LaPerm Cat Breed
General Description and History
The LaPerm is distinctive cat that charms everyone it meets with its soft coat of shaggy curls and ringlets sometimes called a gypsy shag. These are intelligent, active cats who carefully think through just how to get that toy placed just out of reach. The name reflects their Native American connection with the Chinook tribe who traditionally used the French definite article when creating new words. Breed founder Linda Koehl thought the cats’ coat looked like a loose perm and thus named the new cat breed LaPerm. It is a lean muscular cat with no exaggerated features as is befitting its farm background as a working cat. In addition to the distinctive curly coat with its mohair texture, the LaPerm cat has enchanting large, expressive almond shaped eyes.
On March 1st, 1982 Linda Koehl watched a brown tabby cat named Speedy have a litter of 6 kittens in a barn in her cherry orchard and witnessed the birth of a new rex mutation: a long, skinny, hairless kitten with large wide-spaced ears, and a tabby pattern apparent in the skin like a tattoo. At 6 weeks the kitten developed a sparse curly shorthaired coat with a brown classic tabby pattern and Linda named her Curly. As she matured, Curly developed a soft wavy coat. Over time, more curly coated cats appeared and fascinated visitors to the farm who told Linda she had something special. She entered six cats in a cat show to see what people thought. The judges echoed the visitors to the farm-Linda had something unique that needed conserving. She decided to start a breeding program to establish her unique cats as the LaPerm cat breed.
Early on, about 90% of the kittens were born bald and then developed a curly coat in 3-4 months. Kittens that were born with straight hair stayed straight. Then came a straight-coated red point male kitten named Snow Fire who changed the rules. As his bald littermates grew curly coats, Snow Fire shed his straight coat until it became very sparse. This had never happened to any straight-coated kitten before. When Snow Fire’s coat started to re-grow, it came in curly like his littermates-even his whiskers curled. Since then, some straight-coated LaPerms cat bred to domestics have occasionally produced curly coated offspring. TICA granted the LaPerm cat NBC status in 1995 and Championship status in February 2003.
The LaPerm cat is a clever inquisitive cat that thinks about how to get what it wants and now how use their paws to reach out and get exactly what they want whether it is a favorite toy or your attention. These mischievous clown-like cats with their curls and ringlets and innocent eyes make you laugh at their engaging antics. These active, outgoing cats like to be with you and to join in everything you are doing. They want to be close to you and will follow you around like a dog, ride on your shoulders, play games with you, or sprawl out next to you on the couch as you watch television. They are gentle affectionate cats who want human contact and will reach a paw out to pat your face. Their affectionate, loving nature means they get on well with children and other family pets, making them an ideal family companion.
The LaPerm cat coat consists of loose, light, airy curls and bouncy ringlets. It has a textured feel to it with a slight drag and feels like mohair. All three hair types (guard, awn, and down) are present and the texture comes from the shape of the curls and the mixture of the hair types. It is an invitingly soft coat standing away from the body and feels springy when patted. The longest curls are found in the ruff and on the neck where they are like ringlets. They also have curly hair inside the ears, tufts on the ear tips and longer fur on the backs of the ears referred to as ear muffs. Curly plumed tails adorn the longhair while the shorthairs have tails more like a bottlebrush. Both coat lengths have long curled whiskers and kinked eyebrows. The length and fullness of the coat for both coat lengths varies with the season and maturity of the cat. They come in a wide array colors, coat patterns and eye colors.
The LaPerm cat has a medium to long, or semi-foreign, body with medium boning and long legs. It is an active well-muscled cat that weighs in at 8 to 10 pounds for males and 6 to 8 pounds for females. They are a cat without extremes and their modified wedge-shaped head has gently rounded contours. Their eyes and ears stand out. The large cupped ears have curly furnishings and ringlets around the base while their large, almond-shaped eyes look at you adoringly with an innocent look no matter what mischief they might have been up to.
Their curly coats are low shedding which makes maintenance a breeze-just like their airy coats! The coat does not mat easily as there is little undercoat and the curl holds much of the loose coat to the body rather than dropping to the floor and furniture. Light combing using a metal comb with rolling teeth removes any dead coat and keeps the coat in excellent condition in a matter of minutes. Bathing and towel drying will also keep the coat pristine-blowdrying is unnecessary as it will make the coat frizz. Once the coat is totally dry, emphasize the curl by spritzing the coat with a fine mist of plain water.
LaPerm Cat in United States
The first LaPerm cats were those belonging to breed founders Linda and Dick Koehl at their farm in Oregon. The other breeders who joined Linda to work on the breed’s initial development in the USA included Solvieg Pfleuger (Manawyddan), who is a well-respected feline geneticist, Anne D Lawrence (Uluru), Beth Fillman (Calicorose) and Dee Borgardt (Deebor and Dairyland). Still during the early days of the breeding program they were joined by other breeders, including Pete Meisinger & Donna Lawry (Woodlandacre and Hattkatts), Maureen Neidhardt (Lakotaspirit), Lynne Daggett (Loriders) and Mary Sharum (Sekani). The LaPerm Society of America (LPSA) was formed in 1997 and became affiliated to CFA, helping to push the breed forward in that organization. Valued members of the LPSA who have contributed to the breed’s development and whose prefixes are seen in key LaPerm pedigrees include Erika Fetz (Vankkadia), Cheryl Cook (PacificGem) Diane Dunn (Lakme), Andrea Brew (Moonrise), Sandy Brew (Sunfall), Dennis Ganoe (Dennigan) and Debbie Estep (Shoalwater). When TICA finally approved championship status for the LaPerm in 2003 the all important first cat to become a champion was Ch Dennigan’s French Maid of Shoalwater, bred by Dennis Ganoe and owned by Debbie Estep. The breed gained championship recognition in CFA in May 2008 and the first champion was Ch Sunfall’s BC Kahaha Towanjila. The first grand was Grand Premier Uluru BC Cloudfeet of CavalierCats owned by Cathy Hurley.
LaPerm Cat in United Kingdom
The first LaPerm cat in the UK was Champion Uluru BC Omaste Po of Quincunx, a lilac tortie and white Longhair who was bred in the United States by A. D. Lawrence and Maureen Neidhardt. She was imported by Anthony Nichols (Quincunx) using a PETS pet passport in May 2002 after a stop-over with LaPerm breeder Corine Judkins in the Netherlands. She arrived pregnant and gave birth to a litter of five kittens shortly after who were used as the foundation stock for the UK breeding program. A number of other imports followed, including cats from Europe, New Zealand and the USA. Judy Whiteford (Aswani) and Kate Munslow (Canonna) have been involved from that first litter and have both imported new cats themselves and Corine Judkins (Crearwy) moved to Wales bringing her cats with her including the stud who sired the first UK litter. Other key breeding lines found in UK pedigrees include those of Edwina Sipos (Cycada), Penni Cragg (Wakanda), June Gillies (Ballego), Kate Ekanger (Cloudborn), Sue Amor (Amorcatz) and Sue Pyrke (Bane). The breeding program has been characterized by efforts to breed down from outcrosses for generational advancement by combining outcross lines, old lines and import lines. The UK now has the largest LaPerm cat breeding program of any country and is the home of the LaPerm Cat Club. The LaPerm breed has made solid progress within the GCCF and is often seen at British cat shows. In June 2008 the LaPerm gained Provisional Recognition in the GCCF and the first cat to gain an Intermediate Certificate was Aswani Miranna Keys. In June 2012 the LaPerm gained full championship recognition with the GCCF and the first certificate winner was also Aswani Miranna Keys. The first LaPerm to become a GCCF champion was a female, Ballego Happy-Gladys, who went on to also become the first Grand Champion, and the first LaPerm to become a GCCF premier was Pr Wakanda Harriet Potter. The first male champion was Ch Quincunx Umberto Ecurl. The first LaPerm with an Imperial title was also Aswani Miranna Keys, the title being gained at the world’s first LaPerm breed show, which was held by the LaPerm Cat Club.
LaPerm Cat Around the world
Breeding programs for LaPerms have spread to many other countries around the world. The breed was brought to Canada by Constance & Martine Sansoucy (Butterpaws), to New Zealand by Twink McCabe (Coiffurr) and Glynne Jackson (Wakijaki), to Australia by Christine Brelsford (Curlz) and later by Anne-Louise Magee (Frisson), to South Africa by Johan Lamprecht (Les Beaux Chats) and later by Grant Leih (Silkenclaw). LaPerms are also present in Japan, having first being exported there in 1997 by Anne D Lawrence. In continental Europe the first LaPerms were imported to Germany by Sabine Albrecht (Isanyati), these included the first LaPerm champion, Ch Uluru BC Wiyaka. However, it was Sylvie Groenveld (Smeralda’s) who led the breeding programme in that country. The initial imports to the Netherlands went to Corine Judkins (Crearwy) and a breed club was set up: the LaPerm Raskatten Vereniging, with key prefixes belonging to Frank and Rina Stapel (Taricats), Karin Langeveld (Takoda) and Angela Bruynswyck (Brunswick’s). The first Scandinavian breeder was Elinore Kopp (Shangri-La) in Sweden who imported Grand Champion Quincunx Qinkifurr and Champion Crearwy BC Madryn Merch Cari from the UK. The first Russian breeder was Svetlana Ponomareva (Russicurl). Several other countries now also have LaPerms and the breed’s popularity continues to spread. Provisional recognition was granted by FIFe in 2013, effective from 1 January 2014, which the first titled LaPerm in FIFe being Champion S*Bla Katten KombiSmart.
LaPerm Cat Care
Disclaimer: This information is intended as a guideline only. You will find what works best for you as time goes by, or you may already have a program intact. By providing this information you will know what your kitten is accustomed to.
Liquid Chlorophyll & Purified Water; Wood stove pellets for litter; Raw Meats (organic, for cats with organic vegetables, herbs and vitamins added); Flora-Zyme EFA; Nutri-Biotic Grapefruit Extract; Healthy Powder for vitamins.
For LITTER, I use wood stove pellets. I have found that they are much more absorbent than regular litter and there is also much less odor. There are companies who make wood chip litter which is basically the same product only a little different shape and a much higher price. I begin with only one to two cups of the pellets as they expand when urinated upon. I first remove the stool matter with a regular slotted scoop placing it into a disposable bag. Then I use a small dust pan (about 4″ across), tip the litter pan to each side and scoop the caked wet litter (like sawdust) out. Generally, using only 1-2 cups of litter I find I can just dump the litter, starting fresh each day. The box is then sprayed with Novalsan (a disinfectant) and wiped clean. Now I add another cup of litter. This is done daily (twice depending on the number of cats using the litter box). I find that this method helps with odor tremendously. Also, by separating the stool matter from the rest you can dispose of the stool either by flushing it or bagging it and putting it in the trash. The broken up sawdust portion makes wonderful organic matter to improve your flowerbeds. If you are not into yard work, then just dump everything into a bag and dispose of however you wish. The litterbox should be bleached at least once every week. Submerging the pan into a 10% bleach solution and letting it soak about one hour takes care of this. A laundry tub, bathtub or outdoor receptacle large enough to hold the litter boxes will work for this chore. This disinfects the pans and helps with odor and disease. I do NOT, under any circumstances, recommend the sand clumping litters that form urine balls. When your kitty comes out of the litter box, he licks his feet to clean them and thereby ingests the small sand particles. These can then form balls in the intestine and can lead to intestinal blockages. Another important point here is that IF your cat/kitten is not using the litterbox, there is a reason and you are being put on notice. An unclean litterbox is often the answer to this problem. But it can also be a medical problem or perhaps the cat does not like sharing the box with another cat or wants a different type of box (covered or uncovered…try the opposite) or perhaps even the type of litter being used. Too often people turn their new animal lose in unfamiliar surroundings much too large for the animal to quickly adjust to also. Common sense is important here.
For my WATER, I have a filtration (reverse osmosis) system. You can purchase bottled water as water supplies can be contaminated with giardia as well as the fact that the agents added to public water supplies such as chlorine can cause bladder problems and are very unhealthy for your pets. Problems can happen at any time or to any cat, so don’t take the chance. To one gallon of purified water I add 4cc of liquid Chlorophyll. This helps with bad breath and also in the control of gum disease. I also use a clean Q-tip, dip it in the liquid chlorophyll, and then rub the gums of each of my kitties at least twice a week, more often for more severe gum problems. This helps with the control of gum disease. If a cat has a particular problem with it’s gums, I then add a similar treatment to the gums but use straight hydrogen peroxide on the Q-tip, this is in addition to the liquid chlorophyll, so that would be three treatments or more per week. (Up to three times per day with using the peroxide only about 3 times per week.) I keep water available at all times changing the water and dishes daily to help control chin acne. The use of dirty dishes can be the cause chin acne and the spread of disease, so be sure to thoroughly wash all dishes after each meal.
For my FOOD program, I use fresh, natural, organic foods. I feel these are best for the cats, as the preservatives in the processed foods are unhealthy in addition to the heat processing of them destroying most of the actual food value. Babies are fed three times a day from the time you get them until about 5-6 months of age. (They will tell you when to cut back.) I then go to two meals a day. Think about what is healthy for you and then apply it to your cats in the uncooked form. If you cannot bring yourself to care for your pets in this way, then I would recommend using INNOVA OR WYSONG DRY FOODS. Soaking the dry food in broth made from purified water along with some raw meat or a natural (no preservatives please) canned food (this is in lieu of leaving dry food out at all times which tends to make picky eaters). IF you feel it is necessary to leave dry food out at all times, then use the INNOVA or WYSONG. Also in this case, you can use canned food, preferably one of the canned “natural” diets without preservatives for a wet meal treat. ALWAYS add the Flora-Zyme EFA and a small amount of healthy powder (about ½ tsp. of each) to the wet food meal. Remember to rotate flavors so the kitties don’t tire of one kind and wash these dishes after every meal. I would suggest the use of GROWTH products until the kittens are about 7-8 months old. Then change to maintenance or ADULT products. DO NOT change foods all at once but rather start at about 6 months of age and blend the adult and kitten foods (more of the kitten food at first) together and gradually wean the kitten food out. If your cat is overly fat, use the LITE formula. If you have a soft stool problem, try Science Diet RD or WD, which are high in fiber and only available through a vet. If this is the case, then do not use anything else along with these products as you are defeating the purpose of feeding the high fiber foods by giving the choice. You can also add 1 capsule of acidophilus to one meal daily (or split it between 2 meals). Talk to me about my use of herbs for the cats as well if you are interested in this. You can also add a very small amount of Vitamin C to the food. I feel that extra vitamin C is imperative to cats. As to the amounts of food, that will totally depend on the number of cats you are feeding. If you have only 1 or 2 cats I would recommend purchasing the small cans and starting with about 1/6 can and about a golf ball size portion of the raw meat and about 2 TBS of dry food (then soaked). If all that is consumed, increase the amounts until you find out exactly how much to use without waste or without letting your baby go hungry. If your kitten is not eating for any reason, you can feed strained baby food (meat only) or Science Diet A/D. They all seem to love it and it may get you through a rough time with the stress of a new home. At later times you can use it as a special treat or if you happen to have a sick kitty. One last note on foods, whatever you do, don’t leave food out at all times. It has a tendency to go bad (even the dry food) and can cause health problems for your kitties.
The change of homes, water and food are often enough to cause stress and thereby result in a problem of diarrhea. This is not at all uncommon, nor is a sudden bout of sneezing from a change in homes or after being given a vaccine. You can try 1-3 teaspoons of FRUIT PECTIN or Knox Gelatin mixed in some wet food each time your baby has a diarrhea problem. This will generally cure the problem. If this does not work, contact your vet for a more powerful drug. DO NOT let the little guy go without treatment. Doing so can cause a chronic diarrhea problem and/or dehydration resulting in a dead kitten.
The INTRODUCTION of your kitten to other cats could be a problem. Do it very gradually so as not to stress anyone too much. I recommend putting the baby in a small confined area such as a bathroom and closing the door between he and
any other pets you may already have. This not only allows them to get use to each other’s smells through the door first, but also lets him know where his litter box is. Babies sometimes forget they need to use the litter box until it’s too late to run looking for it. They need to learn where to find it in a hurry! Just remember, that if you were put on thousands of acres and told that there was a “Port-a-Potty” somewhere on the property that you were to use, IF you had to go really badly, you would NOT go looking for that “Port-a-Potty”…you would make do with a bush! After a couple of days, you can change places putting the baby where the other pet was and vise versa so they use each others litter pans, etc., and really get to know each others smells. When you finally put them together, make sure someone is there. Don’t go off and leave them alone. This is asking for trouble.
I also recommend the small confined area as an initial practice even if you have no other pets so your baby knows where to find that litter box. Most “toilet problems” come from improper introduction to the home. Be sure to increase the baby’s area very gradually so as not to frighten him too much. The bed and/or toys that come with your baby have been with him since birth so they smell like home to him. They should be with him until he is comfortable in his new home to help with the transition. As to the TOYS, many of them are dangerous so be careful. The sparkle toy if ingested will cause bowel blockage and you can “paper cut” the eyes if you shake it into their faces (very painful). Be careful of any small object as you would with a child as they can also be ingested. Toys with lines on them such as the fishing pole toys if left out can loop around the neck in a slipknot and …need I say more? Some of the toys with the ping pong balls have holes in them large enough for a kitten to get his head in and thereby caught. These are all things that I personally have seen happen and this is why I caution you. The logical thing to do is NOT leave ANYTHING around for the babies to get into unsupervised.