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8-month-old male Lykoi.jpg
Common nicknames Werewolf cat, wolf cat
Origin United States
Breed standards
TICA standard
Not eligible for TICA champion status; classified as "Advanced New Breed".
Domestic cat (Felis catus)

The Lykoi, also called the Werewolf cat, is a natural mutation from a domestic short-haired cat that has the appearance of a classic Hollywood werewolf, hence its name. The mutation has occurred in domestic cats over the last 20 years. Genetic testing done at UC Davis confirm that the cats do not carry the Sphynx/Devon gene.[1] The Lykoi breed was developed in Vonore, Tennessee. The word lykoi means "wolves" in Greek.[2]


The Lykoi is a partially or almost entirely hairless cat. The hair coat is unique in appearance in that it resembles the coat of an opossum when mostly coated. Standards call for a solid black roan coat, a wedge-shaped head, and a lithe body of solid weight without excessive bulk. Lykoi are said to be friendly and unchallenging in their behavior. They display a high level of affection for their owners.[3]

A unique characteristic of the cat breed is that the Lykoi sheds a lot when older but regrows its hair later in life depending on the season.[4]

The missing coat of the Lykoi's face gives the breed a werewolfish appearance.[5]

History of the cat breed[edit]

Two different sets of domestic shorthairs with the Lykoi gene were adopted from a rescue after being discovered in Virginia in 2010, by Patti Thomas, who co-founded and named the breed, and in 2011, a second pair were located in Tennessee, by Johnny Gobble, a practicing veterinarian in Vonore, TN[6] . [7] [8]

The Lykoi went before The International Cat Association (TICA) registry in 2012 and was passed to "Registration Only" status by unanimous consent. The breed is now recognized as a Championship Breed and began competing against other Championship breeds in May 2017, with TICA.[9] Work is currently being done to expand the breeding program.[7]


The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA), specifies a number of "Requirements for Recognition as a Provisional Breed".[10] As of November 2015, the Lykoi was not recognized by the CFA even as a provisional breed, but is recognized as an Advanced New Breed with The International Cat Association.[11] The Lykoi is not a cross of recognized cat breeds, but a breed created by inter-breeding cats with the same naturally-occurring mutation.


At the University of Tennessee, dermatologists examined them for any skin abnormalities. 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 moult and can become almost completely bald from time to time). It was determined, with test breeding, to be a true natural mutation.[2]


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