Categories: Lykoi Cat

Lykoi Cat: the “Wolf Cat”

Lykoi Cat: the Wolf Cat or Werewolf Cat

Is the new cat breed, the Lykoi Cat bizarre or beautiful? Just when I thought that there couldn’t be any new cat breeds making the scene to tickle my fancy, I nearly fell off my chair when I discovered that this isn’t the case. In fact, there is another breed hovering over the horizon and one that is getting ready to make a grand debut on The International Cat Association’s (TICA) show circuit.

If you admire the charm and allure of the affectionate and highly intelligent Sphynx kitty – but at the same time secretly think that this cat breed appears somewhat bizarre – I have news for you. In the bizarre department the Sphynx can’t hold a candle to the Lykoi Cat. In my humble opinion, this newly developed kitty closely resembles an alien creature from outer space.

According to the Featured Creature website and information found on the Lykoi website, when the Lykoi breeding program was being considered, testing was necessary to rule out any diseases or disorders causing the hair coat appearance. Veterinarian and Lykoi breeder, Dr. Johnny Gobble performed infectious disease tests at his clinic and DNA testing was done by UC Davis to ensure that the cats were not carrying the Sphynx/Devon gene. A DNA panel for genetic disease, color and blood type were also performed.

Dermatologists at the University of Tennessee confirmed the cats did not have skin abnormalities, and biopsies of skin samples showed no reason for the coat pattern. What was found is that:

“some hair follicles lacked all the necessary components to create hair; which is why they lack an undercoat.”

Additionally, dermatologists discovered that the follicles that were able to produce hair lacked the proper balance of these components to maintain the hair. This oddity explains why the breed molts and from time to time become almost completely bald.

After all tests were performed and all findings demonstrated that the Lykoi was the result of a truly natural mutation, lacking any credible evidence to prevent breeders from proceeding. Thus the formal Lykoi breeding program was started.

The Lykoi was presented to The International Cat Association (TICA) in 2012, and passed to “Registration Only” status, making them a breed recognized by TICA. And while the breed is still considered “experimental”, this is the first step toward TICA giving the breed recognized “Championship” status.

The Lykoi has large golden eyes and is wrapped in a patchy grey coat. According to its description, it has “the appearance of being a tiny werewolf”. The breed got its name from the word “lukos”- the Greek word for “wolf”. Dr. Gobble said,

“The show-quality cats have that classic scary movie look, like a human who is partially being covered by hair.”

While I constantly profess never having met an “ugly” cat, as far as this writer is concerned “bizarre” doesn’t begin to describe this new breed. While all genetic and DNA testing found the cats to be perfectly healthy, I cannot wrap my head around the reason why the Lykoi is gaining such popularity. I adore the Sphynx. At least these cats are covered in a fine peach- down and are very pleasing to the touch.

After you watch the video featuring the Lykoi cat, uploaded to YouTube by LykoiCat, do share your opinion about the breed with a comment.


Photo credit: Lykoi website

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Jo Singer

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  • it is not man-made, and it is not a hybrid. the founding cats were discovered only weeks apart from eachother in litters of barn cats in two different states. The timing was right and the same vet was contacted about both litters and that gave us a foundation to work with. the outcrossing to black domestics is simply to continue to infuse healthy naturally selected genes until our breed numbers reach a level where we only breed lykoi to lykoi. There was no genetic engineering and no hybridization to create this. T.I.C.A. has a geneticist on the board and EVERY breed is screened and evaluated carefully and classified afterward. Ours met all the criteria to be called what it is, A NATURAL BREED. This gene is not new, it has appeared many times before and was previously labeled the "sparse hair gene", but we were the first to decide to perpetuate it upon realizing that when they have black parents, the lykoi are born in the ROAN color,(the first and only known cat breed to have this color feature).

  • P.S.,
    As of September 2014 we are happy to announce that t.i.c.a. has upgraded our breed from "registration only/experimental breed, to the next step toward championship eligibility. We are now classified as a "preliminary new breed" and thus have the task of showing as much as we can to promote our breed and let the judges examine what we are breeding.

  • I am a breeder of Lykoi cats. We simply adore them for their unusual look (we think it is cute) and their amazing personality. They received a flattering comment from one of the researchers doing medical testing on them who said it was "one of the healthiest breeds I have ever seen". We are proud to raise them. There are 17 breeders worldwide and all of us are active in rescue or shelter work of some kind as well. We are cat lovers first and lykoi breeders second. Our outcross program mandates that we RESCUE otherwise homeless solid black domestic shorthairs (the statistically hardest color to find homes for)for use in breeding. After one breeding season each of them is altered and placed in loving forever homes, so we actually save a lot of cats from euthanasia. Also, all of our pet lykoi cats are sold to the public ALREADY ALTERED so as not to perpetuate or contribute to the feline homelessness problem today. Every breeder also has a "TAKE BACK" policy for the LIFE of the cat wherein kitten buyers who have life emergencies and are no longer able to keep their lykoi can return them to their breeder to be eventually placed in a loving forever home. Breeding cats can be done responsibly and with an eye to the health and welfare of your chosen breed and cats in general. Loving ethical people such as myself undertake this hobby for personal enjoyment and the preservation of unique breeds for future generations to get the same joy. That said, I must address the insinuation in some of the posts that we we are doing this for money. After medical fees, pre-breeding health screens, stud fees, show entry fees, feed, supplements, travel to shows, hotel rooms for overnight shows, odds and ends needed for daily care, and an emergency fund for those unplanned accidental injuries or possible C-section births, etc, RESPONSIBLE cat breeders make little (if any) profit, even at the high prices our kittens sell for. I hope that those of you who are not intrigued in positive ways by the look of the breed will remember that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and that many people really do love and appreciate them. Thank you.

  • All I can say is why do people insist on playing with what mother nature made? I could not even watch the entire video because it made me sick. People should find a "cure" for other medical problems in cats and not destroy perfectly good breeds.

    • Thanks for your comment. There are a large number of people who think just like you. And there are a large number of people who think it's all right to mess around with nature. It always surprises me how how different people's views are on the matter of breeding cats and particularly strange looking cats.

      It is obvious to me that it is wrong to breed cats like this.

  • Other then to agree with Kylee, I really can't think of anything to say, so I will keep my big mouth shut. UGH!

  • I read this article straight after the Frostbite/hypothermia one and the first thought that crossed my mind was 'this little kitty has no undercoat so if his family got sick of him and threw him out in the cold he wouldn't stand a chance' If people throw out de-clawed cats then he wouldn't get a second thought really would he? :(

    In terms of his looks I quite like him but seriously we don't need any more cat breeds for fickle human pleasure.

  • I keep going back to look at these sweeties.
    They seem more monkey-cat like than wolf-cat like to me.
    All in all, I could still love them. Hell, I've love PEOPLE uglier than these!
    This seems like a fad to me, and I fear what will happen when it passes and what will happen to these kitties.

  • These cats are just plain ugly, they look like they have mange and why would anyone want to own a cat that looks sick and unhealthy. This is something if I saw it in the wild I would be afraid to have it get close to any other animal. I would feel it should be put down for humane reasons. To continue to breed this abomination is ridiculous.

    • Thanks to sharing Donna. We all feel the same way as you. Although, there seems to be a section of society who like cute ugly things because they're different. Perhaps the breeder has targeted this segment of society.

  • I am glad to hear that they are "natural" and not human-engineered. That said, I don't find them among the most attractive of cats (I loathe dogs and all canids), but as they are CATS, I love their souls.

    • We are told that this cat is the product of a genetic mutation. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that this may be a man-made cat, a hybrid. I like the point that you make that you still love their souls even though they are not attractive. I think that is a very nice point to make and perhaps all vulnerable and unattractive creatures should be loved more than others.

      I would be interested to know why you loathe dogs yet love cats because both are companion animals and of course both are animals. You seem to be saying that cat lovers need not be animal lovers. I wonder whether that is possible.

      • Well, as I was born and raised with cats and have lived almost every day of my life with cats, I consider cats family members of a different species. I could go down the list of why I loathe dogs, but won't. Just suffice to say I want nothing to do with them.

  • Let me add my voice to the chorus that considers it obscene to breed such animals. As many others have pointed out, these cats look pathetically sickly and surely could not survive in nature, while meantime, so many perfectly healthy and beautiful cats are homeless. Sad to say, it does make you wonder about what's the matter with people.

    • Thank you, cousin Judy, for supporting the cause of common sense. I do not wish to be hostile or argumentative with the breeder, who is a veterinary surgeon, but it does seem to me to be rather self-indulgent to breed a cat at all, never mind a cat that looks sickly.

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