The LaPerm cat is American in origin. It is an intelligent, active cat with a Chinook- Native American history. The name LaPerm derives from the French who usually precede a noun with a definite article. Originally a working cat, it has a lean well-developed build. A hairless kitten was born to a barn cat owned by Linda Koehl in 1982. Over six weeks, this kitten grew a think, curly, short coat that had a brown tabby pattern. "Curly" was the first LaPerm cat. Even though bald kittens grew curly coats, their straight-haired siblings showed no signs of a curly coat until "Snow Fire", who lost his straight coat and re-grew a curly coat. Today, breeders do not produce lines of bald kittens. Most are born with curly coats.
Its signature coat is a result of a rex mutation. This may be the result of both genetics and hormones. DNA studies are occurring to determine if it is similar to other rex breeds or not.
Their coats do not shed overly much since they have little undercoat, making their coats less prone to matting. LaPerms are sensitive to fleas which may result in hair loss.
The La Perm's coat has the feel of mohair. The curls around the ruff and neck are the longest, with curly hair found inside the ears as well. Curls range from tight ringlets to long, twisting curls. Both shorthairs and longhairs have curled whiskers and kinked eyebrows. The longhair has a feathery tail whereas the shorthair has a "bottle-brush" tail. They come in a wide range of colors and patterns. They weigh from six to ten pounds depending upon gender. They have almond shaped eyes that vary in color.
This clever, curly-coated cat is a thinking cat. It is outgoing and wishes to be close to its owners. It will pat your face, curl up on your shoulders, follow you around, and otherwise let you know that is close. This makes them ideal for young families and homes with other pets. Although energetic, it tolerates being a lap cat.
The La Perm cat was recognized for championship status in 2003 by The International Cat Association (TICA) and is seeking the same status in the Cat Fancier's Association (CFS). The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) has provided provisional recognition while working towards championship status.