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LaPerm Cat

The LaPerm is a recognized breed of cat. A LaPerm's fur is curly (hence the name "perm"), with the tightest curls being on the belly, throat and base of the ears. LaPerms come in many colors and patterns. LaPerms generally have a very affectionate personality.



The first LaPerm was born in 1982 and was a spontaneous mutation in an otherwise normal litter of kittens. The breed founders, Linda and Richard Koehl owned a cherry farm in The Dalles, Oregon, and had obtained some farm cats for pest control. One of these was an ordinary brown tabby shorthair called Speedy who gave birth to a litter of kittens which included a rather bald female kitten with tabby markings on her skin. The Koehls were initially concerned about the kitten's appearance but she developed healthily and as she grew she developed a soft curly coat.

The kitten was given the name Curly and was given no special treatment, also working as a farm cat. In fact, she was nearly killed in an incident when she climbed into the warm engine of a pickup truck and was injured by the fan when the engine was started. She survived and became a house cat for a while recovering from her injuries and it was during this time that the Koehls came to fully appreciate her affectionate personality. She became pregnant and gave birth under a tree in the middle of a rainstorm one night. Linda Koehl heard strange noises and took a flashlight outside to find Curly fiercely defending her newborn kittens from barking dogs. Linda put the kittens into her pockets and took them into a warm barn to make them a safe nest in the hay. The next day when Linda was able to look at them in daylight she realized that all five kittens had the same appearance as their mother had at birth. All five were male and grew up to have the same soft curls. None of the five were neutered and their breeding activity led to many more curly coated kittens being born.

Linda found herself with a growing colony of unusual rex cats which included long and short coats. There was a range of colors and patterns including chocolate and colorpoints, due to the input of a local cat who had a Siamese mother. When people started commenting on her unusual cats and asking what they were, Linda did some research and realized that she had some kind of rex. She took some cats to a show to ask for feedback and was told by exhibitors, breeders and judges that she had something very special. Several key people in the USA cat fancies gave her their support and the breed has grown and to become a well established championship breed in the States with breeding programs in many other countries around the world.

The LaPerm breed is strongly allied with Native American culture as the area where the Koehl’s farm is situated is in a sacred territory of the Wishram people, a Chinook speaking tribe who traditionally made a living netting, drying and trading salmon from the Columbia River. The area still contains rock carvings of the vigilant goddess Tsagaglalal. It is because of this that many LaPerm breeders give Native American names to their kittens and decorate their pens with this theme in mind when showing. Careful consideration was given to the naming of the breed; several possible names had already been used or were too clumsy sounding or close to something else so a name was chosen by Linda which evocatively brings to mind the breed’s most important feature: its curly coat, and follows the Chinookan tradition of adopting French words while incorporating the definite article to create a new word.

LaPerm Cat Breed Data

- Fokdieren, castraten en kittens van een kleine cattery in Heerlen. 
- Oregon breeders also rearing Munchkins. 
- CFA breed club. Information on the breed, grooming, coat, history, description, temperament, feeding, kitten care.
- Es wird die Cattery mit ihren Tieren vorgestellt und ├╝ber die Rassen informiert.
- Located near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Also rears LaPerms. Photographs and links.


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