Have you ever heard about Lykoi cats? I stumbled over this name and the cats today while browsing through the internet. This seems to be a new breed of cats and they are not only called Lykoi but sometimes also Werewolf Cat as Lykoi is Greek and means Wolf but more about this later. Now you must think that I am kidding here, but I am not. This is no joke, this is really something I found while browsing the web. Maybe you found photos or videos of these cats too and you thought that would be again some kind of internet gag but I tell you they are a recognized as breed. After researching, I found out today that this seems to be in fact an up and coming new cat breed. This kind of cat breed is partially hairless, has a roan look and lacks an undercoat and is also only sparsely hairy around the eyes, nose, ears and muzzle.
You might check out the Lykoi Blog of Johnny and Brittney if you don´t believe me. Johnny breeds various species of plants and animals since a long time and he studied general genetics, population genetic dynamics, group genetic, and breeding genetics and is a practicing Veterinarian. Brittney has experience in raising puppies, kittens, and exotic birds and she bred healthy Sphynx cats, participated in exhibits just to name a few information’s. According to them, the Lykoi cat is a natural mutation from a domestic shorthair and looks little bit like a Werewolf. This kind of mutation occurred in several cats but they say that there are no reports that anyone started to establish this new breed in the past. But it seems that Johnny and Brittney were interested to do so. They wrote on their website how it had begun.
They mention that their founding cats came from two separate or unrelated litters. The first was presented to them as natural occurring Sphynx mutation in July 2010 but they knew they couldn´t have the Sphynx gene and made a DNA test to check this out. They tested them for the Devon Sphynx gene and disproved that they would be a natural Sphynx mutation. They got a mother which was a black domestic shorthair with two kittens which had a similar appearance like Werewolfs and noticed it would be a natural mutation and a unique new cat breed. Anyway they were fascinated and excited immediately and wanted to learn more about these cats with further tests.
They say a Sphynx outcross is either naked, or haired and can´t be both but they noticed an advertisement and thought something could´t be right there. Brittney responded to the advertisement about partially haired Sphynx outcrosses which were born in September 2010 and found out immediately that the cats of the advertisement had the same mutation as the earlier mentioned kittens. They assumed that they would find cats with the same new natural mutation. It looks like Johnny and Brittney wanted to make further efforts to learn more about this mutation. They write on their website that they have done further genetic testing and health evaluation here too until they decided to add the cats of the advertisement, the cats of the second litter to their program as well to increase the number of cats in the gene pool of a possible breeding program.
They also have choosen a name for the breed and the inspiration came from a friend called Patti who was involved in the events as well as the first litter was presented to Patti and then to Brittney and Johnny. They mention that Patti came up with the name and that he said that Lykoi would mean wolf translated from the Greek language. Now they thought that this name would be wonderful as they thought that the name would fit to the appearance of this new breed.
It seems that they also made huge efforts to rule out that there aren´t any diseases or disorders that might have caused this very unusual hair coat appearance of the cats. They say that they first performed infectious diseases tests to rule this out as well. They also performed a DNA panel for genetic disease, color, and blood type. And even dermatologists of the University of Tennessee examined the cats for any skin abnormalities and with biopsy samples even they couldn´t find a reason fo the uncommon fur pattern of this breed. The only indication they found was that some hair follicles lacked all the necessary components which are required to create hair and that explains why they lack an undercoat. Some follicles that were able to produce hair, lacked the proper balance of these components to maintain the hair and this is why the Lykoi do molt and become almost completely bald from every now and then, as they state. Then they had a cardiologist who checked the heart for structural problems with cardiac scans. Pretty impressive how much effort they showed to rule out any diseases.
At the end they came to the conclusion that the cats are healthy and that this is a true natural mutation and this was at the same time the starting shot of their breeding program. In September 14, 2011 they welcomed their first purebred Lykoi kitten and named the kitten “Daciana”. She´s the only known second generation Lykoi as they say. You might want to check out their Lykoi Facebook Page and Lykoi YouTube Channel where they have a lot of Lykoi photos and videos if you are interested to take a look. You also might want to take a look on their Lykoi breed information´s page where I got all the information’s from. But I simply suggest to browse through the whole side and their social network profiles as they have some interesting things to say and to show you, if you are interested in cats or if you want to find out more about the Lykoi cats.
Now it looks like they don´t only try to establish this new breed in the USA where they live, they also seems to make contacts and work together with breeders from other continents to establish this breed. They even created their breed standards. As I am German, I wonder when I will see the first Lykoi cat for sale in Germany. I wonder how they would call them here apart from Lykoi? You could translate Werewolf Cat as Werwolfskatze or Werwolfkatze or if we take the word Wolf Cat then we would simply say Wolfskatze. Pretty interesting. I wonder what my cat Shyna would think if I would present her a Lykoi cat as future playfellow? Interesting thought. Let´s see when I will find the first Lykoi breeders in my area.
Very interesting topic in my opinion. Hope you thought the same. What do you think about this new breed?