The first LaPerm was born in 1982 and was a spontaneous mutation in an otherwise normal litter of kittens. Linda and Richard Koehl owned a cherry farm in The Dalles, Oregon, and had obtained some farm cats to keep the farm clear of mice. One of these was a plain but hard-working brown tabby shorthair called Speedy who gave birth to a litter of kittens which included a rather bald, long skinny kitten with a blueprint of a tabby pattern on her skin. Linda wondered if something was wrong with the kitten but as she grew she developed a soft curly coat which everyone liked to touch. Perhaps this was also why she turned out to be so affectionate and a favourite of everyone on the farm. Curly grew up and also worked as a farm cat. One day Curly, and the whole LaPerm breed, were almost wiped out when she climbed into the warm engine of a pick up truck and was injured by the fan when it was started up. She survived and became a house cat for a while convalescing from her injuries, but she managed to find her way out and became pregnant to one of the farmís toms. An inexperienced first-time mum, she gave birth under a tree in the middle of a rainstorm one night. Linda heard strange noises and took a torch outside to find Curly fiercely staving off barking dogs while straddling her newborn babies. Linda put the kittens into her pockets and took them into the warmth of a barn to make them a nest in the hay. The next day when Linda was able to look at them in daylight she realised 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 and (thanks to the input somewhere along the way of a local cat who had a Siamese mother) chocolate and colourpoints too. It was only when people started commenting on her odd cats and asking what they were that she did some research and realised 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 programmes in many other countries around the world. The LaPerm breed is strongly allied with Native American culture as the area where the Koehlís 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 breedís most important feature: its curly coat, and follows the Chinook tradition of adopting French words while incorporating the definite article to create a new word.

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 colours and patterns. LaPerms generally have a very affectionate personality


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "LaPerm".