So you have been seeing all the photos of a so-called “werewolf cat?” Maybe you thought they were an internet joke, or maybe a cat with a skin problem? That’s not the case at all! They are a new breed of cat called “Lykoi,” and they’re taking over the internet!
Contrary to what many people think – Lykoi cats are not a new invention nor were they created in a lab by mad scientists! Their unique appearance is the result of a recessive natural mutation from typical domestic shorthair cats, that gives them the appearance of a werewolf.
Although these ‘werecats’ have been reported several times over the last 15 years or so, it wasn’t until two unrelated litters were found in Virginia and Tennessee that (after a lot of extensive testing) a breeding program began. That’s when they were named “Lykoi,”
which roughly translates to “Wolf Cat” in Greek…a very fitting name for these unique cats!
Here are 10 Facts about Lykoi Cats, from their founding breeders, Brittney and Dr. Johnny Gobble of lykoicats.com:
1. Most of the Lykoi that we’ve found have been feral, strays, or in shelters. Most of the domestic cats used for breeding were also either strays, or even cats set to be euthanized simply because they were available as adults at a time when too many adorable kittens were also available (and we were able to get these kitties with the agreement we would do full health testing, have one or two litters, and then spay/neuter and place them in loving pet homes). The Lykoi breed is based on SECOND CHANCES! These cats are incredible, healthy and so unique. We didn’t “create” them, but we are very happy that they are being given a chance to show how wonderful they truly are…not something that should have ever been tossed aside simply for being “different.”
2. The Lykoi was established in The International Cat Association (TICA) cat registry in 2011. The Lykoi was recently accepted into Championship status (where they are judged against Siamese, Persians, and other championship breeds) in August of 2016.
3. The Lykoi is not a “designer cat breed.” Designer breeds are created by mixing two pedigreed dog or cat breeds to create a new one – for a new look, a new personality, or just to create a profit – like a ‘Labradoodle’ in dogs. The Lykoi are a natural mutation breed that popped up in the domestic cat population (barn cats). They do not have any other pedigreed cat breed genes in them! Rather than buying a designer breed, we recommend visiting your local shelter where many beautiful mixed dog and cat breeds are available for adoption!
4. All foundation Lykoi were tested for diseases: skin sample testing, echocardiograms (to check heart health), DNA testing, Thyroid testing, infectious disease testing, blood type testing, and organ panel testing. We continue to work closely with feline geneticists and other cat experts to try to learn more about their unique genes.
5. They do shed (quite a bit), and can even go bald from time to time. Coat varies in thickness/hairlessness based on the individual cat and the climate in which the cat lives.
6. The number of unrelated Lykoi Cats reported to us (from the feral cat population, and not from a breeding program) is over 20.
7. We are always on the look out for other Lykoi that pop up in the feral cat population to learn more about the breed, and whenever possible to obtain these new lines to broaden the gene pool!
8. There less than 100 Show standard Lykoi in the world. Show standard Lykoi are black roan. But, because they are bred with domestic shorthair cats, other colors can and do pop up in litters! There are more than 25 non-standard colored Lykoi registered. This does not include all the gene carrier cats (the black cats carrying the Lykoi gene)
9. Lykoi are not hypoallergenic.
10. All the Lykoi breeders are strict about not adding to the stray pet population, and most also work closely with rescues. Dr. Gobble, a veterinarian, and his associate see more then 50 animals a week from the local shelter for spay/neuters, health checks, and vaccinations. We work closely with fosters, pedigree rescues, our local shelter, and also
with service dogs. We believe that both rescuers and reputable breeders have a place and BOTH are needed to assist in controlling the stray population and educating owners about spaying and neutering to avoid unplanned pregnancy. All Lykoi kittens, from every Lykoi breeder, do not go home until spayed or neutered so there is no risk of an “oops” breeding or these cats ending up being bred by “backyard breeders.” Team Lykoi is trying to show the world that a breed can be established with health and personality as the first goals, while continuing to also support rescues.