The first breeder of the well publicised Werewolf cat (Lykoi breed) negligently let the foundation male Lykoi cat die of hypothermia while in her care. This is only one aspect of the unseemly story of the origins of this intriguing new breed of purebred cat.
Sarah Hartwell of Messybeast.com has gathered together information on the origins of the Lykoi cat breed. She has summarised it in an uncensored and truthful manner which I like a lot. Her page is the source for this article.
The original Lykoi cats were adopted by Patti Thomas from a shelter; yes, they were rescue kittens, aged 8 weeks. They were brother and sister. The male boy was named Silver Lining and the female Ray of Hope (see Patti’s comment for the reason behind the naming. I have deleted the reference that she refers to).
Their mother was Eve, a black moggie. And what is extraordinary is that their very strange yet interesting semi-hairless appearance was due to a new gene and not the gene that causes hairlessness in Sphynx cats or partial hairlessness in the Devon Rex.
Patti, I think quite naturally, recognised the possibility of creating a new cat breed when she saw these strange looking kittens. However, she needed help and decided to do a deal with a cat breeder and her veterinarian husband, Brittany and Johnny Gobble. Patti decided that they would be trustworthy partners in the creation of a new cat breed which of course required breeding experience.
An agreement was signed. You can see it below.
The scene was set for a fruitful partnership. But it went pear shaped. It went badly wrong because the Gobbles proved to be untrustworthy partners and neglectful and frankly cruel cat breeders. They traumatised the cats and the boy lost his life while in their ‘care’.
Patti kept the first known Werewolf cats in her home like any other person. Then suddenly the cats found themselves in a breeder’s, emotionally cold and unnatural cages surrounded by strange cats. How commonly do breeders use cages?
Sarah Hartwell says this would have been traumatic for them. Worse was to come. In extremely cold weather (10F or minus 12 Centigrade), the male, Silver Lining, was in a cage with access to an outside run. The cage was being cleaned and Silver Lining went outside. He would not come back inside. The Gobbles left him outside because they presumed he’d come inside when he became too cold and had calmed down. He did not. Perhaps he was too scared. In the end they had to fetch him inside and it was too late. Silver Lining had hypothermia. Mr Gobble, the vet, took him to the “hospital run” and tried to warm him up but he died. They could not have been more neglectful if they had tried.
This was the ultimate betrayal of trust. The Gobbles were hopelessly in breach of the agreement. Their behavior was disgraceful. In truth, the agreement could and should have been worded more accurately and been more complete with some penalties for breach. That would have focused the minds of the Gobbles.
His female sibling, Ray of Hope, failed to conceive. Not much hope there. She was in cages with males for two and a half years and given hormone injections. She was afraid to be with male cats. She was returned to Patti, traumatised.
The sordid and sorry tale of the Gobbles’ attempt at breeding the Lykoi cat does not stop there. Email exchanges set out further agreements one of which was to acknowledge Patti as the founder. When Brittany Gobbles promoted the breed she failed to acknowledge Patti as stated; another breach of contract.
The cats that they bred were said by some buyers to have poor temperaments and be in poor health despite the fact that the foundation cats were well-adjusted and inherently healthy. In addition some of the cats lost their hair which did not grow back. This obviously meant that they more or less lost the entirely of what made them a special and new breed of cat. This points to poor breeding practices. What had happened?
It is thought that, against further agreements via email, the Gobbles crossed their Lykoi with a Sphynx hence the loss of hair. Or there is inbreeding.
The story of one lady, Lynne Scheuering Avis, probably sums up the disaster that came out of the Gobbles cattery. She bought one of the first Lykoi cats. The cat was almost hairless and required two years of TLC to be socialised.
Behind the facade of a intriguing new cat breed was malpractice and cruelty. There is a postscript to the story from Sarah who made the following comment on PoC:
A little more, recently received – dubious and IMO cruel breeding method at a vet clinic (keeping cats in darkness is definitely a form of cruelty, that it should be done by a vet is beyond belief):
This is a picture that was taken from a video that was done about the Lykoi. There are several of these dark closets shown in the video. Each one with 3-4 cats in them. They are holding rooms at Mr Gobble’s vet clinic for the cats until time for mating. Johnny told Patti Thomas that the way to bring a female on heat is to “keep them in a completely dark room until you want them to come in heat, then you put them in a well lit room with direct sunlight for several hours a day.” Those holding rooms are dark with no lights. In the video he opens the door and turns on the light. The cats in this still image are domestic shorthairs and F1 Lykois to be used for future breeding.
This story shines a light on cat breeding I believe. Even when, in this instance, the breeding concerns the creation of a new breed, the breeder has pretty much totally messed up, acted in an untrustworthy manner and all but torn up the agreement with the person who founded the breed. The veterinarian husband Johnny Gobble should be ashamed of himself. Judging by his behaviour in this story his attitude towards animals appears to be unsuited to veterinary work.
Update 6th Feb 2017. I offered Johnny Gobble a chance to respond to this article in the interests of fair play. Below is his response:
This article draws inspiration from another source that has used information collected from individuals that have a personal dispute with me. Due to the bias of the sources, a very negative opinion has been unjustly made about me and my cattery. None of the sources have been to my home or have seen my cattery. The information is put together from emails and photos that are either used out of context or without the complete information available. The information is compiled by a very small group of people (compared to other sources I have) that have a negative opinion of me, and therefore, create an article that is greater than simple criticism. I have photos, screenshots of conversations, emails, and witnesses that can prove many of the statements in the original source as inaccurate or incomplete. There are two sides to every story, and the original source for the inspiration of this story existed without any discussion with me or my wife. I am sorry to anyone who reads this and feels negative towards me, but please remember to do your research before forming an opinion.
Update 2nd March: there are some nice and interesting comments which add to the page and which deserve to be read by interested visitors.