LaPerm


Introduction

The LaPerm is a relative newcomer to the UK, but they are fast finding a fan base thanks to their lovely natures and charming looks. These medium size cats with extraordinary curly coats were originally bred in the States and it all happened quite by accident. However, LaPerms soon gained official recognition in the States before they arrived on British shores in 2002 and since arriving here, the breed was recognised by the GCCF and awarded Championship status.


History

The LaPerm was first developed quite by accident during the 1980s when farmers noticed a curly coated kitten in a litter of their farm cats. Over the next few years, more cats with curly coats appeared on the cherry farm which prompted the farmers to get in touch with the Cat Fancier's Association. It was found that the original curly kitten had a new dominant gene that was responsible for her curly coat and which she had passed on to her kittens. After this, a breeding programme was set in place and it was decided to call these curly coated cats LaPerms.

The breed soon found a big fan base, not only in the States, but elsewhere in the world too which includes the UK. The first LaPerms arrived on British shores in 2002 with the breed being granted full Championship status ten years later in 2012. Today, the LaPerm is proving to be a great companion and family pet thanks to their charming, affectionate natures.


Appearance

The LaPerm is a medium size cat that boasts having a gorgeous curly coat which is extremely soft to the touch and which gives the breed their striking appearance. Both long haired and short haired cats boast having very soft textured coats. They have quite wedge-shaped moderately long heads with nice rounded contours. Their heads are longer than they are wide, but well in proportion to the rest of a cat's body. They have prominent whisker pads which are nicely rounded and full. Males tend to have more of a jowl than their female counterparts.

When seen in profile, cats have long, straight noses with a gentle convex curve that rises from the base of a cat's eyes to the top of their eyes. Their foreheads tend to be flat to the top of their heads, before they curve gently back over the top of a cat's head then down to the neck. LaPerms have gentle contours on their brows and when seen in profile their cheeks are nicely contoured too. They have broad muzzles that are well in proportion to the shape of a cat's head being moderately long. Chins are firm with LaPerms having a moderate to strong whisker break.

Noses are broad and straight being moderately long and boasting a gentle nose break, but without any sign of a stop. Their ears are placed such that they continue the contour of a cat's modified wedge-shaped head, being a little cupped and flared. Their ears are medium to large in size being neither too low or too high on a cats head. Ears are nicely furnished and have earmuffs. Cats have tufts at the tips of their ears which is another distinctive physical trait of the breed. They have moderately large and extremely expressive, almond shaped eyes, but when alert, their eyes become rounded. Eyes are set a little slanted which adds to a cat's foreign look.

The LaPerm boasts having a moderately large, well-muscled body and a good length to their necks which they carry erect. Legs are medium in length, but always well in proportion to a cat's body. Their front legs are typically shorter than their back ones. Feet are nicely rounded and their tails are well in proportion to the body with longhaired cats having an extremely plumed tail, but the shorthair LaPerm has more of a bottle brush tail, but both are thicker at the base before tapering to a tip.

When it comes to their coat, the LaPerm boasts having a medium to long coat and both males and females have a nice ruff around their necks when they reach full maturity. They have very long, curly whiskers and nice ear furnishings and eyebrows that often curl too. Their coats are either wavy or curly with the latter being the preferred. The LaPerm can be just about any colour and pattern which are all acceptable under the GCCF breed standard.


Temperament

The LaPerm boasts having a loving nature and they form strong bonds with their families. They adore being involved in everything that goes on around them and love playing interactive games. They retain their kitten-like personalities right through their lives which is one of the reasons why sharing a home with a LaPerm is so much fun.

They enjoy being around people and do not like to be left on their own for any great length of time. As such, they are best suited to families where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out or in homes where there are other pets like a dog or another cat so they always have company. They are not known to be very talkative, but will quickly let an owner know when it's time for them to be fed.

They also like to be able to explore the great outdoors, but like other breeds, it's always wiser to keep a cat as an indoor pet if it is not safe to let them go outside. The good news is that LaPerms are extremely adaptable and therefore happy to live as an indoor cat as long as they are given lots of things to do and places to explore within the home. This means investing in good quality cat toys, a few scratching posts and building some high perches for them to climb up when the mood takes them.


Intelligence

The LaPerm is an extremely intelligent cat and one that learns new things quickly. Being so smart, they need to be kept busy when they are not cat napping that is. They are agile, energetic and inquisitive by nature which means they love playing interactive games with their families and this includes retrieving toys. It’s important to invest in good quality toys for cats to play with if they are kept as indoor pets to prevent boredom from setting in which could see cats being destructive around the home.


Children and Other Pets

LaPerms with their outgoing, affectionate personalities are the perfect choice for families with children. However, care has to be taken when toddlers are around cats and any interaction should always be well supervised to make sure things stay nice and calm. Children need to be taught how to behave around cats and when to leave them alone.

They also get on well with dogs especially if they have grown up together in the same household. However, care has to be taken when introducing a LaPerm to dogs they don't already know just in case the dog does not get on with their feline counterparts. They are incredibly social by nature and have been known to get on with smaller pets. However, it's always wiser to keep a close eye on any cat when they are around smaller animals, just in case their natural instinct gets the better of them.


LaPerm Health

The average life expectancy of a LaPerm is between 10 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.

The LaPerm is known to be a healthy breed thanks to the fact that breeds have a large, healthy gene pool to draw from. However, any cat used in a breeding programme should always be DNA tested for any known breed specific hereditary health issues before being used in a LaPerm breeding programme. One condition that might affect the breed is as follow:


Caring for a LaPerm

As with any other breed, LaPerms need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. On top of this, cats need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives which is especially true of kittens and older cats.


Grooming

LaPerms boast having short, close lying coats and as such they are low maintenance on the grooming front. A weekly brush and wipe over with a chamois leather is all it takes to keep their coats in good condition with a nice sheen on it. Like other breeds, they tend to shed the most in the Spring and then again in the Autumn which is when they can shed quite heavily which means more frequent brushing is usually necessary to keep on top of things.

It's also important to check a cat's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections. Cats often suffer from ear mites which can be a real problem which is why it's so important to check their ears on a regular basis.


Energy Levels/Playfulness

LaPerms are energetic, intelligent cats and they love to be able to go outside and explore their environments which allows cats to mark their territory. However, cats should only be allowed to roam around in the great outdoors if it is safe for them to do so. The good news is that LaPerms are highly adaptable cats which means they are quite happy to kept as indoor pets, but only if they are given enough mental stimulation and lots of things to keep them busy in between their cat naps, that is.

Cats kept as indoor pets need to be given lots of things to do and places to hide when they want to, bearing in mind that the LaPerm loves to climb up high. They also need to have lots of places they can snuggle up for a snooze when the mood takes them because if there is one thing the LaPerm is really good at, it's napping throughout the day.


Feeding

If you get a LaPerm kitten from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same kitten food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a kitten's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.

Older cats are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature cat several times a day making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements which is especially important as cats get older. It's also essential to keep an eye on a cat's weight because if they start to put on too much, it can have a serious impact on their overall health and wellbeing. Like all other breeds, LaPerms need free access to fresh, clean water at all times.


Average Cost to keep/care for a LaPerm

If you are looking to buy a LaPerm, you would need to pay upwards of £350 for a well-bred pedigree kitten and you would need to register your interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because not many well-bred kittens are registered with the GCCF every year.

The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old LaPerm in northern England would be £12.13 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £24.59 a month (quote as of Sept 2017). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a cat's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.

When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a cat’s life. This would set you back between £15 - £20 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a LaPerm and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a cat when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £500 a year.

As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a LaPerm would be between £30 to £50 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your cat, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred kitten.


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