(Credit: Lykoi Cat)
A new breed of cat called Lykoi has a mutation that leaves it partially hairless, looking somewhat like the werewolf for which it is named.
A new breed of cat has emerged, taking the cat-fanciers' world by storm: the otherworldly-looking Lykoi, named after the ancient Greek word for "wolf", lykos (the root of the word "lycanthropy").
Its unusual appearance is due to a genetic mutation — much like the short-legged Munchkin breed. In the Lykoi, though, the mutation results in unusual fur growth; specifically, uneven growth, leaving the belly, legs and parts of the muzzle bald, with what fur does grow speckled in a salt-and-pepper fashion.
According to breeder veterinarian Johnny Gobble, though, the gene that causes the mutation is not related to the hairless Sphynx.
"Our founding cats come from two unrelated litters. The first litter was presented to Patti Thomas as a possible Sphynx mutation (which was later disproved with DNA testing)," the Gobbles' website reads. "This litter was born around July 2010. The mother was a black domestic shorthair. Upon receiving the kittens (a brother, sister, and the mother), DNA testing for the Sphynx/Devon gene was performed and it was found that they did not carry this gene."
Gobble and his wife Brittney — the first of only seven licensed Lykoi breeders in the world — decided to try to breed the mutation after receiving two sets of unrelated kittens. After testing to determine that there were no genetic diseases or disorders looming, breeding began, with the first kitten — Daciana — arriving in 2011. The breed was officially recognised by the International Cat Association in 2012.
Lykoi cats are available in the US, Canada and France. You can read more about them on the official Lykoi cats web page, and see more pictures on the official Facebook page. However, the Gobbles have failed to answer our most pressing question: are they any fun in the bath?