Many of you will never have seen a cat like this before. Called the Lykoi, it has a strong resemblance to a wolf. Some have even accused it of looking like a werewolf, but we would say it looks way more cute. Surprisingly, it is not the result of some mad scientific experiment, but instead a naturally occurring mutation of a standard black coated domestic shorthair.
It turns out that the mutation giving rise to the distinctive hair interferes with proper functioning of the hair follicles. The cats still have some hair, but even this tends to fall out leaving them with periods of complete baldness. This is not the same as the mutation that causes the baldness of the hairless Sphynx breed.
Veterinarian Johnny Gobble of Sweetwater, Tennessee has pioneered a breeding program based on two cats who were, quite independently, discovered to have this mutation. It turns out that it is not just the coat that is special, but also their personality:
They have a hound dog like personality. 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. They get along with other pets with an introduction period (usually two weeks). Their strong prey drive causes them to stalk and pounce on anything they consider to be prey. Overall, a friendly cat with a playful hunting instinct that is very loyal and bonded to their owners.
Johnny Gobble is being very cautious to ensure the robust health of the breed with batteries of tests for the foundation cats including DNA testing, cardiac testing, thyroid testing, infectious disease testing and organ panel testing. It is hoped the Lykoi will become a Preliminary New Breed with the TICA this fall.
Are they available to the public yet? According to Johnny:
Due to the small gene pool we are working hard to outcross these special kitties to create genetic diversity and a healthy breed. The few Lykoi kittens we produce usually go back into breeding programs, or are placed in homes where they will be shown in TICA. A few selected breeders have them, but they will not be available more widely for another two years.
More information and photos of these cats can be found at the site of Lykoi cats. They tell us they are already getting something like 10 enquiries a day.
Though we are personally committed to having rescue cats, we are certainly drawn to this wolfish domestic shorthair.
Please tell us what you think…