Nada’s Lykoi Cats
The name “Lykoi Cat” roughly means “Wolf Cat” in Greek….a very fitting name for these guys! These cats have the appearance of a werewolf due to their lack of undercoat. The coat varies in thickness/hairlessness based on the individual cat as weell as the climate in which the cat lives, Hormones and genetics. Some of the lines including those used in founding the breed shed or molt several times throughout their lives as their hair follicles lack properties needed to sustain a full coat.
The Lykoi Cat is a natural mutation from a domestic shorthair. The mutation has occurred in domestic cats over the last 20 years, but to date, no reports of anyone starting a breed have been made. Our founding cats come from two unrelated litters. The first litter came from Virginia and was identified as a possible Sphynx mutation by a rescue, this was later disproved with DNA testing. The mother appeared to be a normal black domestic shorthair. Dr. Leslie Lyons did a complimentary DNA test for the kittens to confirm they were not Sphynx or Devon mutation. They were offered to Brittney & Johnny Gobble who were fascinated by the appearance of these cats!
Upon starting the program Johnny (who is a veterinarian) decided that testing would need to be done to ensure that we are not dealing with disease or disorders causing the hair coat appearance. Infectious disease tests were performed first in his clinic. DNA testing was then done by UC Davis to confirm that the second set of cats did not carry the Sphynx/Devon gene (all results came back proving that NONE of the founding cats have the Sphynx/Devon gene). Additional DNA panels were performed for genetic disease, color, and blood type on all of the founding cats. At the University of Tennessee, dermatologists examined them for any skin abnormalities (and they too fell in love with these cats!). Along with biopsy samples of the skin, the dermatologists could find no reason for the coat pattern.
What they did find is that some hair follicles lacked all the necessary components required to create hair (which is why Lykoi lack an undercoat). They also found that the follicles that were able to produce hair, lacked the proper balance of these components to maintain the hair (which is why Lykoi do molt and can become almost completely bald from time to time). The Gobble’s cardiologist also performed cardiac scans to look for any structural problems with the hearts. In the end, it was found that the cats are healthy and the hair pattern is not from any known disease or disorder. It was determined that it was indeed a true natural mutation and the Lykoi breeding program began! September 14th, 2011 we welcomed the first kitten ever from a Lykoi to Lykoi Cat breeding.
The name Lykoi was chosen because of it’s meaning, means “Wolf Cat” in Greek. Johnny sent in all the necessary documentation to TICA to have the Lykoi breed listed as “experimental” (basically letting TICA know they were beginning the process of establishing a new breed) as well as registering the first 5 cats.
Our Breeding Program
We have noticed that the black colored cats express the pattern of the werewolf cat more dramatically so we are focusing on only producing solid black cats that have the gene. Since their parentage is domestic shorthair (no known pedigreed cats have been involved) we are outcrossing using only black domestics. This is being done to broaden the gene pool and ensure healthy kittens. The founding Lykoi and subsequent outcrossing were all completed by the Gobbles in their cattery in Tennessee. They placed the first breeding cats with Thomas and myself. Since that time the Gobbles have graciously placed breeding Lykoi with breeders in the USA, Canada, and several countries around the world. We are keeping in contact with Dr. Leslie Lyons and her team who are working on discovering more about this unique gene and the entire Lykoi gene pool!
Since the original breeding, Johnny and Brittney have been able to obtain Lykoi that have occurred in the feral cat population from Texas, Missouri, and South Carolina. I (Cheryl Kerr) also located a colony in Vermont. The Gobbles and I were able to work together to obtain 8 cats as well (also helping to get the other cats in the colony spayed/neutered and vaccinated). Another small colony of Lykoi were found in Canada and have been shared among the Gobbles, Catherine in Canada, and myself. A few more natural mutations have been added to our program from California, Georgia & Utah. Our breeding partners in Australia and Czech Republiuc have also been able to obtain Natural Mutations in their countiries as well.
In 2015, Brittney and I traveled to Austria where we took the Lykoi before the TICA Board and we were passed to “Advanced New Breed” status. In 2016, Brittney , Johnny & I traveled to California where the Lykoi were advanced to Championship status. In May 2017, we began showing our Lykoi against all of the other breeds in TICA Championship status and since have Championed Kenya & Madeline!
Here is a video taken at the show in which Kenya received her Championship created by Pet Greatness https://youtu.be/KAMAJCbTfOM