The LaPerm is a unique combination of curly hair and an affectionate personality. One cannot deny the love and affection a LaPerm will shower upon its owner nor the curly or wavy hair that also makes the breed so interesting.LaPerms are gentle and affectionate but also very active. Unlike many active breeds, the LaPerm is also quite content to be a lap cat. The LaPerm will often follow your lead, that is if they are busy playing and you decide to sit and relax, simply pick up your LaPerm and sit down with it and it will stay on your lap devouring the attention you give it. LaPerms seek human contact and will purr as soon as they become aware of your presence. They are inquisitive by nature and always want to know what is going on around them. They will reach for your face with their paws and rub their faces against your head, neck and face.LaPerms are truly different from any other breed of cat because of their unique combination of appearance and people oriented personalities. The breed has captivated nearly everyone who has the opportunity of seeing one. Once a LaPerm graces your household you will be hard pressed to think of living with any other breed and may find it a necessity to have more than one. Cradling a LaPerm in your arms can touch your senses. Running your fingers through the sensuous coat becomes automatic and you won't want to stop. Listening to the purr and seeing the intelligence unfold as you teach your cat tricks such as fetching will give you an unmatched feeling of love and respect for the breed.Over the years the LaPerm breed has gained recognition in four registries in the United States. The breed has also been established in other countries such as Germany, The Netherlands, South Africa, Japan, England and New Zealand. The first LaPerm champion in the world was European Champion Uluru BC Wiyaka. It is only a matter of time before this unique breed will be recognized world wide.The first pair of LaPerms were imported into New Zealand in 1998 by Twink McCabe, (Coiffurr) and Glynne Jackson, (Wakijaki) Uluru BC Red Cloud (BC means ?born curly!) a red tabby male carrying chocolate and Uluru Starflower, a sealpont bi-colour female.The breed is still being developed worldwide and to widen the gene pool, an outcross programme is under-way. Catz Inc. has approved guidelines for this until 2006 by which time it is expected to bred like to like. Gradually the breed has begun to emerge internationally with an individual look. They have become longer in the body and tail and taller on the legs with and overall more graceful, semi-foreign appearance.AllergyThe LaPerm cat has a genetically modified coat texture which causes it to curl or wave and resembles hair rather than fur. This seems to make a difference and many sufferers, even those with a severe problem live happily with a LaPerm. Owners have been truly amazed that they are able to own a cat. One or two have had a mild reaction which normalised after a few days.
The kitten that exhibited traits of the original mutation that has formed the basis for the LaPerm breed sprang from strong, healthy, domestic "barn-cat" stock. In 1982, on an Oregon farm located near the ancient hunting and fishing grounds of the Wishram Indians, a litter of six kittens was born to a barn cat. One of the kittens was born completely bald -- looking nothing like her mother or her littermates. While the kitten had no hair, it did have large wide-spaced ears and a blueprint pattern on her skin that mimicked a classic tabby pattern. Within eight weeks the kitten began to grow very soft, curly hair. At three to four months of age the kitten, now named "Curly," had a full coat of curly hair. Not being very knowledgeable about cats, the owner accepted the "mutant" as unique and thought nothing more of the matter.During the next 10 years no attempt was made to breed selectively but as the frequency of bald kittens increased in the random bred litters, the owner of the farm began to seek additional information about her unusual cats. She had no knowledge of genetics or breeding and thus allowed the cats to roam freely throughout the barns and orchard for several years. As she became aware of how truly unique these cats were, she started to confine the cats and control the breedings. It appeared that the curly gene was dominant and carried by both males and females. This breeder was totally unprepared for the interest and excitement generated by cats she decided to enter in a cat show. The owner gave the cats the breed name "LaPerm," which means wavy or rippled.
The LaPerm can sport anything from a wavy coat to ringlet-type curls that range from tight ringlets to long corkscrew curls. The tightest curls occur on the underside of the cat, on the throat area and at the base of the ears. The longhair is generally blessed with a curly plumed tail and often exhibits a full, curly ruff. The coat is moderately soft in texture, yet each cat's coat is distinctly unique.Then perfect cat will have a moderately soft, springy coat texture standing away from the body in ringlet curls or waves over most of the cat. The thicker and heavier the coat the better.The shorthair has more texture to the coat than does the longhaired variety. It does not have the ruff, has a "bottle-brush" type tail and the coat generally stands away from the body, parting down the middle.The coat can vary in length and fullness according to the season and maturity of the cat.The LaPerm comes in every recognized color and coat pattern. Some kittens can be born hairless, but most have short wavy hair or straight hair at birth. Kittens often go almost totally bald beginning with a spot on the tops of their heads. This process generally starts when the kittens are about two weeks old and they can be in varying stages of baldness during their first four months or so. The coat will generally come back in and will always be curly if the kitten was born curly. Coat variations throughout the life of a LaPerm range from molting that can leave a sparse, thin coat for life to a possible full coat after neutering or spaying.