Pedigree Cat Breeds - LaPerm

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The LaPerm originated in 1982 with the birth of a kitten named Curly on Linda and Richard Koehl's cherry farm in The Dalles, Oregon. She appeared rather odd with her sparse coat but as she grew her fur became thicker and curly and she became a favourite on the farm. She was part of a colony of working farm cats; over the next ten years she and her offspring spread the new dominant rex gene through the whole colony. Over the years visitors to the farm had asked about the cats and told Linda that she had something unusual. Eventually she took some cats to a show and quickly won the support of breeders and judges alike who worked with her to develop the breed and establish a Standard of Points.

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The LaPerm Society of America was formed and before long the cats were recognised by CFA, TICA and other American cat registries. The Dalles is situated in the Columbia River Gorge in an area of land which is sacred to the Wishram Native American tribe. A reason many breeders give Native American names to their kittens. The LaPerm is a visually distinct cat with its lean athletic body and inviting curly fur. The breed is recognised in both shorthaired and longhaired varieties. The longhaired LaPerms seem to be the most popular as they look dramatic with their long curly coats which fall in waves or ringlets all over their bodies. They also often have long curly ear muffs and lynx tipping. The coats are loose and bouncy and should not be thick and heavy.

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It feels very different from other rex breeds and is described as being textured with a feel which is more velvety than silky. Their bodies are muscular with long legs and necks and tapering tails which can be plumed and curly in the longhairs and stand out like bottlebrushes in the shorthairs. They have wedge shaped heads with gentle rounded contours and almond shaped eyes.

As with the other rex breeds, the LaPerm is recognised in all possible colours and patterns. Outcrossing to approved breeds is being used to enlarge the gene pool. Unlike the Cornish and Devon Rexes the LaPerm's rex gene is dominant and cannot be carried. LaPerms are very outgoing and friendly cats which bond strongly with their owners. They are very cuddly and loving and are never happier than when they find a cosy lap to snuggle in. They are also very playful and energetic retaining many kittenish qualities throughout their lives. Although the majority of LaPerm breeders are still in the USA, where the breed has championship status in TICA, there are now breeders in several other countries around the world. The first LaPerm in the UK (Uluru BC Omaste Po of Quincunx) arrived in May 2002 carrying a litter of kittens. These cats were registered with the GCCF and are proving to be great foundation cats for the breed in this country.

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*Breed standards may vary according to cat governing body

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