LaPerm cat breed: almost completely hairless and balding as a kitten, later growing a curly coat

László Enikő, 2023. February 10 - Source: Photos by Getty Images Hungary

This particular breed of cat has a truly dual personality. He is a very active and lively cat, but unlike other cats with his temperament, he likes to sit on his owner's lap and enjoy being petted. Which is almost immediately rewarded with purrs.

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LaPerm is also very special in personality and appearance. We’ve already talked about the former, so let’s now turn to its special appearance. Sometimes these kittens are born bald, but most of the time they are born with curly or sometimes straight hair. However, they about to go bald at two weeks of age, then they begin to shed, first only on the top of their heads and then almost all over their bodies. At four months of age, they will grow back their fur, which (if they have the right genes) will be curly. Interestingly, when a LaPerm is in heat, it can shed its fur and grow a thicker coat after neutering.


The LaPerm is a relatively new breed of cat, so its evolutionary history is fairly short. In 1982, in Oregon, USA Linda and Richard Koehl started to breed them. Kittens were born to a brown tabby cat named Speedy. Five normal kittens and one bald female were born. Eight weeks later, however, the previously bald kitten started to show curly, soft curls and a tabby pattern. Hence the name Curly. Later Curly gave birth to five kittens, who were also born bald. And so it went for ten years, his owners not caring much about why she was curly, and just thinking that cats born bald were a simple oddity. The kittens were randomly breeding and more and more strange kittens were invading the farm.

So Linda Koehl started doing some research, as she knew nothing about genetics or cat breeding. When she realised that her kittens were really special, she started to pay more attention to how they reproduced. It seemed that the curly gene is dominant and is carried by both males and females. In 1992 Linda entered her six curly-haired cats to an exhibition in Portland. Since the entry required a breed name, the owner wrote the name LaPerm on the paper, which means wavy or curly. After the event, Linda became more serious about breeding cats and wanted her cats to be officially recognised. She was helped by cat geneticist Solvieg Pfleuge, who helped found the American LaPerm Society in 1997. By the 2000s, the breed was becoming more and more recognised and was officially registered by TICA and CFA.

Breed standard

A LaPerm is a medium-sized, curly-haired cat breed. The coat can be short or long, with a particularly thick mane on the neck. All coat and eye colours are acceptable. Its body parts are proportional to the cat’s body. The skull is slightly wedge-shaped, slightly rounded. Their cheeks are full and rounded, their whiskers long and flexible. Face is strong and determined. Ears slightly flaring, medium to large. Eyes are moderately large and expressive, almond-shaped, rounder when awake. They are moderately spaced apart and slightly slanted towards the base of the ear. The body is of medium build, with the hips slightly higher than the shoulders. Neck of medium length, proportionate to the body. The tail narrows towards the tip, proportional to the body. Expected lifetime 13-15 years.


The breed is particularly characterised by loud purring, very fond of being close to its owner and sit on his lap. She has a pleasant voice, and she likes to make it audible, but it’s not distractingly vocal. Despite being a real lap cat, she is very active, having evolved from farm cats whose main job was rodent control. She is therefore a playful and lively cat who loves to learn tricks. Typically, her favourite game is fetch. She is also friendly with strangers, preferring to greet them at the door rather than run and hide under the bed. She often uses her paws to encourage her owner to give her a little love, or even to open all the doors and drawers. She is a very curious and intelligent cat who would be an ideal companion for many.

Ideal environment

He likes to fool around and play pranks. He also has a very good sense of humour, so it’s a good idea to have a similar disposition. He typically gets on well with the other pets in the family and can be a great playmate for children. However, it is important that he likes to be close to its owner and to be pampered, so he is not recommended for someone who spends little time at home. Being very active and curious, he loves to climb. For this reason, it is important that, in addition to the many games climbing facilities should be provided for him too.


It doesn’t take much time to look after his coat. Longer haired animals should be brushed once or twice a week with a sparse tooth brush, shorter haired pets can be brushed less often. Too much combing is bad for curly locks. Claws should be trimmed if they do not wear out at the right pace. Keep the ears and eyes clean at all times.

We often hear that this type is hypoallergenic, but this is not entirely true. Allergies are not caused by a particular type of hair, but by the proteins called Fel d 1. Because cats clean themselves a lot, this protein coats almost their entire body. Some people with allergies react less to certain cat breeds, but there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic cat.

Common health problems

Because of its specifically diverse genetics, there are no health problems specific to this breed.

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