The Origin, History and Physical Traits of the LaPerm – American Rex Breed

LaPerm is a hybrid cat breed with a “rex” gene. They stand out from other cat breeds by virtue of their curly, or wavy, fur. They were developed from a spontaneous mutation of domestic barn cats in Oregon and were officially named and recognized in 1995 by The International Cat Association (TICA).

How the LaPerm Cat Breed Was Born

The story of Curly, the first LaPerm cat, began over decades ago. Oregon became the center of the cat world when a barn cat named Speedy gave birth to an oddball kitten in 1982. The breeder, Linda Koehl, discovered the rare cat breed when this kitten was born with distinct physical features unlike any other cat in his litter.

The newborn kitten was almost bald and later developed small hairs. After the kitten started to develop a full coat that curled at the tips when they grow long, Linda’s husband (Richard Koehl) named this first wavy-haired kitten “Curly.”

Linda named the cat breed “LaPerm.” The breed’s name came from a single curl in a LaPerm mother’s coat due to the spontaneous genetic mutation. The gene was dominant, so they could quickly breed more generations with a little help from a breeding program. Breeders and enthusiasts refer to the aesthetic trait of its distinctive fur as “LaPerm” to this day.


Physical Appearance

LaPerm cats can be both long-haired and short-haired, with a curly, springy coat. With a height of 6 to 10 inches and weight between 8 to 10 pounds, the LaPerm is certainly a medium-sized cat. The LaPerm cat breed is a friendly and affectionate cat of high intelligence that gets along well with children, seniors, all family members and other pets in the home.

They have well-defined body shapes and come in many colors, including cream, red, gray, chocolate, lavender, silver, fawn, etc. Despite their long hair, their fur-lock extensions and distinctive wave coat do not require much grooming. The LaPerm cat breed possesses unique coat patterns, such as bi-color, solid, tabby, calico, or color point.

The body structure of the LaPerm is similar to Persian cats, but with thicker skin and a shorter muzzle. LaPerms have long legs, large ears, and a quite long tail.

Personality, Major Habits and Comparison With Other Cats

LaPerm is an affectionate, intelligent, and playful cat breed. It loves to be close to its owners and follows them around the house. The breed will bond with one or more of its family members, staying by their sides throughout the day. Although it’s affectionate, don’t mistake its friendliness for demandingness – LaPerms are content with receiving attention rather than giving it.

Because LaPerm has minimal shedding, owners only need to brush their cat’s coat twice or thrice a week to remove dead hairs. As for bathing, LaPerms are fairly clean cats that do not like water, so they only require bathing one time per month or less.

Playfulness and Vocalness

While not an energetic running buddy, it has loads of playfulness and loves to interact with you throughout your day. With a quiet demeanor, LaPerm isn’t prone to vocal theatrics and makes for a great companion when you’re in the mood to just hang out.

LaPerms are cats with an aura of mystery about them. This breed is an excellent hunter with a high prey drive, able to catch prey in the dark. Many owners find that LaPerm cats don’t mind it when people pick them up, and they will sit in their owner’s laps for hours at a time.

How Long Do They Live?

LaPerm is a healthy cat breed that lives from 10 to 15 years on average, a bit longer than other breeds. Thanks to their low-maintenance coats and genetic diversity, which means that they’re also less prone to diseases common in other cat breeds, such as arthritis or kidney disease.

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