Lykoi cat that looks like a werewolf
Exotic animals can make popular pets but a cat with a touch of the supernatural will stand out in among the neighbours’ moggies. A new breed of cat that looks like a werewolf and behaves like a dog has been developed by U.S. breeders. The Lykoi gets its spooky looks because of a genetic mutation in a domestic shorthair cat, which prevents the curious creature from growing a full coat of fur, making it looks like a werewolf. Its name comes from the Greek for ‘wolf’ and translates as ‘wolf cat’ as the animal has no hair around its eyes, nose, ears and muzzle as well as a consistently patchy coat on the rest of its body. Curiously Lykois are said to have a ‘hound dog personality’.
They like to hunt around the house for whatever they can find.
‘They show caution to strangers, but warm up quickly and become very friendly,’ according to the breed’s website. Perhaps in parallel to supernatural werewolf characters, the cats have a ‘strong prey drive’ that ‘causes them to stalk and pounce on everything they consider to be prey.’
However, unlike a werewolf, whose personality chances at full moon, Lykois are said to be friendly and playful as well as loyal to their owners. The first official Lykois came about as the result of a natural mutation of the shorthair cat.
‘The gene is a natural mutation that appeared in the domestic cat population,’ said Breeder Johnny Gobble.
‘There was no human intervention to create the cat. We are simply using the genetics of natural processes,’ he added.
There were three ‘foundation breeders’ – Mr Gobble, his wife Brittney Gobble and Patti Thomas, who located the first two kittens, while it was Mr Gobble used cats from two groups of kittens to breed the first Lykoi kittens.
They found that the cats were not a Sphynx (a breed of hairless cat) that had retained some of its fur and this was confirmed by DNA testing that did not find the Sphynx gene. In fact, researchers found that a new breed had been created, but they wanted to make sure the kittens were completely healthy before breeding them. Tests were run to rule out genetic illnesses and dermatologists at the University of Tennessee examined the animals for skin abnormalities. While none were found, the scientists were stumped at first as to what had caused the strange coat.
They then found that some of the animals’ hair follicles lacked all the components needed to create hair and that follicles that did have an undercoat were imbalanced so the hair could not be maintained.
Consequently the cats moult and can go completely bald some of the time – not just on a full moon
It is hoped that the felines will be categorised as a ‘preliminary new breed’ by the The International Cat Association (TICA) this coming Autumn when they will be able to be shown at cat shows.
A total of 14 litters of kittens not from the original litter have been reported and there are just seven Lykoi breeders registered in the world, making the kittens hot property. Mr Gobble said that breeders get requests for the unusual kittens daily and he gets asked about the breed at least ten times a day.
‘We are doing our very best to monitor breeding cats to ensure that the Lykoi cat will be a new breed that has wonderful health, great personality, and the Lykoi (werecat) look,’ he said.