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.
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. 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 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.

LaPerm (Dalles LaPerm) - Current - Rex-type cat of American Shorthair type, strongly curled coat, short/semi-longhair, American. Dominant gene, some kittens born bald or straight haired, most will go bald and then grow the curled coat.

What do these unique felines look like? The fur is the characteristic which sets the LaPerm apart. Ringlet-type curls cover the entire cat. The tightest curls occur on the underside and base of the ears, with a curly, plumed tail. The curl ranges from tight ringlets to long, corkscrew curls. It is soft in texture, but each cat's coat is distinctly unique. Some LaPerm kittens are born hairless, but most have short, wavy hair at birth. Often, the tops of their heads will be bald during the first four months or so. They can also be born with wavy hair and then lose it. For the first six months, it's pretty much a guessing game.

The LaPerm cat breed is "low maintenance", requiring minimum grooming because the coat does not easily mat. LaPerms' curls hold the hair, much like that of the Poodle, so shedding is minimal. Bath and towel drying is all that is required to maintain the curl. Blow drying tends to make the hair frizz. After the coat is totally dry, spritzing with a fine mist of plain water works well to achieve even more curl.

The coat on both the short and long-haired varieties may vary in length and fullness depending upon the season and the maturity of the cat. Both males and females have a full ruff on the neck at maturity. The face and head of the LaPerm are triangular in shape with wide-set ears and large, expressive eyes. They even boast a splendid set of curly whiskers. Their legs are elongated in proportion to their small-to-medium-sized bodies. Males tend to weigh about 7-12 pounds while females grow to be 5 to 6 pounds. Although the look of each kitten varies, one thing always remains the same: the great personality of this new breed. Even the occasional straight-haired kitten is blessed with it, which makes finding good homes for them very easy.

LaPerm cats are very gentle and affectionate. They seek human contact and purr as soon as they become aware of your presence. These cats are face lovers; they will reach for your face with their paws and rub their faces against your head, neck and face. LaPerm cats love being kissed and will kiss back. They beg to be held, drooped over a shoulder or cradled in your arms while resting on their backs.

LaPerm cats are inquisitive in nature, always wanting to know what is going on around them. Kittens have been known to stop nursing and seek out the source of a human voice even before their eyes are open. They are generally quiet-voiced but may be vocal when wanting attention. Being a working cat on the farm, they are excellent hunters, as well as gentle companions. They adapt well to apartment living because of their strong bonding instincts.

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.

GeneralThe LaPerm is a naturally occurring mutation producing both long and shorthaired cats. It is medium sized, curly coated with semi-foreign type. All colors are acceptable. All parts of the body are in harmony with the size of the cat. There is evidence of surprising weight for size. The cat is alert and seems to be walking tall on his feet. Coat texture will be distinctly different than that of any other Rex mutation and will vary within the breed. Males may have a curlier coat but not always. Females are generally smaller than males.
BodyMedium in size, semi-foreign, medium boning with hips slightly higher than shoulders.
HeadThe skull is a modified wedge with rounded contours. There is a gentle convex curve rising from the bridge of the nose to the brow. the skull is a modified wedge, slightly rounded with gentle contours. Whisker pads should appear full and rounded, with long whiskers.
MuzzleBroad with rounded contours and moderate to strong whisker pinch. Chin strong and firm presenting a perpendicular line down from the tip of the nose. Allowances should be made for jowls on mature males.
ProfileSlight dip to nose just below bottom of eye, then continuing straight to tip of nose. Dip must be felt for, as it can appear straight. Forehead should be a flat plane to the top of the head, then smooth gentle curve back over top of head flowing into neck.
EarsPlaced to continue the modified wedge of the head, slightly flared and cupped, medium to large. Full furnishings and earmuffs with lynx tipping is preferred on longhair variety but not required on the shorthair variety.
EyesMedium large and expressive, almond in shape at rest and rounder when alert. Set moderately far apart and slightly slanted toward base of ear. Eye color has no relation to coat color.
NeckCarried erect, medium long in length in proportion to body
Legs/FeetMedium long to match body length. Forelegs may be slightly shorter than hind legs. As with body, medium fine boning with rounded feet.
In proportion to body, tapering from base to tip.
COAT-LONGHAIR: Texture and length: medium-long to long, both males and females may have ruff on neck at maturity. The coat should be free of matting, so it should not be too thick and heavy. The tail is plumed with some curling. The feel of this coat is unique among Rex breeds. It is springy, light and airy. The feel may vary among individual cats and/or color. Curl or waviness: curly or wavy, curl is preferred. The coat should be loose and bouncy and should stand away from the body, a coat you can run your fingers through to the skin. The coat is light and airy enough to part with a breath. The coat will have an almost unkempt appearance (the "Gypsy Shag" look). Tightest curls are in the ruff and the base of the ears; longest curls are in the ruff, base of the ears, and at the base of the tail. The coat may vary in length and fullness according to the season and maturity of the cat. At times this coat will part naturally down the middle of the back.
COAT-SHORTHAIR: Texture and length: short to approximately medium-long. The tail is not plumed but hair may be wavy. The feel of this coat is unique among Rex breeds. It is springy, light and airy. The texture may be harder then longhair and will vary among individual cats and/or colors. The coat will stand away from the body with waves over most of the cat. Curl or waviness: curly or wavy. Is not required to have a ruff, ringlets or earmuffs. The tail will be like a bottlebrush. At times this coat will part naturally down the middle of the back.
ColorAny genetically possible color or combination of colors is allowed. EYE COLOR: eye color can be copper, gold, yellow, green or blue. There is no correlation required between coat color and eye color.
PenalizeLack of ear furnishings on the longhair LaPerm, crossed eyes or non-visible tail faults.
DisqualifyCobby body, short legs, incorrect number of toes, visible tail faults, straight hair.
Allowable OutcrossesDomestic Longhair and Domestic Shorthair