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Tennessee-based breeders have created a new breed of cat with a touch of the supernatural. The ‘Lykoi’ has the looks of a werewolf, but apparently behaves more like a dog. Due to a genetic mutation in a domestic shorthair cat, the Lykoi has no hair around its eyes, nose, ears and muzzle, giving it a werewolfish appearance.
The name ‘Lykoi’ loosely translates as ‘wolf cat’ in Greek. It has patchy hair on the rest of its body and a ‘hound dog personality’. According to the official website for the breed, “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.”
“There was no human intervention to create the cat,” said breeder Johnny Gobble. “The gene is a natural mutation that appeared in the domestic cat population. We are simply using the genetics of natural processes.”
It all started when the three foundation breeders — Gobble, his wife Brittney and Patti Thomas — located the first two kittens. Gobble then used cats from two groups of kittens to breed the first Lykoi kittens.
When researchers found that a new breed had been created, they made sure the kittens were completely healthy before breeding them. Several tests were conducted to rule out genetic illnesses. Dermatologists at the University of Tennessee tested them for skin abnormalities, given the strange coat of the Lykoi.
That’s when they discovered that some of the cats’ hair follicles did not have all the components needed to create hair. Even the follicles that were able to produce hair did not have the proper balance required to maintain it. So the Lykoi can go completely bald over a period of time. Although the similarity is striking, DNA tests confirmed that these cats are not Sphinx, the famous breed of hairless cats.
A cardiologist performed cardiac scans to ensure there were no structural problems with the heart. “In the end,” said the breeders, “we found that the cats are healthy, and the hair pattern is not from any known disease or disorder. It was determined that it was indeed a true natural mutation, and our breeding program began. September 14, 2011, we welcomed the first kitten from a Lykoi Cat to Lykoi Cat breeding. She has been named ‘Daciana’ and to date she is the only known second generation Lykoi.”
The Lykoi kittens are now hot property, with just seven registered breeders in the world. There are about 14 existing litters of kittens that are not from the original litter. According to Gobble, breeders are currently flooded with requests for Lykoi. He himself gets asked about the breed about 10 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. I watched a few videos of these kittens and, I don’t know, I’m not a great fan of them. They’re kind of creepy. Would you like to get one?