LaPerm Cats

Curly-Haired Breed is All American

As its name implies, the LaPerm cat has a mane of hair consisting of soft waves, curls and ringlets.

Other cats may have mane envy, but the LaPerm is really one fortunate feline, having been discovered by accident and thriving under the watchful care of a couple of cherry farmers.

LaPerm cat, photo by Krister P

In 1982, Linda and Richard Koehl brought home a variety of cats to work as the pest control team on the couple’s cherry farm in Oregon.

One of the cats, described as an ordinary, shorthaired brown tabby, gave birth to a litter of kittens. Within the litter, one of the kittens was born with very little fur, but had tabby markings on its skin. As this cat matured, its fur coat grew thicker and, much to the surprise of the Koehls, developed a long, curly coat unlike any of the other cats on the farm.

Over time, more curly-haired cats began to call the cherry farm their home as the cats bred amongst themselves. Out of curiosity, Linda Koehl asked cat fanciers for their input on her cats’ unusual fur and was told that it was not ordinary. As a result, a team of cat breeding experts worked with the Koehls to further develop the breed.

Inspiration on what to name the new breed of cat came from the Koehl’s cherry farm, which is located in sacred Native American territory. The Wishram tribe used French words within their language, hence the term “LaPerm,” which reflects both the French connotation and a description of the cat’s coat.

Many LaPerm breeders have since chosen to give their LaPerm cats names of Native American origin as a sign of respect to their beginnings.

In 1997, the LaPerm Society of America was formed and recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). In 2003, the first LaPerm cat earned champion status at The International Cat Association’s annual competition. Two more LaPerms earned champion and first grand status at the CFA’s 2008 competition.

The LaPerm breed is now available throughout the world and its popularity continues to grow.

LaPerm cat, photo by Krister P

LaPerm cats are known to be extremely affectionate, often preferring to be cradled in their owner’s arms or curling up in a warm lap.

This breed co-exists very well with families that include children and other pets, enjoying playing games and performing tricks, and much like dogs, fetching toys.

Due to their tight bond with people, the LaPerm will not thrive if left alone for long periods of time.

LaPerm cat, photo by Krister P

The most recognized trait of the LaPerm, of course, is its telltale fur coat. However, some LaPerms are born with straight hair, and while some begin to grow curly hair six months to one year after birth, others keep a straight coat.

This breed came be born with literally any variety of colors and patterns seen in cats, including tabby, red, tortoiseshell, lilac, chocolate and colorpoints. The fur coat, when curly, has a slightly textured and springy feel to it. In addition, the

LaPerm can be either shorthaired or longhaired. Longhaired LaPerms have a fluffy, plumed tail while shorthaired LaPerms have a tail described as a “bottle brush.”

Both types of LaPerms are born with curly whiskers.

Due to their unusual fur coat, some believe the LaPerm is hypoallergenic as it sheds very little.

The average LaPerm weighs between six and 12 pounds and has a wedge-shaped head with almond-shaped eyes.

At this time, there are no serious medical issues linked to the LaPerm breed. Choosing a reputable breeder from which to purchase your pet will help minimize health risks.

As with any pet, be sure to regularly consult a veterinarian for routine care and medical advice for your four-legged friend.