This is a page on the LaPerm cat for children and people who like things to be explained in straightforward English with good pictures.
The LaPerm is a cat breed with a curly coat that has its beginnings in America. There are other cat breeds with curly coats. For example, the Devon Rex.. The reason why the coat is curly is because, in 1982, on a farm in Oregon, a gene that had changed (this is called “mutated”) and which was inside a farm kitten, caused the hair to be curly rather than straight. Genes are tiny particles inside the cat’s cells that control the way a cat looks and behaves.
At birth this special barn kitten had no hair. Gradually, soft curly hair started to grow. Linda Koehl who owned the farm called him “Speedy”. Speedy went on to have kittens of his own and one of them became a father himself. He had five curly haired kittens that had superb curly coats. That is the beginning of this fairly rare cat breed. It happened in a part of America that has lots of Native American history.
The name is interesting. The Chinook tribe lived in the area of The Dalles, Oregon, USA. They had the habit of using some French in their language. You might have noticed that this cat’s name has some French in it. The first two letters are “la”. This is French for “the”. The second part of the name is “perm”. You can probably guess where this comes from. The curly fur looks like a woman’s curly hair style called a “perm”. There it is. The cat’s name has a bit the Native American’s use of French in it, as well as reminding us that the fur looks like permed human hair. Men can also have permed hair by the way ;).
The Way The LaPerm Looks
The thing that you really notice about the LaPerm is the curly fur. There are long and shorthaired LaPerms. Cats with curly hair are sometimes called “rex cats”. The word “rex” means king in Latin (an ancient language). A long time ago a king had curly haired rabbits! That is how the word “rex” became a way of describing a cat with curly fur. You will see the LaPerm is a huge range of coat types and colors. There is almost no limit.
This is quite a slender cat of average weight. The weight is between about 8 – 12 pounds (3.5-5.5 kilograms). This cat has a long neck. The ears are medium sized. The curly coat is curliest under the neck and at the bottom of the ears. Sometimes the whiskers are also curly.
Sometimes the curly coat falls out a bit. This only happens for quite a short time. It normally happens to young cats. The fur grows back and sometimes it is more curly.
The coat does not need much grooming by the cat’s owner.
People say that some LaPerms like to be quiet. When they want to be noticed they will talk. This cat has a personality that is typical of most domestic cats: nice and friendly.