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As charming as it looks, it seems surprising to know that the LaPerm cat was first discovered from a farm. It is relatively a new breed introduced to the UK, but has grown popularity due to its fascinating unusual appearance.
The name, “LaPerm” was coined from its ringlets and perm-like coat. Despite its curly hair, the LaPerm cat is soft when touched. It came from a spontaneous mutation having the rex genes, which results in the cat to have a curly coat. Although some LaPerms may have straight-haired gene recessively, most of the time it is a complete dominant trait.
The LaPerm cat is a naturally occurring breed in the 1980s, coincidental with the same period when the shaggy perms went on trend. In March 1982, on a cherry farm, a brown tabby birthed a litter of six kittens. One kitten stands out with its almost bald appearance, with tabby markings on its skin visible like a tattoo. Linda and Dick Koehl, the owner of both farm and the cats, were fascinated with its unusual character and named it Curly. They bonded closely with the cat when they tended its wounds from an accident. After six weeks, Curly developed a sparse but a surprisingly soft curly coat.
Curly is said to be the first LaPerm cat, but definitely not the last. Curly soon gave birth to kittens having the same coat as her with a neighbour’s Siamese contributing its genetic pool. It helped define the breed’s foreign body type.
In the 1990s, the Koehls brought some of these cats to a cat show. Experienced breeders and judges were fascinated for its uniqueness. Subsequently, the Koehls were encouraged to conserve this specific kind of breed as it is something special. A formal breeding programme was soon established, with the “LaPerm” as the breed’s name.
The LaPerm’s first generation was born hairless, and would later on develop curly coat much the same as its mother, Curly. There were some kittens that had straight hair even when they matured, until Snow Fire. Snow Fire was born with straight hair. But later on, it shed out and was changed with a curly coat and curly whiskers—these were the acknowledged signatures of the breed.
After twenty years of developing the breed with the help of breeders, it finally earned a Championship Status by the TICA in February 2003. It was only introduced in the UK in 2002, with a pregnant LaPerm producing a litter of five kittens upon its arrival. Ten years later, in 2012, the breed was granted full Championship status in the UK. Nowadays, the breed is broadly represented by the LaPerm Cat Club.
This charming feline has a medium to long in a semi-foreign body, with males that can weigh up to 8–10 pounds and 6–8 pounds for females. A LaPerm can either be longhaired (LP) or shorthaired (LS). It has medium long legs to match its well-muscled body and rounded paws. The LP may have a full plume tail with curlings, whilst the LS may have a “bottle brush” tail and not as furry as the LP.
Apart from its unique coat, the LaPerm cat has a moderate profile with no extremes. Its head is wedged in shape, with a slightly broad muzzle in complete with its head. It has a very expressive medium-large almond-shaped eyes that can be round when alert. It has medium to large, fairly flared, and cupped ears that may have sparse hair on the insides.
As previously mentioned, the LaPerm’s coat has two subcategories: LaPerm (LP) and LaPerm Shorthaired (LPS). The LP in any gender has ruff on its neck when matured, whilst there is no ruff on the LPS. Both subcategories have curly or wavy curls in any range, from tight ringlets or waves to long corkscrew curls. It can either be wavy or curly, but the latter is preferred. Any shade of colour or pattern may be acceptable as per the GCCF breed standard.
This breed requires less grooming with only once or twice a week of light brushing or combing to keep its coat shining and bright. You only need to give grooming more attention when it sheds its winter coat. Further, follow basic grooming such as regular nail trimming, teeth brushing, and ear cleaning. The earlier these grooming routine is introduced, the better.
The LaPerm is an intelligent and inquisitive feline. It can learn quickly when new things are being introduced. It is also energetic, and would definitely enjoy interactive games. In fact, it is advisable to provide quality cat toys and high perches for it to climb to prevent it from being destructive when bored. Be aware that this feline uses its paws most of the time. It is very determined to get what it wants and would think of a way to get it. It is known to use its paws to have what it wants, either a favourite toy or your attention.
This breed is very engaging as it enjoys human affection, though not demanding. It has the tendency to follow its owner and would love to be involved in any activity. With that, it is discouraged for this breed to be left alone as it can be depressed, which results in a destructive behaviour. It is wise to leave it with some company, which can be other pets that are already familiar with it.
Further, it is a typical cat that performs kitten-like behaviour, but is said to retain it even when matured. As such, sharing a home with one is such a delight. Its energy level is high and would love to explore the environment including outside. However, you have to ensure its security by allowing it to roam only when it is safe for it to do so. On a positive note, this feline can very well adapt being kept as an indoor pet when provided with the right things and its own area.
The LaPerm cat should be given a nutritious diet that fulfils its nutritional needs. It should be consistently given the same food following the same feeding schedule. If there are changes to its diet, those must be done gradually to prevent digestive problems.
The serving portions mainly depend on the cat’s weight, age, and activity level. Its diet must include at least 25 per cent protein and just 5 per cent carbohydrates.
On average, the LaPerm’s life expectancy ranges from 10–15 years. This cat breed is amongst the healthiest and is not known to be affected by hereditary health issues. However, there have been cases of LaPerms affected by Pyruvate kinase deficiency. As such, it is necessary to check the LaPerm breeder’s credentials before acquiring one. Further, ensure that this feline gets enough exercise and its diet managed well to prevent it from becoming obese. Being an intelligent breed, it should be provided with toys and activities that will also challenge its mental abilities.
A pedigreed LaPerm kitten will cost £350 or higher. Average insurance expenses would cost £12 (basic) to £25 (lifetime) monthly. Food costs may range from £15–£20 each month. For vaccinations, boosters, annual checks, and other veterinary costs, pet care costs may add up to more than £500 each year.
On average, a LaPerm cat owner will spend about £30–£50 per month. The insurance costs can also affect this estimate. For its entire lifetime (10–15 years), the expenses can be as low as £3,600 to as high as £9,000 overall. This estimate does not include the initial costs incurred in acquiring this cat.
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