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LaPerm Cat Breed Info: Pictures, Traits & Facts

Height: 12-18 inches
Weight: 6-12 pounds
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Colors: Commonly found in ginger, tabby, and tortoiseshell; available in nearly every color recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association
Suitable for: Families with children, active and energetic owners, homes with other pets
Temperament: Affectionate, energetic, and friendly

First introduced to the cat fancying world in 1982, the LaPerm has quickly become a crowd favorite due to its signature curled coat and affable personality. Perhaps no other breed descended from a barn cat has been so lucky — for the LaPerm enjoys robust health and is best known for how much they love and care for their owners.

Born on a cherry farm in Oregon, these lovable and curious cats have become a fixture in cat shows on the west coast of the United States. If you’re considering adding one to your home, this guide has all the information you’ll need to determine whether the LaPerm is a good fit for your family.

Finding a LaPerm to adopt can be tricky, but with our guide to everything you need to know about this rare cat breed, you’ll be able to decide whether searching one out is worth the effort. Read on to find out more about this uniquely styled, affectionate cat breed.Cat ball divider 1

LaPerm Kittens – Before You Buy…

Energy
Trainability
Health
Lifespan
Sociability

Finding a reputable breeder for a LaPerm kitten should be your first step. A recently developed breed, they’re much more difficult to find than common house cats.

High energy levels and huge amounts of affection are characteristic of this loving yet somewhat high maintenance breed. A quiet breed, they’re more likely to get your attention by jumping into your lap than meowing at you — so be prepared for frequent invasions of your personal space with this contact-loving kitty.

Named for their curly hair and well-coiffed appearance, the LaPerm is the result of a rare genetic mutation that naturally lends extra curl to the hairs around its neck, head, and haunches.

Hailing from Dalles, Oregon, this breed is also known as the Dalles LaPerm. An ordinary brown tabby barn cat is sire to this entire breed, having produced a single nearly bald kitten in a litter circa 1980. Within eight weeks, this small and frail kitten had grown a full coat of luscious, curly hair — and the LaPerm breed had started its path to full recognition.

Over the following ten years, further litters of these curly-haired kittens were sired from the same parents and went on to mate with other cats in their small Oregon neighborhood.

In 1992, the cat’s owner, Linda Koehl, decided to enter one of her curly-haired adults into a Cat Fanciers’ Association show in Portland, Oregon. With the attention of dozens of cat fanciers focused on this innovative new breed, Koehl decided to apply for registry as a certified breed and begin her own cattery and breeding program.

What’s the Price of LaPerm Kittens?

Due to the rarity of this breed, kittens routinely sell for between $300 and $600 — with CFA recognized kittens fetching a price on the high end of that spectrum. Kittens with a registered pedigree and award-winning family history will sell for even higher prices.

With few LaPerm breeders in the United States, be sure to thoroughly research any breeder offering LaPerm kittens. Two resources that may be helpful in finding a LaPerm kitten are Adopt A Pet and LaPerm Kitties (based out of Tacoma, WA).3 cat face divider

3 Little-Known Facts About LaPerm

1. The LaPerm’s Coat is the Result of a Rare Genetic Mutation

Most mutations that produce changes in coat color or style are due to recessive genes, while the LaPerm’s curly adaptation is a result of passing on dominant genes. This means that the LaPerm can lend its curls to any crossbreed!

2. LaPerm Kittens are Often Born Bald

Perhaps due to their complex genetic heritage, many LaPerm kittens don’t start to grow hair until they are four to eight weeks old. After an initial coat of short, straight hair, they will grow in their signature curls.

3. They Can be Found in Every Available Coat Coloring

Also a result of their mutation, the LaPerm’s dominant genes make it able to cross with every sort of breed and coat color while maintaining its trademark curled coat.

LaPerm Cat Breed
Photo credit: Laperm LH blacktortie white by Bebopscrx licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution

Temperament & Intelligence of the LaPerm

Kind, gentle, energetic, and intelligent, the LaPerm is an ideal cat for many prospective owners. They love nothing more than to spend whole days playing with their owners, family, and other pets! If you’re looking for a cat that will keep you active and shower you with love and affection, the LaPerm may be the right choice for you.

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

Due in part to their barn cat heritage, LaPerm cats are some of the most even-tempered and affectionate cats you can bring into your home. They’re most attached to their owners and caretakers, but generally get along well with everyone in the home. With their hearty constitutions and resilient natures, even small children can play with them without fear of causing harm.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

The LaPerm is the sort of cat that doesn’t know a stranger — from other cats, to dogs, to guinea pigs and other small pets, a LaPerm gets along well with everyone and every breed. They’re an ideal addition to homes with older pets, as their energetic natures will encourage your older animals to exercise and play more.3 cat divider

Things to Know When Owning a LaPerm:

Owning a LaPerm can be a significant investment of time, money, and effort — but the payoff in love, care, and affection is well worth it. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether a LaPerm is right for you:

Food & Diet Requirements 

LaPerm cats require no additional care or attention to their diet than you would give any other breed of cat. This means a diet focused around high-quality dry cat food, in moderate portion sizes. Younger and more active cats will need more food, while older and sedentary cats can be fed less without issue.

silver laperm
Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock

Exercise🐈

Significant exercise requirements are the only thing about a LaPerm that is high maintenance. Full of energy and constantly on the move, you should be prepared to spend a lot of time playing with your LaPerm. Alternatively, include a LaPerm in a household with other pets and they will surely encourage your other animals to play and exercise more frequently.

Training 🎾

Generally, LaPerm cats respond well to training in activities, but aren’t as naturally inclined towards sedentary training. Highly food motivated and quite intelligent, your LaPerm will take easily to learning tricks when your training is reinforced with cat treats.

LaPerm Cat Breed
Photo credit: Laperm blacktortie white by Bebopscrx licensed under the Creative Commons

Grooming ✂️

Unlike other cats with luscious and unique fur, the LaPerm requires no special grooming to keep its hair in top condition. Available in short-haired and long-haired varieties, these cats are also known for being less allergenic than many cat breeds.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Coming from a long line of wild-bred outdoor cats, the LaPerm is not prone to any serious health conditions and generally enjoys good health. When looking for a LaPerm, inquire with your breeder as to any other known breeds in the cross; LaPerms descended from more pure-bred cats tend to carry their mating partner’s health problems.

Minor Conditions
  • None
Serious Conditions
  • None
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Male vs Female

Male and female LaPerms share all the same qualities that make the breed so desirable in the first place. While both sexes are playful, affectionate, and even-tempered, male cats tend to be more active while female cats are more affectionate. However, more of a LaPerm’s personality is determined by its individual character than its sex.

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Final Thoughts

The LaPerm is a tremendously affectionate and uniquely handsome breed. It makes a great pet for families of all sizes and compositions and generally gets along well with animals of every species. With exceptionally high energy levels and an insatiable curiosity, you should be prepared to spend a lot of time training and playing with them!

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Featured Image Credit:  by Bebopscrx / Fish Icon