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LaPerm cats are charming and curly-haired with gentle, affectionate personalities. Their wavy coat is the result of a mutated gene that was discovered in the 1980s, making them a relatively new breed.
This breed's loving, lap cat tendencies and low-maintenance coat make them an easy, cuddly cat to live with. LaPerms make wonderful companion pets and adore every moment with their beloved humans.
LaPerm cats typically cost between $300–$600 from a reputable breeder.
LaPerm cats are known for their curly coats, which are typically a blend of soft waves and springy curls, resembling the human perm hairstyle (hence the name). Most LaPerms have tight ringlets of hair near the stomach, neck, and ears and relaxed waves on the rest of the body. Their unique coats are the result of the genetic mutation found in rex breeds, though the LaPerm isn't actually related to the Devon rex or Cornish rex.
Because their breed standard is the result of a mutated gene, this breed's mixed-texture coats can be short or long and come in every available color and pattern, including tortoiseshell, tabby, red, calico, or black LaPerm cats. While you would think LaPerm cats shed a lot, this curly cat is usually easy to groom thanks to their low-shedding and mat-resistant undercoat.
Some claim that LaPerm cats are hypoallergenic, but according to the Mayo Clinic, no cat is truly hypoallergenic. However, because LaPerm cats don't shed very much at a time, they're a good breed for potential cat parents with allergies.
These curly cuties are medium-sized cats that usually weigh 8–10 pounds. LaPerms have long legs, large ears, and long, plumed tails. Their almond-shaped eyes can come in any color and have an alert, lively expression. LaPerm kittens generally take about two to three years to reach physical maturity, with female cats maturing slightly slower.
The affectionate, gentle LaPerm is definitely a lap cat who loves human attention. This breed will look for any opportunity to join you for a snuggle on the couch, and they'll purr loudly to express their contentment. These loving kitties will often reach out to touch your face with their paws and nuzzle their head against yours to show love, according to the Cat Fanciers' Association.
"LaPerms are generally people cats—they love to be with their humans," says Carol Evans, secretary of the Laperm Cat Club. "They love physical contact (some don't so much, but this is rare) and are inquisitive and like to be active. They are quite laid-back and chill, and [they] will approach visitors rather than run away."
When they're not soaking up your attention, the active LaPerm loves to play. They're curious cats who are incredibly intelligent, and Evans says they even love to fetch toys. They get along with almost any possible playmate, including kids, other cats, and cat-friendly dogs.
"'Aloof' is not a word I use to describe LaPerms," Evans says. "They are in-your-face people-lovers. They follow you around the house [and are] never far away."
The LaPerm is a laid-back, easygoing breed that can make themselves at home in a variety of environments. As long as they have humans to love and dote on them, toys to play with, and something to climb, these curious kitties are happy. Even though they're super active, they're more than happy to spend most of their time indoors. Their indoorsy contentment and quiet demeanor make the LaPerm a great apartment living companion.
When they're not lounging on your lap, you will probably find your LaPerm playing, climbing every bookshelf in sight, or trying to perch himself on your shoulders. He loves to supervise his domain from up high, so providing with him a tall cat tree in a central living space will make him feel like the king of the castle. Don't be surprised if he chirps and meows down at you while he's up there.
"LaPerms have a history of chatty cat breeds in their ancestry, and so some are quite vocal," Evans says. "Mine do chat back to me and let me know when they want something."
These cats are likely to get along with everyone, humans and pets alike. One thing this breed doesn't tolerate well is spending a lot of time alone, so make sure you have plenty of time for them and find different ways to enrich your cat's life when you make them a part of the family. They're low-maintenance, loving, and quiet, which makes them a great choice for first-time pet owners.
Despite their curly (and sometimes long) locks, Evans says LaPerm cats are actually pretty easy to groom. Long-haired LaPerms need weekly combing to keep their coats free of matting and tangles, and those with short hair shouldn't need much brushing at all. An occasional bath will keep your kitty's curls looking good, too.
Like all cats, LaPerms also need their ears checked and cleaned, their nails trimmed, and their litter box kept tidy.
LaPerm cats tend to be very active, so you won't need to do a lot to motivate them to move. Owners should still encourage exercise and play often because LaPerms love to follow the lead of their humans. Interactive cat games are one of this breed's favorite ways to work off energy, especially during kittenhood.
"When bringing a new kitten home, it's important to know that a bored LaPerm is a naughty LaPerm," Evans says. "Kittens love and need to play, explore, and have endless energy, so be prepared to provide toys, games, and a lot of your time. You get so much back from them; it's worth the effort."
Because they're so intelligent, these cats are typically easy to train and love a mental challenge. Training for simple tasks like using a litter box or a scratching post should be a breeze. Once they've mastered the basics, they're happy to learn more challenging tricks.
Socialization should be simple with this easygoing breed. LaPerm cats introduced to people and pets early are usually easy to get along with and welcoming of unfamiliar faces.
The LaPerm should be fed a diet of high-quality cat food recommended by your vet. Though LaPerms are incredibly active, you should still monitor your cat's food intake to prevent obesity.
LaPerm cats are generally healthy pets and are not especially prone to any genetic diseases or illnesses. This breed has an expected lifespan of 10–15 years.
"The breed is not known to develop specific conditions if properly fed and given space to run and play," says Kurt Venator, DVM, PhD and Chief Veterinary Officer at Purina.
Responsible LaPerm breeders will test kittens for genetic health issues, but it's important to keep regularly scheduled vet appointments and take the advice of your cat's veterinarian. Health issues can develop later in life and should be routinely monitored for.
The basis of the breed LaPerm is a genetic mutation that appeared in a litter of six kittens born in Oregon in the early 1980s. One of the six kittens was born hairless, with large ears and a tabby pattern in pigment on the skin, according to the Cat Fanciers' Association. At around 2 months old, the kitten started to grow soft, curly hair and was affectionately named "Curly." The owner of the kittens kept them as barn cats and was unfamiliar with breed types and mutations, so Curly wasn't immediately recognized as the beginning of a new breed.
It wasn't until a decade had passed with the unique, bald-then-curly gene showing up in more litters of barn kittens that the farm's owner started looking for information about the breed. As the owner noticed the curly-haired cats showing up more, she began to isolate, breed and show the cats. Other breeders took notice quickly, and the breed took off. The farm owner and unknowing breeder gave this breed their name—"LaPerm", a sophisticated-sounding nod to their curly coats, which resemble a perm hairstyle.
- "Skookum" is the official name for a LaPerm and Munchkin cat mix. These tiny, curly cuties might be the most adorable cats ever.
- LaPerm kittens can sometimes be born bald and then grow out their signature curly coat several weeks later.