LaPerm Cat (comprehensive page)

Laperm Cat - pictures of cats
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Above: LaPerm Cat “Red” photograph copyright © Helmi Flick

The article is in several parts with links to the next part at the end of each section.

Quick Guide

Origin

This is the “curly haired beauty” of the world of cats. There are long and shorthaired varities. The longhaired cats have semi-long hair. The shorthairs have medium length coats. The body type is called “semi-foreign”1. Jerrie Wolfe is probably the USA’s leading breeder of this cat. She has contributed to this page. Update: 21st Nov. 2010: Jerrie is reducing her cattery – beautiful cats need good homes.

Note: this page was first written and published in 2008 and republished on June 27th, 2023 after some minor adjustments. The images are quite small as in those days there was no broadband internet connection! Large images would have taken too long to load.

In 1982, the LaPerm Cat came into being in an area, The Dalles, Oregon, that is rich in Native American history. Native Americans have a very proper, well reasoned and sensitive approach to nature. I am referring to both animals and the land. They believe that animals and humans have the same “value” and that we “lease” the land and never own it. When you lease land you look after it better for the next person. Both these philosophies result in a less selfish and more sensitive approach to others, nature and animals. What a perfect place for a new cat breed to begin.

The LaPerm cat came about by a spontaneous and natural genetic mutation in the birth of a female kitten to a tabby barn cat (good stock). The barn was owned by Linda and Richard Koehl and was on their cherry farm. The kitten was one of a litter 6. She was hairless at birth. The LaPerm cat origin is not dissimilar to other Rex cats or cat breeds created from genetic mutations. In this case the gene that mutated controls the creation of the cat’s coat. Although it is probable that this mutation has happened elsewhere and at other times, on this occasion in 1982, when the idea of cat breeds was of greater interest to the people of North America, the potential for the creation of a new breed of cat was in place. In fact, development began some time later.

LaPerm Cat
Photo copyright Helmi Flick

It took about ten years from the discovery of “Curly” (the founding curly haired cat) before the commencement of the development of the breed by Linda Koehl, the breed founder. Remember, by the way, that Curly is female. She had a sparse short hair that developed into her classic Rex coat. Importantly, she had a lovely balanced character and liked to be an outdoor cat.

LaPerm cat - pictures of cats

Above: Photo of LaPerm cat Ch. Arohanui BC Yankee Doodle Breeders: Jerrie Wolfe & Doreen McCann © DB

Curly’s first litter produced 5 hairless male kittens. Curly’s other litters had the occasional hairless kitten, which were left behind when Curly disappeared. Curly coated cats have also appeared in other parts of the world and are probably wandering around a town right this minute but that town is probably not in the so called developed world. In economically poorer countries, there is less interest in the idea of individual cat breeds.  Curly coated cats are called “Rexes” from the Rex rabbit.

The gene that produces the curly hair can be recessive (in the Devon and Cornish Rex for example). If the gene is recessive its effects can be hidden for a long time and spring up from time to time. Indeed, in offspring of uncharted births of Cornish Rexes for example it is probable that these cats existed unrecognized and when they died that ended the line and so the effect of the gene was made invisible again. In this cat the gene is dominant as is the case for the Selkirk Rex.

LaPerm Cat - pictures of cats

Above:LaPerm Cat Quincunx Jackalope Po, Blue Point & White LH copyright protected image.

5 thoughts on “LaPerm Cat (comprehensive page)”

    • Yes, but please remember to spell the name like this: LaPerm. That is the way breeders of this cat like to spell it and other people in the cat fancy.

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