Nada’s Lykoi Cats aka Werewolf Cat
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 well 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. We are breeding for stronger more stable coats and are trying to eliminate the more hairless cats from our program.
Lykoi Cat Origins
The Lykoi Cat is a natural mutation from a domestic shorthair. The mutation has occurred in domestic cats over the last 30 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 DNA test for the kittens to confirm they were not Sphynx or Devon mutation. Patti Thomas then offered these babies to Dr. Gobble and his wife who were fascinated by the appearance of these cats!
Upon starting the program testing was conducted to ensure that we were not dealing with disease or disorders causing the hair coat appearance. Infectious disease tests were performed as well as DNA testing 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. This was chosen after it was noted by many that the kittens looked like “Werewolf.” All the necessary documentation was submkitted 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 full colored cats express the pattern of the werewolf cat more dramatically so we have focused on producing solid colored cats that have the gene. Since their parentage is domestic shorthair (no known pedigreed cats have been involved) we are outcrossing using only domestics. This is being done to broaden the gene pool and ensure healthy kittens. Cats from the founding pair of Lykoi cats were placed with Patti Thomas and myself, Cheryl Kerr. Since that time the Breeding Lykoi Cat have been graciously placed with breeders in the USA, France, 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 Cat gene pool!
Since the original breedings,several new natural mutation Lykoi Cats have been obtained and introduced into the gene pool to include DSH from around the world. Natural Mutataion Lykoi from Texas, Missouri, and South Carolina obtained from Rescues, Shelters and Personal residences were found within the first few years of breeding. I (Cheryl Kerr) also located a colony in Vermont that was a rescue effort that allowed a VT gene to be introduced into the breed. We 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 Cats were found in Canada and have been shared amongst our breeding population. A few more natural mutations have been added to our program from California, Georgia & Utah. Our breeding partners in Australia, France and Czech Republiuc have also been able to obtain Natural Mutations in their countries as well.
In 2015, I traveled to Austria with my breeding partner where we took the Lykoi Cats before the TICA Board and we were passed to “Advanced New Breed” status. In 2016, I traveled to California with my breeding partner and other Lykoi Cat Breeders where the Lykoi were advanced to Championship status. In May 2017, we began showing our Lykoi Cats against all of the other breeds in TICA Championship status and since have Championed both Kenya & Madeline! In 2018, we were honored to add an additional Lykoi male from a colony located in Southern California by Jayne Harrower one of the founding Lykoi breeders. We will soon have another new Natural Mutation line coming and we also have chocolate Lykoi cats arriving soon.
Here is a video taken at the show in which Kenya received her Championship created by Pet Greatness https://youtu.be/KAMAJCbTfOM