The LaPerm breed originated in 1982 in The Dalles, Oregon, on a cherry farm belonging to Linda and Richard Koehl, where an ordinary tabby farm cat gave birth to a litter of kittens, one of which was bald. As this kitten grew up, her fur grew and became thicker and curlier and, for obvious reasons, she was named Curly. The formal development of the LaPerm breed, with Curly as matriarch, occurred approximately 10 years later and was first recognised by TICA in 1995. Full championship status was gained with TICA in 2003, WCF in 2003 and CFA in 2008. The only allowable out-
The breed is recognised in both shorthaired and longhaired varieties and in all colours and patterns. The longhaired LaPerms look dramatic with their long curly coats, with lovely waves or ringlets all over their bodies. They often have long curly ear muffs, with lynx tipping and a full curly ruff, as well as long, curly whiskers. Little grooming is required and the coats are low maintenance. However, some LaPerm kittens are born completely hairless, and some go bald when very young. This isn't a worry, however, as the hair always grows back, and soon becomes the unique curly coat that the LaPerm is noted for. Occasionally a mature LaPerm will lose its beautiful ruff in very hot weather, but, again, this glorious mane quickly grows back.
Their bodies are muscular, with long legs and necks, and tapering tails, which can be plumed and curly in the longhairs and stand out like bottlebrushes in the shorthair cats. LaPerms present with modified wedge-
The natural origins of the LaPerm have given rise to a healthy breed with no known problems. They are devoted mothers who tend to produce big strong litters that develop rapidly. Both coat lengths can occur in the same litter. Although the LaPerm gene is dominant, sometimes straight haired kittens, or LaPerm variants, can appear in litters. These cats are like LaPerms in every way except for their silky straight coats. They cannot be shown but are useful in breeding programmes and make great pets. Breeders often use the initials BC (born curly), BB (born bald) or BS (born straight) in their kittens' registered names. Those kittens, like Curly, who are born bald and later develop a curly coat, have become rarer as the breed has progressed.
The LaPerm is a loving and mild tempered breed. They can be gentle and active at the same time. They love to play and stay busy, but when you're ready for a rest, they will happily accompany you, either to lie in your lap or on your bed. They are a very people oriented breed, and are rightly known as a "lap cat". They will soon make your lap their resting place, and will lay there for hours if you let them.
aPerms are very sociable and gentle, and bond well with humans. They seek human contact and are very inquisitive; often kittens will stop nursing to seek out the source of a human voice before their eyes are even open. They are mischievous, loving, and so intelligent. A LaPerm loves contact and whilst sitting on your lap, will gently reach up and touch your face or headbutt you for a bit of love. They love being kissed and will kiss back. They love to be held, drooped over a shoulder or cradled in your arms with lots of tummy rubs. At night they will curl up next to you in bed, in constant contact with your body, purring non-
Although not a loud "speaker", the LaPerm does purr quite often. Just stroking the back or belly of one of these lovelies will set off its purring, and melt your heart. They normally purr just when they see you come into the room. They are wonderful companions, and will bond with you very strongly. Just knowing that you're near makes them happy, and then the purring begins. However, because the LaPerm is inquisitive, they like nothing more than to investigate every sound or movement. But when it's time to rest, they are happily back at your side, or back on your lap.
Intelligence abounds in this breed, and they can be taught many tricks, including fetch and catch. They love to play, and will keep you interested for hours, just watching them swat at a crumpled up piece of paper or a string toy. As long as you're watching them, like clowns, they are more than happy to entertain you.
Bringing a LaPerm into your home not only means that you'll have a beautiful, unique cat to look at, but you'll also have a lifelong friend and companion. Wonderful with other pets and children, a LaPerm is the perfect choice for almost every household. Given the proper medical treatment when needed, as well as routine vaccinations and lots and lots of love, you will have this beautiful creature in your life for a long and joyful time.
The LaPerm breed is strongly allied with Native American culture, as the area where the Koehl's farm is situated is in the sacred territory of the Wishram people, a Chinook speaking tribe who traditionally made a living netting, drying and trading salmon from the Columbia River. The area still contains rock carvings of the vigilant goddess Tsagaglalal. There is thus a tradition of Breeders giving the kitten litters Native American names.
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