Posted on December 18, 2015: The scariest cat ever may have been the common domestic black cat (though the sinister connotations have no basis in reality), but what would you do if you saw a cat which resembled a werewolf? Yes, that’s the Lykoi Cat for you, a recently recognized cat breed which has arisen out of a natural mutation of a short haired cat. Despite resembling a wolf, it’s an endearing cat species nevertheless.
‘Lykoi’ means ‘wolf’ in Greek. The mutation reportedly started from 1990, though the Lykoi was officially acknowledged as a breed later. Two non-related litters of cats were presented as a proof of the origin of this new breed. The first litter was born in July 2010. The mother had dark shorthair fur, not unlike most domestic cats. Dr. Leslie Lyons conducted a DNA test on the kittens which confirmed that they weren’t of the Devon or Sphynx breeds.
A few months later, in September, another similar set of kittens were spotted in Tennessee in the USA. The kitten siblings were found to have the same genes that the July 2010 litter of kittens had. Veterinary dermatologists tested the cat’s skin to ascertain for abnormalities. It was discovered that it was a new coat type instead. Cardiac scans also indicated that there were no peculiarities whatsoever. The Lykoi breeding programme was then ushered. The International Cat Association (TICA) acknowledged the breed in 2011. The start of the breed is reportedly attributed to Dr and Mrs Gobble.
These cats look like miniature scruffy wolves. Lykoi cats are bereft of hair in body areas surrounding the nose, eyes, muzzle and ears. It goes through phases of patchy hair throughout its life. The mutation in the breed prevents the animal from growing an even coat of fur. Appearance wise they look like wild or feral cats. When the cat has a coat full of hair, its skin resembles that of an opossum. The cat’s head is wedge shaped. It has a solid body, which however isn’t bulky. They generally have scanty hair on their feet and legs. They have short tails and legs of medium size. In places where sunlight is mild, their dark skins can turn pink.
These cats can have some dog-like mannerisms, more so of a hound dog. They possess a friendly demeanour. They are highly intelligent and can detect various scents. As they are affectionate and faithful, they make excellent pets. Though initially, they may be wary and cautious. Sometimes, they may exhibit clingy behaviour. However, if pet parents are too busy to snuggle to them, they are perfectly capable of entertaining themselves.
Like a dog, they can play hunt, fetch and chase. Just like other cats, they love to bask in the sun. At times, they’d love to cuddle up on their pet parent’s lap. Other times, they may energetically play about. Though they are protective of their toys, they are also ready to share them.
As the Lykoi Cat is a new breed, not much has been found regarding diseases typical to its breed. The only common health issue, which has been detected so far in these cats is patchy hair. In fact, the first few generations of these cats have been perceived to be fit and healthy. The tests conducted on them have revealed that they have no known genetic disorder. Let it be thyroid, cardiac or blood tests; no health problems were found in the breed.
Grooming a Lykoi isn’t difficult. They need to be bathed regularly. Their ears need to be checked for dirt. Their claws and teeth need to be cared for. If you don’t bathe the cat, oils will build up in bald patches or sparsely furred regions on the cat’s body. When the fur grows back, you can reduce the number of baths. The cats’ ears need to be wiped with cotton balls with a cleaner which is safe for cats.
Lykois need to be served a diet of meat. They require a high quantity of protein. They survive well in apartments which have ample space for them to exercise. Plenty of fresh water needs to be provided to them.