Move over black cats, Halloween may have found a new featured feline.
A “creepy” new breed of cat called Lykoi -- Greek for “wolves” -- have made their debut and earned the nickname “Werewolf Cat” because of their eerie resemblance to the fictional canine.
But Dr. Johnny Gobble, Lykoi’s founding breeder, says that although they are 100 percent cat, the felines have some of the signature personality traits of a dog. They wag their tails, track scents like a hound dog, and they’ll even play fetch!
“The first kittens, they looked like little hunting dogs running around on the carpet,” says Gobble. “I thought it was neat.”
Lykoi have a naturally occurring mutation of the domestic short-hair cat, meaning that they originated in wild cat populations. They’re born with a full coat of hair like most cats, but lose some as they grow older, giving them that patchy, werewolf-like hair pattern.
Gobble got his first pair of Lykoi from Virginia, where the cats are occasionally spotted in people's backyards, he said. According to the breed standard from the International Cat Association, "the Lykoi Cat is the result of a natural mutation that has been reported intermittently over the past few years."
As unique as the cats are, Gobble says it is important to him that they be bred with the viewpoint of a vet -- prioritizing health over novelty. The 20-year practitioner of veterinary medicine ran extensive tests on the first Lykoi cats to ensure that future kittens wouldn’t have any major health concerns.
Gobble says not everyone is a fan of the new breed, and some are skeptical that Lykoi really did originate in the wild. “People are creeped out by them -- there’s people out there that completely hate them. There’s people out there that hate me because they think I spliced DNA.”
Even so, if you want your own Lykoi in time for Halloween, you're going to have to wait in line. Because they’re so rare, the price for a Lykoi kitten, once you get off the waitlist, tops out around $2,500.