by a dominant gene. When Linda Koehl exhibited her cats for the first time she was amazed at the amount of attention, which they attracted. She gave the newly-developed breed the name LaPerm because its hair reminded her of a loose perm. Hereafter the geneticists found out that its unique coat has completely different genetic background than other rex, or curly-coated, breeds.
The fanciers of the LaPerm began to seek for its recognition in the middle of 90s. The International Cat Association recognised the breed in 2002. The Cat Fanciers Association also granted its official recognition to the LaPerm. To increase its genetic diversity it’s acceptable to outcross the breed members to non-pedigreed shorthaired and longhaired cats.
The LaPerm is a cheerful, sociable and gentle cat with excellent sense of humour. It’s endowed with enough intelligence and dexterity to utilise its paws to open drawers and doors so get prepared that it will thoroughly explore every corner of your dwelling. This cat likes to be the full-fledged member of a human family and tries to take an active part in all its events. Nonetheless it will never impose its company if it feels unwelcomed. This breed is notable for moderately active nature so it will be happy to sit on your lap for hours enjoying your petting.
Despite being kind and friendly with familiar people the LaPerm is prone to be somewhat reserved and watchful with strangers. This cat is fine with other species of domestic animals if they respect its right for private space. It will also become an indefatigable playmate for older children. Of course, they should be shown how to handle the cat properly. Toddlers shouldn’t be left alone with it since they tend to jerk its curls.
This inquisitive cat should be provided with sufficient mental exercise otherwise it could become highly destructive at home. Basic training is probably the best option in this case but it will be also very nice if you offer your cat various interactive toys. On the whole, if occasional pranks of the LaPerm don’t bother you and only make you smile than this breed will make an ideal household pet for you.
The most common problems for the breed include:
The LaPerm’s grooming doesn’t take much time or efforts. Its peculiar coat isn’t prone to tangling or matting and should be brushed only one to three times a week. The specimen with denser coats may require more frequent grooming. Curls have rather delicate structure so use a comb with revolving teeth in order not to damage them. If minor tangles develop work them out carefully with a slicker brush or a greyhound comb.
This breed sheds little to nothing and systematic brushing will make this process almost unnoticeable. After each bath its master should very gently rub the cats’ coat and let it dry naturally in a warm, draught-free place.
The rest consists of such standard care routines as regular nail trimming and ears cleaning. The cat’s teeth should be brushed at least once a week but preferably on a daily basis.