Categories: Lykoi Cat

Foundation male Werewolf cat froze to death at hands of first breeder

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.

Happy kittens

Sarah Hartwell of 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.

Agreement for breeding the Lykoi

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.

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • I've known cat breeders for many years. ALL of their cats enjoy daily living just like non breeding cats. Darkness does NOT encourage breeding. Any REAL vet would know that.

    I wasn't able to read the entire article. What real POS those 'vets' are. Their license should be revoked, they should NEVER be allowed around animals, and they should be put in prison!

    My heart goes out to all the victims of this story and all the others like it.

    • Thanks Cat's Meow. Amongst vets and amongst cat breeders there are a whole range of different types of people, some are good and some are not good.

  • Another "boys room" in my home, adjacent to the other room where Silver Lining Wolfie Lykoi lived before going to live with Gobbles. My boys are treated like pets. The are given the best of care and have daily visits and interaction with us.

  • I have been accused by Gobbles of "caging" my cats and Lykoi male they co-owned with me. Here is a picture of the actual room where my boys reside and it is where Silver Lining Wolfie lived while he was here with me. He was well socialized and lived in harmony with my other boys in this room. He was always friendly with humans. These pics were taken in 2009. I have retrieved them from a picture file of a computer crash. My boys/cats are never caged and never have been. These pics were posted on a public yahoo cat group in 2009.

  • P.S.
    The one litter i bred from my lykoi outcrossed to a vet checked and healthy black domestic moggie (as per breed rules) produced 8 kittens. 3 of these were stillborn, underdeveloped, and GROSSLY deformed. One of them (a blue girl) was born alive, but with TERRIBLY deformed twisted back legs. I reported this to the G's and conveyed my desire to spay my lykoi female in case she werethe cause. I was told i had to breed her again per contract, and that the domestic father (with strong NATURALLY SELECTED genes) was the likely cause. My ethics wouldnt allow this. My own health was failing at the time- so returning her was the only semi-ethical choice i had. Thanfully i am well experienced in canine/feline therapeutic massage. We were able to get the blue girl full range of motion in her rear legs after 6 months of massage. She now lives with some friends who say she is very active and a dynamite mouser! Thankfully, the black gene carrier kittens in the litter were healthy and have onlypassed on good kittens thus far. Im glad this part of my life is behind me. I still believe in the lykoi. In the right hands itcould become the healthiest breed on record. Some of the cats have tested marvelously and will only reproduce their excellent health. These comments reflect my rememberence of past events. I am not interested in causing trouble in the present- only in telling the truth about the past in my humble opinion.

    • The twisted back legs is likely due to cramping in the womb due to the litter size (I haven't seen photos so I can't say for certain).

      I have some messages on file that state people would have to take the G's to court in their town where Mr Gobble was main vet for an animal shelter run by the “big” people. “If [she] tries to make trouble, she will have to come to my town…where Johnny is a very important and very loved doctor…and the judges are all friends with these wealthy people. They are going to be very angry to hear that she is causing him trouble.”

      It advanced too quickly because the G's wanted to get the breed advanced within 5 years, half the time it normally takes for advancement, with cats being bred too often IMO (forced cycling) and with an undersized female being repeated bred despite her susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections (this is another cat that died).

      • Thanks for adding to the page Sarah. It is nice to see another comment from a breeder.

        • I had been breeding top-notch ultra healthy pedigree cats for show, therapy animals, and even my own altered male who turned out to be a seizure alert cat without any special training- and pre warned me by howling and scratching my legs that a seizure was coming on in my body. The first time i didnt know what he was doing, but later realized he had been warning me. He sensed the messed up electrical signals in my body. After that i would immediately lie down if he did this. Every time a seizure came. He saved me from fall injuries. My point is that pedigree cats specifically selected and bred for their strong connection to humans are generally better suited for such responsibilities. Moggies are great, but tend to be more aloof. My oriental shorthairs were spectacular. My last oriental, my seizure alert cat, died in my arms while the kids and i prayed over him for peace and gently sang hymns to him. I was devastated. Responsible ethical breeders of purebred cats with unique traits are still needed. In the u.s we only raise 2% of the overall cat population, and 98% of us do early spay/neuter before placing pets in homes. We are not a significant contributor to pet overpopulation. Dog breeders may be a different matter, but most cat people alter our babies, and nearly all of us do rescue or shelter work too. The problems in the cat show fancy arent with irresponsible contribution to overpopulation, but with poor ethics in the treatment of our breeding stock in an effort to get more ribbons, trophies, money, and prestige. Im happy to say in 20 yrs of cat breeding and 10 years of show breeding, only about 10% of the cat people i know behave thus. It is important to identify and confront such things. My own ethics are strict. I learn from mistakes. I was shocked that after seeing the pics of the deformed and grossly developed stillborn kits, that anyone would want to breed from her again. Frankly, she was a spectacular ribbon of merit winning example of her breed. 4 judges placed her first, and the 5th placed her second, but not every show winner or real beauty makes for a good breeder. She was too small. Im thankful there are a handful of breeders saving this wonderful breed and doing it with the proper strict ethics. They are all also active in moggie rescue. Bad apples in any group tarnish the image of the whole. Its sad.

          • Many thanks Rev. Clinton M Nusbaumer for your follow up comment. I found it interesting.

  • I was involved in this breed very early on, being one of the first 16 worldwide breeders in the "group". The Gobbles manipulation and "high-school drama" attitude sickened me. Their co-ownership contracts amounted to intellectual prison wherein any dissent or disagreement was seen as an attempted coup, and many of us were afraid to speak. I raised one lovely litter of gene carriers that have made a healthy mark in the breed, but i had to return my co-owned cat to the Gobbles due to poor health in my own body- which made dealing with the madness any longer a danger to my own health. I was heartbroken to send my cat back to them, but legally had no other option. There are a few awesome lykoi breeders raising genetically screened kittens. But this breed advanced too quickly in tica and we were afraid to report to the tica board because some of them had already been "bought" by the Gobbles via giving them kittens or promising future kittens to them. Also, most of us didnt have the financial resources they have- so a legal battle with them here in the u.s. (where "justice" is more often purchased with high priced lawyers than granted impartially) would have been an exercise in futility. I love the breed and hope it flourishes under the few good breeders not enslaved on the intellectual and ethical plantation run by a few unscrupulous breeders. I have emails that would sicken any ethical breeder or concerned cat lover. Rev. Clinton M. Nusbaumer- formerly SILVERBULLET LYKOI


    If she also refuses that, we will notify TICA that because of Patti we cannot establish a breed. And we will notify all the fans and breeders. We will post the whole truth on our wall as well.
    We will still breed Lykoi if we must do this. But for a time they will not be able to be a breed. But we can place more Lykoi with You, Cheryl and Catherine.
    You and Cheryl can also place breeders because Patti agreed to you both before we signed the contract.
    But I cannot place intact with anyone else. Only neutered pets.

    So Johnny and I will continue to work with our cats and place them in pet homes...and homes that will show in the future. And we will wait for Patti to place a breeder without our permission...that will break our contract.
    You can place breeders! Cheryl can place breeders.
    Only I cannot.

    I can only place it with people whom Patti approved (you, Cheryl, Catherine and Jayne).
    So I can send you more cats...and you can place those for me.

    If we break contract, it is likely that she will only win the price of her cats...but we already placed them. But if she hires a lawyer to sue because our "partnership" has a valuable cat.....she can sue for the value of all our cats and the money for adoption fees when they become more famous.
    3/10/2014 17:36

    So we are going to make an "ultimatum" (a final offer). She will approve 10 breeders this week. If not, we will offer a different contract. If she again refuses, we will have to not be a breed (at least for a while) and JOhnny and I will continue to help the breeders whom already have Lykoi, and to make beautiful kittens....and we will NEVER allow her to register ktitens from her cat. We will also let everyone know the work has stopped because of Patti.
    3/10/2014 17:39
    This is the "plan".

    For us to be Prelimanry New Breed this fall, Johnny and I will have to pay again $1000 to travel to the Annual TICA show to get them approved. But if Patti is going to refuse the breeders that we must have to go to Advanced new breed (and Championship), then there is no reason to continue to do that work and spend so much money.
    3/10/2014 17:42

    And I love our group of breeders....I only hate the drama that Patti causes. I am ready to move forward and know what to work on...healthy pets to make people happy, or more breeders to be a Championship breed in 2016.

    To take us to court, she would have to come to my town.
    Johnny is now the main vet for our shelter and does much much work for them!
    He even wrote a book for them.
    The people who are in charge of our shelter are very wealthy and are the "big" people in this city.
    So if Patti tries to make trouble, she will have to come to my town...where Johnny is a very important and very loved doctor...
    and the judges are all friends with these wealthy people.
    They are going to be very angry to hear that she is causing him trouble.

    But if our lawyer says our contract is very good and Patti is always going to be able to make the decisions. Then we will honor it. We keep our word and do not lie.'

    But if our lawyer says that this contract is silly and not correct, then I do not thin we should have to continue to deal with Patti and her craziness. We are no longer breeding Silver, and she has Hope there is no kittens to place from them.
    I hope this does not make you think ill of me.

  • Maybe we shouldn't even attempt to breed a new type. what I mean to imply is that just because an unusual kitten is born _doesn't always mean we have discovered a marketable and or healthy sustainable species to breed. Genetic defects could become a major problem as they have in the past.

  • Mr Gobble's statement omits the fact that a huge amount of information came from the selected emails and images that he forwarded to me himself. He objected to me printing the transcripts (copyright) and objected to me printing a synopsis of the same emails (omitting information). I've used emails from multiple sources rather than a single "approved" source.

    Here's a little more - taken from one of their own emails that was forwarded to me - concerning a very small female Lykoi called Opie (Registered name: Opossum Road Kill), who was described as “almost a miniature cat. She was only 4.5 pounds” despite repeated illness. Although apparently never sick when pregnant, Opie had repeated upper respiratory infections (herpes followed by secondary infections) and could not keep weight on. Sometimes she had to be given fluids and heat. “We believe her body was just too little, and when she became ill with herpes this time . . . her body just couldn't fight.” She died from infection, having produced 3 litters in just 13 months (registered offspring show the dates: Gobsgobblins Daciana Dream 2011-09-14, Gobsgobblins King Artemis & Queen Ulrica 2012-04-26 and Gobsgobblins Goddess Diana 2012-10-05 - data in online databases and registered with TICA).

    This means an undersized and fragile female was repeatedly bred despite repeated illnesses. Most breeders I'm in contact with would have retired her and spayed her for the sake of her own health. It's easy to deduce that her offspring were more important than her own life. Breeding any female 3 times in 13 months is not normal practice among cat breeders.

    Another email mentioned the possibility of FIP exposure to a young cat that was caged (their word "caged", not mine) with one that died with FIP symptoms, albeit the FIP titre test was negative.

  • I did, out of fair play, ask for his comments about the death of the stud cat, but his response was that his attorneys have advised him not to send me any more information.

  • I found some of the guidelines on catteries: In the UK, the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (1999) 1, 181–191 "Recommendations for the housing of cats in the home, in catteries and animal shelters, in laboratories and in veterinary surgeries" have the following requirements "The vertical dimension is particularly important as regards the provision of appropriate internal complexity (see next section), so cages show be of adequate height [. . .] Enclosures should contain structures that make maximal use of the vertical dimension, such as shelves, climbing frames, platforms, hammocks and raised walkways placed at various heights [. . .] Surfaces for claw abrasion (e.g. scratch posts, rush matting, carpet, wood) should also be avail-able, as well as toys [. . .] The aim should be to provide good housing conditions, regardless of the length of the housing period. Whether it will be housed for 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years is of no relevance to the animal; its well-being is determined by the conditions it lives in day to day." The dog room used as a cattery would not be permissible here in the UK.

    In the USA, the CFA guidelines state "A primary enclosure shall provide sufficient space to allow each enclosed cat to turn freely and to easily stand, sit and lie in a comfortable position. The minimum primary enclosure space for a single 4 lbs. Or greater cat is to be 30 cubic feet. **Where the primary enclosure is used for more than one cat, resting perches shall be provided.**" The dog room contains no resting perches.

    UFAW guidelines state that the cats should have hiding places because hiding is a coping behaviour for cats.

    The dog rooms at the vet clinic provide a barren environment that fails these basic standards of housing for cats. Here in the UK, these would not be permitted except as emergency accommodation. He would actually be breaking European Legislation on appropriate cattery housing for domestic cats (I don't think Brexit will negate these rules)

    (And I spent so long researching these rules that my cup of tea is now cold ... ugh ... and Sweepy is nagging me to get off the computer.)

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